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9th International conference for infant observation returns in 2024

A milestone event for teachers and students in the field of psychoanalytic infant observation.

We’re delighted to announce that the much-anticipated 9th International conference for infant observation will return in April 2024. After a break, the conference is back, promising to be a milestone event for teachers and students in the field of psychoanalytic infant observation.

Under the theme “Psychoanalytic observation, intersectionality and the social matrix: implications for infant observation and its applications” the conference will bring together renowned experts and clinicians in the field of psychoanalytic infant observation to explore the unique value, complexities and contemporary challenges of this method of learning about human development. The event will take place at The Tavistock Centre, London from Friday 5 to Saturday 6 April 2024, and is expected to attract a diverse and international audience wishing to enrich their understanding of infant observation.

The conference will feature a wide range of presentations and workshops, drawing upon the personal experiences of infant observation teachers, students and researchers from different countries. The conference will focus on how social forces intersect with the infant’s internal and interpersonal experiences to shape development, as well as the role of identity in the practice of infant observation.

Dr Matthew Chuard, joint lead for The Tavistock and Portman’s pre-clinical training in child psychotherapy and the lead organiser for the conference, shared: “We are thrilled to be welcoming back the 9th International conference for infant observation. Whilst infant observation and its applications is now taught in many institutions across the globe, The Tavistock Centre is its original home  — having originally being developed here by the child psychotherapist and psychoanalyst Esther Bick in 1948.”

Speaking about the focus of this year’s conference, Dr Chuard explained: “It will be the first time that identity and intersectionality will be addressed explicitly as a conference theme; we are greatly looking forward to what is likely to be a very lively, challenging and enriching conversation. As a conference, we hope to grapple with the challenges of addressing this key aspect of human experience and how these ideas relate to and enrich the teaching and learning of psychoanalytic observation. The theme for the conference has arisen directly from work which we have been engaged in within the child psychotherapy discipline at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust over several years. This conference has been central to the exchange of knowledge and insights in our field, and we are excited to continue this. After previous conferences being postponed during the Covid pandemic, we are looking forward to bringing people together in person and developing our thinking and ideas about psychoanalytic observation.”

For the first time this year, students will be invited to join the first day of the conference programme. “As a conference organising group, we wanted to widen access so that students of infant observation and its applications would have the opportunity to come and hear current clinicians, teachers and students of psychoanalytic observation speak about their experiences and the new developments in the field,” Dr Chuard said. “The conference will also be richer for having the contributions of those who are currently at the start of their journey of becoming psychoanalytic observers. It seemed particularly fitting given that the theme is one which places understanding and learning about the emotional challenges of difference and identity at its heart.”

Registration for the conference is now open and attendees are encouraged to register early to secure their spot. The event promises to be a remarkable occasion for everyone involved in the practice and pedagogy of infant observation, and we hope that many of you will be able to join us.

Interested in learning more?

Bookings are open for our 9th international conference for infant observation 2024. If you have a relevant project that fits this year’s conference theme and would like to take part, you can find out further information on our events page.

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