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About The V.C.P.A.

The Victorian Child Psychotherapy Association is the professional body for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy established in Melbourne in March 1989 and functioning under Articles of Association and in accordance with a Constitution by means of an Executive and a number of Sub-committees. There is an extensive Code of Ethics and Procedures for Implementation of the Code of Ethics.

The VCPA is affiliated with the PPAA (Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association of Australasia).

Child Psychotherapy is an industrially recognised discipline under the Health Professional Services Award,


Aims of the VCPA:

  • To ensure a high standard of professional ethics;
  • to encourage research, study and publication;
  • to provide a forum for professional issues and for matters of clinical and scientific interest;
  • to liaise and communicate with other professionals with similar aims and clinical interest.

What is Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy?

Child Psychotherapy is a discipline of understanding and a method of treatment practiced by a person who has undertaken post-graduate studies in psychoanalytically based theory and practice.

Child Psychotherapy may be undertaken with infants, children, and adolescents who are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties and unhappiness in their relationships and functioning. A concomitant part of the treatment process involves workng with parent(s)/guardians(s) to ensure that a total overall approach to these difficulties is maintained.

The Child Psychotherapist aims to foster resolution of difficulties to allow ongoing healthy development to proceed. The treatment may be of a short-term or long-term nature, as required.

Location of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists

Child Psychotherapists are engaged in private practice in a variety of roles including clinical psychotherapy practice, teaching, consultation and supervision. Child Psychotherapists are also employed within Community Agencies (for example, Take Two, Berry Street) and within the Public sector in areas such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Melbourne and regional Victoria, Community Health Clinics and Public Hospitals. Child Psychotherapists often work in a multi-disciplinary team with other professionals such as Child Psychiatrists, Child Psychologists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Pediatricians and Teachers.

History of the Development of the VCPA

In 1936 in-service training in Child Psychotherapy was commenced at the Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne) and, in 1969 more formal training was begun at Prince Henrys Hospital and subsequently at the Austin Hospital under the auspices of the Health Department. This training was developed into an accredited, internationally recognized Masters Degree - Masters in Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Department of Psychological Medicine, Monash University).  This course, the only one of it's kind in Australia, ran from 1990 until 2011. Due to changes in the University structures the MCPP ceased taking students in 2012.  The theoretical component of the course is now taught in Masters of Mental Health Sciences (Monash University). The VCPA training group is currently developing a program to provide the clinical component of the training.

With the ongoing training of child psychotherapists the membership of the VCPA has grown steadily.  The organisation has remained active over the years.  The VCPA executive and its committees have taken on a number of tasks to ensure the ongoing development of the profession.  These have included conference organisation, regular PD events, a regular newsletter and affiliations with other appropriate organisations.

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