Child, Adolescent, Parent Psychotherapy Training


Hand of a professional family psychotherapist writing notes in front of a couple with a child in a blurred background during a consultation



The WCSPP Child, Adolescent, Parent Psychotherapy Training Program offers 2 years of academic coursework and supervised clinical experience in working with children, adolescents, and parents. We are guided by a psychoanalytically informed approach to psychotherapy and the belief that the indelible contributions of parents to their children’s development requires understanding histories, family culture, and social forces. Coursework includes essential readings and carefully culled clinical case material.

Our program provides training in individual psychotherapy with children and adolescents and includes attention to each child’s temperament, unique strengths, and challenges. It encourages collaboration with other professionals including medical doctors, neuropsychologists, and teachers. We emphasize working with parents alone and at times together with their children as an important part of our treatment model, focused on helping parents become more aware of and empathic towards their child’s inner experience. We include practical advice on how to strengthen family relationships and solve common family problems.

Classes take place on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:20 pm. Continuing Education credits are granted for coursework, providing attendance is consistent. Weekly supervision takes place in supervisors’ private offices. Candidates are required to complete 40 hours of supervision with 2 different supervisors for each of 2 WCSPP Psychotherapy Service cases. Each patient must be seen for a minimum of 32 hours. It is strongly recommended that each candidate gain experience working with one child and one adolescent case.

Candidates, who must have a license allowing them to practice independently, work with patients from WCSPP’s Psychotherapy Service.  Simultaneously, candidates meet weekly with their supervisors.  Candidates are encouraged to develop their own personal styles, informed by prior experience, classwork, and supervision in their clinical work.  Personal psychotherapy, in conjunction with advanced training, is strongly recommended.

Candidates without licenses to practice independently may take coursework without the clinical component of the traditional program.  A certificate of completion of the program is reserved for those who have completed all requirements in coursework and clinical training.


“The combination of small classes and individual supervision created a varied, intimate, and rewarding learning experience.  Students from diverse professional backgrounds at different stages of their careers all contributed to stimulating discussions and appeared to benefit from the instruction and exposure to important readings in the field.”  – Joanne Loeb, Ph.D.


“I was thinking of starting a private practice and knew I didn’t have enough information.  I enrolled in WCSPP’s Child and Adolescent Program and this program didn’t disappoint at all.  It was excellent.  There were six lecturers–highly qualified–and classmates who all contributed to the conversations.  Also, two supervisors who were only too happy to help me.  One supervisor helped me with parenting skills and I was able to set up parenting groups.” – Bradley Altman, LMFT


In The Beginning: Fundamentals of Working With Children, Adolescents and Parents

Salient elements of analytically oriented psychotherapy with children and adolescents are introduced in this course that examines the phases of treatment starting with the initial consultation and evaluation, and ending with termination.  It also addresses central elements of treatment including attachment, the role of plan and symbolic processes, intergenerational processes, and mutative factors.  Practical, clinical and theoretical considerations are woven throughout class meetings.

Approaches to Child Psychotherapy

This course uses a case study approach to understand the process of change in child psychotherapy.  Readings include published case reports by therapists of different theoretical orientations as a foundation to study the nature of effective clinical work with children.

Approaches to Adolescent Psychotherapy

This course examines the application of psychodynamic thinking and theories to the treatment of adolescents and their parents and the ensuing challenges that arise in the course of treatment.  Concepts from neuroscience are integrated into an understanding of individual development.  Cultural issues that impact adolescent development are also examined within a focus on gender, sexuality, and ethnicity.

The Life Cycle as Seen Through The Lens of Theory and Practice

This course emphasizes the use of psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theories of development to study the impact of patient’s personal histories.   It follows the shift from the internal, instinctual focus of early theory to attachment theory and relational theory.  It explores the impact of developmental perspectives on psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults. 

Disorders of Childhood: Presenting Complaints and Developmental Disruptions in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

This course explores the problems of childhood that typically lead to a consultation.  It encourages thinking about diagnosis from a developmental point of view.  It includes the vantage points of attachment theory, neuropsychology and affect regulation.  Readings are both theoretical and clinical, promoting discussions about the complexities of childhood problems, common scenarios, and treatment strategies.

Working with Parents

Helping parents think about their children can offer significant benefit as a corollary to individual clinical work with children and adolescents.  This course provides readings as springboards for discussing how to involve parents in the work, helping them develop their own successful styles.  Clinical material is focused on promoting and realizing these goals.