Meet our Dean

Our Dean is Elisa Reyes-Simpson, BSc, MA, CQSW, BPC

Foreword from our Dean

Elisa Reyes-Simpson

I want to extend a very warm welcome to everyone and say how delighted I am that you are joining our student body from September this year.

I started my long connection with the Trust as a student, and fully appreciate that the decision to undertake a programme of study is a significant one that involves making choices and commitments to spend time, energy and money. I know you will have also considered the impact on your family, friends and work life balance. I thank you for putting your trust in the Tavistock and Portman to provide you with a rich and rewarding learning experience.

Much of what we do is about understanding mental and emotional distress – taking account of people’s subjective experience, their relationships, and their life experience. I have no doubt that studying here will foster in you a deeper interest in people, a greater capacity to work in challenging environments, and to help people with complex problems thus making a positive impact on their life chances.

The Tavistock’s origins were very much shaped by thinking in relation to the impact of the first and second world wars, and we combine this distinctive and deep theoretical and historical heritage, with contemporary relevance; finding ways to think about the complex challenges we face. One of the important challenges we face is in relation to equity, diversity and inclusion. As a Trust we are committed to make a positive contribution to change, and we are working to ensure that your learning experience at the Trust reflects this. We aim to provide a learning environment that is welcoming, and where everybody feels able to be themselves.

The Tavistock and Portman thrives through innovation, and our students make an invaluable contribution to this. We seek to broaden our reach to a wider community of learners and the launch of our Digital Academy in our centenary year in 2020 has been part of this ambition.

I am confident that studying with us will impact on how you see the world and understand people, and yourselves in the process. We hope that you will feel more confident, creative and impactful in the work you do – whether you are wanting to develop toward accreditation as a psychological therapist or wanting to develop in your current role, wherever you work.

We have high expectations of ourselves and of our students, working together to achieve the best we, and you, can. We do not always get things right, but as a we are a learning organisation your feedback is not only welcome, but essential. We want to hear what you have to say, and we will provide a range of opportunities to get feedback on your experience with us, through forums, surveys, tutorials and course committees. Please do get involved with these during your time with us.

I, along with my colleagues across the Division of Education and Training, will do everything we can to support you in your studies. We hope to motivate you and inspire you, but most of all, we hope that you enjoy your time with us.

Elisa Reyes-Simpson, Interim Chief Education and Training Officer and Dean of Postgraduate Studies

About Elisa

Elisa took up the post of Interim Chief Education and Training Officer and Dean of Postgraduate Studies in July 2022. Elisa brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience to the role having been Associate Dean since 2015 and connected to the Tavistock and Portman, first as a student, for over 25 years. In addition to this she is also Chair of the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists.

Elisa completed her bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Leicester and her master’s at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. Following her master’s Elisa worked for a number of years in adult mental health as a social worker and then decided to train as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.

Elisa undertook a diploma in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the Tavistock and followed this with training at the Lincoln Centre for Psychotherapy (now the British Psychotherapy Foundation). During this time Elisa worked part-time at the Tavistock in a multi-disciplinary service for people with learning disabilities and autism which sought to make psychotherapy accessible to groups that, at the time, weren’t normally seen as people that could benefit from psychotherapy.

Elisa has taught in a number of courses and set up and ran our Intercultural psychodynamic psychotherapy course with colleague Ann Simpson. They worked to get the course accredited by the British Psychoanalytic Council, paving the way for BPC introducing qualifying courses in psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Elisa became increasingly involved in teaching and was appointed Associate Dean for academic governance and quality assurance in 2015. Governance is an area Elisa is highly experienced in having been Chair of professional standards at the BPC for five years. Alongside her governance and teaching roles Elisa has maintained her private practice with adult patients.

On her appointment Elisa said: “In my new role as Dean I hope to support our staff to continue to deliver not only a great education, but a great learning experience. I’m very keen that we promote a learning environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and where everybody feels able to be themselves.”

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