Tavistock Relationships

Established in 1948, Tavistock Relationships is recognised in its field as a centre of advanced practice and study, both nationally and internationally. Our ethos is to develop practice, research and policy activities which complement and inform the development of services to couples.

We run a variety of practitioner trainings, ranging from introductory courses to doctoral programmes in couple counselling and psychotherapy. Our courses are accredited by the British Association of Couple Counselling and Psychotherapy, the British Psychoanalytic Council and the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists. Our post graduate trainings are validated by the University of East London.

The centre supplies specialist therapeutic services to couples and individuals experiencing difficulties in their relationships; provides clinical training for the next generation of couple counsellors and psychotherapists; provides training and consultancy on delivering, developing and managing services for couples and families; undertakes research that contributes to the understanding of couple and family relationships and how best they might be improved.


Psychosexual Certificate

Start date: Saturday, 15 September 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
This CPD course is for counsellors and psychotherapists, youth workers, GPs and other healthcare professionals, who want to develop their expertise in addressing sexual issues with clients. It takes place over two terms and consists of 8 full day Saturday workshops. It focuses on thinking about relationships and sex and applying this understanding to participants’ work. The course consists of lectures, films, role play, discussion and will cover topics such as couple dynamics, sexual desire and arousal, talking about sex, sexual dysfunctions and sexual compulsivity. The course aims to increase understanding, knowledge and confidence in working with the sexual relationship.


(London) Being in the Moment: How Acting Techniques Can Help the Therapist to be Present

Start date: Friday, 21 September 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: 70 Warren Street, London W1T 5PB
Price: £118
This experiential workshop draws on acting techniques to focus on what takes place between people in the immediacy of the therapeutic encounter. Attention will be given to what is expressed, revealed and co-created when the script and the theory are put to one side. Participants will have the opportunity to discover and practise exercises developed by the American acting teacher Sanford Meisner (1905-1997). These exercises, mainly based on repetition, are used by actors to access, observe and respond in the moment to affect in others and themselves, and counteract the tendency to make assumptions about meaning. Links will be made with a variety of clinical situations and particularly with Mentalization Based Therapies, which focus on observing interactions and identifying triggers of emotional dysregulation. Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and James Gandolfini are some of the celebrities who trained in the Meisner method. Professional actors will join us for the workshop and will work with the participants so that everyone can experience being both observer and actor – a position we occupy daily in the different set-up of the consulting room. Perrine Moran will bring insights from the point of view of her work as a psychodynamic individual and couple psychotherapist. Scott Williams, who trained with Sanford Meisner himself, will bring his long and rich experience in the theatre.

(London) Anger and Creativity - The Dynamics of Aggression in Intimate Family Relationships

Start date: Friday, 12 October 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: 70 Warren Street, London W1T 5PB
Price: £118
In the therapeutic encounter clinicians are often presented with the struggles their patients have with aggression, whether that be linked to repression and the inhibition of anger or conversely, difficulties with managing overwhelming affect. This workshop will review theories of aggression and explore clinical presentations that illustrate the dynamics of aggression as played out in intimate relationships as well as between patients and therapists. Using attachment and psychoanalytic frameworks, the workshop will enable clinicians to gain a deeper understanding, and an increased capacity to work with this area of difficulty. Unconscious conflicts about aggression can lead to a wide range of presenting problems such as difficulties with autonomy and separation, self-harm and other destructive tendencies. Therapists can learn to identify, understand and work with the defensive strategies that can be employed to avoid conflict. Equally, therapists, daunted by the levels of anger and abuse which some clients express in sessions, can learn how to contain and work with this anger creatively. Understanding projective processes and unconscious anxieties can enable the therapist to orientate their interventions. Techniques derived from mentalization-based therapy (MBT) can help therapists to feel more confident when working with anger and uncontained affect.

