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Child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy (M80)

The NHS’s most established clinical training in child and adolescent psychotherapy

This internationally renowned course comprises four years of NHS clinical training in child and adolescent psychotherapy.

Upon completion, you will qualify as a child and adolescent psychotherapist with eligibility for membership of the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) which is the registering and accrediting body for the profession. The course is validated by the University of Essex, leading to the award of professional doctorate in child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy (DPsych).

Please note: you may see the M80 course also referred to as PCDOTP001 in communications from our application system.

About this course

Over four years, you will undertake taught components, clinical work placements and a research project, attending the Tavistock Centre for training events on Wednesdays each week. 

The course consists of the following elements:

  • individual supervision for clinical work
  • small group clinical supervision
  • clinical seminars (assessments, beginnings, work with parents, endings, models of short term psychotherapy and brief consultation)
  • choice of specialist multidisciplinary workshops e.g. adolescence; fostered and adopted children; early years and perinatal; trauma and early development; children who are violent, delinquent or act out sexually; and eating disorders
  • experiential group relations week in year three
  • theoretical lectures and reading seminars
  • research teaching: methods and skills
  • workshops, supervision and support for research project development, proposals and ethical approaches
  • academic support and assessed academic work
  • individual tutorials and departmental/clinic events

You will also undertake clinical work under supervision, as a member of a clinical team and will:

  • work with long term psychoanalytic cases
  • work with short term psychoanalytically-based therapy offered across the age range
  • gain experience and training in assessments and brief-focused therapeutic work
  • gain experience with parents and parental couples of referred children
  • gain experience in generic child mental health work, including family work
  • develop clinical specialism(s)
  • undertake a research project

During the first year seminars on research methods and skills, you will be introduced to key research paradigms, quantitative and qualitative health care research methodologies and a range of research designs. You will then be supported to formulate a research question, usually linked to your clinical experience or your workplace, and develop your dissertation proposal for registration for a professional doctorate, to undertake the data collection and writing up of your findings.

You will be fully supported by a research supervisor and will also attend research workshops with your peers. The annual cross-programme research week offers access to the wider research culture at the Tavistock and Portman.

Please see our FAQs surrounding our Child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy (M80) course.

Who is this course for?

We seek to recruit a diverse group of people who have a lively interest in and aptitude for working in mental health services for children and young people (ages from 0-25) and their families.

Course details

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:

  1. have completed our Working with children, young people and families: a psychoanalytic observational approach (M7) course or equivalent. (Completion must be to at least postgraduate diploma level or to master’s level if you do not already hold a UK honours degree. For overseas qualifications, equivalence of academic level to a UK honours degree can be confirmed by NARIC. An ‘equivalent’ programme will deliver comparable learning outcomes e.g. a two year psychoanalytic baby observation, a one year young infant psychoanalytic observation and two years of work discussion seminars and psychoanalytic theory lectures and seminars)
  2. have substantial experience of working with children and young people and
  3. are strong in personal suitability
  4. apply by Friday 13 January 2023

Personal suitability criteria include:

  • both sensitivity and resilience to meet the emotional demands of the training
  • sustained interest in infants, children and adolescents and the ability to engage and build relationships with them
  • awareness of the impact you have on others and the impact of others on you
  • respect for others’ difference, identity and individuality
  • the ability to keep personal and professional boundaries
  • the ability to ask for and use help
  • the ability to keep thinking under pressure
  • excellent written and spoken communications skills

Further requirements: personal psychotherapy and psychoanalysis

Personal psychoanalysis (usually four or five sessions per week) is an essential component of the child and adolescent psychotherapy training.  It is at the heart of supporting your personal and professional development and strongly contributes towards your continuing development after training.

You are strongly encouraged to begin personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis (for six months or one year) before you apply to the training as this is an important developmental opportunity. In some circumstances this might be in the form of once or twice weekly therapy and might be accessed remotely through online technologies. 

Personal tutors and/or potential training schools will be able to think with you about your options including advice about suitably accredited analysts and psychotherapists and help for people with limited funds to access some financial support.

We are committed to widening access to the training and building on the diversity of our training groups. We understand that some applicants will not have the opportunity to start personal therapy, for financial, geographical and other reasons, and we do not want this to be a barrier to making an application.

If you have not started in personal therapy, then you should, as a minimum, have an understanding about the importance of personal psychoanalysis for undertaking psychoanalytic work. This includes thinking about yourself and your own readiness for what this might entail, in terms of the exploration of ​your own conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings.

