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Working with Children, Young People & Families: A Psychoanalytic Observational Approach

Working with Children, Young People & Families: A Psychoanalytic Observational Approach

Different course options

Part time evening | Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust | 3 years | 17-APR-23

Study mode

Part time evening


3 years

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Psychoanalysis Families (Social Work) Children / Youth (Social Work)

Course type


Course Summary

Course overview

This course aims to provide professional development to people working with children, young people and families. The course focusses on learning how to notice and reflect on the different emotional dynamics that underpin development, and have a significant impact on our work. There is a central place in all of the studies in the course for considering the impact of feelings of sameness and difference, and about cultural diversity, within ourselves, in our treatment of each other, and in our relationships at work.Please note this course is also delivered as an evening version and a Saturday blended version.

Course length and study modes: 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 psychodynamic psychotherapist working with children, young people, and families.

Why study this course with us?

You will develop your skills in detailed observation of infants and young children. You will improve your 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).

Who is this course for?

Anyone working with children, young people and their families or adult mental health professionals wanting to explore work with children.


In the first two years of the course there are written assessment tasks relating to each of the modules studied, to demonstrate your learning. In both years, the written assessment tasks require the integration of detail from observational and work discussion material with theoretical concepts drawn from psychoanalysis and other fields of child development theory. In the first year, you will also complete short essays on concepts studied in psychoanalytic theory and in child development research. Progression in the course is dependent upon passing this assessed work.

To gain the Masters award, you need to pass the first two diploma years of study and then undertake a third year of study to complete a dissertation. In this dissertation year, you attend a specific seminar for the first term to develop your dissertation proposal. This is based on a question or theme drawn from your earlier studies in the course, using your own observational material, gathered through your infant observation, young child observation and work discussion studies. Once the proposal has been accepted you complete the dissertation through personal study, supported by your supervisor.


In this module 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.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you: would, ordinarily, have one year of prior experience working with children, young people and their families. Due to the pandemic, we will accept six months of full-time experience working with children, adolescents and/or families (or equivalent, gained within the last five years) AND a current role in such a setting, at least one to two days per week, continuing for the first two years of the course; have an interest in and aptitude for learning about emotional development, observation and psychoanalytic thinking; have a first degree or the ability to demonstrate that you can meet the academic demands of the course and/or have completed one year of our The emotional care of babies, children, young people and families (EC1) course.