(London) Working with Gender and Sexual Diversity: The Individual and Couple in Transition

Start date: Friday, 9 November 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £118
At a time when numbers of people who identify across a spectrum of gender and sexual diversity are increasing, this study day will examine the implications for work in the consulting room. Consideration will be given to gender variant experience as an internal psychological process, as well as a process that has an impact on couple and family relationships, involving spouses, partners, children, parents and the wider family. There will be a strong focus on clinical material, with thought given to how to provide a safe and containing therapeutic setting, and how to hold an adult individual or couple through a period of transition. Issues of otherness will be addressed, and how to move from a place of judgement and reaction towards understanding. The full-day course is suitable for practitioners with considerable experience as well as those with little experience in this area who are keen to expand their thinking. Attendees are encouraged to bring clinical work for discussion Workshop leaders: Damian McCann, Head of Learning and Development, couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist and clinical lecturer; and Linsey Blair, couple/individual psychotherapist and psychosexual therapist

(London) Working with the Couple Relationship Through the Adoption Process

Start date: Tuesday, 20 November 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £120
This training will examine the transition to parenthood for adoptive couples and challenges they face during and after the adoption process. Practitioners will be helped to think about dynamic issues within the couple relationship of adoptive parents, with the aim of enhancing couple functioning and stabilising adoptive placements for the children in their care. Drawing on our recently published handbook ‘Conversations with Adoptive Couples’ participants will be helped to work with the couple during assessment, matching and beyond. Keeping the couple relationship in mind and opening difficult conversations will form a particular focus for this study day. The content is designed for practitioners from a variety of settings working in the adoption field who would like to learn about engaging couples in their work. Trainers are: Dr Damian McCann, Head of Adopting Together, Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Clinical Lecturer, Tavistock Relationships; and Judith Jamieson, Head of Clinical Services and Specialist Couple Psychotherapist Adopting Together, Tavistock Relationships.

CAMHS Study Day -When is it our Business? Understanding & Working with Interparental Couple Conflict

Start date: Thursday, 22 November 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £120
This study day will explore the nature of inter-parental couple conflict, its impact on children and young people and the emerging themes from research. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the underlying dynamic processes at work that account for parental couple conflict in both intact and separated families. An important aspect of the day will be spent on developing skills for engaging and working with these parents and couples with the aim of promoting positive outcomes for them and their children.

(London) Impact of the Internet on Couple & Individual: Social Media, Online Gaming & Pornography

Start date: Friday, 7 December 2018 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £118
This full-day workshop will consider the ways in which intimate couple and family relationships can be affected by changes in behaviour linked with contemporary use of the internet. There can be a tendency especially for younger generations to rely on attachments made online, through social media, online gaming and chat rooms, rather than relationships that exist in the real world, and this can have a profound impact on the individual’s capacity to develop an authentic connection with another. Consideration will be given to the latest technological developments including multiplayer role-play and virtual reality, and the potential impact on psychological functioning, as well as specific issues around exposure to online gambling and internet pornography. Thought will be given to the way in which these issues present in the consulting room, and can affect couple functioning, including sexual dysfunction. Attendees are encouraged to bring clinical material for discussion. The trainer will be Poppy Mellor, couples therapist and psychosexual therapist. This workshop is suitable for psychotherapists working with individual clients and couples as well as for trainees.

(London) Inhabiting Life in Later Years: How to Work Clinically with Ageing and Dementia

Start date: Friday, 25 January 2019 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £118
Over successive generations our populations have become older. This increased longevity throws up a particular set of psychological challenges around the loss of physical and mental functioning. It exposes us ever more starkly to the realities of age-related illnesses and conditions such as dementia. This full-day workshop will develop an understanding of the psychological issues that can come to dominate in later life. Challenges may be thrown up to intimate couple relationships as long-established projective systems are turned on their heads, with the roles of carer and cared for often inverted. This is particularly true in relationships in which one partner is suffering from dementia, and for which therapeutic containment takes on a particular meaning. The workshop will consider psychoanalytic models of the mind, as well as Andrew Balfour’s pioneering work at Tavistock Relationships in developing a therapeutic intervention for couples where one partner has dementia. It is suitable for psychotherapists working with individual clients and couples as well as for trainees.

(London) When Hope Is Lost: The Impact of Perinatal Loss, Infertility and IVF on the Couple and the

Start date: Saturday, 2 February 2019 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £118
Many parents find it difficult to recover from trauma associated with the perinatal period, and the loss of an infant can result in severe depression, feelings of isolation, loss of hope, and relationship breakdown. A perinatal loss may be as traumatic to the couple as the death of a young child, even though the lost baby has not been known. This full-day workshop will consider the meaning of perinatal loss and the death of a young child for the parents as well as for any siblings. Particular attention will be given to the difficulties that can be experienced by younger siblings who can feel as if they have been born in the shadow of death, and can carry this experience with them into adulthood. The workshop for individual, group, family and couple psychotherapists and counsellors will also focus on the impact of infertility and IVF on the individual and the couple, and the difficulties that can be evoked especially after multiple failed pregnancies. It is suitable for couple, individual and child psychotherapists. Trainer, Marguerite Reid, has a wealth of experience in working with individuals and couples who have perinatal mental health problems. She works with women and couples during pregnancy and during the postnatal period, as well as with children who have been parented by couples struggling with these difficulties.

