Infant Observation Course

The Infant Observations have been part of the appt training right from the beginning. After a review of the current arrangements, the Training Committee has renewed its committment to the value of this aspect of the training and has agreed to more formalise its place within the clinical course. The Training Committee is of the view that much can be learnt from the process of observation, including the observer uderstanding the power and role of counter-transference.

With effect from the October 2025 intake to the clinical training, the Infant Observation part has been made a more significant and stand-alone course. Those being offered a place on either the Foundation Course or Clinical Training will find full details in the Infant Observation Handbook available from the Training Organiser. Below are brief details of the course:

  • This course remains compulsory for all candidates wishing to take the clinical training and qualify as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist.
  • What is new is that students on the Foundation Course may now apply to take the course. Certain conditions will apply for Foundation students including: they must have been in personal therapy with an approved psychotherapist for at least 12 months before applying for this course; they must obtain DBS clearance (for which there is a fee); they must have the support of their personal tutor; they must pay the fee for this course; and acceptance will be subject to a further interview.
  • The course is a rolling programme where trainees and students may apply to join at any time. Being offered a place at a particular point will depend in part on there being a space in an observation supervision group.
  • Particpants are required to undertake weekly 1-hour observations of a baby and familiy in the family’s own home for the period of one year.
  • Observation supervision groups of 4 students will meet every fortnight for one hour where particpants will take it in turns to read their observation log and discuss the experience.
  • Before commencing their observations, particpants are required to attend a supervision group as an observer for 3 months so that they understand how the observations work and what is required.
  • Particpants are expected to keep a full and accurate log of their observations which are used in the supervision group. The group supervisor may ask to see the log at any time.
  • Under certain circumstances, the Course Co-ordinator may ask some candidates to postpone starting their observations. This will usually be because anyone undertaking the observations needs to be free from emotional stress within their own family setting (e.g. trainees and students who have had recent additions to their own family may not yet be settled enough to observe another family).
  • There is a written assignment for this course. It is compulsory for trainees wishing to qualify however, for Foundation students not planning to apply for the clincial training, this essay is optional. It is a 5,000 words essay which is not marked pass or fail, but which is read by an experienced reader who writes a report. This is then discussed with the trainee’s/student’s personal tutor.
  • The fee for this course for anyone commencing the observations between October 2025 and July 2026 will be £750. It is anticpated that the fee will increase annually.