Emotional care of babies, children, young people and families (EC1)

Course overview

This course will introduce you to key psychoanalytic ideas and how they connect to your real-life observations and experience of working with children of all ages and their families. Experiential learning, an observational approach and the application of psychoanalytic ideas to the issue of difference and diversity are integral to this course.

We are delighted to offer two bursaries to new students on this course who are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds.  Please see the 'Fees and funding' section below for more details.

In each year you will study three modules lasting up to 10 weeks each.

Year 1

In order to gain the Graduate Certificate you will need to complete the following three modules:

  • Understanding children’s communication and its meaning
  • Seeing beneath the surface: Developing observational skills
  • Family crises and their consequences

Year 2

To gain the Graduate Diploma you will first need to pass the Graduate Certificate and then complete the following three modules:

  • Growing Up: The main conflicts and challenges
  • Disturbing and challenging behaviour: Issues for looked-after children
  • Growing up with disability.

Teaching will be delivered via weekly lectures and reading seminars. 


Weekly lectures will take place on Thursdays from 5:00pm-6:00pm. The aim of the lectures is to introduce you to some core psychoanalytic concepts and how they can be understood throughout different life stages in ordinary as well as complex situations. Particular care and attention will be given to thinking about the influence of early life experiences and the way they influence how we negotiate the challenges of later development.

Reading seminars

You will participate in a small reading group with a seminar leader on Thursdays from 6:15pm to 7:30pm. There is reading to be undertaken prior to each seminar. The aim of this group is to have a space to reflect, deepen understanding and link some of the topics presented in the lectures to the reading and real-life experiences.  The seminar structure will change depending of the module undertaken. During some of the modules there will be the opportunity to present your own work and/or ideas as well as listen to other students’ presentations.

Young child observation seminars

During the second term of year 1, when undertaking the module ‘Seeing Beneath the Surface: Developing Observational Skills’, lectures will be replaced by a small observation seminar group during which you will join in and present your observation of a nursery aged child. The Tavistock model of observation will be used and you will be helped to arrange a five to six week observation of a young child in a nursery, family centre or school setting.  Following each observation you will make detailed notes of what you have observed and you will have the opportunity to bring your observation notes to discuss in your small seminar group. With the help of the group and seminar facilitator you will be helped to think about and observe some of the communications that may be happening beneath what is immediately observable.

This course will help you acquire skills, understanding and reflective practice in working with babies, children, young people, parents and families. It will allow you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the complexity of communication within relationships. You will be introduced to key ideas and concepts from psychoanalytic research focussing upon the emotional development of children within their families and society at large. 

We hope that by the end of the course you will be able to use psychoanalytic ideas and concepts to help you think about and address the emotional complexities of difference and diversity and the impact they have upon the development of the individual and wider society. 

You will also be able to develop your confidence and expertise in a way which enables you to progress in your career working with children and families. 

What our students say

This course is suitable for those at the early stages of developing a professional career in the children's and young people's sector as well as those working in the field who wish to further develop their knowledge and understanding and acquire a formal university accredited qualification.

You may:

  • Work in a support role in the health, education, social care, residential care or childcare sector
  • Have limited work-based experience and want to develop your career in working with children and families
  • Be looking for a career change and a starting point in a new working role with children and young people.

Past students have been au pairs, child minders, journalists, professionals from the business sector, community workers, family support workers, foster carers, nursery workers, play leaders, social work assistants, teaching assistants and staff in children’s centres.

If you have successfully completed our ten-week Developing a diverse child and adolescent workforce: an introductory course (CPD64) course then this course may also be for you.

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

  • have an interest in work with children of all ages, young people and their families
  • have a willingness to engage with the emotional complexities of identity, difference and diversity and their impact upon emotional development
  • have achieved an undergraduate degree or demonstrate equivalent learning or achievement (Please note an undergraduate degree is not essential)
  • have the capacity for active participation in workshops and seminar
  • be motivated for independent reading and study
  • submit a personal statement of between 700-1000 words in your application form. 


Thursday from 5pm - 7.30pm (except for Module 2 in Year 1 when the teaching will be 4:45 to 7:30pm)


You will be assessed at the end of each module through a range of different written assignments.


£ 3,455 per year


£ 6,910 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.  

Bursary opportunities

We are delighted to be offering two bursaries for applicants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who secure a place on the course starting in September 2022. 

Please read more information here and download a bursary application form here.

Graduate Certificate / Diploma
Course length:
2 years
Thursday evenings
The Tavistock Centre, London
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Korina Soldatic

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