This engaging new book presents a ‘child-centred’ model of therapy that is thoroughly person-centred in its values. Establishing the roots of child-centred therapy in both child development theories and the Rogerian model, David Smyth demonstrates that counselling the person-centred way is exceptionally relevant to young people. The book further develops child-centred therapy theory and practice, applying the model to real-life practice with children and young people, whether in play, school, organisations or with those with special needs. It also explores the complex professional issues so critical with this age group, including challenging boundaries, establishing an effective relationship with parents and other primary carers, legal and ethical considerations, and multi-professional practice. The author's warm, accessible style conveys his passionate conviction that the person-centred approach can provide a strong foundation for child therapy practice. His book introduces humanistic counselling and psychotherapy trainees to the particular requirements of working with children and young people, and also illustrates the value of using a ‘child-centred’ approach for those who might already be working with children in mental health settings. Equally, this volume can be used for professional development in many disciplines including adult trained therapists who want to extend their knowledge of people prior to reaching adulthood.

Boundaries in Child-centred Therapy

Boundaries in Child-centred Therapy

Boundaries in child-centred therapy

Covered in this Chapter

  • Introduction
  • The distinct nature of boundaries in child-centred therapy
    • General
    • Confidentiality
    • Limits that nurture and facilitate
    • The practitioner's role
    • Sexual abuse
  • Testing the therapist
  • Revisiting therapist omissions
  • The constraints of time-limited therapy
  • Ending a session


This chapter focuses on establishing and maintaining boundaries in child-centred therapy where, for instance, aggressive acting-out behaviours may occur. In counselling therapy, an angry teenager will normally articulate his/her feelings through verbal expression or another modulated manner concomitant with the adult–practitioner relationship. Young children, on the other hand, may use play to express feelings in a way that can be both visual and physical.

Practitioners can be faced with unknown and complex challenges from young children, particularly in setting boundaries, than those prevailing in working with teenagers and adults. The ...

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