Tavistock Trauma Service: External lectures on trauma series

Course overview

This innovative series of lectures is organized by the Tavistock Trauma Service and is designed to reflect the clinical approach of the work, emphasizing an adapted psychoanalytic approach with multi-modality and trauma-informed care, using neurobiological and attachment theory to understand the impact of trauma.

The series will present a range of external speakers, experts in the field, who will bring their own understanding of trauma in a presentation followed by audience question and answer session.

The first series of lectures, which started in November 2019, proved extremely popular before, sadly, being cut short by the COVID 19 outbreak. Therefore, this series will be delivered remotely.

5th November 2020: Recovery from trauma: the therapeutic use of gardening and connecting to nature

Dr Sue Stuart-Smith is a consultant medical psychotherapist in the DocHealth service and was previously lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. Her recently published book, the Well Gardened Mind, explores the healing and empowering effects of working with nature and includes studies of horticultural projects working with people suffering from trauma, depression, addiction and displacement.

3rd December 2020: Exiles from Hope: Complex Trauma in Asylum Seekers and Refugees. 

In this lecture, Dr Majid will talk about complex trauma in asylum seekers, looking in particular at the challenges individuals face in their encounter with the asylum seeking process in the UK such as giving evidence, immigration detention and deportation.  Drawing on her work in the Tavistock Immigration Legal Service, she will present a range of cases, demonstrating the severity of mental health issues, and exploring how aspects of the legal process can trigger or re-enact earlier experiences of trauma and loss, precipitating acute deteriorations in mental health and undermining the possibility of recovery.

Dr Sarah Majid is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy based at the Tavistock Centre with a long association with the Trauma Consultation Service. After graduating from Kings College, Cambridge, she completed a master’s degree in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies before completing higher training in Adult Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and in Psychotherapy at the Tavistock Centre. Her current post in the Whole Family Service involves working with parents and families from a range of backgrounds, where the children are considered to be at risk. She also works in Camden Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Service, where she runs the UCLH Medical Student Psychotherapy Scheme, and is involved in developing this work at a national level through her role as Chair of the RCPsych Medical Student Psychotherapy Scheme Working Group. Dr Majid has been working with refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years and is a founder member of the RCPsych Mental Health of Asylum Seekers Working Group, set up to address inadequacies in the mental health care of this population. In 2011, together with Dr David Bell, she set up the Tavistock Immigration Legal Service, a unique service providing psychiatric medico-legal reports to inform decisions made by the Immigration Tribunal, and bringing a psychoanalytic perspective.

7 January 2021: Dr Jo O’Reilly – The Agony and The Ecstasy; The Therapeutic Use of MDMA in    Complex Trauma

There have been major advances over the last 15 years in the development of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for treatment resistant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this treatment the MDMA acts as a catalyst for a process of therapeutic change – not as a treatment in itself – for patients unable to benefit from conventional treatments for PTSD. The pharmacological effects augment meaningful emotional experiences allowing a more complete processing of both the trauma itself and underlying vulnerabilities to trauma.  The central role of the setting and therapeutic relationship which supports this process of mutative change will be discussed. As a psychoanalyst I will describe areas of commonality between psychedelic assisted psychotherapy and more conventional psychotherapy as well as important differences to consider. The presentation will include video material from MDMA assisted therapy sessions.

Dr Jo O’Reilly is a consultant psychiatrist and medical psychotherapist working in an NHS psychotherapy service that includes a specialist service for complex trauma. She participated in the first European training in MDMA assisted psychotherapy as part of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) expanding research program in 2018. She is also a psychoanalyst and member of the British Psychoanalytic Society.

4 February 2021: Professor Jeremy Holmes MD FRCPsych  – Trauma as Energy Unbound

Professor Jeremy Holmes MD FRCPsych was for 35 years Consultant Psychiatrist/Medical Psychotherapist at University College London (UCL) and then in North Devon, UK, and Chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1998-2002.  He is visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, and lectures nationally and internationally. In addition to 200+ peer-reviewed papers and chapters in the field of psychoanalysis and attachment theory, his books include John Bowlby and Attachment Theory, (2nd edition 2013),   The Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy (2005 co-editors Glen Gabbard and Judy Beck),  Exploring In Security: Towards an Attachment-informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (2010, winner of Canadian Goethe Prize) , The Therapeutic Imagination: Using Literature to Deepen Psychodynamic Understanding and Enhance Empathy (2014), Attachment in Therapeutic Practice (2017, with A Slade), and The Brain Has a Mind of its Own: Attachment, Neurobiology and the New Science of Psychotherapy (2020).  He was recipient of the Bowlby-Ainsworth Founders Award 2009.  Gardening, green politics and grand-parenting are gradually eclipsing his lifetime devotion to psychoanalytic psychotherapy and attachment.

4  March 2021: Mr. Ricky Emanuel – The impact of trauma on emotional processing and the implications for therapy

This lecture will focus on new social construction theories of emotion which challenge some traditional neuroscience understanding about how emotions are processed and how the brain is organised. It will focus particularly on the relevance of these new developments in neuroscience to the impact of trauma on the brain. There are correlations between these theories and the work of the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion. The lecture will summarise some of the current understanding about the how trauma affects the brain and the implications for the treatment of traumatised patients. The importance of attending to body states and thus enhancing the capacity for emotional tolerance will be emphasised before work on the meaning of the trauma and its impact can take place.
Ricky Emanuel is a child, adolescent and adult psychotherapist who trained at the Tavistock Clinic London. He was Consultant Child Psychotherapist at the Royal Free hospital in London for 30 years. He teaches at the Tavistock Clinic and the Birmingham Trust for Psychoanalytic psychotherapy as well as in Florence. He has been on many Government bodies including NICE developing the guidelines for childhood depression as well as worked with the Department of Health and Education developing child mental health policies. He was clinical lead for Camden CAMHS and was responsible for the development of integrated child mental health services in Camden.  He lectures and teaches widely in the UK and abroad. He is the author of many peer reviewed papers, book chapters and a book, Anxiety, Icon Books, London 2000. He now works in private practice in London. He has a strong interest in Trauma and its effects, bereavement as well as in Neuroscience and Mindfulness and their relevance to psychotherapy practice. 

It is aimed at all professionals working within the mental health field who have an interest in trauma. This would include psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, mental health nurses, support workers, counsellors and therapists. 

The talks will cover neurobiology, attachment theory and different psychoanalytic perspectives on trauma, including historical child sexual abuse.

  • Excellent, well presented and lively
  • Interesting, clear and insightful.
  • Well planned and delivered with such notable presenter.
  • Thought provoking, relevant and very interesting

The series will be delivered 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 (https://zoom.us/test) to check your set up before booking.

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 lecture date.

Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us at CPDEvents@tavi-port.ac.uk  to discuss how we can best help you.

We are keeping the mode of delivery for future series under careful review and will post further details here in due course.

Lectures will take place on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 8:30pm.

Autumn Series: 5th November 2020, 3rd December 2020

Spring Series: 7th January 2021, 4th February 2021, 4th March 2021 

Each lecture costs £30, or £75 if all three in a series are booked together. 

To book individual lectures please click the relevant link: 

Autumn Series

Dr Sue Stuart-Smith – 5th November 2020

Dr Sarah Majid – 3rd December 2020

Spring Series

Dr Jo O’Reilly - 7th January 2021

Professor Jeremy Holmes - 4th February 2021

Mr. Ricky Emanuel - 4th March 2021

To book all three spring lectures (Jan/Feb/Mar) please click here

Certificate of attendance
Admission status:
Course lead:
Joanne Stubley

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