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Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

Jane Nielson, MSW, Chair

The Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program is a two-year postgraduate certificate program for mental health professionals. Classes combine lectures, discussion, case presentations and clinical examples. In addition to the lecturer, each class includes a coordinator from the steering committee whose job is to integrate the classes, stimulate discussion and monitor students’ development. Topics include principles of child development, psychopathology, assessment, parent work and psychotherapy of children and adolescents from a primarily psychodynamic orientation. The learning process is enhanced by weekly supervision with senior child therapists. Child psychotherapy and concurrent work with parents differs greatly from adult psychotherapy. Postgraduate training, focused on the inner and personal world of the child, deepens the clinician’s understanding of the unfolding dynamics. Working with the whole child requires working with parents and understanding the school and community context. The scope of the coursework and the broad experience of our faculty offer clinicians in both public service agencies and private practice a unique opportunity to enhance their professional lives.


The focus of the first year is development, assessment, introduction to psychodynamic therapy, and principles of psychotherapy. Class topics include

  • Parent and child assessment
  • Case formulation
  • Introductions to object relations theory
  • Development from infancy through late adolescence
  • Psychopathology
  • Defenses
  • Use of affect
  • Play therapy

The focus of the second year is on-going psychotherapy and principles of psychotherapy.

Class topics include:

  • Transference and countertransference
  • Working with resistance and defenses
  • Conceptualizing parent work
  • On-going work with young children, latency aged children and adolescents
  • Technique
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Working with depression, anxiety, developmental delays, learning disorders, trauma and substance abuse



For each lecture, two or three articles or chapters are assigned for students to read before the lecture.


Over the two-year course, students are required to receive sixty hours of supervision by approved faculty members. Students are assigned to supervisors and meet in the supervisor’s office.


Classes begin in September and last through May, meeting on Wednesday evenings from 6:30PM to 9PM with a half hour break for dinner. There are thirty class meetings each year.


The program is open to psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, professional counselors, and other licensed mental health professionals. Class size is limited to ten. Each student is expected to have child and/or adolescent psychotherapy patients in treatment to discuss in supervision. Personal therapy is strongly recommended. Students are asked to submit a curriculum vitae and a statement about their interest in the program. Qualified applicants will be invited for interviews with faculty members. Applicants are expected to provide professional references.


Jane Nielson, MSW, Chair

Steering Committee

Gavin Behrens, MSW
Tom Holman, PhD
Richard Ruth, PhD


Caroline Ba, PsyD
Mimi Blasiak, MSW
Mauricio Cortina, MD
Ben Forman, PhD
Karen Garman, MSW
Elizabeth Miller, MSW
Randall O'Toole, MSW
Bruce Pickle, PsyD
Crystal Taylor-Dietz, PsyD


Adjunct Faculty

Sharon Alperovitz



Tuition is $1950 annually. Tuition is billed each year.

There are separate fees for supervisory hours.

Limited scholarship money for tuition is available, based on financial need and merit.


Class Website

Scholarship Application

WSP has very limited scholarship funds. However we will try to help students with a payment plan and scholarship where possible.

About the
Washington School of Psychiatry

Celebrating its 80th year, the School is an accredited provider of post-graduate continuing education.

The Meyer Treatment Center provides low cost access to mental health services. It is an out-of-network facility for insurance purposes.

The Washington School of Psychiatry is an independent non-profit organization. It is not affiliated with the government of the District of Columbia or the government of the United States.

Location and Telephone

5028 Wisconsin Ave NW #400
Washington DC 20016

202-537-6050 Treatment Center

202-237-2700 School

202-237-2730 Fax




Washington School of Psychiatry

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The Washington School of Psychiatry is a registered 501(c)3 charity.​