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WHAT CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE IN ORDER TO LIVE IT WELL  (Mental Health Programmes in Schools and Psycho-education) including Robert Withers, specialist in transgenderism

Course Cost:
June 15, 2019 10:00 am until June 15, 2019 5:00 pm

CCMH, 2-18 Britannia Row, London N1 8PA, UK


WHAT CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE IN ORDER TO LIVE IT WELL  (Mental Health Programmes in Schools and Psycho-education) including Robert Withers, specialist in transgenderism

On this day presenters will explore vital aspects of psychology and neuroscience, which together form a key knowledge base for professionals to help young people to live life well, to ‘suffer well’ and rise again if they hit rock bottom. Such a knowledge base will also empower young people to make science and psychology-informed decisions, instead of living their lives blighted by painful unresolved emotions, failed relationships and harming their bodies.

Whilst current PSHE mental health programmes (Personal, Social and Health Education) admirably address such issues as sexual consent, safety around use of social media, how to stand up to bullies, and self-image, the intense emotions that smash people against the rocks, so to speak, drive people to hurt each other or themselves, leave them living with unbearable emotional pain or wanting to die, often remain unaddressed. If these huge hormonal forces that hijack body, mind and brain are referred to in PSHE programmes, this tends to be on a level of ‘managing difficult feelings.’

For most people, this simply doesn’t work. If you try to ‘manage’ your panic attacks you will still keep having panic attacks. If you are given a PSHE worksheet to boost your self–esteem, when deep down you ‘know’ you are just scum, after the task, you will still think you are scum. The neurochemical and physiological forces of anxiety, depression, shame, social defeat, rejection, self-loathing etc. are just too strong.

Presenters will also explore how evidence-based psycho-education and psychologically and science based PHSE programmes can impact positively on wider society. If on the other hand such knowledge remains unavailable to young people, (coupled with a continued lack of trauma and mental health-informed schools and communities), we are likely to continue to see such UK statistics as:  

  • Every year 70 million people take anti-depressants (there are only 65 million people in the UK: discrepancy due to repeat prescriptions) (NHS Digital: Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community - Statistics for England, 2006-2016)  
  • The biggest cause of death for males under 50 is suicide (Office for National Statistics (2015) Suicides in the United Kingdom)
  • 70 percent of unmarried couples break up within the first year. 42 percent of marriages end in divorce.
  • One in two teenagers experience their parents splitting up. Without psychological help, they are then 75 percent more likely than those whose parents stay together, to fail at school, end up without qualifications, claim benefits, have mental health problems (far worse than losing a parent to bereavement). (Centre for Social Justice, Fractured Families)
  • One woman dies every three days due to domestic abuse. Two million people suffer domestic abuse every year (Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2017)
  • Without psychological help, a child who has had several bad things happen to her/him, is highly vulnerable to mental health issues, physical ill-health and early death (Felitti and Anda (2006) ACE Study (17,000 people study)

If any other school subject, e.g. chemistry or maths, failed to use a sound knowledge base there would rightly be an outcry. In contrast among some circles, there tends to be a belief that all you need to be able to deliver PSHE is good worksheets and a bit of popular neuroscience. In contrast, presenters on this conference will argue that, until mental health programmes in schools draw sufficiently on 50 years of peer-reviewed psychological studies about the human condition and over 30 years of research in affective neuroscience, we can hope for very little personal and societal change from the current model of PSHE.    

Benefits from attending

  • Through fascinating film footage and deeply moving case material, learn how to present science and psychology-informed PSHE (mental health) to young people on such vital topics as living with your emotional brain, why love hurts, the pain of sexual jealousy, rejection, hopelessness, blocked trust, why people want to live and why they want to die, ageing well, parenting heaven and parenting hell, the grip of addictions, how not to split up/divorce, attachment ruptures, flying together, finding your ‘grit’, passion, and lots more
  • Listen to the research evidence showing that psycho-education can significantly reduce mental health problems and dramatically improve the ability of couples, families and friends to resolve conflict with dignity, and love in peace not torment
  • Understand who should impart this knowledge to young people: (do-able training implications for non-psychologists)
  • Understand how to move from the anxiety of ‘pseudo-competency’ in delivering psychological and neuroscience-based PSHE mental health to competence.
  • Understand what aspects of prevention and alleviation of human suffering cannot be addressed effectively through didactic learning and require instead relational change through individual face-to-face contact time with an emotionally-available adult in the school or other environment 


Dr Margot Sunderland

margot sunderland

Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health, London. Honorary Visiting Fellow at London Metropolitan University, Associate member of The Royal College of Medicine and Child Psychotherapist with over 30 years’ experience of working with children and teenagers. Author of over 20 books in the field of child mental health. What Every Parent Needs to Know (Dorling Kindersley) won First Prize in the British Medical Association Medical Book awards 2007 (Popular Medicine section). Originator of ‘Helping Where it Hurts’, a therapy programme for troubled children in North London schools.

For more details about Dr Margot Sunderland:

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Clare Williams


Senior Consultant and Trainer in Trauma Informed Practice and Emotional Health. Educational Psychotherapist (MA in Therapeutic Education) Caspari. Senior Trauma Informed Trainer for Trauma Informed schools UK. Previously Mental Health Practitioner for CAMHS, leading a programme of training on Emotional well being, attachment and mental health across Dorset. Consultant for the Primary Strategy Team in Dorset, coordinating Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and later as the Emotional well being Adviser for the Borough of Poole. Advisory teacher in Tanzania, East Africa. Advisor for an East London Behaviour and Advisory Team. Led a number of LA and multi-agency initiatives and has written and created PSHE materials for schools. Has a range of experience in training and consultative work having been a facilitator and trainer at National Conferences and a consultant trainer for the Institute of Education, London. Manager for Chesil Emotional Health and Behaviour Service, a team of professionals working to support children, families and schools, and created Thrive Education Zones that operated as Thrive nurture bases for children at risk of exclusion and supported families and schools to enable the children to return to mainstream provision. The project also worked with parents to support them and to enable them to build their own self-esteem in supporting their children.

Robert Withers


Psychotherapist and Jungian analyst. Robert is a training analyst and lecturer at the Society of Analytical Psychology. He practices at the Rock Clinic in Brighton, which he co-founded. He is also visiting senior lecturer in mind body medicine at inter-university college Graz. His 2015 paper The Seventh Penis, which described some of the difficulties of working psychotherapeutically with people who identify as trans, jointly won the Michael Fordham prize for that year. Other publications on the subject include his chapter The View from the Consulting Room; in the 2018 book ‘Transgender Children and Young People; Born in Your Own Body’ and Robert Withers: Clinical Commentary in the Journal of Child Psychotherapy Jan 2018. Robert's talk will be based on his latest paper Be Careful What You Wish For; Trans-identification and the evasion of psychological distress.

Transgender Children and Young People



CCMH, 2-18 Britannia Row, London N1 8PA, UK