Development of psychoanalytic theory: Lecture series

Course overview

This lunchtime lecture series will offer you a systematic introduction and overview of the development of psychoanalytic theory from Freud to the present day. The classes provide a theoretical backbone and sound psychoanalytic grounding for more inspired practice.

This lunchtime lecture series will offer you a chronological overview of the development of psychoanalytic theory. It begins with two introductory lectures that situate psychoanalysis within a broad cultural and epistemological context. This is followed by a systematic overview of key concepts in the development of Freud’s theory. The second half of the course covers contemporary developments and includes the work of Anna Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Segal, Rosenfeld and Bion.

The lecture series takes place weekly on a Wednesday, from 11.45am - 1.10pm, throughout the 2019-20 academic year. The programme of the lectures is shown below. Please note this may be subject to minor changes.

Block One (October - January): Foundations of Psychoanalysis

  • 2 October 2019: The psychoanalytic endeavour: General and meta-theoretical considerations
  • 9 October 2019: The psychoanalytic endeavour: General and meta-theoretical considerations (cont'd)
  • 16 October 2019: Dreams and Symptoms
  • 30 October 2019: The Trauma or seduction theory of neurosis and its abandonment
  • 6 November 2019: The Freudian notion of Instinct
  • 13 November 2019: The Topographical Model
  • 20 November 2019: The Oedipus Complex
  • 27 November 2019: Mourning and Melancholia
  • 4 December 2019: Narcissism
  • 11 December 2019: Freud and Society
  • 8 January 2020: Final Revision of Instinct Theory
  • 15 January 2020: Group Psychology
  • 22 January 2020: The Ego and the Id
  • 29 January 2020: Papers on Technique

Block Two (February - June): Developments in Psychoanalysis

  • 5 February 2020: Psychodynamic Readings of Hamlet
  • 12 February 2020: The Work of Anna Freud
  • 26 February 2020: The Work of Anna Freud (cont'd)
  • 4 March 2020: Introduction to the work of Melanie Klein
  • 11 March 2020: The Paranoid Schizoid Position
  • 18 March 2020: Envy and Gratitude
  • 15 April 2020: The Depressive Position
  • 22 April 2020: Aspects of Hanna Segal's work
  • 29 April 2020: Psychoanalysis and Racism
  • 6 May 2020: Aspects of Herbert Rosenfeld's work
  • 13 May 2020: Aspects of Bion's contribution
  • 20 May 2020: Aspects of Bion's contribution (cont’d)
  • 3 June 2020: An introduction to the work of Winnicott
  • 10 June 2020: An introduction to the work of Winnicott (cont’d)
  • 17 June 2020: Contemporary Psycho-analytic Technique
  • 24 June 2020: Feedback and overview

NOTE: You can choose to attend the whole year (Block One and Two) or only one (either Block One or Two). See the 'Fees and how to apply' section below for more information.

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you have an interest in psychoanalytic concepts.

This course is for you if you are interested in gaining a thorough introduction to psychoanalytic concepts. You do not need any prior knowledge of psychoanalysis, though it could be useful. You might be a psychotherapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a social worker, an academic (from the humanities or sciences) or a professional who already has some knowledge of psychoanalytic theory but would like to revisit it in a systematic way.

This course will provide you with a thorough knowledge of psychoanalytic theory in a way that will be relevant to any kind of work in the mental health field.

What our students say

"Great lecture series – creative and thought-provoking. David Bell’s style of explanation was very good – he brings a sense of personal engagement which adds nuance and opens space for personal exploration of the concepts."

"I loved the way that clinical, political and literal examples were weaved together to illustrate psychoanalytic concepts and ideas, it has really brought them alive."

"Excellent course expertly  delivered, it was useful and important, thought provoking and leaves you wanting a lot more."


You will also be given access to our internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course and our e-Learning platform for the recording and transcript of each lecture (depending on your learning options).

Dr David Bell is a past president of the British Psychoanalytic Society. He currently is a consultant psychiatrist in the Adult Department of the Tavistock and Portman where he directs a specialist unit for serious/enduring complex disorders. In 2012-13 he was Visiting Professorial Fellow at Birkbeck College London.

Dr Bell lectures and publishes widely on various subjects including the historical development of psychoanalytic concepts, the psychoanalytic understanding of severe disorder such as psychosis and borderline states. Throughout his professional career he has been deeply involved in the relation between psychoanalysis and other disciplines: literature, philosophy, culture and socio-political issues and has published extensively in these areas. He is one of the UK's leading psychiatric experts in asylum and human rights.

Details of each Block are provided in the 'Programme' section above. Participants can access this course in a number of ways:


All face-to-face lectures will be held at the Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, NW3 5BA.

  • Option 1 (Block One and Two) - £800 (Full year) - Apply HERE
  • Option 2 (Block One) - £500 (October - January) - Apply HERE
  • Option 3 (Block Two*) - £500 (February - June) - Apply HERE


Each lecture will be live streamed through Zoom. You will have the opportunity to watch the live lectures on your preferred device – PC, laptop, Mac, tablet or smartphone. All that is required is a sound-enabled device connected to the Internet. Details for attending the live stream will be emailed to registered virtual participants prior to the start of the lecture. Please note that virtual learners will not be able to participate in Q&As.

  • Option 4 (Block One and Two) - £600 (Full year) - applications now closed
  • Option 5 (Block One) - £350 (October - January) - applications now closed
  • Option 6 (Block Two*) - £350 (February - June) - Apply HERE

*If you are only interested in Block Two (Developments in Psychoanalysis) lectures, it is advised that you are familiar with psychoanalytic theory and Freud.

NOTE: All learning options include access to our internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course and our e-Learning platform for the recording and transcript of each lecture.

Included in your course fee, you will receive full membership of the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection plus reference access to all our print books. Our Information Skills Trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you to navigate our comprehensive electronic collections.  PCs and photocopiers are also available for your use.

Library staff curate various online resources, such as Audio/Video Playlists and Subject Updates, to help you stay on top of latest developments, as well as regularly sharing helpful news and research on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more on the Library website:

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
1 year
The Tavistock Centre, London
Admission status:
October 2019 to June 2020
Course lead:
David Bell

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