Mental health and well-being: multidisciplinary practice with young people and adults (D24A)

Course Overview 

This innovative, multidisciplinary programme has been designed for all professionals working with adolescents, young people and adults, across all sectors.

This bi-modal course holds development throughout the lifespan at its core and is informed by both psychodynamic and systemic theory-based practice models. It introduces the fundamental aspects of young people and adult mental healthcare and practice.

It has been specifically designed to help all those working in this field improve the experience and outcomes for adolescents and adults. It aims to develop your knowledge, skills and practice in working therapeutically with adolescents and adults facing emotional, psychological and mental health difficulties.

The course is validated by the University of Essex.

If you experience any issues accessing our secure application and payment system, please visit the issues with your application page.


Home/EU: £4250 International: £8500
Postgraduate Certificate
Course Length 
1 year
Course Type 
On site
Study Attendance 
Part - time
Who is this course for?

If you are working in the field of adolescent or adult mental health, and wish to improve your knowledge, capabilities and your practice, this course is for you.

You might be a practitioner in social work, nursing, education, psychology, a primary mental health, counsellor, community mental health trust worker, drug and alcohol worker, youth worker, adult mental health outreach worker, residential care worker or social care professional working in housing and hostels.

We welcome applications from the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.
If you have the relevant experience but unsure if you are ready for this course, please get in touch to discuss your current situation and or do attend one of our course specific open evenings.

Course outline

The course consists of the following elements:

  • theoretical seminars/lectures
  • infant/ family or institutional observation seminars
  • work practice discussions
  • experiential groups
  • personal tutorials
  • four day Group Relations Conference: Exploring the Complex Realities of Inter-agency Working


Within this context, teaching and learning focuses on:

Theoretical seminars/lectures

These seminars focus on child, family, adolescent and adult development theories and research, including issues that affect mental health and wellbeing in young people, adults and families. The seminars explore authoritative knowledge, understanding and applied use of theoretical concepts, relevant to different therapeutic approaches, interventions and professions, in working effectively with young people, adults and families, where emotional and mental health difficulties exist.


Observational seminars

Observational seminars of infants, families or institutions are delivered in small learning groups and draw upon psychodynamic and systemic theory respectively. These are designed to deepen the understanding of infants, families or institutions and to develop observational skills and capabilities in this work. Students will need to choose to undertake an infant, family or institutional observation unit.


Work discussion

These professional practice small group seminars will draw on your practical work experience and aim to develop your capabilities in thinking and in practice. They are also designed to facilitate the integration of relevant theoretical ideas and research in order to develop advanced therapeutic practice skills in working with young people and adults.


All teaching takes place in multidisciplinary groups. As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to attend a specially designed, multidisciplinary Group Relations Conference: Exploring the Complex Realities of Inter-agency Working, which seeks to explore the difficulties and benefits of interdisciplinary and inter-agency work.

Why study with us?

Studying with us on this course will enable you to develop:

  • a theoretical framework for understanding adolescent and adult development and family functioning that will inform your practice. The students’ survey for 2014/5 showed 100% satisfaction with the relevance of the course to their own practice.
  • advanced knowledge, clinical capabilities and skills, in working with adolescents, families and adults, drawing upon psychodynamic and systemic theories. The students’ survey for 2014/5 showed 100% satisfaction with the quality of the teaching as well as 96% who felt better equipped and increasingly effective in their work place.
  • the capability to undertake informed assessments and skillful and effective interventions as well as to know how and where to refer young people and adults for more specialised treatment from other services.
  • having the service user/carer perspective at the centre of practice.
  • a framework for understanding the organisational dynamics of mental health practice and in particular, the factors that can impede or assist effective communication as well as an ability to work with other disciplines and agencies in informed ways.
  • enhanced professional expertise, particularly in working with unconscious and systemic processes in families and organisations.
  • for those undertaking the family observation unit, a foundation level training in systemic psychotherapy (subject to accreditation by the Association of Family Therapy).
Student feedback

"A challenging and unique experience both professionally and personally. Be prepared to explore and challenge your views and get in touch with your inner feelings. From beginning to end, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. A course where transference and containment come to life. A fantastic opportunity which I highly recommend."

