Events and Courses
More Events...
Child and Adolescent

The Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Association (IPCAPA)

Qualification: PsychD
Degree Duration: 4 years, full-time
Programme Keywords: Clinical training, research skills, child development, child psychopathology, psychotherapeutic techniques, Freud, Klein, Jung
Pre-Training Requirements: Click here

Training with IPCAPA at the bpf

IPCAPA has its roots in the former British Association of Psychotherapists, now part of bpf, and this clinical training in intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy with children and adolescents has been running since 1982.

From Autumn 2014 IPCAPA at the British Psychotherapy Foundation (bpf) and the Anna Freud Centre/UCL have collaborated to produce an innovative and exciting new Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. This 4 year full time programme will lead to the award of DPsych and professional membership of the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) as well as the bpf. Applicants need to be accepted on to the bpf training before subsequently applying to register as students at UCL.

Building on the existing IPCAPA at the bpf training in child psychotherapy, this new professional doctorate has been designed to provide trainees with an excellent clinical training, fully integrated with a knowledge and experience of the research skills that will be necessary for those working in the modern NHS.

The theoretical orientation of the clinical training represents the thinking of the Independent School within the British Psychoanalytic movement and also provides Freudian and Kleinian thinking, both classical and contemporary. It allows trainees flexibility and scope to find in time their own theoretical position. Additional Jungian theory modules are provided for Jungian analysands on the Jungian pathway.

The training aims to provide a thorough understanding of normal child development, childhood psychopathology and psychotherapeutic techniques linked with direct experience of clinical work, enhanced by research knowledge and skills.

As well as receiving direct teaching on research methodologies and how to evaluate others’ research findings, participants in the course will undertake a research project on an area of significance to the child psychotherapy profession. Participants will be helped to develop an approach to research that will be able to make a serious contribution to the future of the child psychotherapy profession.

This course has been created with an emphasis on the practical research skills that will be needed by a modern practitioner and designed specifically to be completed within 4 full-time academic years. In this integrated programme research thinking will sit alongside the clinical programme so that graduates from the programme will become able to use research to further and deepen their clinical practice.

The Training

The training is offered in a small-group setting and aims to provide a thorough understanding of normal child development, childhood psychopathology and psychotherapeutic techniques linked with direct experience of clinical work and enhanced by expert research skills. The course is designed to provide the theoretical and practical context in which trainees develop skills in assessment and treatment of a full range of disturbances in children and adolescents.

Each trainee spends most of their training getting hands on experience in a clinic setting. Trainees work within the NHS usually in funded posts.

In order to fulfil ACP requirements each trainee:

  • sees three children in intensive psychotherapy (one child of 5 years or under, one primary school child, and one adolescent), a minimum of three times per week, with individual weekly supervision for each case.
  • Trainees are also required to have experience of using an evidence based evaluated form of time limited work,  treat at least five children once or twice a week, to, to work with parents, and to undertake diagnostic assessments.
  • They are also required to have experience of consulting to and networking with other professionals who are working to promote children’s well being.

All trainees are required to be in personal psychoanalysis with a bpf approved therapist, at least four times per week throughout their training.

The training takes a minimum of four years, and is accredited by the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP). All trainees are eligible for NHS work on qualification.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To have a broad and up-to-date overview of the theoretical frameworks informing the practice of Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
  • To have developed the knowledge, skills and reflective processes necessary to practice psychotherapy within a strong ethical framework.
  • To have developed effective skills in communicating with parents and other professionals and in engaging in inter- agency work.
  • To have knowledge and understanding of research to complement the development of clinical skills and to be able to evaluate research papers and carry out a piece of research appropriate for a doctorate level degree. To have developed skills in written work as well as in verbal presentation of assessments, theoretical understanding and clinical work.
  • To have developed the professional skills to create a professional workforce that is fit for purpose, as practitioners, partners and leaders.

The ACP, who accredits the programme, carried out a reaccreditation visit in 2013 and stated in their report that the training was “excellent”:

“The visit gave a picture of a quality training, with dedicated staff members, and trainees who were fully engaged in the task of learning to be child psychotherapists.”

View the most recent (2013/14) annual report to the ACP: Click here

NHS Commissioned Training and Funding

Our training is funded and quality assured by Health Education England, via the Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs). A limited number of training posts are offered by the NHS, for which trainees can apply.

The posts are four year fixed term training contracts, usually based in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team, and provide funding, time for study and training as well as the opportunities to meet all the clinical requirements of the training. We have a number of posts across London and the South East of England.

In March 2016 we received a  very positive annual report from Health Education North Central East London (HENCEL) on behalf of the London LETBs on our Quality Contract Performance Management for the academic year 2014-15. We received a GREEN rating and scoring 100% in most categories.

HENCEL commended the bpf on being

“a high performing education institution offering an excellent student experience for those embarking on pre-clinical child psychotherapy programmes. The HEI has strong working relationships withNHS partners offering a good quality of clinical placement experience and offers an innovative and supporting teaching environment.” 


Prospective applicants are advised to contact Jaya Varsani via ipcapatraining@bpf-psychotherapy.org.uk. A member of the training staff will then be in contact with you to guide you through the process.

Applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

Applicants must have a 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent) OR a Masters from a UK & University in a relevant subject.

Applicants will have carried out a course of study over 2 years at Masters level or a university approved equivalent comprising observation seminars and a taught theoretical component.

IPCAPA pre-training requirements

  • substantial experience of working with children of at least two different age groups (e.g. under-5s adolescents), accompanied by learning in a work discussion course such as the at the bpf’s Psychoanalytic Approach to Working with Children and Adolescents
  • personal suitability and aptitude for psychotherapeutic work with children;
  • having completed, by the commencement of training, at least one year in intensive (3-4 times/week) psychotherapy with a IPCAPA approved training therapist.

Those seriously interested in training are advised to seek further information at a very early stage.

Application forms are available from Jaya Varsani via ipcapatraining@bpf-psychotherapy.org.uk.


Applications for the 2018 intake will close on  3 January 2018.

Tel: 020 8452 9823 Registered office: 37 Mapesbury Road, London NW2 4HJ
Company number 8238969 registered in England and Wales Registered charity number 1150806