Student outside with books

Meet our students

We provide transformational mental health and social care courses that will equip and empower you throughout your career

We’re proud of our students. They come from a variety of backgrounds and have different experiences that create a real, diverse and exciting culture.

A selection of our students, studying for professional doctorates, introductory courses and postgraduate courses share their experiences of life at the Tavi.

Meet Sharna, a student on our ‘Advanced practice and research social work and social care (D55)’ course

Sharna Jolly illustration

My decision to study at the Tavistock and Portman was a gradual process. I initially became aware of the Trust following an interesting reflective group discussion with Professor Andrew Cooper, which explored relationship-based social work practice. I later had the privilege of meeting another lecturer which further sparked my interest in psychodynamic theory.

“The content of the course is intellectually stimulating and has been very beneficial in helping me to navigate the complexities of social work practice, particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In addition, the course has provided the opportunity for me to meet array of different professionals, from variety of specialisms. My colleagues and the lecturers have been incredibly thoughtful and supportive of my continuing professional development and my overall wellbeing.   

I was surprised by the group relations conference; it was a very challenging but valuable experience, which provided a unique insight into group dynamics.

The course has impacted my life in a multitude of ways. It has helped me to cultivate my self-efficacy, self- awareness, analytical skills and professional judgement. 

I am aware that for busy practitioners that the idea of completing a doctorate is intimidating, however if you are disciplined with your time it is a very enriching experience.

I feel my service users and my organisation are also benefitting from me studying. If someone is thinking about applying to this course, I would recommend that you explore all the course information and ask to speak to a member of staff if needed. The support staff and lecturers are very friendly and supportive.”

Meet Will, a student on our ‘Introduction to counselling and psychotherapy (D12)’ course

Will Irvine illustration

I decided to study at the Tavistock and Portman as I had been considering retraining as a therapist for some time. I had looked at different routes over the years, such as a psychology conversion course or general counselling introduction, but had never been sure which was best for me.

After reading the outline of this course, I found that all of the concepts covered in the weekly readings were areas I was interested in being introduced to or discovering more about. The balance between the theory part of the course and the work observation part also appealed to me; there would be opportunities to relate the concepts to real experience.

“The most enjoyable part of the course is sharing insights, confusions, frustrations and revelations with the other members of the class. The subject matter often intersects with each person’s life in very different ways and exchanging these helps flesh out the various possible implications.

I have found the theories we’re exploring have made me look at many of the emotional exchanges of everyday life, whether that is at home or at work, in a different way. It genuinely changes your perspective on others and yourself and has provided useful tools to better understand the service users I work with. It has also been an important stage on the road for me to change careers to working full time in mental health. 

An unexpected thing about studying here is the onus on students to lead their own learning, to sit with the discomfort of not knowing and to figure things out. This has been surprising and, at times, challenging. It has also proven to be one of the most fruitful and empowering parts of the learning process. 

I know it can be daunting choosing an introductory course from the breadth of options that are out there. The Tavistock and Portman definitely has a unique approach and it’s good to get as much of a sense of that as you can.

My advice to someone considering applying would be to attend an open day, even if it’s virtual! I found this really gave me a feel of the kind of conversation I was joining at the Tavistock. Even if you’re uncertain, don’t be discouraged; this course gives you every opportunity to figure out what your approach is and you’ll definitely know yourself better by the end of it.

Meet Susan, a student on our ‘Child, adolescent and family mental wellbeing: multidisciplinary practice (D24)’ course

Susan Tyrell illustration

I chose to study at the Tavistock because I wanted a course that would be rigorous intellectually and well regarded. I genuinely feel that the course has had an impact on all areas of my life. 

In my clinical life I have begun to understand, navigate and speak to the connection between mind and body with much more confidence. My appreciation of the debates around race and diversity have expanded. I have benefited personally and intellectually from grappling with psychodynamic theory.

“What I really loved about this course was that the lecturers teaching the systemic and psychodynamic frameworks would discuss points of theory between themselves and we, the students, would be able to compare and contrast and note areas of similarity and divergence between the two models – it was fascinating! 

There was nothing that surprised me by studying this course – I had really high hopes regarding the integrity of the teaching staff and I was not disappointed.

When it comes to thinking if a course is for you, it really is ‘horses for courses’ but I certainly feel that I have found my fit at the Tavistock and Portman.”

Meet Sameena, a student on our ‘Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy (BD58, evening)’ course

Sameena Ahmed illustration

I decided to study at the Tavistock and Portman as the reputation was excellent and when I investigated comparative courses, I felt that the Tavistock had a broader syllabus.

During my time studying the Psychodynamic reflective practice in mental health (D65) course, I knew that I had started a stimulating journey that had allowed me to think about my work as a counsellor in a deeper way and I was keen to continue this path by enrolling on the Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy (BD58 Evening) course in 2021.

“I have chosen to do the evening course as it allows me to manage my work and caring commitments. I’m in my first term so am still to establish my clinical placement but feel I have made a routine where I set aside time to study and attend teaching. Even at this early stage on the course I am keeping in mind concepts we are studying and what this may mean in my work. I’m looking forward to starting my placement to work more on the unconscious processes of patients.  

