The Professional Development People

A team approach to child counselling
Presenter: Alison Bell

For parents, the decision to engage a family or child counsellor can be difficult. What courage it takes to put your family’s private matters in the hands of a stranger.

Ways to enhance collaboration and teamwork with parents, and guidelines about the journey of child counselling which parents and children need to know are explored.

This event is a hands-on, creative exploration of ways to working with parents. A journey map will be individually created by participants that can be shared with parents and children. A template letter of introduction written to the child will be used to construct a relevant invitation for child clients, according to participant’s own modality and approach.

There is a common parent dilemma that parents want to be the best parent they can be for their child. In the relentless hurly burly of family life, even in the most harmonious of homes, any parent will find times when they fall short of their hoped-for ‘best’. When children also begin to exhibit worrying behaviours, parents can often feel shame, guilt and may seek for someone to blame. The vital connection with their child may be breached, and in need of repair.

Having responsibility for a child can also stir-up some forgotten, silent rage, as Seigel and Hartzell, point out in their book Parenting from the Inside Out. Some theoretical implications from the work of John Gottman in Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, and the work of Daniel Siegel will also be presented.

Compassion Focused Therapy and Gendlin’s Focusing techniques will be introduced as a way to assist parents to get in touch with their own inner child, whose needs were never all met from their own childhood. This will help parents turn towards and lean into their emotional reactions, rather than suppress and then explode. Participants will create an emotion wheel to help increase emotional literacy with families and invite the normalising of emotions.

Strong emotions can sometimes become a roadblock to a willingness to understanding the problem and committing to collaborative change. Narrative therapy has unique techniques to build different roads forward in therapy. These will be introduced along with other strength-based approaches. Key narrative questions that can be asked at intake, to explore a family’s needs and values will be explored by participants in small group work. This will include ways to assess the family’s capacity and willingness to work as a team, and how they hope to be supported along the way.

Externalising language and values-based enquiries are introduced to create a foundation of mutual understanding, openness, trust and teamwork on the journey ahead. Parental expectations, the perceived problem and the special qualities of each person in the family are three lines of enquiry that are specifically addressed.

The workshop will focus on supporting parents to see themselves as having the ‘role’ of parent, plus developing an alliance/ relationship with that young person, who is smaller than them and may be a biological child, or a ‘step-child.’ The intention of the training is to suit those working with parents of infants through to teens, and will focus on ways to develop a team approach to supporting the counselling process looking at how a parent talks about their child from the Narrative Therapy lens, and at possible emotional roadblocks in the work with a parent and child/young person.

The presentation will include practical exercises in deconstructing the language used by parents at intake which will later assist the child to no longer be seen as the problem, but to be someone who is struggling with a problem.

Several creative methods to engage the most reluctant child clients of all ages will be demonstrated, since many parents fear ‘My child will probably not agree to counselling.’

A case study about a father and son, and their troubles around anger and shame, and other case examples to demonstrate the content of the program will be presented.

CPD Hours: This event counts as 7 hours of category A CPD for PACFA’s membership renewal requirements.

PACFA MEMBER DISCOUNT * PACFA members can avail a discount of 20% off the registration fees for all live events and digital seminars on our website by applying the code ‘PDP20PACFA’ at the checkout.

For full details regarding the event and registration please go to the website.


27/10/2021 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
E. Australia Standard Time
The Johnson 477 Boundary Street Spring Hill, QLD 4000 AUSTRALIA
Online registration not available.

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