Psychoanalytic child and adolescent psychotherapy (M80)

Course overview

This internationally renowned course is an NHS training that will allow you to qualify as a child and adolescent psychotherapist with eligibility for membership of the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP).  It is also validated by the University of Essex, leading to the award of professional doctorate in child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Please note that applications for this course are now closed for the course beginning in October 2018, and will re-open for the 2019/20 intake in December 2018.

Over four years, you will undertake taught components and clinical work placements and attend the Tavistock Centre for training events and supervision each week.

The taught course component (one day per week) consists of the following elements:

  • specialist individual supervision for clinical work
  • small group supervision
  • clinical seminars: general and topic-based (assessment, work with parents, adolescence, endings)
  • specialist multidisciplinary workshops including: fostered and adopted children, refugees, autistic children, children with learning disability,  children who are violent, delinquent or act out sexually, eating disorders, neuroscience
  • experiential group relations week in year three
  • theoretical teaching
  • research seminars (methodology, critical appraisal) and workshops (research development, protocol writing and specialist topics)
  • academic support
  • individual tutorials
  • departmental and clinic events
  • assessed work.

 Clinical work under supervision (four days per week) as a member of a clinical team:

  • long-term psychoanalytic cases
  • time-limited psychoanalytically based cases across the age range
  • experience and training in assessments and brief-focused therapeutic work
  • extensive experience with parents and parental couples
  • experience in generic child mental health work, including family work
  • develop clinical specialism(s)

During the first two years of the training, you will be introduced to key research paradigms, to quantitative and qualitative health care research methodologies and to a range of research designs and methods. You will be encouraged to formulate a research question and develop your own research dissertation proposal for registration for a Professional Doctorate. Research for the Professional Doctorate is supported at all stages, from protocol development and gaining ethical approval, to undertaking, analysing and writing up a research dissertation project.

You will be supported by a research supervisor, who will give their input on the appropriate methodological and clinical aspects of the study. Studies undertaken range from the systematic analysis of intensive cases (using grounded theory or Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, for example), to small-scale studies conducted in your workplace (e.g, service evaluation); in some cases, you are encouraged to develop your Research Dissertation Project from data collected as part of a larger empirical project (e.g, psychoanalytic process data).

This course will provide you with the opportunity to study at one of the world’s leading providers of child psychotherapy training.  It will help you gain highly specialised skills in clinical work and research with children, adolescents and their families - including those who have experienced trauma, abuse, social disadvantage or discrimination.  It will also allow you to study within a supportive peer group and environment, with a long-established tradition of excellence in training child psychotherapists and other disciplines.

This course will equip you with research knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to child psychotherapists working in the NHS, and enable you to contribute to the wider development of research in the clinical discipline and professional field.

What one of our students say:

‘The training was life changing in ways that I had never expected and could never have anticipated. It has been fascinating, holding an endless potential for learning, exploring and questioning, and has changed the way I think about the world and my experiences’.

‘I feel very grateful to my service supervisors and my personal tutor, all of whom have been so patient with me, generous with their time, quietly trusting in my capacity to learn. Behind them have been a whole army of case supervisors, small group supervisors and workshop leaders who have stretched my mind and helped me to develop my clinical practice’.

‘The training was extremely intense, on different levels. Working so intimately with unconscious processes is both very tough and enormously stimulating. People are so interesting. It is such an honour to get to know someone, their lives, their thoughts and feelings. It is a further honour to witness the changes this work can make in a child’s life’.

‘One of my patients recently told me that he feels he has grown during the therapy and that he feels the therapy will continue to grow with him once he ends his treatment. This made a lot of sense to me and is how I feel about my experience of the training: something solid that will remain with me throughout my career and future experiences’.

This course is for you if you have a commitment to working with children and adolescents and have substantial experience working with three age ranges (pre-school, latency and adolescence). 

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:

  • have completed our Working with children, young people & families: a psychoanalytic observational approach (M7) course (to at least Postgraduate Diploma level or to Masters level if you do not already hold an honours degree), or an equivalent that delivers comparable learning outcomes (a two-year Psychoanalytic Baby Observation, a one-year Young-Infant Psychoanalytic Observation, and two years of Work Discussion seminars and Psychoanalytic Theory lectures and seminars).
  • have been in personal psychoanalytic analysis (with an accredited practitioner) three times per week for at least a year before training starts, and are prepared to continue with four times weekly psychoanalysis throughout the duration of the course.
  • are strong in personal suitability and are able to demonstrate both sensitivity and resilience to meet the emotional demands of the training.
  • have a sustained interest in children and adolescents and are able to engage and build relationships with children and adolescents.
  • have an awareness of the impact you have on others and the impact of others on you.
  • have the ability to keep personal/professional boundaries.  
  • have the ability to ask for and use help.
  • have the ability to keep thinking under pressure and have excellent written and spoken communications skills.

The vast majority of places for this course are funded through a national scheme.  If you are successful in your application, you will be directed to training placement opportunities, one of which you must secure before taking up your place.

If you meet entry criteria for the course but are a non-UK resident or you have not secured a funded place, you may be considered on a self funding basis.  Please note that self funding places are very limited, and eligibility will be considered on a case by case basis.

Please contact us if you have any questions. 

M80 was the previous code for this course.

Professional Doctorate
Course length:
4 years
London, Leeds
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Catrin Bradley