Foundations in psychodynamic approaches to risk and complexity

Course overview

This course provides a foundation in psychoanalytic principles and their application to working with complex and challenging individuals. We will introduce you to a framework for thinking about personality difficulties and the problems of managing and treating people, who habitually resolve internal conflicts and anxieties by externalising these in the form of problematic interpersonal behaviour which places themselves or others at risk and causes concern to other people. Those complex dynamics tend to impact the treating clinicians, teams and care systems.

There are two elements in this course:

  • The clinical group discussions (3.00-4:15pm) will allow for material presented by the participants to be discussed in a supportive and vibrant environment. As a group, you will consider how particular unconscious processes may either enhance or interfere with the therapeutic relationship and team dynamics.
  • The theoretical seminars (4:30-6.00pm) will address basic psychodynamic concepts as they apply to risk and complexity, including the psychoanalytic model of the mind, psychic development, transference and counter transference, and enactment. 

The aim of this course is to enhance your clinical skills in relation to a challenging, but potentially rewarding area of work. If you wish to continue with your studies in this area, this course also provides a route to applying for the qualifying course in forensic psycho dynamic psychotherapy.

NOTE: You can also choose to only attend the theoretical seminars. 

This course is for practitioners working in mental health, criminal justice, social services and primary care who wish to apply a model of the mind based on the understanding of unconscious processes to working with risk and complexity. 

You may be a clinician or practitioner who assesses and manages those issues in individuals with severe psychopathology in secure, inpatient and community settings.

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom. This is very easy and safe to use regardless of your level of IT skill.
You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this test link ( to check your set up before booking.
Additional resources for this course will be provided using Moodle, our virtual learning environment.
You will be sent joining instructions including all the necessary login links, passwords and guidance on how to use the relevant functionality about a week before the course start date.
Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us at to discuss how we can best help you.

The course will run on Tuesday afternoons at the following times:

  • clinical group discussions (3.00-4:15pm)
  • theoretical seminars (4:30-6.00pm)

on the following dates:

  • 4, 11 and 18 October 2022
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 November 2022
  • 6 and 13 December 2022
  • 10, 17, 24 and 31 January 2023
  • 7 and 28 February 2023
  • 7, 14, 21 March 2023
  • 25 April 2023
  • 2, 9, 16, 23 May 2023
  • 6, 13, 20 and 27 June 2023
  • 4 July 2023

Included in your course fee, you will receive online 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 navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are also available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying).
Library staff curate various online resources, such as Audio/Video Playlists, and regularly share helpful news and research on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more on the Library website:

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
1 year
Tuesday afternoons
Admission status:
October 2022 to July 2023
Course lead:
Tomasz Fortuna

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