Events and Courses
More Events...
Infant Observation

The course provides an opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of human development through direct observation of an infant during its early life. The body of knowledge is drawn from the main psychoanalytic schools. The course contains experiential and some theoretical learning.

>> Running throughout the year see the next course start date.
>> Contact Sandra with questions: sandrap@bpf-psychotherapy.org.uk

Course Details

Participants observe a baby from birth until two years of age, paying close attention to how they relate to their careers and environment. Observing an infant fine- tunes your ability to notice intricate and subtle detail and recall sequences of interactions. By reflecting on your observations in a small seminar group, you then build up a picture of the unfolding inner world of the infants and their relationships.

The seminars offer a place to ‘feel into’ or empathically imagine the baby’s experience, to be curious and to explore ideas about what might be going on in the baby’s inner world.

Objectives of the course

The aims of the course are to help you to:

  • Develop a keen understanding of the ways in which human beings develop
  • Witness the intense psychosomatic experience of the human infant
  • Enhance your attunement to non-verbal and pre-verbal communication
  • Sharpen all your observational skills
  • Deepen your attentiveness and analytic attitude
  • Enrich an appreciation of counter-transference experiences
  • Enhance clinical practice

Who is this course for?

  • Anyone who works with people will benefit from undertaking an Infant Observation course, especially therapists and counsellors. 
  • For those considering training in psychotherapy or analysis it is indispensable in helping to develop your ‘analytic attitude’ - the capacity to maintain an objective stance while remaining emotionally open and reflecting on your countertransference responses.

The experience can activate primitive areas of the psyche, which is why it is such a valuable aspect of training and why individual therapy (minimum 1 x weekly) throughout the course is essential.

About the course

The group and the seminar leader will help you to identify a suitable family who are expecting a baby. Participants then visit the infant in their family setting from birth. Most people observe until the second birthday, but some, for various reasons, need to choose a shorter length of time.

Observations last one hour a week throughout the year allowing for everyone’s holiday commitments, and after each visit students write up detailed notes of what has been observed.

In the seminars each participant presents their observations in turn for confidential group discussion. The discussion is a chance to clarify, amplify and explore ideas about what might be happening at all sorts of levels. It can be especially fascinating to discover more about non-verbal and pre-verbal communication, early states of mind and to see the difference between the various infants’ personalities and experiences.

While the seminar leader and the group will offer as much support as possible, if a student has not been able to find a family expecting a baby after 3 terms they may be asked to leave the course.

Writing an Infant Observation paper

At the end of the course participants are encouraged to write an Infant Observation paper. If applying to the bpf adult Jungian or Psychoanalytic Training or the Child & Adolescent Training, it may be considered a component module.

Infant Observation Certificate

On satisfactory completion of the Infant Observation Paper participants are awarded a Certificate by the bpf. Those opting not to write will receive a Certificate of Attendance.


A number of seminar groups run at a variety of times on different days of the week across London.

Each group meets for ten seminars per term, 3 terms a year. There is a maximum number of 5 participants in each group.

October – December
January – March
April – June

It is possible to join a seminar group at any time depending on space.

There is a maximum number of 5 participants in each group.

DBS Clearance

You will need to apply for Disclosure and Barring Service clearance at the Enhanced level, before joining the course.


All participants need to be in regular psychoanalytic psychotherapy. If you wish to train as an Jungian analyst or psychoanalytic psychotherapist it could be important to consider working with an approved Training Therapist.


You will be invited to two interviews to discuss all the implications of the course. Those applying for a psychotherapy training with bpf would be invited to one Infant Observation interview and one other.

Help and Advice

If you would like to discuss the practical and financial aspects of undertaking this training you can speak to the Course Coordinator on the telephone or ask for an informal consultation. For an application form please contact Sandra Pereira Tel: 020 8452 9823 Email: sandrap@bpf-psychotherapy.org.uk

Tel: 020 8452 9823 Registered office: 37 Mapesbury Road, London NW2 4HJ
Company number 8238969 registered in England and Wales Registered charity number 1150806