Working with children, young people & families: a psychoanalytic observational approach (M7)
This established course, taught by experienced clinicians, is a prerequisite for clinical training as a child and adolescent psychotherapist. It will enhance your professional work with children, young people and their carers. It is rooted in learning from detailed observation within a psychoanalytic framework.
Over the three years, you will study:
- infant observation
- work discussion
- child development research
- psychoanalytic theory
- young child observation
- experiential group
dissertation writing seminars
You will observe a baby in its family home every week for up to two years. Your observations will be presented for discussion in a small seminar group and your experience of observing will be the basis for learning about very early development and relationships.
You will attend multidisciplinary seminars to which you will bring detailed studies of your work for discussion. This will help you improve your understanding of the unconscious dynamics at play at institutional and interpersonal levels.
You will be introduced to core psychoanalytic concepts, via lectures and reading seminars. You will also study seminal texts drawn primarily from the influential work of S. Freud, M. Klein and D. Winnicott.
Child development research
You will learn about research findings such as attachment theory, neurobiology, developmental psychology and anthropology.
Young child observation
You will observe a pre-school child in their family or nursery setting to learn about the emotional meaning of a child’s behaviour as they start to relate to others outside the family.
The Experiential Group will give you an opportunity to experience, observe and reflect on group dynamics as they occur. This learning takes place with the support of a tutor who takes up the role of consultant to help the group take note of its functioning.
Dissertation writing seminar
In the final year of this course you will undertake seminars and individual supervision to support you in writing your MA dissertation.
Course length and study modes
This is a three year Masters level course. Students may exit after one year with a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) or after two years with a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip). The first two years are a prerequisite for clinical training as a child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapist. The first year may also act as a prerequisite for clinical training as a psychological therapist with children, young people, and families.
This course will develop your skills in detailed observation of infants and young children as they grow over a period of time. You will develop your insight and skills in understanding human development informed by a psychoanalytic approach and child development research.
The application of observation skills to understanding your task and interactions in your work setting will also be central to your learning on the course. This course will provide you with a wider frame of reference for thinking about current work and enhance your capacity to make decisions about your career development.
This course, or its equivalent, is a prerequisite for training as a child and adolescent psychotherapist on the Child and adolescent psychotherapy (M80)
What our students say:
"I did not expect to enjoy this course as much as I have. Working with children and families for the past few years, I wanted to gain further qualification and extend my knowledge. This course delivered beyond this, a space to explore the questions you ask yourself in work and life, which you do not have the time to apprehend. On a weekly basis I am invigorated to return to cases with renewed insight, ideas and enthusiasm. You then begin to link and connect all experiences of life to bring to your studies and work, creating a hugely organic and holistic experience. This course is a pleasure for anyone looking to gain further understanding of child development and psychoanalytic theory. Moreover, it develops a comprehensive and creative professional."
"Doing this course has given me new lenses through which to view everyday experiences. It has shifted the axis of my personal and professional life. Nothing is seen or heard in quite the same way as before. Certainty is displaced. Questions abound. It has helped me face things I'd rather ignore, develop greater resilience and contain difficult emotions. Observation of development from birth onwards has reconnected me to a sense of awe and wonder about this experience we call life and changed my outlook in ways I could never have imagined."
"This course has paved the way to my developing capacity to understand complex, and often unconscious, emotional factors that are in operation in the work setting. These include relationships between workers and clients as well as group and institutional dynamics. This programme has enhanced my ability to contribute sensitively not only to my clients’ thinking but also to my colleagues’ and other professionals’ work material. The personal tutor relationship, along with other student support resources, has been instrumental in tackling difficulties and developing strengths on the course."
This course is for you if you work in an area that involves working with children, young people and their families. You may be a teacher, teaching assistant, social worker, nurse, doctor, healthcare assistant, psychologist, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) worker, family support worker, adult mental health professional wanting to explore work with children, social worker or youth justice and community youth worker.
In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:
- have at least the equivalent of one year full-time prior experience (paid or voluntary) directly working with children and/or adolescents and/or families in a professional setting
- have an interest in, and aptitude for, learning about emotional development, observation and psychoanalytic thinking
- are currently undertaking direct work with children, young people, parents or families, for a minimum of one to two days per week, and can continue to for at least the first two years of the course
- have a first degree, or the equivalent, or be able to demonstrate that you can meet the academic demands of the course and/or have completed one year of the course entitled 'The emotional care of babies, children, young people and families'
The annual fee for this course is £4190 for Home/EU students and £8380 for International students.
We are happy offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Please note that course fees will be subject to a 2% or CPI uplift each year.
The previous code for this course was M7.
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