Infant Observation Training

About the course

Infant Observation began more than 50 years ago at the Tavistock Clinic as part of the first child psychotherapy training.
Its inception and development is primarily associated with Esther Bick. Her pioneering ideas, grounded in observational experiences, have had a profound and enduring influence on psychoanalytic thinking about primitive emotional states in the baby.


Infant Observation takes place within the family. Unconscious communications are of fundamental importance.
The observer's task is to seek to enter the baby's world and to observe minutely what is going on for the child within the family particularly in relation to the mother.

"Studying infant observation was the most incredible experience; informative and invaluable beyond words. I found the discipline of observing, the reflective space required and the attention to detail very powerful. It brings an extra dimension to my understanding of work with older children and adults. It is as if I have gained an additional "muscle" in my practice..."
Trainee, 2015


Who is the training suitable for?

The course is suitable for psychotherapists, health professionals and anyone who has an interest in gaining a greater understanding of a baby's early life and relationships and how they develop.



Trainees are required to find a parent and baby to observe. Guidance will be given for how to do this.


Time commitment

The observation of the baby will ideally last for seven terms, allowing for one term in which to find an appropriate mother-baby dyad, and two years to observe the baby. However, it is also possible to complete the observation over four terms, if required, in discussion with the course leader.


Time commitments is a minimum of two hours a week: one-hour observation and time writing up observation notes, plus time at the observation seminars. There will be five seminars a term, held on Friday mornings, 09.00 -10.30 in Kidlington


The course is a rolling programme so it is possible to start at different points throughout the year depending on when space is available.


All OXPIP training is APPCIOS endorsed and contributes towards APPCIOS accreditation. APPCIOS (The Association for Psychodynamic Practice and Counselling in Organisational Settings), is a member organisation of the British Psychoanalytic Council.


The course fee is £370 per term. Further details are in the handbook.

Please note we charge a £50 non-refundable application fee, which should be sent immediately via cheque (made out to OXPIP) with your application form. We will be unable to proceed with your application until payment has been received. Upon invitation to interview, we will also charge an interview/processing fee of £75. Please contact the OXPIP office for further information.

Further details

Applicants should note that they are required to have previously undertaken their own psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy. In some instances, associates will be required to undertake personal therapy during the training, at the discretion of the Head of Training. Additional psychoanalytic/psychodynamic supervision to the supervision provided on the course will be required, either provided within the work setting or paid for privately by the trainee.

Further details about the course are included in the handbook, available to download below.


Applications are now open. This is an open group, so please enquire about a suitable start date for you by emailing or calling us on 01865 778034.

Please click to download the following:

OXPIP Infant Observation Handbook 2019

OXPIP Infant Observation Application Form - word

OXPIP Infant Observation Application Form - pdf

If you would like to discuss the course with us, please get in touch.

OXPIP is committed to equal opportunities.

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