I really enjoy the seminars as it provides an opportunity to discuss psychoanalytic concepts from the reading material. All the tutors are very knowledgeable and bring a wealth of clinical experience to share and use as examples to strengthen understanding.  

Seminars are attended by mixed year groups which works well, providing a rich discussion with a mixture of experiences. I’m also learning to ‘sit with the anxiety’ around the process of obtaining placements, which is made easier by the support and advice received by the course team.

I have enjoyed the challenging and thought-provoking reading backed up by discussions with experienced clinicians and am looking forward to putting what I am learning in to practice through placement work.”

Meet Ibhafidon, a student on our ‘Child, adolescent and family mental wellbeing: multidisciplinary practice (D24)’ course

Ibhafidon Ogbe illustration

What I enjoyed most about studying on this course was meeting so many people from diverse backgrounds and the sharing of knowledge and experience between us all.

This course has massively helped to build my confidence in my everyday work with families. It has also given me a good understanding of the theories and techniques that I can use when working with young people.

“The main reason for studying at the Tavistock and Portman was because of the first hand experience and practical expertise of staff that teach on the courses. Secondly, the Trust is an institute where academic excellent is pursued and I wanted to be a part of that.

I was really surprised at the impact the group relations conference had on me – in a good way! It really helped to advance my knowledge on certain aspects of the course and allowed me to reflect on myself as an individual.

My advice for anyone considering studying at the Tavistock and Portman is that they should go for it! Do not delay in getting started as the education will make such a positive impact to their work.”

Meet Sagal, a student on our ‘Child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy (M80)’ course

Sagal Hassan illustration

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, daytime) course, and I will qualify here as a child and adolescent psychotherapist from the M80 course.

“The infant observation really moved me and it has demonstrated how powerful something as seemingly innocuous as observing a small baby can be. I think this aspect of the course definitely enhanced my sensitivity to the emotional life of infants.

The journey I have taken since I started studying at the Tavistock and Portman has been transformational, in terms of both my professional and personal life. During the course, I have encountered great minds, in course tutors and peers, and it has been one of the most significant periods of learning of my adult life.

The course has enriched my ability to be able to think differently about the children I work with. It has given me the resilience and courage to enhance my awareness of my own feelings, and unknown parts of my personality, in turn, enhancing my sensitivity and capacity to reflect on the children I work with.

I was fortunate enough to have been a recipient of the Stuart Hall Foundation Scholarship, which was set up to improve accessibility onto the Child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy (M80) course for BAME students. We are all becoming increasingly aware of how a lack of diversity in the profession impoverishes our thinking. I strongly believe that diversity is something that enriches all of our work and I am very pleased and encouraged that issues of accessibility and diversity have been taken up seriously at an institutional level, and I am hopeful that there will be a new generation of BAME child psychotherapists to reflect this effort.

If someone is considering applying to the Tavistock and Portman, I would say just go for it. But be prepared for a transformational learning experience that will change the way you look at yourself, your relationships and the world around you. I was surprised by how impactful the experiential aspects of the learning at the Tavistock are.”

Meet Ajoy, a student on our ‘Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (D10)’ course

Ajoy Datta illustration

I decided to study at the Tavistock and Portman because it has been teaching about groups and organisations for a long time and has a good reputation in this area.

Since I’ve been on the course, I’m more able to understand the emotions I’m experiencing, what might lie behind them and make sense of what’s happening in the teams I’ve been working in. I’ve found my participation in groups and organisations has subsequently improved. I’ve been able to take up my authority and have what might appear to be difficult conversations with a range of people.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning what it means to hold a consultative stance both at work and in life more generally through a variety of methods: lectures, seminars and experiential groups. I’ve especially appreciated the focus on understanding and working with difference. 

I’ve also appreciated having the opportunity to attend the Tavistock’s ‘Thinking space’ sessions, BAME support group sessions and have some contact with a tutor throughout the year. 

Having started the course online, I’ve missed out on the more collegial elements of the course, which, I imagine, would have happened in those in-between moments informally with fellow students. I’m really looking forward to the transition to in-person teaching, when it can resume again.

I really enjoyed seeing our teachers in person and visiting the Tavistock for the first time in July 2021, after nine months of online teaching!

If anyone is considering applying to this course, I say – come, just do it!”

Meet Midge, a student on our ‘Tavistock qualification in consultation (D10C)’ course

Midge Seymour Roots illustration

I decided to study at the Tavistock and Portman as I was keen to undertake study in organisational dynamics from an interpersonal and systemic perspective. Having attended CPD courses here, I felt that this would be a positive place to study; the course also came recommended to me.

The teachers on the course are all experienced consultants and have a lot of practice behind them; I felt that this was really important, particularly as I was keen to have practical input. Although the course is not cheap, in comparison to similar courses, it was affordable.

“I really enjoyed the experiential aspects of the master’s level course – having to think in the ‘here and now’ and really explore the feelings that were being stirred up in me vis-à-vis the dynamics of the group. The experiential part of the course was grounded in theory, both seminal and contemporaneous and this really helped me to gain a strong foundation in organisational theory from psychodynamic and systemic level.

