Why study with us?

Education and training at the Tavistock and Portman is distinctive. We are one of very few providers in the UK that can offer education within an NHS mental health clinical setting. Those that treat our patients, teach our students and this means that our students can get access to real-time, real-life case studies.

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One of the unique things about our approach is that we provide teaching and training from a variety of theoretical perspectives, systemic, psychoanalytical and developmental for example.  These perspectives can both complement each other and sit in creative tension with each other. 

We believe people learn differently when they live through and experience things for themselves as well as through reading and lectures.  Many of our courses have an experiential learning component in the teaching, such as a regular experiential group, attending a group relations conference, a work discussion or reflective practise group or live supervision. What these all have in common is the ‘here and now’ experience of group dynamics and systemic processes being lived through, noticed and understood, with the help of an experienced facilitator. Part of their role is to help the group to notice conscious and unconscious processes and to think about the roles individuals take up or are given in group contexts. This includes thinking about leadership and followership, and how participants communicate and use their own authority.

A further unique dimension of our teaching approach is the importance of observation and the development of observational skills. We have a long history of helping students understand the value of observation in practice through undertaking observations of families, organisations, babies and young children. Observation is another way in which learning happens. 

Much of our teaching focuses on relationships between people and is informed by attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby during his time working at the Clinic, and the British Object Relations scholars.  Systemic approaches build on this further to view challenges and possibilities as existing in relationships, addressing them through a wide variety of relational approaches. Many of our courses offer a strong focus on reflective practice and resilience building and include, for example, understanding the impact of issues of power differentials, contexts, societal discourses, authority and difference and how these influence the dynamics of relationships as well as skills in dealing with the complex dynamics of decision-making. 

Most of our educators are experts in their clinical domain and support your further development to equip you to make a thoughtful and long-lasting contribution to your work in health, mental health, social care, education and criminal justice.  

All our teaching is research and evidence-informed and through conducting their own research, our doctoral students contribute to the evidence base that informs future practice. ​

All of our courses are carefully developed and delivered by our clinician-tutors. This ensures that the education you receive is relevant and up to date. Our training takes place in an NHS clinic across seminar rooms, a lecture theatre and consulting rooms.

What’s more, our students regard our education as “gold standard” and 93% would recommend our courses to a friend or colleague. 

We are reviewed by the UK's Quality body for Higher Education, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) regularly to ensure that the standards expected of Higher Education providers are met and upheld.

The QAA has found that the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust meets expectations in all of the key areas: academic standards; student learning opportunities; quality of the information about learning opportunities; and the enhancement of student learning opportunities. The QAA also identified good practice in the following areas:

  • the systematic integration of academic study and clinical practice within the taught elements of the Trust's provision which enhances the students' learning experiences (Expectation B3) 
  • the provision of online access to library and study skills resources enables student development and achievement (Expectation B4) 
  • the centralised process for approval of assessment tasks and allocation of marking to ensure equivalence across all national centres (Expecation B6) 
  • the strategic intervention to enable, support and promote the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) across the provision, including the incorporation of library and TEL staff on core Trust committees which makes a significant contribution to the enhancement of student learning (Enhancement).

Download the full report.

A number of our courses are accredited and recognised by the main professional bodies in the mental health sector. These include:

The majority of our courses are validated by the University of Essex. A small number are validated by the University of East London.

We are delighted to offer accessible, flexible and personalised education and training to those of varying levels of expertise within the mental health and social care sectors. You may want to come to us as you want to change career and feel confident that you will gain the education and clinical training you require. You may already work in your chosen career and have a desire to upskill and keep your training up to date. 

If you can't study with us in London, we have carefully selected partners in our national centres across the UK, and Europe. We are also happy to offer blended and online learning where you can achieve your goals by working online and in the classroom.

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