Talking to children about difficult things: understanding emotional communication in challenging and turbulent contexts (CPD116)

Gain a better understanding of effective communication in a way that children and young people can relate to

Perhaps now more than ever, social workers and others in allied professions frequently need to talk to children and young people about difficult and painful issues, whether this is as a result of child protection concerns, bereavements or in respect of decisions being made about their lives.

These circumstances can be stressful and can make even the most experienced practitioners feel daunted and ill-equipped for the task.

Aims and learning objectives

Participants will:

  • identify the difficulties associated with this work and their source
  • identify the emotional and practical preparation required when needing to talk to children about difficult issues
  • gain relevant knowledge of children and young people’s communication, the psychological processes that take place in communication and (often) the underlying meaning of it all
  • learn how to use a developmental perspective in order to communicate effectively with children and young people, focusing specifically on play as symbolic communication and engaging adolescents
  • explore and implement a range of communication tools that can be used in practice to facilitate children and young people’s wishes and feelings

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for all practitioners working with children and young people (aged 3 to 16) in difficult contexts and who have some hands-on experience communicating with children, mainly in challenging circumstances. 

Previous participants have included learning mentors/youth workers at a special unit for children with behavioural problems, residential workers, qualified social workers, SENDCos, medical doctors who work in the non-accidental emergency units for children and practitioners in several charities. 

Course details

Join us virtually via Zoom for three half days, where we will consider thoughts and practices from different modalities including developmental, behavioural, psychoanalytic and child centred theories.

These will help us gain a better understanding of the importance of effective communication in difficult times, reasons as to why children and young people disengage from us/our services and practical tools we can use to communicate in a way that children and young people relate to.

From our experience, practitioners who attend this course bring unique expertise and in order to utilise and build on this we will be using a mix of theory-based lectures, discussion and reflective practice to consider different real-life situations, and small group work.

The sessions will be a safe and vibrant place for attendees to discuss any concerns and share best practice.

The next course will run on the following dates:

SessionsDateStart timeEnd time
Session 1/320 March 20239.00am12.15pm
Session 2/327 March 20239.00am12.15pm
Session 3/303 April 20239.00am12.15pm

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom.

You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of a laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this Zoom test link to check your set up before booking.

You will be sent the necessary login link about a week before the course start date. Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us to discuss how we can best help you.


“I really enjoyed the way Adi talks and brings in relevant cases, this really helps to understand and make it relatable”
“Trainer is very knowledgeable on the subject, was able to cater to the different range of professionals in the room and adapt learning to our different work areas. This course helped me to do a lot of reflection on different cases that I have come across, my own approach and how I could have done things differently for better outcomes. I will definitely refer to what I have learnt including practical tools in future interactions with clients”
“I would recommend professionals working with children to attend this training is very insightful, and the examples, communications and dynamics are fascinating. The tools presented in training I’ll take and further introduce in my practice”

Course facilitators

Book your place now

You can book a place on this course at any time using our MyTAP booking system. You’ll receive confirmation by email, and we will be in touch approximately one week before the course starts with detailed joining instructions.

For a better viewing experience we recommend you upgrade your browser.