Stephanie Lockwood


In order to achieve the Postgraduate Certificate award, you are required to submit and pass three pieces of coursework that seek to further develop your knowledge and capabilities. Help and support is available with these in the various seminars and with your personal tutor.


This course can be studied in one of two ways:

  • One day a week for one year
  • Half a day a week for two years. 

One year, part-time (all day Monday)

In addition, this course can also be undertaken on a part time basis over two years, generally undertaking the morning or afternoon units of study separately. The order in which course units are taken is decided by the course team in the best educational and developmental interests of the student. Students who undertake the D24A- AM part will be required to attend seminars between 10am-1pm and students who undertake the D24A- PM part will be required to attend the seminars between 2pm-6pm.

Please note that there will be work required outside of this study day in terms of undertaking observations, work practice and reading for modules.


Academic award

On successful completion of this course you will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate, validated by the University of Essex.

For those undertaking the family observation unit, a foundation level training in systemic psychotherapy is awarded (subject to accreditation by the Association of Family Therapy).

Successful completion can lead to a number of Postgraduate Diploma/MA pathways:

  • Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma in applied systemic theory (D4)
  • Postgraduate Certificate/Postgraduate Diploma MA/Masters in psychodynamic approaches to working with adolescents (M33)
  • Postgraduate Diploma/MA in psychological therapies with children, young people and families (M34), accredited by the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC). On successful completion of all training requirements, you will qualify as a Psychodynamic therapist with children, adolescents and families.

Also there is the possibility (with an interview and panel discussion) to progress onto Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (D58) which offers a Postgraduate Diploma or MA qualification, and comprises part one of a British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) accredited training in psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Entry requirements

You are normally expected to:

  • hold an appropriate professional qualification relevant to your chosen career (or equivalent) and have at least two years’ practical experience in work with young people or adults since qualification - preferably more
  • have a first degree, degree equivalent, or evidence of other relevant post-registration education/experience
  • be in a full-time or part-time post (paid or voluntary) in which you are working with young people and/or adults experiencing difficulties, be they behavioral, emotional or psychological (this may include managing, teaching or supervising staff) where you have a remit to make a difference in your work

You will need to bring examples of your work for discussion and reflection during the lifetime of the course, and you may be required to find a placement before you can take up an offered place on the course, if your work and/or role does not provide the experience described above.

If your first language is not English, you will normally need to show a score of IELTS 6.5 TOEFL IBT 91 + (min 18 in each component).

To undertake the Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma/MA Psychological therapy with children, young people and families (M34), you will need to demonstrate that you have had personal experience of some form of psychotherapy prior to the first year of the course, and/or will be expected to undertake therapy during the lifetime of the M34 course.


The fees for academic year 2016/17 Year 1 enrolment are:

  • Home/EU students: £4250 
  • International students: £8500

Please see guidance on the definition of an international student.

Read more information on fees and funding  and fee regulations.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Course dates
  • Welcome Day: 19 Sep 2016
  • Autumn term: 26 Sep 2016 – 5 Dec 2015
  • Spring Term: 9 Jan 2017 – 20 Mar 2017
  • Summer Term: 24 Apr 2017 – 12 June 2017

Group Relations Conference (Mandatory for D24/D24A/D24OA students): 28-31 March 2017

Systemic Conferences (Mandatory for students who wish to progress to D4 course): 9 Dec 2016 and 24 March 2017



Study packs will be available for all taught units. You’ll also be able to access suggested and set readings remotely, using the electronic learning environment, Moodle

Opening dates for applications

Applications will open in January 2016.

Closing date for applications

Course applications will close in July 2016, please contact the course administrator for further information.

What students say about the course

"A challenging and unique experience both professionally and personally. Be prepared to explore and challenge your views and get in touch with your inner feelings. From beginning to end, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. A course where transference and containment come to life. A fantastic opportunity which I highly recommend."

Stephanie Lockwood , D24a student 2014/15

“I found the teaching methods excellent, both in the lectures and work discussion groups – especially the way we are facilitated to teach and learn from each other.”

Anonymous, D24a student 2014/15

“Some fascinating lectures...reading books / articles I have been fascinated by... Learning a huge amount through discussion in my work discussion group”.

Anonymous, D24a student 2014/15