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Postgraduate Diploma Cognitive Behavioural Therapies for Children & Adolescents

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  • Objectives
    The aim of this programme is to equip child and adolescent mental health NHS professionals with the core skills that define Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as it is applied to children and adolescents, and to equip students with an understanding of child development and the scientific principles underlying CBT.
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants must be employed as a mental health professional (psychiatry, clinical psychology, mental health nursing) by the NHS or the HSE in Ireland and have access to suitable training cases and videotape facilities. Additional requirements apply and are available on the website.
  • Academic Title
    PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Therapies for Children & Adolescents
  • Course description
    This programme is comprised of two modules that must be completed in the same academic year:

    Module 1: Theory of Change & Development: This module aims to increase the student's understanding of theories which underpin CBT and to increase the level of proficiency in developing CBT formulations for the most common problems in young people. This module further aims to provide a strong foundation in normal and atypical cognitive, social and emotional development and the links among these domains.

    Topics include: classical and operant conditioning; cognitive models of dysfunction; continuity and discontinuity in child development; theory of mind and attachment theory. The module is strongly developmental in its emphasis, focusing on the first two decades of life. The teaching strategy is distinctive in that it aims to teach the fundamentals of normal development alongside those of psychopathology and is integrative in that cognitive development is not viewed as separate from changes in affective or social development.

    Finally, the module aims to increase the student's understanding of the evidence-base for CBT as applied to children and adolescents. This module is assessed through a 5,000-word essay which is a critical review of the evidence-base for CBT as applied to a single disorder and two 1,500-word essays where the student will describe a CBT model of disorder, apply it to a treatment case (formulation plus list of interventions) and provide a videotape of a treatment session evidencing their application of these theory-driven interventions.

    Module 2: Cognitive Behavioural Methods for Common Mental Health Problems: This module aims to increase the student's proficiency in the application of core cognitive-behavioural interventions, including: the development of explicit and shared CBT formulations with clients; the identification of measurable targets for change; the use of diary and self/parent-report measures to monitor progress; psychoeducation about common disorders; problem-solving and self-talk approaches to improve coping; stimulus-control procedures for problems of sleep/habit reversal; reinforcement procedures for achieving behaviour change; exposure, cognitive restructuring and behavioural experiments for anxiety disorders; cognitive restructuring and behavioural activation for depression; the role of parents/carers in treatment; overcoming common obstacles to change; and reflective-practice.

    This module is assessed through regular presentation of videotapes and evidence of reflective practice in supervision, and the submission of two 4,500 word case-studies describing the assessment and treatment of a course-supervised case, and accompanied by a transcript and videotape of a session in which the therapist is clearly applying CBT interventions.

    Programme format and assessment
    Teaching and supervision takes place every Friday (09.00-17.00) from late September to the end of June. In their remaining time, students are seeing cases for the purpose of training in CBT and spending at least half a day a week reading and preparing materials for the course. Teaching modules are assessed by essays and case studies, as well as videotaped therapy sessions. During the programme, students are required to present a minimum of four training-cases (two under and two over 11 years old). Students present two new cases in the first-term, two new cases in the second, and may continue with previous cases in the third-term or take on new cases (highly encouraged).

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