Overview of TPEA Advanced Training in Psychotherapies Course

The Advanced  training in the psychotherapies course (accredited by Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists) is flexible and the components can be done in parallel or in series.

This means that components can be completed as suits the individual.

AT-P does not necessarily have to be finished in 2 years & the RANZCP allows up to 6 years currency.

A significant proportion of trainees already have their Fellowships and are completing the AT course at their own pace over several years.

RANZCP Fellowship attainment is independent of & does NOT require completion of AT-P.

For registrars the College will accredit the time spent in AT and award Fellowship whether you have completed all parts of the AT-Psychotherapies course or not.

There are options to complete selected components of AT-P rather than the full requirements. In these cases

The TPEA will issue a certificate of completion for the seminars only component.

The RANZCP will however only issue an AT-Psychotherapies Certificate when all components are satisfactorily completed.

For more details of RANZCP AT-P requirements click here.

There are 3 main components to the AT-Psychotherapies training to fulfil RANZCP requirements:


1. Seminars:

The initial Core program runs for approximately 6 months & is followed by Individual Dynamic Psychotherapy 1 (IDP1) and IDP2 the following year.

In NSW live seminars are held at Maddison House –NSW RANZCP Headquarters on Wednesday nights from 6.30-9.00 pm. Participants will also be supplied with the AT-P DVD series.

For AT-P trainees in other Branches and in rural NSW including centers distant from Sydney-Central Coast, distance education seminars of the courses are available on DVD supplied when enrolment is completed.

More details on Course Contents:  click here.

For more details on TPEA Distance Education Advanced Training in Psychotherapies: click here


2. Supervised Clinical Cases:

Various clinical cases must be completed and  require a minimum total of 80 hours of individual supervision (about 1 hour per week of supervision over 2 years).

For enrolled Advanced Trainees, refer to your dashboard for details of Supervisors.

Supervision can be live in person or may be available by telephone, teleconference or Skype etc if you have broadband connection.

More information about setting up Skype: click here

For further details about supervision: click here 

3. Infant / Toddler Observation and Supervision:

In NSW there are currently 3 options available to meet this requirement and groups will be organised during the course:


Outline of Infant/Toddler Observation 

The RANZCP By-laws for Advanced Training in the Psychotherapies, approved by General Council at its meeting in May, 2000, specify a requirement for 20 hours of infant or toddler observation and supervision (optional for Structured Therapies).

The Committee for Training  has developed a number of options for trainees in this area which have proven popular and have received very positive feedback.

The overriding aim of the inclusion of this component of training in the Core programme is to provide trainees with some understanding of crucial processes of early development (physical, emotional, cognitive and relational) and attachment and of the sensitivity of the period of early childhood in providing a secure base for later development. It is also hoped that through such an observational model trainees will themselves develop foundational skills of reflective observation and non-directive relational participation both with the families observed and within the learning group.  An attitude of respect for the essential person of the other at all stages of change and development is another key learning objective in this part of the Course.

The most stringent of ethical considerations apply to participation in this process.

Informed consent to observation and/or videoing must be sought and there is a requirement from each participant that s(he) is not a ‘prohibited person’ under the terms of the Child Protection (Prohibited Employment) Act of 1998.  In addition strict ethical considerations of confidentiality apply.

The cost of supervision for the Infant/Toddler Observations component of the NSW IoP training course is included in the course fees up to a defined limit. The NSWIoP pays each supervisor their usual hourly rate for up to and including 20 hours of supervision for each group of supervisees participating, irrespective of the number of trainees per supervision group. For those trainees opting to extend their Infant/Toddler Observations experience beyond this, any additional costs are to be met by private arrangement between the supervisor and trainee.

An outline of the three models is offered here for reflection and will be amplified further in the seminar dedicated to this segment of the NSWIoP Core Programme.

Tavistock Infant Observation

This is the classical mode of infant observation developed by Mrs Esther Bick and adopted as a training procedure at the Tavistock Clinic, London.

This model of Infant Observation follows the ‘normal’ development of a baby from birth in its home environment.

The observation is usually for one year, but could cease at twenty weeks when College requirements are fulfilled.

In this type of observation the trainee/student is required to find a mother/baby dyad, preferably before the birth itself and to visit regularly in the home for one hour a week.

After each visit the trainee writes up the observation and observations are then discussed in weekly seminars with a seminar leader and other members of the group.  The time of the Seminars needs to be negotiated with the individual Seminar leader.

At the end of a six month and/or twelve month period the trainee is required to write a report on the experience.

An important aim of this type of observation is for the trainee to find a way of becoming a ‘participant observer’ with all the attendant learning that this entails.

Clinical Baby Observation

This model has been developed within the context of the NSWIoP Course as an alternative to the first model.  It seeks to examine issues of development and attachment in the context of a clinical rather than a home setting and examines development and attachment in a family system where there has been some degree of disturbance.

Within this model trainees meet in a group of no more than six in the St. Benedict’s Unit of St. John of God Hospital, Burwood to view previously videotaped material of a family playing with their infant.

The group will be facilitated and supervised by Mrs Beulah Warren, a clinical psychologist with particular expertise in the field of infant-parent therapy.

A designated staff member from the St. Benedict’s Unit will also be a member of the group working in a liaison role between the family and the trainees and will co-facilitate the group with Mrs Warren.

There may also be some ‘live’ involvement of families with the purpose of sharing aspects of their parenting and getting to know their baby.

It is proposed that the group sessions will take place over a period of ten weeks with each session of two hours’ duration to fulfil College requirements.  The timing of the sessions is, however, subject to the availability of the Unit staff member and the needs of the Unit.

We are extremely grateful to St John of God Hospital, as well as to Mrs Warren for allowing us this learning opportunity and the greatest sensitivity needs to be exercised by us in entering this ‘host’ environment in as unobtrusive, courteous and respectful a manner as possible.

Infant/Toddler Observation

This model offers another alternative to trainees and is distinctive in its focus on toddlers and its setting in a Child Care Centre.

Trainees will meet in a group of no more than six at a designated Child Care Centre under the supervision of Dr Robyn Dolby, a research psychologist who consults widely in this area and who is also an Honorary Research Fellow of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

It is envisaged that the group(s) will meet for two hour sessions over a period of ten weeks.

The focus in this model will be on normal cognitive, motor and social-emotional development with particular situations targeted rather than particular children.  Both ‘live’ and videotaped observations will be reflected on within the group under the supervision of Dr Dolby.

Two major strands will be developed: The choice of situations to illustrate the developmental tasks for children at particular ages along with corresponding caregiving tasks, e.g. the baby/toddler’s capacity to self soothe at times of upset and their response to being comforted or settled to sleep, and observation of the children’s relationships to one another as well as to caregivers in the child care setting.

A major aim of the seminars is to foster in the trainees a capacity for reflective observation.

The NSWIoP course  is extremely grateful to Dr Dolby and to the Child Care Centre for the learning opportunity offered to us and an attitude of sensitivity, courtesy and respectful non-intrusion is vital in an environment into which we are invited as ‘guests’.