This can feel quite challenging; thinking about managing your own anxiety or other responses is often a part of the process, for all applicants. It is a challenging part of psychoanalytic working as you have to think about and manage one’s own responses and anxieties. If needed, we encourage you to contact us, so we can help with thinking about this.

We will need to assess candidates’ suitability for training, on the basis that you can demonstrate that you have the requirements for clinical training, which includes being ready to take part in and learn from personal psychoanalysis. This will be explored as part of the recruitment and selection process for new trainees.

If you are accepted, you need to be in a position to start your personal analysis at the beginning of your training (the start of the autumn term at latest) or you will not be able to take up your place.

There is an accredited list of analysts who are suitably experienced for working with our trainees. We have a separate process to help identify a suitable analytic vacancy. This can take several months, so it is important to contact us early on in relation to starting before training or to be ready to start at the beginning of the course.

Please note: Applications to this course will close on Friday 13 January 2023.

Most places for this course are funded through a national scheme aimed at training the NHS workforce. If you are successful in your application, you will be directed to apply for training posts, one of which you must secure before taking up your place.

If you meet entry criteria for the course but are a non-UK resident and so not eligible for NHS funding, or you have not secured a funded place, you may be considered on a self-funding basis. These places are limited and considered on a case-by-case basis. The fee for international students is £27,500.

There is some limited bursary and loan support offered by charitable Trust funds which trainees can apply for.

Please note that course fees are subject to an annual uplift of 3% or the Consumer Price Inflation as at 1 September, whichever is the greater. At its discretion, the Trust may determine a figure between these two rates.


Practice-based learning is ongoing throughout the programme with defined progress points at the end of each year, and joint planning between you, your placement supervisor and your tutor for the next year’s requirements.

This ensures that the required professional competencies can be met by the end of the programme so that you will be eligible for full membership of the ACP. There are also academic submissions each year, building progressively so that by the end of the course you will be ready to submit a substantial portfolio of clinical and research work, which will be assessed by viva.


This course is full time, between your clinical work in placement and time for training. A full day on Wednesday is spent at the Tavistock Centre in North West London.

Qualified child psychotherapists can work in public services such as the NHS or voluntary sectors. Given that training posts are fully funded by Health Education England, the expectation is that post-qualification you would work in the NHS or the voluntary sector.

However, you are eligible to work in private practice. It is strongly recommended that child psychotherapists continue to have supervision post-qualification. This is expected by the ACP and is part of continued CPD after qualifying.

Why study with us?

This course will provide you with the opportunity to study at one of the world’s leading providers of child psychotherapy training. It will help you gain highly specialised skills in clinical work and research with children, adolescents and their families, including those who have experienced trauma, abuse, social disadvantage or discrimination.

It will also allow you to study within a supportive and diverse peer group and environment, with a long-established tradition of excellence in training child psychotherapists and other disciplines.

This course will equip you with research knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to child psychotherapists working in the NHS, and enable you to contribute to the wider development of research in the clinical discipline and professional field.


“The Tavistock and Portman has a world renowned reputation in child psychotherapy training, and highly experienced clinical educators. I feel fortunate that I have been able to begin my training journey here on the ‘Working with children, young people and families: A psychoanalytic observational approach (M7)’ course, and I will qualify here as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist from the M80 course.”
“The training was life-changing in ways that I had never expected and could never have anticipated. It has been fascinating, holding an endless potential for learning, exploring and questioning, and has changed the way I think about the world and my experiences.”
“The training was extremely intense, on different levels. Working so intimately with unconscious processes is both very tough and enormously stimulating. People are so interesting. It is such an honour to get to know someone, their lives, their thoughts and feelings. It is a further honour to witness the changes this work can make in a child’s life.”
“One of my patients recently told me that he feels he has grown during the therapy and that he feels the therapy will continue to grow with him once he ends his treatment. This made a lot of sense to me and is how I feel about my experience of the training: something solid that will remain with me throughout my career and future experiences.”
“I feel very grateful to my service supervisors and my personal tutor, all of whom have been so patient with me, generous with their time, quietly trusting in my capacity to learn. Behind them have been a whole army of case supervisors, small group supervisors and workshop leaders who have stretched my mind and helped me to develop my clinical practice.”

Course facilitators

Validations and accreditations

University of Essex logo

This course is validated by the University of Essex.

This course is accredited by the Association of Child Psychotherapists.

Register your interest

Applications are now closed. Register your interest and be the first to hear when this course reopens.

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