Early Years Development: Infant Mental Health (ref. M9)
This course aims to enhance early years’ professionals’ observational and therapeutic skills through offering a practice-based and theoretical approach to understanding infant and young children’s emotional, social, and cognitive development within a psychodynamic framework.
Who is this course for?
Why study with us?
What students say about the course
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How to apply
All early years’ professionals in health, social care and education fields: Midwives, health visitors, nurses, social Workers, children centre staff, clinical psychologists, nursery and reception heads and teachers.
The course consists of 8 elements:
- Personal Tutor
- Infant Observation
- Work Discussion
- Child Development Research
- Specialist Young Child/Infant Observation
- Personality Development
- MA Dissertation
You have a personal tutor who supports your professional and personal development on our course.
You observe a baby in his/her family home every week for two years. Your observations are presented for discussion in a small seminar group and your experience of observing is the basis for learning about very early development, parent-infant relationships and non-verbal modes of communication
A multi-disciplinary seminar of early years’ professionals run by experienced clinicians, to which you bring detailed studies of your work for discussion. This enables greater understanding of the families, infants and young children you are working with, your role in your work context, and the institutional dynamics at play within the work place.
Theoretical Overview 1
The module aims to introduce students to basic theoretical concepts and significant clinical findings from a range of theoretical perspectives, including psychodynamic and attachment theory findings, which can be applied to your professional practice. You will read key papers and discuss these in a fortnightly seminar
Infant Observation and Work Discussion weekly seminars continue
Specialist Young Child/Infant Observation
You will observe either an infant or toddler in a specialist setting (eg neo-natal Unit or nursery or another specialist setting, for an academic year, to sharpen your observational skills and give some first hand knowledge of the situations and experiences that infants, toddlers and their parents may encounter in their developing relationships with each other and the outside world.
This year theory follows the course of ‘normal’ and ‘problematic’ infant and young child development through key clinical areas of pregnancy, childbirth, feeding, moving onto a consideration of the potentially detrimental effects of post-natal depression, trauma, abuse, parental mental illness, and disability.. Many of the recommended readings touch on early intervention methods, exploring a range of therapeutic approaches to work with this client group.
Individual supervisions and seminars will help you to develop and research your ideas and write your dissertation.
Upon successful completion of this course you will be awarded an MA, accredited by the University of East London. The following intermediate awards are also available:
- Postgraduate Certificate (after successful completion of year one)
- Postgraduate Diploma (after successful completion of year two)
You will also be eligible for membership with the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapy and Allied Professions.
Our course enables you to develop:
- Enhanced observational and therapeutic skills, and ability to ‘tune into’ the baby’s signals
- An increased understanding of the factors which promote healthy emotional development in infants, and pre-school age children within the family context
- An understanding of the psychological and emotional problems which can affect this age group
- Greater understanding of infant and young children’s behaviour, play and communications, and early identification of developmental difficulties
To train as a child psychotherapist you must complete M9 (or its equivalent) before applying for the Professional Doctorate in Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Ref. M80)
Written assignments, clincial assessments (where relevant) and a dissertation.
This is a two year and 2 term programme (two years for the PG DIP and an additional two terms for the dissertation module).
Teaching is on Wednesdays from 10 – 3.15 in year 1 and 10 – 4.45 in year 2, approximately 6 hours a week.
The observations, seminar reading and writing take 9 – 10 hours a week.
You are required to have had at least one year’s experience of direct work, paid or voluntary, with parents, infants or pre-school age children or families with young children.
To be currently undertaking direct work with the above (minimum one day a week)
To have a first degree or the equivalent, or to be able to demonstrate that you will be able to meet the academic demands of the course. We do not insist on a degree, especially if you have extensive experience of work with under fives.
To provide two references, one from an employer who can give an account of your work with the under five age group.
“An incredibly powerful course – I believe that the ideas and concepts I’m exploring on the M9 course should be adopted by all those caring for very young children" Teacher
“An invaluable experience for anyone working with infants and young children, providing a unique insight into the emotional development of the infant, in a highly stimulating, intellectually challenging and incredibly rewarding environment" Paediatrician
"This 2 year course took me on a journey into the most important years of life, seeing the world through the eyes of an infant… I have become a confident observer, and have achieved so much through this course.” Nursery Worker
Dr Louise Emanuel (Phd) is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, working in the Child and Family Department of the Tavistock Clinic. She is Head of Local Under Fives Services, and Co-Convenor of the weekly Infant Mental Health Workshop, run as part of the Child Psychotherapy training. She has a special interest in work with parents, infants and children under five, as well as work with Looked After Children (LAC), and children with learning and physical disabilities. She also has experience in consultation to organisations caring for children.
- Supervision of parent-infant interventions, and clinical work with children across the age range, specialising in work with under fives
- Skype supervision of under five work in Greece and elsewhere in Europe
- 'Live' Supervision as part of conferences run in Brazil, Taiwan, Australia
- ‘What can the Matter be? ‘ Therapeutic Interventions with parents, infants and young children (2008), Karnac Books, Eds Emanuel, L and Bradley, E
- Understanding your Three Year Old (2005) – part of the Understanding your Child Series, Jessica Kingsley
- 16 publications in various peer reviewed journals, and chapters of books (Phd by Published Work, 2011)
Featured on the Nursery World website in March 2013 is an article written by Dr Emanuel relating to how 'too few staff can lead to premature independence'. Louise explains why she believes that proposals to reduce ratios of staff to children could harm children's development.
Louise's article can be read here: Too few staff can lead to premature independence.
This course is also available in;
Applications for this course are now open. Please begin your application here