Rosalind Shaw

Student Interview: Rosalind Shaw

Rosalind Shaw’s journey with the Tavistock and Portman began in 2017, when she enrolled in our CPD64 course. She has since completed a further six years of funded training – culminating in achieving a distinction in her Master’s degree dissertation earlier this year.

When Rosalind Shaw enrolled on a fully-funded, ten-week Developing a diverse child and adolescent workforce (CPD64) CPD course in 2017, little did she know that she was about to embark on a whole new professional and personal chapter – one that would prove transformative.

“So much of my life has changed”, she reflects. “My profession, my personal life, where I live, everything – and all the way through the thing that’s been consistent has been staying at the Tavi. It totally changed my life in every way”.

Finding a new path

At the time of her enrolment, Rosalind had recently begun working part-time in a residential facility for teenage girls leaving care in London, while also continuing to work in events management.

“I had been drawn to working in mental health, social care, something, but I didn’t really know what,” she explains. “I started a degree when I was young and out of school, and I dropped out quickly, and ever since then, I’d sort of meandered along, not really knowing what I wanted to do.”

When her manager recommended our CPD64 course, Rosalind wasn’t sure what to expect. Although drawn to “something more values-driven”, she had never heard of the Tavistock and Portman, or considered training in psychotherapy. But this ten-week introductory course made an immediate impact, and set her on a new path.

“I was surprised by how captivated I was by the different things we covered – just thinking about why people do the things they do – this is the stuff of life. Why wouldn’t I be interested in this? I just loved it. I suddenly found myself in a place where I just wanted to learn more.”

Delivered via lectures, small group seminars and a young child observation, Developing a diverse child and adolescent workforce (CPD64) offers an introduction to psychoanalytic understandings of child and adolescent emotional development. Professionals who do not have an undergraduate degree, and who work with children, young people and families in London, are eligible to apply for a free place on the course through the Tavistock and Portman’s Training Skills Escalator – a programme funded by NHS England, which aims to increase access to academic learning in the field of child psychotherapy.

Taking the plunge

After completing CPD64, Rosalind was encouraged to attend a five-week, funded study skills course, as a preparation for the next step on the Training Skills Escalator. She then left events management behind, and accepted a full-time position in the residential unit, while also embarking on our two-year Emotional care of babies, children, young people and families (EC1) course.

“I jumped into a new professional and academic world all at once, but actually it was brilliant because I was doing this new role and working with a lot of trauma and emotional and social deprivation, and it was just fantastic to have this course and this space to think alongside that work.”

While the EC1 course covers a wide range of psychoanalytic ideas, it was the module on understanding the behaviour of looked-after children which particularly resonated with Rosalind, given its relevance to her role at the time: “Looking back now, it really helped me do that work, because I had a space where I could explore and understand it. In sharing experiences from my work, I realised that  what I was doing was very close to the edge and very painful. Through doing EC1 I was able to access that and find ways to process and really understand it.”

The course also offered some much-needed optimism. Rosalind recalls a lecture when she asked Dr Graham Music whether it was really possible to recover from very early trauma, thinking of the experiences of the young women in her care. “And he said, ‘Yes, absolutely – because what’s the point in doing this if there isn’t?’ So there was so much hope in it as well, for the work that could be done, if the young people had the opportunity.”

With a growing sense of the impact and value of the work, and of her own academic and professional confidence, Rosalind progressed through the course, “learning little by little”, and from the “many different types of people and different professions” in the classroom too.  She even stepped up to take on the management of the residential unit – work that she “loved”.

Reaching milestones

Upon completion of the EC1 course, Rosalind progressed straight onto our flagship Perinatal, child, adolescent and family work: a psychoanalytic observational approach (M7) Master’s degree – finding the transition to be smoother than expected. “I realised how much I’d actually learnt on EC1”, she recalls. “I felt really confident”.

Rosalind handed in her dissertation in May 2023 – an important milestone both in terms of the formal entry requirements of further clinical study, but also as a summative learning experience. “You really do get to gather together all of your thoughts and everything you’ve learned, and apply it in a creative way to something you’re interested in”, she explains. “I couldn’t believe it when I got a distinction, it was so affirming after all the years, and all the courses and all the work, I was so pleased and proud that I’d been able to do that.”

For now, Rosalind has no immediate plans to continue her studies, having recently moved to Ireland to be nearer her family – but it’s clear that the door is still open: “Even in my transition to another country, I feel a little bit ‘held’ by the Tavi – I’ve gained so much from it, it’s all there, and feels a part of me now. And I don’t like to say I won’t go back, I like to think that I will continue on to the clinical training when the time is right.”

“I was so lucky to have the funding through the Training Skills Escalator,” she adds. “What a privilege to do all those courses – there’s absolutely no way I would have been able to do it otherwise. It’s a fantastic programme.”

Intrigued? Learn more.

If you’re feeling inspired by Rosalind’s story and would like to explore a similar training pathway, we are here to help:

You can find out more about each course, and our unique approach, on our website, in our prospectus and at our various open events.

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