The theory courses and clinical practicum which comprise the curriculum of the Working with Children & Adolescents: Relational Psychoanalytic Approaches program provide a solid understanding of child development (infant, child, & adolescent) and treatment from the perspective of relational psychoanalytic theories, trauma theory and ways with working with complex trauma, brain development, attachment theory, and contemporary infant research studies.
Theory and Clinical Practicum Class Sequence
First Trimester: Infancy Through Age Toddlerhood. This course will provide a solid foundation in early childhood development. Readings will offer the clinician the ability to apply and integrate key concepts from a wide range of relational theories of development: object relations, self-psychology, attachment theory and interpersonal psychoanalysis. Selections from contemporary infant research, dyadic systems studies, affect regulation theory, trauma theory and brain development will be utilized to gain a detailed understanding of the developing infant and child.
Second Trimester: School-Aged Children and Play Therapy. Candidates will gain an understanding of the physiological, psychological and interpersonal transformations which mark the development of the child from early school age through adolescence. Readings are designed to provide a conceptual framework with which to understand the child's emergence into the wider interpersonal world of peer relationships, burgeoning sexuality and the school setting.
This course will provide the skills required to conduct ongoing treatments with infants, children and adolescents. Candidates will learn how to conduct infant-mother dyadic therapy, play therapy with younger children, and talk-oriented therapy with adolescents. Candidates will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of the relational psychoanalytic perspective on treatment including the use of transference and countertransference, overcoming resistance in children and adolescents, the nature of therapeutic action, resolving impasses in treatment and the specialized use of interpretation with children and adolescents. Finally, targeted interventions drawing on problem- solving, cognitive and behavior therapies will be integrated into the clinician's set of skills.
Third Trimester: The Impact of Trauma on Children and Families. The focus of this course is to introduce the foundational underpinnings of trauma and help candidates gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which trauma impacts child development, the family and family dynamics. Lectures will include evidence informed methods of working with dysregulated children taught within a psychoanalytic framework that is designed to heal the attachment ruptures and dysregulation that result from exposure to trauma. Candidates will gain usable skills to manage trauma responses that can be integrated into their current practices.