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First Day Back!

Saturday 24 September 2022 marked a new beginning in Caspari Foundation history.

This was the first time since September 2019 that we had been able to run the first day of the Adv Dip course in-person. Last time this happened we were in Finsbury Park, this time we were in Hackney. Last time this happened we were welcoming students into the first year who are now in their fourth and final year of the Advanced Diploma in Educational Psychotherapy. They had to adjust to the course being delivered online halfway through their first year, something that continued until March 2022 when we first ventured into our new training venue, the Civic Hub, Shoreditch.

A lot has changed.

Some elements of the Advanced Diploma have also changed, adding depth and more variety to an already packed training. Our course development journey is not over yet, arguably it never will be as the Adv Dip must adapt to the times it is delivered in and of course, the relevant UKCP regulations.

What has remained the same though, is the enthusiasm of the students, the sense of excitement when we meet new students for the first time (in-person) and when returning trainees catch up with their colleagues. There was a wonderful feeling of warmth and anticipation on that first day that will carry us through this term when the nights draw in and Years 2 - 4 return to in person teaching sessions on chilly Thursday nights.

It will be an adjustment from us all sitting by ourselves at home on Zoom, as though in our own little box, to being in the training venue, able to share biscuits and chat in between seminars. Just imagine! We will be able to reach out and touch each other and swap library books again.

Caroline, our Business Manager, and myself will be managing this transition and we hope to provide a comfortable environment with all the necessary elements to make the training experience ‘good enough’ for all.

Whilst Year 2 - 4 adjust to in person sessions again, the new Year 1 and Caspari Certificate in Therapeutic Teaching students will begin their learning journey online, coming together again in March 2023 mid way through the year.

Whilst the theoretical content of this course remains the same, an additional component is the option for students to try out the Caspari Therapeutic Teaching intervention as part of Module 3 Work Discussion curriculum.

Looking back to the first day of the course then, the theme of the day was Educational Psychotherapy – clinical work and the ideas behind it. We spent the morning thinking about the history of Caspari Foundation, its founder Irene Caspari and how Educational Psychotherapy emerged and has developed into the distinct modality it is today. The image above is of a slide which contains the names of people who were involved with Caspari Foundation ‘in the early days’.

Students were then given small group discussion tasks designed to highlight common ways of thinking or talking about children and young people that we will all have heard or maybe even said ourselves and how we as EPTs or Therapeutic Teachers would think about these statements and work with them. They were then asked to discuss key psychoanalytic concepts such as transference and countertransference and many fascinating conversations were had about both trainee’s experience of clinical work to date and student’s experience of working in or around schools.

What has remained the same is the speed at which biscuits are consumed and afterwards students were in mixed groups for clinical case presentations led by third years and facilitated by Educational Psychotherapists. The ability to present your own work to your peer group is an important skill to learn and a useful one for Child Psychotherapists and this was the third years’ first experience of this.

After lunch, Year 1 and Certificate students had a session on ‘Beginnings’ with an Educational Psychotherapist, while Year 2 - 4 had a session with myself and another EPT where we focused on English and Maths in therapy sessions. As Educational Psychotherapists we are duty bound to make use of the curriculum in therapy sessions. Many different games and approaches were shared and what was fascinating too was the way that one game can be used in multiple ways to promote learning and development both academic and emotional in Educational Psychotherapy sessions.

The day drew to a close with a whole group session where we considered a chapter from the book ‘Psychotherapy Today’ edited by Ved Varma in 1974. The chapter was ‘Educational Psychotherapy’ by Irene Caspari. Sandwiched between chapters on ‘Religious therapy’ and ‘Group therapy’ and with some terminology that definitely belongs in the 1970s, Irene sets out her stall. She makes the observation that:

“As a psychotherapeutic type of intervention educational therapy is based on the understanding of the child’s behaviour in the relationship with the therapists and this understanding can, of course, be used in many different ways. This makes a theoretical discussion of the technique difficult and liable to be fraught with misunderstandings.” Caspari (p216,1974)

48 years after this was published, we – Caspari Foundation are part of ’Psychotherapy Today’ with our unique Advanced Diploma in Educational Psychotherapy which is accredited by the UKCP and recognized by them as meeting all their training standards for Child Psychotherapy training.

Sometimes it can be difficult to clearly define what Educational Psychotherapy is, due to the nature of the work and the fact that, as therapists we differentiate our approach to the client in front of us. Our website contains a clear definition of Educational Psychotherapy and the FAQ pages will provide further information.


Varma, Ved. (1974) Psychotherapy today, London, Constable.

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