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This certificate programme, comprising two four-day intensive training modules, will introduce participants to a relational approach to understanding and intervening with adolescents. The training will address the developmental dilemmas and challenges faced by adolescents as they attempt to integrate a richer, fuller experience of themselves and others.


  • Appreciate the impact of situations and relationships on an adolescent’s experience of self and other.
  • Explore and understand adolescents’ developmental stages through adolescence.
  • Work with the impact of shame in adolescence.
  • Build confidence in supporting adolescents to make meaning of their experience.
  • Develop the skills to make meaningful connections with adolescents.
  • Build confidence and skills in involving the adolescent’s parent/caregivers in your work.

Location: Historic Cambridge. 45 minutes by train from King’s Cross, London. 25 minutes from Stansted Airport.

Workshop dates:

Module 1 four days: Tuesday 22nd November 2016 to Friday 25th November 2016 inclusive.

Module 2 four days: Tuesday 14th March 2017 to Friday 17th March 2017 inclusive

Time: 9.30-5.30pm.

Cost: For participants paying for themselves:  Deposit to secure your place of £100. Then either full payment, six instalments of £150, or two instalments of £450 (that’s £1000 in total, with the early bird discount – working out at £125/day).

The cost of marking for the one assignment is included in the price. Tea, coffee and biscuits is included. Lunch in not included

For more information see our full terms and conditions.

The cost, without early bird discount, is £140/day if the deposit is paid after 1st October 2016 (£1120 in total).

For participants funded by organisations: Full payment of £1120, with early bird discount. Cost for participants funded by organisations after 1st October 2016 is £1200 in total.

More information / to book a place

Phone: 01223 967 971 (leave a message and we will get back to you)

Email: admin@TheRelationalAcademy.org



Bronagh Starrs BA Dip Psychotherapy MIAHIP is Director of Blackfort Adolescent Gestalt Institute and principal faculty for the 2-Year Advanced Post-Qualifying Diploma in Gestalt Adolescent Psychotherapy, which has been offered in Ireland since 2012.

She maintains a private practice in Omagh, Northern Ireland, as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, writer and trainer, specialising in working with children, adolescents and their families. As well as her work as a parenting consultant with many families, schools and agencies, she is also an experienced therapist working with adults and groups.

Bronagh is an adolescent development specialist and has considerable experience as a trainer in adolescent development and therapy throughout Ireland. She also teaches and presents internationally on the developmental implication of trauma on the adolescent journey. She has authored various articles and chapters on the subject and has contributed to the collected volume: Relational Child, Relational Brain (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group/ GestaltPress). Bronagh’s writing has also been published in various Psychotherapy Journals, including The British Gestalt Journal.



The course will afford participants an in-depth introduction to the relational approach to adolescent psychotherapy. It will offer a way of working which focuses on supporting the emergence of meaningful, flexible and enriching contact in several domains:

  • Supporting the development of the adolescent’s contact boundary with the self and contact with parents, peers and the wider adult world.
  • Developing a developmentally appropriate, relationally attuned, dialogic and creative therapeutic relationship with adolescents.

The training style will include lectures, demonstrations, experiential process, supervised practicum training and case consultation.

 The course is suitable for: –

  • qualified counsellors and psychotherapists
  • psychologists and psychiatrists
  • social workers and youth workers
  • educators
  • others professionals who work with adolescents

Trainee counsellors and trainee therapists can take part in the course but cannot achieve the award of certificate unless they qualify (register with BACP or UKCP as a fully qualified counsellor or therapist) before the end of the course or within three months after the date of the last workshop. Practitioners without therapy or counselling qualifications can take the course but, depending on their qualification and occupation, may not be eligible for the award of certificate.

Aims of the course

  • To provide participants with a relational model of development and therapy with adolescents.
  • To provide participants with an experiential and practical learning process which will enhance their capacity to make contact with and support adolescents.
  • To facilitate a clinically relevant learning experience which is grounded in theory, in order to support the move towards greater clinical competence.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course participants will: –

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the adolescent’s developmental journey from a relational perspective.
  • Undertake a Relational Assessment with an adolescent and his/her caregivers.
  • Understand the specific repertoire of skills required to meet adolescents at various developmental stages.
  • Demonstrate ability to make meaningful, developmentally appropriate contact with an adolescent client.
  • Demonstrate ability to understand the context of the adolescent’s presenting symptom issues and begin to formulate developmentally appropriate interventions to address these issues.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the principles, values and ethical issues particular to adolescent psychotherapy.

Course design

  • The course has been structured on a 4-day modular basis.
  • Teaching days start at 9.30 and end at 5.30
  • One piece of written work (2000 words) will be required.

Module 1 The Interpersonal & Intrapsychic Worlds of Adolescence (four day block)

This module will include exploration of the relational context of adolescence and discovery of how this works to shape the developmental pathway for the young person. We will also explore the adolescent’s evolving experience of self and capacity for contact. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect experientially and explore their own adolescent experience through a relational lens.

Module 2 Developmental Stages of Adolescence & Emerging Adulthood (four day block)

Participants will be introduced to the Gestalt Developmental Model, in which the stages of adolescent development are not linear, separate or distinct. Instead, we will come to see how a recursive and progressive process of differentiation and reorganisation occurs throughout adolescence. Participants will also develop a broad understanding of the developmental disturbances created by the experience of trauma, through this relational lens.

The next stage of emerging adulthood will also be explored (approximately late teens through late twenties) when the developmental dilemma for the young person moves from taking ownership of the ‘self’ towards taking ownership of his or her ‘life’. This stage of development will be explored from a relational perspective and the phenomenon of Failure To Launch will be addressed.