Group of happy kids

Understanding and nurturing troubled children (DAA501)

An online introduction to children’s development

“By understanding why a child presents as they do, we can become less judgemental, and so more able to offer them the help that they need” – Dr Graham Music, course lead

This 20-hour CPD certified course bundle provides an accessible, online introduction to how and why children develop as they do – drawing on cutting-edge neurobiological science, developmental theories and clinical ideas to unpack the most significant influences on the developing child and explore key developmental stages.

Aims and learning objectives

Through four individual, five-hour courses, you will explore how early experiences shape the structure and functioning of our brains and nervous systems, and how this can be seen in children’s behaviours, minds and emotions.

Drawing on new understandings of trauma, abuse, neglect and how children cope with challenging experiences, these online courses will show how children’s innate ability to adapt to their surroundings can lead to both short term gains and long term costs – forming behavioural patterns that are ingrained in the mind, brain and body.

You will also examine the delicate interplay between nature and nurture, outlining how inherited traits and external influences can all impact on a child’s development. Central to these courses is the idea that children are highly adaptive, developing in response to their environment even before birth.

The courses will:

  • provide a better understanding of the effects of trauma, neglect and abuse, how resilience can develop, and how this information can be used to positive effect in your practice when working with children and young people
  • help you to make sense of behaviours that on the surface might seem annoying, upsetting, frightening or personally challenging
  • offer valuable insights into the enduring impact of early relationships, which can help to inform your own interactions with children and young people
  • outline ways to bring about change and build resilience through positive interventions and relationships
  • help you to be more aware of the implications of this adaptive capacity and feel more confident applying this knowledge to your work with children and young people
  • enable you to apply the learning directly to your work with children and families – drawing on a deeper understanding of the factors that can affect how children behave, think and feel, in order to provide them with the support they need

You will learn by:

  • exploring key concepts through interactive lecture content and videos
  • deepening your understanding via regular opportunities for reflection
  • considering a case study to help apply the theory to your work
  • testing your knowledge with multiple choice quizzes, which will unlock access to your CPD certificates upon completion

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone to this course who has a keen interest in the subject area. In particular, this course is for you if you work with children and families and wish to learn more about cutting-edge research findings and how these can be used in your work.

You may be working in:

  • a school
  • social services
  • healthcare
  • the voluntary sector
  • or you may be considering work with children in the future

Course details

These courses run continuously, so you can sign up at any time. They offer 20 hours of self-directed online learning which you can undertake at a time, pace and location that suits you.

You will have access to four mini courses and their materials for one year. Access begins the day after you’ve booked, when you will receive your account details by email.

This course bundle will allow you to:

  • explore new science about the brain and nervous system, as well as key child development theories, such as attachment theory
  • make sense of children’s behaviours and mental states by taking into account their family background, culture, biological inheritance and current contexts
  • better understand the effects of adverse experiences, such as trauma, neglect and abuse, and how positive experiences can build resilience
  • gain an understanding of the importance of good relationships for emotional wellbeing, health, psychological growth, and recovery from emotional difficulties
  • apply new knowledge and skills to your own work, through exploring authentic case studies and reflecting on your learning and experiences

There are no specific requirements for these courses, although we suggest you are working with, or have an interest in working with children, or want to learn more about the effects of difficult early experiences on children’s minds and behaviours.

There’s a multiple choice question assessment at the end of each course, which provides access to your Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust CPD certificates upon completion (four certificates available in total).

How does it work?

  • Save with this course bundle: bundle price = £249 / cost of four individual mini courses = £276
  • The course bundle contains four online mini courses – each one containing five hours’ worth of interactive content, giving you a total of 20 hours of learning
  • You can also purchase access to each of the mini courses individually – visit their course pages to find out more

Courses included in this bundle


“I thought I knew quite a lot about trauma and neglect but I can highly recommend this course. Informative, interesting, up to date and has given me a lot more food for thought and ideas about the young people I work with.”
“Really excellent course. Very informative in terms of sharing current research on brain development, linking how genetics and environment impact the developing mind and beyond. It has helped to enhance my work with clients. Loved the fact I could log on and complete over several weeks in my own time. This was particularly helpful at a time when demands on time have been greater due to balancing work, home schooling and life in general! Many thanks to all involved in producing such a worthwhile course.”
“I really enjoyed the course, it was just the right level to apply to what I am doing. It has made me want to do more courses with the Tavistock.”
“I found the course content very useful and presented in a very accessible way. The various presentations of the content – videos, journaling and reading were all helpful in consolidating what I was learning.”
“This course will help me to be more alert to the effects of early trauma/neglect on the behaviour/reactions of children when I see them manifested in the therapy room and be more sensitive to how I might help balance emotional deficits.”

Why study with us?

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing for over 100 years. We bring our extensive experience to this course as the only NHS Trust to be registered as a Higher Education Provider by The Office for Students. This means your learning will be grounded in practice and real life application. With our Digital Academy, we have made our training accessible and available to everyone to explore in your own time, at your own pace.

Course facilitators


This course has been independently evaluated for Continuing Professional Development purposes by the CPD Certification Service. This means that the learning activity meets global CPD standards and benchmarks, and the learning value has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality.

Book your place today

Our Digital Academy mini courses run continuously so you can join at any time. Access begins the day after you’ve booked, when you will receive your login details by email.

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