Psychodynamic reflective practice in mental health (D65)

Course overview

This programme will be of interest and value to those who are interested in developing understanding and experience in applying psychoanalytic concepts to their work with service users within a mental health care setting.

This course offers a foundation in developing a clinical understanding of direct experience with service users. It provides a theoretical framework for students to develop their knowledge of and capacity to apply psychoanalytic concepts in their work within mental health care. This course aims to:

  • support students in developing their dynamic understanding and experience  of direct work with patients in a mental health setting
  • provide an understanding of human development, the impact of developmental and emotional difficulties in the context of social, economic and cultural circumstances and the relevance of this to mental health work
  • develop students’ awareness and understanding of issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion; explore the impact of these issues on us as individuals and organisations, both in relation to our practice and our understanding and application of psychoanalytic theory.
  • develop the capacity for more meaningful, accurate risk assessment
  • develop an appreciation of the therapeutic use of self in clinical practice
  • reflect on the importance of conscious and unconscious communications  in the workplace
  • develop awareness of professional roles, relationships and clinical dilemmas in practice

Through a combination of applied theory seminars and work discussion groups you will develop an understanding of the underlying dynamics present in the complexities of the healthcare environment. This course will improve your understanding of clinical and institutional dynamics, including complicated dynamics around experiences of sameness and difference which are at play within these processes. At the heart of the course is the work discussion group which enables you to gain an understanding of the emotional challenges inherent in mental health work. This provides a valuable development opportunity for those with little clinical experience and offers a refreshing and stimulating approach for experienced mental health workers.

The seminars offer a synthesis of theoretical seminars with work discussion which enables students to reflect on how theory can allow for deeper understanding their work within mental health services, in order to improve patient care, maintain professional roles and relationships, improve risk assessment and develop a deeper understanding of our patient’s experience as well as our own.

Tutorials are offered throughout the course, enabling you to consider your work in depth and to discuss your professional development, and plans for further training, where appropriate.

You will be taught by experienced, practicing clinicians within the applied theory seminars and supported in exploring your experiences and observations in a work discussion group, facilitated by the tutor. 

The course provides a solid foundation in developing skills and experience in working with mental health service users within both voluntary and statutory services. The course provides an opportunity to develop observational skills, both of one’s self in practice and also of the ‘other’, be it client, team or organisation. With an emphasis on applied psychoanalytic concepts, seminars will focus on applied therapeutic theory and the development of professional roles and relationships in mental health care; the foundations of psychotherapeutic work.

What our students say:

There are two groups of people who would benefit from this programme:

  • People who are keen to undertake a psychotherapy training in the future, who may have completed an initial course and want to extend their experience of direct work with people in a mental health setting
  • Mental health professionals who are keen to explore psychodynamic perspectives, to develop their knowledge and enhance their understanding of interactions at work with mental health service users, colleagues and institutions. 

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

  • demonstrate an interest in understanding a psychodynamic approach to the provision of mental health care and a willingness to explore your experience
  • are able to organise and undertake a volunteer role in mental health setting, if you are not already engaged in working within a mental health service. This ideally should be established by October when the course commences and can be discussed at interview.

Francesca Benjamin

Francesca Benjamin is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist. Francesca initially undertook an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology at the Anna Freud Centre, before later embarking on the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training at the Tavistock and Portman.  She has a particular interest in the application of psychoanalytic ideas to those working with families and children in a range of frontline mental health roles, and in the implementation of psychotherapeutic work in schools and other educational provisions.


Tuesday afternoons between 3 - 6pm during term time. 

Some reading and preparation will be required between sessions and there will be 24 sessions over the academic year..


The course does not include a requirement for formal assessment. In the final term (summer 2022) there will be an option to submit a written piece of work relating to the application of theory to clinical experience.

Whether or not you chose to complete the optional written assignments will not affect your being awarded the Tavistock Certificate at the end of the course.


£ 3,520 per year


£ 7,040 per year

For more information about how Brexit may affect your fee status, please see Brexit information for EU & EEA and Swiss Nationals

Please note that course fees are subject to a 3% or CPI uplift each year, whichever is greater.

We are happy offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses. 

Trust Certificate
Course length:
1 year
Tuesday afternoons
The Tavistock Centre, London
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Francesca Benjamin

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