Working with School Refusal Zoom Seminar

This course is sutable for School Counsellors, Adolescent Counsellors, Family Therapists and Child Psychiatrists. Students are welcome! 

Date: 20 October 2023
Time: 9.00am-3.00pm
PD Points: 6 - PACFA endorsed category A
Recorded session will be available for one month following the training if you are unable to attend on the day.


School refusal is a complex problem which is rarely solved with a simple intervention. There are usually several factors leading to a child refusing to attend school. And you will almost always find yourself dealing with parents who feel frustrated, helpless and even fearful.

Untangling the issues and getting the child back on track requires a systemic approach, and it’s vital that School Counsellors, Family Therapists, Adolescent Counsellors and Child Psychiatrists collaborate to facilitate the return to school.

High emotions, the complexity of the issue, and the need to work as part of a multi-faceted team put very heavy demands on the therapist.

And all of that can be incredibly daunting.

This one-day professional development course will give you a road map for navigating the therapy process and the common pitfalls of this multi-faceted work.

You will learn how and when to engage other professionals, which professionals to collaborate with, and how to work with them effectively to get the child back to school.

Jacqueline McDiarmid has drawn on decades of clinical experience as a Family Therapist to design this course. Throughout the day, Jacqueline will share case studies and the methods she uses to successfully work with school refusal.

Learning will be by group discussion, roles plays and experiential exercises.


  • You will learn about underlying problems which most commonly lead to school refusal - including social issues, mental health illnesses and drug addictions.
  • You will learn how to engage the adolescent in the counselling process.
  • You will learn skills that Jacqueline implements in her work with adolescents to motivate change and engagement.
  • You will learn the first tasks Jacqueline implements in her work with the child and their parents and why.
  • You will learn how to work effectively with parents of school-refusing children – to help them understand their child’s behaviour, and make changes to their own.
  • You will learn how to collaborate with other professionals including School Counsellors and Psychiatrists.
  • If you are a School Counsellor you will learn what professionals are suitable to refer to and how to engage the parents in the process.
  • You will learn ideas that can be implemented both in the school and outside of the school to help the student stay engaged.
  • You will learn when it is appropriate to look at other schools or ways of learning for a child.
  • You will learn how to work with other services that support mental health.
  • You will learn how to empower parents in the home and help them navigate sometimes stressful and even violent situations.
  • You will learn when to refer and to whom.
  • You will learn how to manage the parent’s anxiety and setbacks when they occur.
  • You will learn how to manage boundaries, protect yourself, and keep the situation contained.
  • You will feel confident to take on this work and/or understand who the right professionals are to help the child/teen you are concerned about.

Read what others have to say about this course:

Terrific workshop today thanks Jacqueline. I am walking away with a 4/10 anxiety level around school refusal (as opposed to a solid 8.5/10). I'm also feeling supported around some of the things we are doing in FFT-CW that you mentioned as useful e.g. approach the issue as a team, parents do need to be unified and firm, sometimes it's just appropriate to push through feelings of discomfort.  Kelly Rae - Team Lead/Family Therapist. Functional Family Therapy - Child Welfare

The learning outcomes were clear. The theory was linked to professional practice. Reviewing the case studies was helpful. Thanks Jacqueline, for another great training.
Amy Tucker - Youth Counsellor

Combined my current knowledge and reinforced current practices whilst providing additional information to consider when working with school refusal. The idea of working collaboratively with other mental health professionals is important. Thanks Jacqueline.
Tania Rugiero, School Psychologist

Clear concepts, good practical strategies as well as support with thinking about the possible wider ecological contexts for school refusal
Natalie, Preservation and Restoration Team Leader

Normally priced at $341

Earlybird price (Ends 13 October 2023) $264

This Seminar will be conducted viw zoom and a link will be sent to all participants in advance.


PACFA Endorsed Logo 2023

jacqueline finalCourse presenter

Jacqueline McDiarmid MCFT, B.Couns., Dip. Psych, is the Director of the Sydney Couple and Family Specialists, a private practice in Sydney and the Director of The Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs professional development training sessions and a mentoring program for those who wish to work in couple and family therapy. She currently lectures in the Masters program at the Jansen Newman Institute and guest lecturers at various universities. Jacqueline is well known for her work with couples and families and is passionate about offering clients the opportunity to experience a safe and productive place to work with well trained Couple and Family Therapists. Jacqueline is a Clinical Member of the Family Therapy Association of Australia and a Clinical Member of PACFA.