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Starting to train at Tavistock Relationships

Published in Blog by Erica on March 3rd 2022

Coming to Tavistock Relationships, from having studied at an introductory level elsewhere, can be challenging but also highly rewarding, writes Erica

Relationship focus approach

Tavistock Relationships is the only accredited psychotherapist training which focuses on couple relationships - a perspective which can prove something of a culture shock. Focusing on couple relationships, rather than those of the individual, requires students to reframe their thinking. Tavistock Relationship looks at almost all aspects of training, theory and clinical work through the lens of the relationship which, at first, can feel quite confusing. Psychoanalytic concepts can be complicated enough to grasp, without the additional complication of these being applied to couples.


There is also the undeniable step-change in the amount of work involved. Professional training is much more experiential and demanding than an introductory course. The training is time consuming and also involves a huge emotional commitment - the training is as much about personal development as it is about understanding psychoanalytic theories.

Personal Development and a Bonding Experience

In terms of personal development and developing greater self-awareness, students must be prepared to receive, and also provide, feedback, in self-reflective groups, seminars and indeed in their own therapy - all of which can at times feel quite exposing. The ‘fish-bowl’ exercise, for example -  where you take on the role of therapist in a role-play in front of a class-full of your peers and tutors, who then provide feedback on your performance - was a particularly memorable, and nerve-wracking experience for me. While at times very challenging, experiences like these which you share with your peers can also cement friendships and create bonds that can last well beyond the end of the course.

The leading thinkers in the field

Another aspect of training at Tavistock Relationships that can feel quite unique is that it is essentially a hub for almost all the leading thinkers of couple psychotherapy and psychoanalysis; indeed, you are taught by many of the people developing new theories, perspectives and approaches to couple therapy.

Starting training at Tavistock Relationship can initially feel a little daunting or overwhelming, but part of the reason for this is continuing to evolve couple psychoanalytic thought, which makes it a particularly dynamic environment for students to complete their training.


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