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Email: rmuller@yorku.ca
Robert T. Muller
Professor, Department of Psychology
Clinical Development Area

Home | Intervention Strategies with Children

Intervention Strategies with Children
(Practicum Course)

Fall & Winter  2015-2016
Practicum: 6930P 6.0 (Y)

Professor:  Robert T. Muller

Office: Room 120 BSB
Meeting Times & Location: Fri. 10:30-2:30, 204 BSB

Fall:  Sep. 11, 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23; Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27; Dec. 4 
(Oct. 30 co-curricular day)
Winter:  Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29; Feb. 5, 12, 26; March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1
(Feb. 19 reading week)



Friedberg, R. D., & McClure, J. M. (2002).  Clinical practice of cognitive therapy with children and adolescents: The nuts and bolts.  New York: Guilford.

Muir, E., Lojkasek, M., & Cohen, N. J. (1999).  Watch, wait, & wonder: A manual describing a dyadic infant-led approach to problems in infancy and early childhood.  Toronto: The Hincks-Dellcrest Institute. (obtained by order by calling the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre).

Muller, R. T. (2010). Trauma and the avoidant client:  Attachment-based strategies for healing.  New York:  W.W. Norton.



This is a graduate level practicum in clinical intervention with children, adolescents, and families.  It will give you exposure to different age groups, with different clinical presentations.  It will also provide you with a basic foundation in the theoretical orientations used by clinicians who work with these clinical populations.

Students attend their practicum site, where they do clinical work approximately two days per week.  And, students meet together once a week on campus to discuss cases from their practicum sites (clinical consultations), to share experiences, to see cases at the YUPC, and to learn from one another.


Course Objectives

  1. To develop case conceptualization skills.
  2. To expose students to different treatment modalities.
  3. To fill learning gaps by hearing about treatment being done at various clinical sites.  
  4. To teach students about techniques for working with different clinical populations.
  5. To help students understand about therapy process and the ways in which treatment differs at early, middle, and later stages.
  6. To encourage students to recognize therapist feelings, and how they affect the treatment process.
  7. To help students learn treatment techniques that are grounded in empirical research.



  1. Students will present cases from their practicum sites and discuss challenging practicum issues in the form of case consultations.  In a typical class, two students will present one case each.  Once students have ongoing cases that they are working on in some depth, students may present a case for about two to three weeks in a row, in order to allow the class to track over time the processes unfolding in the case and in the therapist.
  1. When a YUPC case is available, we will see these cases as a group, with one or two students in the consulting room, and the rest of the class behind the one-way mirror. 
  1. There is didactic material that will be covered as well in the form of videos and readings. 


Case Presentations

In order to maximize learning, case presentations should not be academic style presentations.  Rather, they should consist of the student bringing to the group the clinical material of the case.  This includes process notes, videotapes, and audiotapes of one or more sessions with a particular patient or family.  Students may present the same case or two on an ongoing basis, or they may present different cases, depending on the consultation needs that the student has.  In my experience, it is usually best for the student to select their most difficult cases to present, and to present fewer cases in more detail.  Students should select cases to present if they are looking for input, or if they believe this to be a good learning case for the class.

Students should have some cases for which they are taking detailed process notes of the session(s).  Process notes consist of the following.  After a treatment session is completed, the student sits down with a piece of paper and writes a verbatim transcript of the session from memory.  S/he should draw a line down the middle, so that left side of the page is reserved for verbatim material, and the right side of the page consists of the recalled personal thoughts, feelings, and formulations on the therapist’s mind at that precise moment in the session.  A one hour therapy session usually requires about one hour to write process notes, and it is usually optimal if it is done immediately following the session in the same room.  So please plan your time accordingly.

Videotapes or audiotapes of sessions are also necessary.  Presenting such tapes to the class will allow the student to show what is truly going on in the room, and allows others to be very useful in providing feedback.  In terms of learning, it is optimal if each student uses more than one modality for recording sessions, since the kind of input you will receive will differ depending on the recording modality used.  So on some occasions you will present your process notes, and on some occasions you will present videotaped segments.  Again, this decision should be based on your particular consultation needs at that time.  We will have ongoing access to videotape and audiotape equipment.  So you may feel free to use any of these recording modalities.

