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

MS 3XY3/5XY5/6XY6

*Syllabus last revised January 4, 2021

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. Pre-modern, modern, and post-modern theories will be included.  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.


  • To understand the range of unique theories of change and intervention techniques available in counselling children and adolescents and engaging them in therapeutic dialogue
  • To understand the essential skills and ethical issues in counselling children and adolescents
  • To understand the assessment of developmental, individual, relational, cultural and other social factors that influence the counselling process and choice of counselling goals and interventions
  • To understand both the opportunities and the limitations inherent in pastoral counselling with children and adolescents
  • To develop 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 apply theoretical content to real-world situations through analyzing and discussing case studies
  • To observe, identify, and practice helpful versus non helpful responses in counselling children and adolescents
  • To develop skills in assessing, setting counselling goals, choosing intervention strategies, evaluating outcome, and planning follow-up in counselling children and adolescents
  • To develop skills in identifying the need for and facilitating referrals for further psychological and medical help when necessary
  • To identify resources within our communities to provide support, education, and further help for children, adolescents, and their families