Understanding trauma: principles and practice (D18)

Course overview

This course offers a supportive and lively setting in which to gain a deeper understanding of the impact on the mind of traumatic events as understood within a psychoanalytic framework. You will develop an awareness of the contribution psychoanalytic ideas can make to therapeutic work with traumatised individuals and groups.  

Over the year, you will study the following:

Work discussion group

You will have the opportunity to bring your work with particular traumatised individuals or groups to a small work discussion group, taken by an experienced psychotherapist. You will be required to bring case material for discussion once or twice termly.

Theory seminar/lecture

Through reading, discussion and lectures you will study a psychoanalytic approach to the consequences of traumatic events. Over three terms lectures and discussions cover: 

  • historical review and current psychoanalytic theories including the Tavistock model
  • psychoanalytic concepts and their relevance to trauma
  • treatment modalities and specialist areas.

Experiential group

An opportunity to learn about a psychoanalytic approach through your own experiences in the group.   The group allows you, amongst other things, to have the opportunity to talk with fellow students about the impact of the group, the course, and the counter-transference issues raised by work in this area.

Application group

This takes place twice during the course of the year. The group is facilitated, and will help you make a bridge between your learning on the course and your own work settings and practices.

Hear more at our summer open day! 

Join our course team at 12:30 till 1pm on Saturday 26 June to hear more about what this course entails. Book your place at Understanding trauma: principles and practice (D18) 

The course will provide you with the opportunity to study with others who are experienced in working with trauma.  It will help you to develop a deeper capacity to reflect on your working practice and the impact of working with traumatised individuals and groups.  You will increase your understanding of the principles and practice of a psychoanalytic approach to trauma, and the place of psychoanalytic thinking in relation to other models e.g. trauma focused CBT and EMDR.  

You will gain a deeper understanding of the impact on the mind of traumatic events, as understood within a psychoanalytic framework and develop a greater awareness of the contribution psychoanalytic ideas can make to therapeutic work with traumatised individuals and groups.

Learning about a psychoanalytic approach to thinking about trauma will develop your understanding of the longer term and relational consequences of traumatic experiences, whether you are working within a psychoanalytic framework already, or using cognitive behavioural therapy, EMDR, or a range of models of intervention.   It can also help if you are working with individuals who have not substantially benefitted  from CBT or EMDR, or if you want to enhance your understanding of a psychoanalytic approach to working with trauma, whatever model you are currently working with.  It can also help you to develop your understanding of the potentially powerful impact of the work on professionals working with trauma, including yourself.

What our students say

“Being guided by such a well tried model of the mind was beneficial in my daily psychiatric practice. Having in mind the psychoanalytic model of trauma significantly lessens my anxiety and distress when in contact with severely traumatized patients.”

"Now I know why the Tavistock has such a good reputation. A fantastic course."

This course is for you if you are a professional working with the psychological aftermath of trauma in either a generic or specialist mental health or related setting.  You may, for example, be a clinical psychologist, a counsellor, or a psychotherapist.   Specialist settings can include the police, emergency services, refugees and asylum seekers, for example.

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

  • are a professional working with people who have experienced trauma.


Thursday afternoons from 2 to 6.15pm.


The course is not a qualifying course; it is part of the Tavistock’s continuing professional development portfolio.  A Tavistock certificate for the course is available to those with 80% attendance who also complete an optional 4,000 word essay related to the theory and practice of a psychoanalytic approach to trauma.

Linda YoungLinda Young

Linda Young BA MSc TQAP MBPAS is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst with over 20 years clinical, teaching and supervising experience; her special areas of expertise include working with adolescents and young adults, and working within the field of trauma.  She been part of the Tavistock Trauma Service since 1990 and set up the “Understanding Trauma” course, together with Caroline Garland (now retired) in 1997 - organising and teaching on the course since then. 

With a strong clinical commitment, she is head of Intake and of one of the two main clinical teams in the Adolescent and Young Adult Service and heads the Young People’s Consultation Service, a 4 session, self-referral service.  Her work as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Adolescent and Young Adult Service dates from 1997.

Linda works closely with Jo Stubley, the Head of the Tavistock Trauma Service, and has in recent years run the fortnightly service meetings with her, as well as engaging in regular teaching commitments.

Linda has frequently lectured on the topic of the aftermath of traumatic experiences and on the impact of trauma experienced in adolescence, as well as teaching on the theory and practice of psychoanalytically based work during the adolescent and young adult period of life, and in the aftermath of traumatic events, experienced at any point during life.


£ 3,200 per year


£ 6,400 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
Thursday afternoons
The Tavistock Centre, London
Adults and children
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Linda Young

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