The course has had a positive impact on my life, career and practice. At a personal level it has caused me to pause and to consider who I really am and to access my voice as a mature, Irish woman. It has enabled me to look more deeply at discriminatory practices at all levels in organisations, including systemic racism, sexism, and ageism and have taken this into my workplace and been proactive in tackling many of these unseen practices and giving voice to vulnerable groups and supporting change in the workplace.

Whilst change is not always easy or possible, the course has given me the tools to understand what might be occurring beneath the surface.

Overall, I believe that I have had a positive experience at the Tavistock and Portman. Whilst the organisation, like other institutions struggles with workplace dynamics, the important thing is that there is a desire amongst the tutors on the course to consider these dynamics with the student group and what is brought in from the outside as part of the overall student experience.       

I think that it’s important to recognise that by virtue of the kind of courses run at the Tavistock, studying here will have an emotional impact. It’s not so easy to compartmentalise the experience into just studying and getting on with your life outside of the courses. However, I think that this is one of the unique positives of studying at the Tavistock – you will never view the workplace (or yourself) in the same way again.”

Meet Jason, a student on our ‘Child, community and educational psychology (M4)’ course

Jason Shonibara illustration

The Tavistock and Portman uniquely offers learning in a functioning clinical mental health setting, a CAMHS placement and world renowned psychoanalytic and systemic academic institution.

These features all suited my experience, developing my skill set and professional interests really well. I have been fortunate to make use of volunteering and job opportunities in various education, youth and mental health services and take lots of satisfaction from this work, so studying here is a good fit for me.

“My course has taken me on an amazing journey and provided me with professional skills and tools that make a positive impact on the development of the children and young people I work with. 

Additionally, building on my reflective skills and opportunities to broaden my perceptions of the world in a supportive nurturing environment has been awesome. 

The opportunity to study at this level and hopefully enact broader, real-world changes have been lifelong goals of mine. Giving back to the system which nurtured me to this position is paramount to me. I also hope to do my best, representing myself as a black man and father, my family and my community in my role as a qualified educational psychologist.

On hearing that I had been accepted to study at the Tavistock and Portman, I spent a huge portion of time worrying about how I would manage doctoral level academia. I had been out of formal education for ten years before taking up training and believed this would count against me. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and often bespoke support I received for things like academic writing. This proved to be a big help.

The decision to study anywhere is a deeply personal one. Particularly when the course requires a significant personal investment, challenges your personal and professional perceptions and will potentially shape your life’s work. As such I would advise anyone applying to approach the application process as a matching exercise. How do your needs and preferences align with the expectations that will be placed on and support offered to you? Good luck!”

Meet Chaya, a student on our ‘Systemic psychotherapy (M6)’ course

Chaya Odze illustration

I decided to study at the Tavistock and Portman as it came highly recommended by many of my colleagues who had studied on various courses, including the courses I have now completed. I feel very privileged to be practising as a trainee systemic psychotherapist in a CAMHS team at the Tavistock and to be helping children and families who need it.

“What I enjoy most is the teaching which is to a very high standard. The wealth of expertise from the broad range of lecturers and clinicians who teach us has enriched my practice. I also appreciate the importance that is placed on working with diversity.

The courses I have completed so far at the Tavistock and Portman have enhanced my personal and professional life far beyond what I had imagined when I embarked on the programmes. They have turned me into a more confident psychotherapist and a better supervisor at my workplace. It has helped me manage my relationships better which in turn has also made me a better psychotherapist.

I have always felt very well supported as a student at the Tavistock and Portman. I have a lecturer who went out of her way on many occasions to accommodate my needs, and the needs of other Orthodox Jewish students, whether it was around our dietary requirements or attendance at some of the lectures which fell on times that we were not allowed to attend for religious reasons.

My advice to someone who is considering applying for a course is to do it. You will not regret it! The learning is rich from the teaching, but also the diverse student groups and the learning and support we give each other. The excellent teaching that you have heard about lives up to its reputation and I never could have imagined that studying at the Tavistock would take my career as far as it has.”

The content of the course is intellectually stimulating and has been very beneficial in helping me to navigate the complexities of Social Work practice, particularly during COVID-19 Pandemic.  In addition, the course has provided the opportunity for me to meet array of different professionals, from variety of specialisms – my colleagues and the lecturers have been incredibly thoughtful and supportive of my continuing professional development and my overall wellbeing.   

I was surprised by the Group Relations Conference- it was a very challenging but valuable experience, which provided a unique insight into Group Dynamics.

The course has impacted my life in a multitude of ways, it has helped me to cultivate my self-efficacy, self- awareness, analytical skills and professional judgement. 

I am aware that for busy practitioners that the idea of completing a Doctorate is intimidating, however if you are disciplined with your time it is a very enriching experience – I feel my service users and my organisation are also benefitting from me studying.  If someone is thinking about applying to this course, I would recommend that you explore all the course information and ask to speak to a member of staff if needed – the support staff and lecturers are very friendly and supportive.”

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