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How to train

Child and adolescent psychotherapy is a graduate-entry profession and those wishing to train must already have substantial experience of working with babies, children, young people or families. Many of our members are already experienced nurses, social workers, teachers, academics, doctors, psychologists or psychiatrists before they decide to train.

The training takes around six years and involves two stages:

Pre-clinical training: This is the first stage of training and is a two-year course in infant observation, including close observation of infants and young children in order to gain an understanding of child development and attachment theory.

Clinical training: Once trainees have successfully completed the pre-clinical training, they can apply for the four-year doctoral-level clinical training based full-time in multidisciplinary NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or other suitable settings. This helps them to develop skills in a multi-disciplinary setting from the outset.

Clinical training includes long- and short-term individual psychoanalytic work with children, young people and parents, as well as assessments, work with groups and families and consultation to other professionals. A central feature of this stage of training is personal psychotherapy, which deepens self-knowledge and enables trainees to experience first-hand the impact of a therapeutic relationship.