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Foundations in psychodynamic approaches to risk and complexity (CPD75)

Enhance your clinical skills for working with complex and challenging individuals in mental health, social services, primary care or criminal justice sectors

This course provides a foundation in psychoanalytic principles and their application to working with complex and challenging individuals.

We will introduce you to a framework for thinking about personality difficulties and the problems of managing and treating people who habitually resolve internal conflicts and anxieties by externalising in the form of problematic interpersonal behaviour, which places themselves or others at risk and causes concern to other people. Those complex dynamics tend to impact the treating clinicians, teams and care systems.

This course comprises clinical group discussions and theoretical seminars. You can choose to only attend the theoretical seminars. Find out more in the course details section below.

Aims and learning objectives

The aim of this course is to enhance your clinical skills in relation to a challenging, but potentially rewarding area of work. If you wish to continue with your studies in this area, this course also provides a route to applying for the qualifying course in forensic psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Who is this course for?

This course is for practitioners working in mental health, criminal justice, social services and primary care who wish to apply a model of the mind based on the understanding of unconscious processes to working with risk and complexity.

You may be a clinician or practitioner who assesses and manages those issues in individuals with severe psychopathology in secure, inpatient and community settings.

Course details

2023/24 Session dates and times

All sessions take place on Tuesdays on the following dates:

Session dates
3, 10, 17, 31 October 2023
7, 14, 21, 28 November 2023
5, 12 December 2023
9, 16, 23, 30 January 2024
6, 27 February 2024
5, 12, 19 March 2024
23, 30 April 2024
7, 14, 21 May 2024
4, 11,18, 25 June 2024
2 July 2024

Session times

  • Clinical group discussions run from 3pm to 4.15pm
  • Theoretical seminars run from 4.30pm to 6pm
  • Please note: there will be a 15 minute break between sessions

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom, and the sessions will not be recorded.

You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of a laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this Zoom test link to check your set up before booking.

You will be sent the necessary login link about a week before the course start date. Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us to discuss how we can best help you.

There are two elements in this course.

The clinical group discussions will allow for material presented by the participants to be discussed in a supportive and vibrant environment. As a group, you will consider how particular unconscious processes may either enhance or interfere with the therapeutic relationship and team dynamics.

The theoretical seminars will address basic psychodynamic concepts as they apply to risk and complexity, including the psychoanalytic model of the mind, psychic development, transference and counter transference, and enactment.

‘Foundations in psychodynamic approaches to risk and complexity (CPD75)’ is also available as a seminars-only course.

Excluding the clinical group discussions, you can choose to attend the theoretical seminars only (4.30pm to 6pm). The duration of this part-time course is one year (36 hours) and the fee is £1200.

Please see structure and timings for session times.

To book for the seminars only please click here

Library membership

Included in your course fee, you will receive online membership to the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection, plus reference access to all our print books.

Our information skills trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying), as well as various online resources including audio/video playlists.


“I enjoyed the clinical seminars very much, hearing from other practitioners working in different settings and learning from each other and the tutor. This included the range of discussion, that meandered into many areas that offered useful insight into institutional/organisational functioning too.”
“The theoretical knowledge will undoubtedly improve my ability to work with more complex clients and support my team in their work with such clients too.”

Course facilitators

Register your interest

Bookings are now closed. Register your interest to join our waiting list and be the first to hear when this course reopens.

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