iST Training & Development

What is iST Training?

iST Training programmes provide a practice-based training for professionals caring for children and young people with complex emotional and psychological needs.  iST Training is professionally accredited by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and is academically accredited by Middlesex University. iST Training programmes are particularly aimed at group-based care settings (e.g. residential therapeutic communities, Children’s Homes and smaller units) where therapeutic staff and foster carer training and development needs to be practice-based, with the aim of clinically developing the individual, the team and the organisation.

iST Training programmes are currently accredited at Certificate, Diploma, Practitioner’s Diploma and MA levels, which provide a workforce development pathway in clinically rigorous psychotherapeutic work.  iST Training integrates experiential development and theoretical study to provide adults with the knowledge, understanding and skills to offer Child Psychotherapeutic Counselling in the unique and effective iST clinical approach which underpins all of Childhood First’s work with emotionally and psychologically disturbed children and young people.

History of iST Training

In 1998, Childhood First developed and introduced a pioneering therapeutic staff training programme to Advanced Diploma and eventually also to Masters level, in collaboration with Middlesex University and the Tavistock.  In 2014, these programmes were revised to reflect significant developments in our clinical approach. They were renamed to match our unique methodology – Integrated Systemic Therapy – and became iST Institute programmes accredited by Middlesex University.

In 2015, we became a full accrediting members of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). This membership entitles the Institute to accredit those who successfully complete our Integrated Systemic Therapy (iST) training as Child Psychotherapeutic Counsellors, and potentially as Child Psychotherapists. We have since served as Chair of the UKCP’s Child Psychotherapies College.

What are the different exit awards for trainees with various academic backgrounds?

The iST Training programmes have been designed to provide a framework for staff training through initial induction and introductory training, to comprehensive core and advanced training for senior practitioners and managers.  iST Training offers staff a clear pathway leading to a professional accreditation, whilst preparing staff to understand the demands of working therapeutically with emotionally and psychologically disturbed children and young people. The diagram opposite sets out the steps through the training. 

The Institute of Integrated Systemic Therapy

Training Pathway

FHEQ Level 3

Course is to be completed within the first 6 months of starting employment, new staff will be issued a handbook – Organisation requirement

FHEQ Level 4

40 Credits
Duration: 1 year, must be completed within 2 years of starting employment – Statutory requirement

FHEQ Level 5

40 Credits
Duration: 2 years

FHEQ Level 6

60 Credits
Duration: 2 years

30 Credits
Duration: 1 year
Organisational requirement for staff at supervisor level

FHEQ Level 7

The Dissertation module is 60 credits and is to be completed at Middlesex University

Each level 7 module is 30 credits and a duration of 1 year

All courses accredited by Middlesex University

The three key elements of iST Training are all part of an integrated assessment process:

  • Experiential learning
  • Practice-based learning
  • Theoretical seminars.

Opportunities for sharing existing and developing skills, knowledge and experience are positively encouraged in order to make the most of the range of experience, skills and knowledge within the participating communities.

Who can undertake iST Training and Professional Development?

We offer all of our therapeutic staff and foster carers a pioneering work-based training, which includes both theoretical and experiential elements, to equip them to care for and treat severely traumatised children and young people.

All of our therapeutic work is underpinned by a unique, specialist, five-year theoretical and experiential training programme, and by continuing professional development for those who have completed the course. This course is validated up to Masters level by Middlesex University and it is managed, directed and reviewed by an infrastructure of IST committee meetings.  Successful candidates can also apply for UKCP clinical licensing as Child Psychotherapeutic Counsellors, and potentially Child Psychotherapists.

The Foundation Programme course may also be made available to selected agencies who can demonstrate that they share the commitment and capacity to support a training based on strong clinical, ethical and social values. The various courses which make up the training programme provide an education in these values, together with the clinical understanding and practical skills necessary to meet the children and young peoples’ needs, and the requirements of all relevant national occupational standards.

For further details of our training courses, please contact the Training Administrator by phone or email using the links below: