Healing Conversations with Children & Adolescents: A Survey of Counselling Theory and Techniques

MS 3XY3/5XY5/6XY6

Winter 2023
Mon 9:00am - 10:50am

Healing conversations can happen in many different contexts in ministry, but those with children and adolescents can be enhanced by developing intervention and communication skills which address their unique needs. This hybrid course will survey theories, basic skills, and techniques relevant to counselling children and adolescents in a pastoral counselling and ministry context.  Prime focus will be on what is different about healing conversations with this population compared to counselling with adults.  Specific conversational and intervention techniques will be explored and demonstrated, including cognitive, behavioural, experiential, family, play, art, and crisis intervention therapy modalities.  The course will extensively use case study, role play, and practice of counselling skills to prepare the student to apply course material.  Focus will be made on procedural, ethical, and legal considerations in beginning counselling with children and their families. Completion of previous coursework in basic counselling skills and child and adolescent development is recommended.


  • To distinguish the  unique theories of change and intervention techniques available in counselling children and adolescents and engaging them in therapeutic dialogue
  • To identify the ethical and legal issues in counselling children and adolescents
  • To match  the assessment of developmental, individual, relational, cultural and other social factors that influence the counselling process to a choice of counselling goals and interventions
  • To discuss both the opportunities and the limitations inherent in pastoral counselling with children and adolescents
  • To distinguish when  referrals for further psychological and medical help are necessary and how to facilitate them
  • To demonstrate a deeper knowledge of one approach to counselling children and adolescents


  • To develop ways of interacting with children and adolescents that uses their language and experience to make relational connection
  • To increase tolerance in hearing others’ pain and being open to the experience of one’s own pain.
  • To increasingly practice empathic listening skills, effective responses, and appropriate support in all our relationships
  • To practice collaborative and leadership skills in working with colleagues


  • To analyze and discuss case studies to integrate theoretical content with real-world situations
  • To produce a role play demonstrating a first interview with a child or adolescent and their family
  • To observe, label, and practice helpful versus non helpful responses in counselling children and adolescents, through role play and a sample interview
  • To demonstrate appropriate empathic and joining responses in an interview with a child or adolescent
  • To discriminate developmental factors in assessment, setting counselling goals, choosing intervention strategies, evaluating outcome, and planning follow-up in counselling children and adolescents
  • To research resources within our communities to provide support, education, and further help for children, adolescents, and their families
  • To evaluate mental health skills practice through self-observation and peer-observation in, and give constructive feedback to colleagues