About The Course

This “hands-on”  workshop, now in its tenth successful year, will interest counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, play therapists and other professionals working therapeutically with young people in education/ health/social work/ pastoral services. It  may  also interest those seeking to explore their personal relationship with creativity and play.   The workshop is underpinned  by gestalt principles and practice. Applicants unfamiliar with gestalt therapy are encouraged to enrol on an introductory short course to experience this unique approach.

This course draws inspiration from the pioneering work of gestalt therapist, Dr Violet Oaklander (www.vsof.org) whose approach puts the relationship between therapist and child at the heart of the therapeutic process. Children tend to express feelings through image and metaphor: when therapists are able to engage young people in a dialogue using expressive arts methods this can be invaluable. Children naturally use their ‘contact’ skills (senses, body, emotions and intellect) as relational tools. Troubled children may struggle to make good contact with teachers, parents, peers or indeed themselves, tending instead to restrict healthy expression of their emotions. Many also possess a poor sense of self. The therapist’s job is to facilitate exploration of these emotional blockages, to help young people regain contact with their emotions, body and their natural ability to cope with life.

Training Methods

Course content includes: demonstrations, theory, experiential exercises, discussion and case vignettes.  A folder of worksheets and resources is supplied ,also a recommended  reading list.  The group will work in pairs, solo and in small groups. Participants will become familiar with many of the following expressive modalities: therapeutic drawing and painting, working with clay, sand tray, music -making, puppetry, creative writing, therapeutic games and structured exercises.  The group will experience at first hand  the power of the arts to communicate a spectrum of emotions. Participants will acquire a variety of safe, practical skills and techniques suited to therapeutic work with children.

A Statement of Attendance is awarded on completion of the course for CPD purposes showing 30 hours of training.  Applicants are kindly requested to ensure they are free to attend throughout the week.


By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Incorporate use of the arts into a gestalt experiential framework
  • Become conversant with exploring image, metaphor and play.
  • Understand how the relational self emerges and develops uniquely in childhood.
  • Begin to engage children in exploration of troublesome thoughts and feelings.

Course Tutor

Jon Blend MA CQSW is an Adult & Child Psychotherapist (UKCP registered), trainer and community musician. He has worked extensively with children and families within CAMHS and related services. Jon tutors and supervises at Terapia institute and peripatetically, is a guest trainer with the Oaklander Foundation and works with children and families in private practice (London W3). His chapter on adolescent psychotherapy features in Relational Child, Relational Brain (eds. Harris & Lee). Jon is married and a stepparent.
Website: www.gacp.co.uk

Assistant Tutor

Crissy Duff is a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor who works with adults, adolescents, children and families in private practice and within a school setting. Crissy also mentors students within the Disability and Dyslexia Department of Kingston University and offers supervision for therapists, organisations and others working in the helping professions. Crissy is particularly interested in parent/child relationships, attachment and working with the creative arts. She is a co-founding member of Jon’s supervision and training group and has assisted in delivering this and Jon’s adolescence course over many years.

Course Fee

£793 self-funded

£936 sponsored

*20% discount for current GC Dip Couns & Psych Students& Graduate Members

*10% discount to other students, subject to approval

Next dates

5 days – dates to be announced

10am to 5pm each day





Questions on courses, timings or fees? Ready to book your place? Want to know more about room hire or finding a counsellor? We have the answers you’re looking for.

Add your name plus a contact email address or telephone number to the contact form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Alternatively, you can call us (8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday) on the number below.

CALL US ON 020 7383 5610