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Time-limited & Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children, Parents and Young People: An Interactive Approach

nscience UK

Friday, 27 January 2017 from 10:00 to 16:00

Time-limited & Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy...

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Time-limited & Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children, Parents and Young People: An Interactive Approach


A One Day Workshop at London with Dr Ruth Schmidt Neven


London, 27 January 2017, Friday


Designed to be of practical value to psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and family mental health practitioners, this workshop by Dr Ruth Schmidt Neven coincides with the publication of her latest book Time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy with children and adolescents: An interactive approach (Routledge Press).


At a time when there is increasing concern about the escalation of child and adolescent mental health problems, this workshop provides an innovative, contextual, therapeutic model that engages the child, the young person and their parents. The model is based on evidence that the most enduring therapeutic outcomes involve not only a shift or change in the young person, but also a shift in the parents’ perspective of themselves.  The behaviour of the young person is therefore not perceived in limiting pathological terms but rather as an opportunity for us to understand how young people ‘speak’ their family and emotional experiences. 


At the core of the model is the recognition that dynamic capacity for growth and change in the child and young person by itself creates opportunities for effective therapeutic engagement. The workshop is not intended to provide a manualised programme but rather to describe a set of core principles and a conceptual framework for the practice of time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy. These principles include:


  • the recognition of the primacy of the core developmental task for children and adolescents
  • the need to attend simultaneously to the four interconnected domains of the intra-psychic, the interpersonal, the systemic and the environmental in the therapeutic process


This broader approach enables us to encompass the ‘total field’ that surrounds the child, young person and their parents thereby promoting positive change within a relatively short period of time.


Through illustrative case vignettes and examples from her clinical work in UK & Australia, Dr Ruth Schmidt Neven helps both new practitioners and those with many years of experience to comprehend a time limited framework, enabling us to:


  • gain insight into how a psychodynamic approach can provide effective results
  • apply the core principles in a practical manner to our clinical work


About the Speaker:


Dr. Ruth Schmidt Neven is a child psychotherapist and clinical psychologist. She trained at the Tavistock Clinic in London and worked for many years in child and family mental health in the UK National Health Service. In the UK she was a pioneer in parent support and education and co-founder and director of the national organisation Exploring Parenthood. Ruth came to Australia to take up the inaugural position of Chief Child Psychotherapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. She is now director of the Centre for Child and Family Development and is engaged in clinical work as well as extensive professional training throughout Australia and overseas. She has run her Foundation Course in Child and Family Development at the University of Cambridge Child Wellbeing Forum. Her workshop on Attachment Across the Life Cycle is run regularly for the Australian Psychological Society and last year at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. In 2014 Ruth ran a workshop for nscience on Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children, Parents and Young People. Ruth’s publications include Core Principles of Assessment and Therapeutic Communication with Children, Parents and Families (Routledge, 2010), Emotional Milestones: Development from birth to adulthood which was in continuous publication for nearly twenty years and Exploring Parenthood. She is principal author of Rethinking ADHD: An Illness of Our Time (Allen & Unwin 2000) which has been translated into Japanese. Ruth’s latest publication is Time-Limited Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents: An Interactive Approach published by Routledge in 2016.




9:30AM: Registration


10:00AM: Session 1: Time-limited psychotherapy, the historical and current context


The first session provides an overview of the topic at hand and looks at:


  • What we can learn from the longstanding research on time-limited psychotherapy with adults
  • Concerns about child and adolescent mental health, in particular the focus on contemporary bio-medical approaches to the construction of child and adolescent mental health that exclude the family, relational and social context
  • Challenging assumptions that time-limited treatment of children and young people is largely the purview of cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT


11:00AM Session 2: The clinical method: Recalibrating the psychodynamic approach for the changing emotional and social landscape of childhood and parenthood


This session introduces a reconfiguring of a psychodynamic approach for our current times that focuses on the need to attend simultaneously to the following four interconnected domains within the therapeutic encounter:


  • The intra-psychic: The internal experience of the child, young person and their parents. What the presenting behaviour ‘means’
  • The inter-personal: What takes place between the child, the young person and their parents
  • The systemic: What takes place in the family system. How the child and young person ‘speak’ the family
  • The environmental: The impact of the living arrangements that surround the child and young person such as school, childcare and broader social and cultural factors


11:30AM Coffee Break


11:45AM: Session 3: The clinical technique in time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy with children, young people and their parents


This session identifies the core principles of the clinical technique which include:


  • Attending to the developmental scaffold and the core developmental task for children and adolescents
  • The involvement of parents, including fathers and care-givers directly in the therapeutic process
  • Responding to the total field surrounding the child, including schools and other networks


1:00PM: Lunch


1:45PM: Session 4: The clinical technique continued


This session presents the essential components of the therapeutic frame and discusses:


  • Perceiving the symptom as an ‘opportunity’ to promote understanding
  • Being active in the therapeutic process
  • Creating a defined assessment period
  • Taking a therapeutic history
  • The place of hypothesis, formulation and feedback
  • Using the dynamic nature of the ‘here and now’ in the sessions
  • Dissolving the boundaries between the consulting room and the wider network


3:00PM: Coffee Break


3:15PM: Session 5: The clinical outcome


This final session will describe the potential of the time-limited model in working with specific clinical challenges in children and young people.  These include obsessive behaviours, phobias and longstanding ‘developmental task confusions’. Finally, we will explore how this time-limited interactive model can further empower parents at a time of change and contribute to shifting the paradigm towards positive mental health for children, parents and young people.


4:00PM: Close

© nscience, 2016 / 17

Do you have questions about Time-limited & Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children, Parents and Young People: An Interactive Approach? Contact nscience UK

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When & Where

Kensington Close Hotel
Wrights Lane
W8 5SP London
United Kingdom

Friday, 27 January 2017 from 10:00 to 16:00

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nscience UK

nscience is an independent organisation that seeks to explore the interdisciplinary richness of mental health disciplines. Through a series of seminars, workshops and conferences that are conducted throughout the year, we aim to present the latest advances in theory and research to practitioners; with a view to furthering their continuing professional development.

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Time-limited & Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children, Parents and Young People: An Interactive Approach
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