About this course

Organised by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families’ longstanding Child Psychotherapy Service, the Colloquium offers a unique opportunity to network with UK and international mental health professionals, hear about well-established as well as ground-breaking approaches to working with children and adolescents and discuss clinical cases. There will be a mixture of theoretical and clinical papers, small discussion groups, large groups discussions and a wine reception. It will be the first Colloquium to take place at our new site.

See directions to the Kantor Centre of Excellence

This year’s title is: ‘Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Assessment’

As usual there will be a mixture of theoretical papers, clinical papers and discussion groups. The full programme is still to be confirmed. 

Dr Leon Hoffman will open the Colloquium with his paper: 'Can the assessment process in child analysis and therapy make it possible to develop a therapeutic decision?'. See abstract here

Toby Etterley will present a clinical paper: ‘The Beginning is the End is the Beginning’: The assessment and treatment of a teenage boy in foster care. This paper draws upon the presenter’s work with a 14-year-old boy in foster care, the son of drug addicted parents. This non-intensive (once weekly) psychotherapy ended prematurely after 16 months. Anna Freud’s Revised Diagnostic Profile (Davids et al, 2017) will be retrospectively applied to the clinical material to examine key themes and issues during the assessment phase. Subsequent material, particularly from the ending period will be used to explore themes of loss and rage as they unfolded and developed within the transference. The painful ending provided an opportunity for a different kind of beginning.

The second paper, 'You don't know what it's like for me...' The Child Psychotherapist's Quest to Understand a Child's Predicament, An Exploration of Psychotherapy Assessment From an Independent Perspective, will be presented by Deirdre Dowling. The Independent perspective emphasises the necessity of understanding the child’s inner life in the context of the environmental history and real experience. It also recognises the importance of the therapeutic setting as a transitional co-created space where the child can discover her own creative way of communicating her experience of life. Deirdre will discuss how these ideas were central to her assessment of a young girl with learning disabilities in a family facing trauma, and how she was able to find a way to communicate with Deirdre, despite her resistance and difficulty in using the therapeutic setting. 

On Saturday there will be a presentation from Jennifer Davids. In her paper: 'Therapeutic Consultations in a Not- so- Facilitating Environment' Jenny will address what she mean by assessment in the current climate in child and adolescent mental health in this country, when funding for such services is under extreme pressure. Jenny will outline how she believes that a multi-modal understanding of the interlocking dynamics of the child in his family is key. Throughout her focus is on the best interests and needs of the growing child/adolescent and how to find ways of thinking and engaging children and their families in work that aims to restore the child to the path of normal development (Anna Freud, 1965), or indeed to facilitate a path of such development, if hitherto seemingly absent.

Dr. Norka Malberg and Dr. Leon Hoffman will present a closing plenary where they will discuss the importance of a dimensional diagnostic framework to the process of teaching, supervising and practicing child and adolescent psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Systemic implications will be discussed in the context of current political and financial realities. The importance of a dimensional diagnostic process in relation to working with parents, teachers and other allied professionals will be discussed and illustrated with small clinical vignettes. A brief comparison of the existing models will be offered and discussed. 

Who is this conference suitable for?

This conference should appeal to mental health professionals working with children and adolescents with an interest in psychoanalytic thinking. Attendees are required to have a professional accreditation or be enrolled on a recognised training course.