For videotaped and audiotaped sessions to be presented in the form of clinical consultations to your practicum class at York, you must obtain the informed consent of clients (parent or guardian if appropriate) and your supervisors at your sites.  You must store and transport material in a way that ensures that client confidentiality is protected at all times.  This means using encryption software.  


Issues Regarding Using Cellphones, Social Media, & Doing Other Work During Class:

Texting, email, Facebook, twitter, and all other social media are not allowed in class.  They are highly distracting to you and to others.  Research on “multi-tasking” has been showing for the past several years that it greatly reduces performance.  Performance is much better if you just listen, concentrate, and focus. 

If you’d like to use these social media, then please excuse yourself and do so outside.  You are not allowed to use these social media during class time.  Again, if you need to use your cellphone or check email, then please go into the hall and use your phone or laptop there.
In addition, use of social media in class is disrespectful to the patients we are discussing, and disrespectful of the therapists who are presenting their cases. 
Finally, students are not allowed to use their laptops during class time to take care of tasks that are not class related.  Naturally, this is for the same reason as using social media.  That is, it is not respectful to the clients being discussed, and it leads to poor performance and poor decision making. 



Grades (pass/fail) will be determined and assigned by the professor.  They will be based on the evaluations of the supervising psychologist at your intervention site, as well as the professor.

(a) Supervisor’s Evaluation.  You should have a detailed discussion with your supervising psychologist in order to clarify your roles and requirements.  These should be written down and approved by the student, supervisor, and professor.  Supervisors will be sending their mid-term and year-end evaluations to the professor for integration into the final grade.

(b) Professor’s Evaluation.  This will be based on the student meeting the following expectations: You are expected to attend all class meetings, and to miss meetings only in cases of illness.  You are expected to use the class meetings as clinical consultations.  You are expected to be an active participant in the consultation process, both in giving and receiving feedback from your peers.  This includes bringing videotapes and audiotapes of therapy sessions, taking process notes, seeking input from the class, demonstrating that you have responded to that input, and providing feedback to your colleagues.

Midway through the course (during December), we may schedule individual meetings in order to have some time to give feedback to one another.  This is intended to provide the opportunity for adjustments to be made by student and professor in both the learning and teaching process.


Clinical Supervision

Your clinical supervisor is the registered psychologist at your practicum site.  You should always go to your clinical supervisor with any question you have regarding client safety, treatment planning, clinical decision-making, ethical questions, and any other pertinent issues.  This practicum class is intended to be consultative in nature, to fill learning gaps, to flag potential problems with the supervisory relationship, and ultimately to be an educational experience for you.  But, it is not a substitute for clinical supervision, which you all must be receiving at your practicum site. 

If, during the course of the year, your clinical supervision becomes compromised at your site (e.g., the supervisor becomes ill, and so on), you must notify the professor immediately, so that s/he can help facilitate the process of finding an alternate clinical supervisor.  Finally, your supervisor at your practicum site must be aware of all your cases.  You cannot be doing clinical work on any case without clinical supervision at your practicum site. 


Reading Modules

The readings for the year will be broken down into the following modules.  A selection of these readings will be assigned, depending on student learning needs and gaps. 



  1. Topic:  General Introduction to Psychotherapy and Conducting the Initial Interview.


    Barker, P. (1990). Clinical interviews with children and adolescents.  New York: W.W. Norton.  Chapters 1-7.

    Morrison, J., & Anders, T. F. (1999) Interviewing children and adolescents.  New York: Guilford.  Chapters 4 & 9.

    Barker, P.  Chapters 10 & 11.

  2. Topic: Principles of Psychotherapy: Rapport, Therapeutic Alliance, and Principles Common to all Psychotherapies.


    Pipes, R. B., & Davenport, D. S. (1990).  Introduction to psychotherapy:  Common clinical wisdom.  Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. Chapters 6-10, & 2.