(London) In Pursuit of the Truth: Questions of Authenticity with ‘False Self’ Couples & Individuals

Start date: Saturday, 2 March 2019 @ 10:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £118
This study day will explore the rich concept of the false self, tracing it from Donald Winnicott to James Fisher, and examining the ways in which it can be thought about in the consulting room. Winnicott believed a false self could be set up through a lack of maternal holding. If the mother fails to meet her infant’s gesture, instead substituting her own in its place, the infant can grow up feeling compliant rather than authentic. Fisher applied these ideas to the couple relationship, describing the challenge many individuals encounter in functioning as a couple – the capacity to face one’s own truth, and also to acknowledge that another person may see things differently. The idea of a false self has taken on a particular resonance in contemporary times, as technological advances threaten to take us away from authentic connections with ourselves and others. The day will reengage with the psychoanalytic thinking behind this reality, and consider the ways in which we position ourselves internally to defend against intimacy. It will include presentations on both theoretical and clinical material, and there will be consideration of the difficulties that can be thrown up in the therapeutic pursuit of the truth. Participants are asked to bring material for discussion. Trainers: Martha Doniach, psychoanalytic psychotherapist; and Kate Thompson, couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist.


(London) When We Talk About Love: Celebrating the First 70 Years of Tavistock Relationships

Start date: Friday, 30 November 2018 @ 09:30
Venue: King's Building - King's College London
Price: £130
The conference will explore what we mean when we talk about love, and consider the nature of intimate relationships at this particular moment of 21st-century history.

What are the pressures brought to bear on the couple relationship in the age of reality television programmes such as Love Island? Is this just a show designed to hook viewers or does it say something about contemporary love relations? How can we think clinically about the effects of social media and the pressures young people feel?

Louis Theroux will discuss his view of human relationships, based on his observations as an award-winning documentary film-maker and broadcaster.

Lisa Appignanesi will talk about her latest book, Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love, which weaves an exploration of psychoanalytic approaches to mourning into a moving memoir of bereavement.

Couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in addressing the key social problems of our time, and can help to alleviate distress in children as well as their parents.

The conference will look at the context of social and family policy from the inception of the welfare state in post-war Britain to now, with a focus on evidence and the links between family functioning and mental health.

Consideration will be given to the institution’s ground-breaking developments in analytic work with couples, including the therapeutic opportunities of the triangular setting of couple therapy, and the centrality of working with the couple’s enacted experience in the room. A strong focus on clinical practice will explore clinical applications of analytic work with couples.

Presentations will draw from two new Tavistock Relationships books, which will be launched on the day: A Couple State of Mind: Psychoanalysis of Couples by Mary Morgan, and Engaging Couples: New Directions in Therapeutic Work with Families, edited by Andrew Balfour, Christopher Clulow and Kate Thompson.

Speakers will include:

Stanley Ruszczysnki, Professor Brett Kahr, Mary Morgan, Professor Paul Burstow, Dr Renee Singh, Baroness Claire Tyler, Andrew Balfour, Professor Nick Pearce.

Open daysOpen days

(London) Tavistock Relationships FREE Open Evening: Couple Counselling & Psychotherapy

Start date: Friday, 2 November 2018 @ 18:00
Venue: Tavistock Relationships
Price: £0
Our FREE Open Evening is the perfect place to discover more about studying with Tavistock Relationships - internationally-recognised experts in couple therapy. For 70 years Tavistock Relationships has been renowned as an organisation delivering and developing advanced practice, training and research in therapeutic approaches to supporting couples, individuals and families. The open evening is for qualified therapists looking for further study through our psychodynamic, psychoanalytic or psychosexual professional trainings, and for beginners interested in our Introduction to Couple Counselling & Psychotherapy course, which can act, for suitable candidates, as a foundation for study on our MA in Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy course - the leading course in the field for those wanting to train to work with individuals and couples. During the evening you can: talk to experts about your study options, watch a thought provoking film about relationship work and learn about the application process.


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