Doctorate in Psychotherapy (Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy) 

Information About | Our Programmes | FAQs

Information about the Doctorate in Psychotherapy

This course is NOT currently accepting new applicants whilst it is in the process of being restructured.

The programme currently aims to enable students to develop the academic, clinical and research skills needed to prepare them for practice as professional Child Psychotherapists, eligible for membership of the Association of Child Psychotherapists. Theory and practice are closely linked and seminars reflect an integrated approach. The programme pays very close attention to the development of psychodynamically based clinical skills and provides a thorough grounding in the emotional development of children and adolescents drawing on psychodynamically oriented developmental perspectives.

The programme is UCL accredited, with teaching taking place at The Anna Freud Centre.

Structure of the Doctorate Programme | More Information

The course is 6 years part time or four years part time with a fifth year full-time.  The first 4 years are undertaken whilst in clinical training and the final two years are completed whilst in employment.

The programme consists of three main elements: taught courses, clinical practice, observation and related research in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

Taught Courses

The taught courses are on psychological models of childhood disorder, methods of assessment and intervention. All the main child and adolescent disturbances such as eating disorders, depression, ADHD are covered. Regular weekly seminars are opportunities to discuss cases in treatment.

Clinical Components

The programme requires three intensive psychotherapeutic treatments, a minimum of six non-intensive treatments and a minimum of two parent guidance cases.

All psychotherapeutic treatments and parent work cases are supervised individually. Supervisors are chosen from an approved list.

Written Requirements

Students are required to write two reports on their clinical work for presentation at a Scientific Meeting at the Centre. At least one of these should be on an intensive case. Over the four years of the training clinical assessments, based on psychoanalytic formulations. will be written up in different formats based on psychoanalytic formulations.

Clinical Research Requirements

Research seminars and tutorials are offered during the programme. Formal research will be a component of supervised clinical work both with children and with parents. The methods of research most commonly applied in this context will be participant observation in family and day care settings or process recording of individual interventions.

First Year

· Advanced Psychoanalytic Theory

This component offers an overview of psychoanalytic thinking critically evaluating the historical evolution of psychoanalytic frameworks of thought starting with Freud. Concepts will be applied to disorders of childhood and adolescence.

· Child Development and Disturbance

This course will take a psychoanalytic developmental perspective on disturbances from early childhood through to adolescence

· Introduction to the Technique of Child Psychotherapy

These seminars will prepare you for starting treatment cases and assessments. They will also focus on key technical issues

· Observational Methods in Clinical Work

This fortnightly seminar will be based on weekly observation visits made to families with particular reference to the mother infant interaction.

· Research Methodology

These seminars explore relevant research methodology

Second and Third Clinical Years

· Clinical Technique in treating childhood disturbance.

This core programme covering years 2 and 3 will be based on student’s case based experience in order to deepen their clinical practice.

· Modular Theoretical Programme

20 modules will be offered over the course of 2 years These will cover the main disturbances in childhood, parental pathology and NHS CAMHS.

· Research Methodology

These seminars will enable you to apply your knowledge in the light of developing research proposals for your thesis.

Fourth to sixth years

· The students complete their research project and other requirements for the final portfolio. On completion of all taught courses, clinical and observation research requirements, students will work on their major research project. The major research project will represent investigative work, the results of which can be judged to contribute a substantial contribution to knowledge

What current students say

Taught courses will be assessed by the submission of an extended essay or by an unseen examination paper (3 hours). The requirements are for 2 extended essays per year for the first three years of the course or one unseen examinations,at the end of each of the first three years

Assessment of clinical competence will be based on reports from feedback to the Training Committee by clinical supervisors and placement supervisors.

Research assignments - Satisfactory completion of research assignments. 

In order to qualify for submission of the doctoral thesis candidates will be required to have been assessed satisfactorily on all the above components.

The Doctoral thesis will be examined by viva voce.

The candidate should be able to demonstrate in what respect her or his work advances knowledge or practice in child and adolescent psychotherapy and will illustrate the candidate's ability to apply scientific psychoanalytic principles at various levels of application of child psychotherapeutic knowledge.

- content to follow -

What do people do with a Doctorate in Psychotherapy?
Further information

On completion of the Doctorate applicants are eligible to work in the NHS or voluntary sector as child psychotherapists accredited by the Association of Child Psychotherapists.Some continue with academic and research work in parallel with this.

Please select the links for further information

Applying for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
We are not currently accepting applications while the doctorate is under review. New developments will be posted on the website.


webpage last updated on 12 December 2008 by Stefanie Anyadi