  3. Topic: Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT).


    Friedberg & McClure (2002), entire book.

    Cohen, J., & Deblinger, E. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).

    Cohen, J. A., Mannarino, A. P., Berliner, L., & Deblinger, E. (2000). Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy for children and adolescents: An empirical update. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15, 1202-1223.

    Cohen, J. A., Berliner, L., & Mannarino, A. P. (2000). Treating traumatized children: A research review and synthesis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1, 29-46.

    Muller, R. T., Padoin, C. V., & Lawford, J. (2008). Trauma- focused cognitive-behavioural therapy with children & adolescents:  The Toronto Community-Based Project. In A. V.  Cordioli (Ed.), Psychotherapies: Current Approaches.  Porto Alegre: Artmed

    Stubenbort, K. et al. (2002).  Attachment quality and post-treatment functioning . . . a case series presentation. Clinical Social Work Journal, 30, 23-39.

    Weems, C. & Carrion, V. (2003).  Treatment of separation anxiety disorder employing attachment theory and cognitive behaviour therapy techniques.  Clinical Case Studies, 2, 188-198.

  4. Topic: Play Therapy: Expressive, Humanistic, & Directive Approaches.


    Frankel, J. B. (1998).  The play’s the thing: How essential processes of therapy are seen most clearly in child therapy. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 8, 149-182.

    Levine, E. G. (1999).  On the playground: Child psychotherapy and expressive arts therapy.  In J. Kingsley, (Ed.), Foundations of Expressive Arts Therapy.

    Bratton et al. (2005).  Efficacy of play therapy with children:  A meta-analytic review of treatment outcomes.  Professional Psychology:  Research & Practice, 36, 376-390.

    Axline, V. M. (1969).  Play Therapy.  New York: Ballantine. Chapters 1-7, 9-10, 14-15, 19.



  1. Topic:  The Psychotherapy Relationship.


    Muller (2010), entire book.

  2. Topic:  Family Therapy I:  Structural-Strategic Approaches.


    Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapters 2-3, 7-8.

    Minuchin, S. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapter 16.

    Minuchin, S., Baker, L., Rosman, B. L., Liebman, R., Milman, L., & Todd, T. C. (1974). A conceptual model of psychosomatic illness in children: Family organization and Family therapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 32, 1031- 1037.

    Minuchin, S., Rosman, B. L., & Baker, L. (1978). Psychosomatic families: Anorexia Nervosa in context.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapters 3, 5, 10-11.

  3. Topic:  Family Therapy II:  Object-Relations Approaches.


    Scharff, D. E., & Scharff, J. S. (1987). Object-relations family therapy.  Chapters 3, 8, 9, 10.

  4. Topic:  Infant-Parent Psychotherapy, Parent Guidance, & Links to Adult Attachment.


    Muir, Lojkasek, & Cohen (1999), Chapters 1-14.

    Cohen, N., Muir, E., Lojkasek, M., Muir, R., Parker, C. J., Barwick, M., & Brown, M. (1999). Watch, wait, wonder:  Testing the effectiveness of a new approach to mother-infant psychotherapy. Infant Mental Health Journal, 20, 429-451.

    Cicchetti, D., Rogosch, F. A., & Toth, S. L. (2000). The efficacy of toddler-parent psychotherapy for fostering cognitive development in offspring of depressed mothers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 135-148.

    Main, M. (2000). The organized categories of infant, child, and adult attachment: Flexible vs. Inflexible attention under attachment-related stress. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 48, 1055-1096.

    Hesse, E. (1999). The adult attachment interview: Historical and current perspectives. In J. Cassidy and P. Shaver (eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory research, and clinical applications. New York: Guilford.

    Steele, M. & Baradon, T. (2004). Clinical use of the adult attachment interview in parent-infant psychotherapy. Infant Mental Health Journal, 25, 284-299.



Last updated: December 22, 2015