Understanding development: adolescence (eCPD101)

Join our experts to understand the development process of adolescents in a psychoanalytical way

Sadly we are no longer offering this course. However, you might be interested in our new course Understanding depression in adolescence (CPD102) or one of our Digital Academy online courses which are linked at the bottom of this page.

Managing the complexities of adolescence is as much a challenge for the adults in an adolescent’s life, as it is for the young person themselves. Adolescence is a time of life that is central to our sense of who we are in the world. It is a time of intense emotion, of startling changes, of growth and of passionate feelings.

This course is aimed at those who are interested in how we grow into and through adolescence and how better to understand and relate to the young people we know, work or live with as they negotiate a complex developmental process.

The challenge in managing this complex stage of life is often as much for the adults in an adolescent’s life as for the young person themselves, and this course offers a way of thinking about the process, and ourselves in it, that uses a psychoanalytic perspective. We will think about development, will focus on observation of ourselves and others, and will stress throughout the importance of relationships in all aspects of development. Core psychoanalytic concepts will be introduced as they relate to the developmental process.

Aims and learning objectives

The course aims to provide a practice-focused introduction to ways of working with young people and offers students the opportunity to develop an applied psychoanalytic model of working.

Who is this course for?

This course is an awareness course that is aimed at those with a specialist interest in adolescence whether for career purposes or as a precursor or taster for further study – as well as those with a curiosity about how to relate better to young people.

For those new to a psychoanalytic approach it is also an introduction to core concepts as they apply to adolescence, so it is also relevant for professions including:

  • psychiatrists
  • social workers
  • probation officers
  • doctors
  • nurses
  • teachers
  • residential care workers

Course details

This course is not currently available for booking. Please use the “register your interest” button to sign up for future updates.

The course is arranged as ten units to be studied weekly.

A new unit is released weekly and will require roughly two hours study (one hour per video lecture, one hour for additional reading, discussion forum activity).

Once open, units remain available for the duration of the course and three months afterwards to allow you to flexibly schedule your time.

Optional live meetings

There will also be three optional live online seminars, at the start, midpoint and end of the course, where the course tutor will discuss further concepts and course content and where you will be able to feedback your experiences of studying this course.

SeminarDateStart timeEnd time
Start-of-course Course not currently available – to be confirmed

Please note that the online seminars are optional; the course can be fully completed without attending. They are intended to be interactive, so are not recorded; they are offered to provide you the opportunity to clarify concepts and share your learning.

The seminars will be delivered remotely using Zoom.

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.

This is an online self-study course delivered through our virtual learning environment, Moodle. It utilises video clips of clinician-trainers talking through concepts and examples, interviews/discussions available as audio podcasts, interactive tasks and full text online reading. A discussion forum is provided, and you are encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas as you progress through the course.

A self-study course is arranged to provide flexibility of time management as you are not required to connect to the optional live online meetings. It is an excellent way to get acquainted with a subject.

This course incorporates the following elements:

  • directed online study – you are given access to study resources such as video lectures, interviews, discussion forum activities, podcasts and quizzes
  • a reading pack – you are also given access to full online texts such as eBooks, case studies, conference papers and journal articles

The course is split into ten units. Each unit covers a particular theme including:

  • development of the personality
  • infancy, young childhood and going to school
  • adolescents and adolescence
  • observation
  • the use of the self in the relational model
  • groups, families and organisations
  • crowds, gangs, prejudice and bullying

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 thought it was a wonderful course. Really very well written and well delivered and hugely helpful.”
“I really enjoyed the course, and it was my first venture into online learning. I am encouraged and will do more.”
“I loved the mix of video lectures, podcasts, activities, online meetings and reading materials. The balance between them worked very well.”
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