Longer Programmes

Working with Children, Young People and Families: A Psychoanalytic Observational Approach

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Working with Children, Young People and Families: A Psychoanalytic Observational Approach

PG Certificate/PG Diploma/Masters Programme in Liverpool (known previously as 'Psychoanalytic Observational Studies')

The programme has recently undergone a full re-modelling by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with its Associate Centres to ensure it meets the needs of the current and future children’s workforce. This course, taught by experienced child psychotherapists, is designed to enhance professional work with children, young people and their carers. It is rooted in learning from detailed observation within a psychoanalytic framework. 

Students are required to be working in a professional capacity with children, adolescents or families. They are generally expected to have had at least one year's experience of such work before commencing the course. This need not be in a clinical setting.

Completion of this course or the equivalent Psychoanalytic Observational Studies programme (Leeds/Newcastle) is a pre-requisite for those wishing to apply for the clinical training in child and adolescent psychotherapy.

Doing the course has given me new lenses through which to view everyday experiences. It has shifted the axis of my personal and professional life. Nothing is seen or heard in quite the same way as before.


Validated by the University of Essex in partnership with the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Further information about the programmes delivered in Leeds/Newcastle can be found at the foot of this page.


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Any further enquiries can be directed to NSCAP on 0113 855 8750 or nscap.lypft@nhs.net

For information on Government-funded postgraduate loans please see the below link:



We have produced a selection of videos to help potential students, and their employers, understand more about what is involved in psychoanalytic observation and how it benefits the student and their work practices. 

In these videos current and former students on the programme talk about their experience of being on the programme and how it has impacted on them.  We believe that our students are the best advocates for the distinctive and high quality experience of education and training at NSCAP.  We are very grateful to the students who agreed to contribute to these videos and who spoke so eloquently.

Video 1: NSCAP students talk about the experience of starting an infant observation and what they gained from the process. 


Video 2: In this video NSCAP students talk about how the course has helped them develop in their work with children and young people and also as individuals.


Video 3: NSCAP student Sam talks about his experience of the psychoanalytic observation course.


Video 4: In this video Michelle talks about how studying at NSCAP benefited her work as a midwife and how it has informed her current training as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist.


Video 5: Students talk about their experience of learning and developing at NSCAP.


Further information on the equivalent course delivered by NSCAP in Leeds can be found here.

Is this course right for me?

Who is the course for?
All professionals working with children, young people and their families who want to develop their capacity to observe and to think about the meaning of behaviour from a psychoanalytic perspective. Students include: teachers, learning mentors, social workers, residential care workers, psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, paediatricians, counsellors, CAMHS practitioners, health visitors, midwives and youth workers.

What does it offer?
The skills gained through the experience of observing infants and young children over an extended period enhance the quality of direct work with children, young people and families. The programme is a pre-requisite for those wishing to undertake clinical training in child and adolescent psychotherapy.

Will it help my work with children and young people?
Students report that the programme is highly relevant to their professional work. Working practice is significantly enhanced by a better understanding of difficult or troublesome behaviour. They also indicate that they feel more able to think under pressure and not to be forced into precipitate action.

The discussions were able to open out material in the observations so that I saw so much more than I thought was there.


Working with Children, Young People & Families Leaflet 2017/2018

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