Overview of the Course


We are open to enquiries and expressions of interest in the 2018/2019 course


Course Title

PG Cert/PG Dip/MA in Working with Children, Young People and Families: A psychoanalytic observational approach (M7)


This course is accredited by the University of Essex, the Tavistock Clinic and BTPP leading to the POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA/MA IN PSYCHOANALYTIC INFANT OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES


The course is delivered by BTPP in association with the Tavistock Clinic and the University of Essex.


Course overview

1. The Infant Observation component, always excites and can feel overwhelming for participants. How better to learn about the development of the individual than to observe from the early beginnings. Infant Observation involves observing a baby from as near to new-born as possible, in an "ordinary" family, for an hour a week. The particular approach is to try to see the world from the baby's point of view as he/she struggles to make sense of their own bodies, interact with and grow in relation to the important people in their young lives, their hunger, their joy and the rest of life's rich pattern!


The experience is shared (in an anonymised form) in a small group who follow the group's baby's development through the two years. It is emotionally riveting stuff and those who have completed it say they have learned as much about themselves as about other people through doing the observation.


2. Work Discussion is exactly that - a discussion of the student's ongoing work, in an anonymised form, amongst the professionals who make up the group. A great deal of unexpected learning happens - e.g. psychiatrists hear of bedtime and its attendant problems in an adolescent children's home, social workers and CAMHS staff hear about school or YOTS workers' work with similar kids to the ones they are trying to understand and help; a rich and wide-ranging picture of childhood emerges.


The seminar leaders and groups are there not to instruct other professionals in how to do their jobs. Rather, like in the infant observation seminar, the aim is to think about and explore both child/family and workers' experience of the interaction so that we can struggle together with what might help or get in the way of co-operative work being done


3. Theory


The second year Student read key texts from Klein and have a seminar on personality development.


In the new course structure the First years will read texts based around key psychoanalytic concepts, for example the unconscious, projection etc.


While this might seem ominous, and while becoming a psychoanalytic scholar is attainable for some, really the texts are delivered in a manner to get students thinking about the inner lives shared by humankind, but which is rarely spoken or thought about.


Who Is the Course for?

Many students who undertake this course are senior nurses, teachers, social workers, child care workers, learning support workers, doctors, psychologists, counsellors, occupational therapists, art and music therapists etc. Indeed anyone working with children would be interested in this course.


Some professionals undertake the course purely for their own continued professional development. They may not want to and they don't have to produce the written work which would be necessary for submitting to the M7 Masters/Post-graduate Diploma.


Others undertake the course as a pre-clinical requirement for a Child Psychotherapy training. Those holding a pre-existing honours degree don't have to submit all of the essays for the Diploma either, although as they will have to do most of the essays for BTPP anyway, so they are advised to.


Some people, usually Specialist Registrars in Child Psychiatry, want to deepen their understanding of unconscious processes and hone their skills in listening to and talking to children and their parents, but are less interested in the academic/theoretical aspects of BTPP's approach. They can opt to do the Friday half-days (30 a year plus 5 open lectures) and attend Infant Observation and Work Discussion seminars.


It is really important to note that proven academic ability and confidence are not pre-requisites for this course. BTPP encourages applications from talented, intelligent, curious and experienced people whose work with children and families make them want to learn more, no matter what their current academic status.


BTPP has found that in work with children and their families prestigious professional or academic qualifications are not necessarily indicators of the kind of very particular capacity to think and relate in a multi-layered way that BTPP's version of psychoanalytic thinking involves. Don't be put off applying if the academic requirements seem daunting! It could be argued that academic hurdles and capacities can be more easily worked with than other more personal attributes, like thinking ‘between the lines', below the surface and thinking emotionally. BTPP has found that if the thinking makes common sense to the student then the academic hurdles are surmountable.


Applicants should be working directly with children.


This course is often referred to by other titles too


- Infant observational Studies


- Pre-Clinical Training


- Individual Work with Children, Adolescents and their Families and Carers - a Psychodynamic Approach,


- M7


This is a potentially confusing list of titles in use for one course! However the list reflects the different ways students approach the course and what they want to get out of it.