About Us

The NZACAP had its beginnings in Dunedin in 1975, when a small group of therapists who were working in child mental health saw a need for collegiate support.

At that stage the profession was in its infancy but from the beginning the aims were clear, to provide psychotherapy for children by clinicians who were specifically trained to work with children and to do what was necessary to support that training.

Over almost 40 years these aims have stayed at the heart of the Association.

Children come to treatment for a range of reasons, generally their behavior has concerned either caregivers or teachers enough to seek help, in essence they are ‘conscripts not volunteers’ so establishing a good working relationship is the primary focus. Once this therapeutic alliance has been established work can begin.

Based on psychodynamic principals, psychotherapy with children and adolescents aims to help them to understand their experiences and to review the feelings and subsequent behaviors that go with these experiences.

The crucial difference between adult, and child and adolescent therapy is that this process is carried out within the context of the clients’ developmental stage and the dynamics of the family. Parents are a vital part of the process and frequently the child and the parents are seen in joint sessions.

Depending on the age of the child a range of techniques will be used, for younger children play therapy is mostly likely to be more effective whereas older children and adolescents are more able to express themselves verbally.

Rules of the Assocation