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Children’s Brain and Emotional Development

This course is also available as part of a bundle.


Course overview

This five-hour, online course will help you to understand children’s emotional and psychological states in the context of exciting new research into the brain, body and nervous system – providing insights into the effects of early experiences which can directly inform your work with children and young people.

Wondering what the course will be like? Download a summary of student & reviewer feedback (PDF).


Enquire now


Course aims

This clear and accessible course explores how early experiences shape the structure and functioning of our brains and nervous systems, and how this can be seen in children’s behaviours, minds and emotions. By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of the effects of trauma, neglect and abuse, how resilience can develop, and how this information can be used to positive effect in your practice when working with children and young people.


How will you learn?

  • Explore key concepts through interactive lecture content and videos
  • Deepen your understanding via regular opportunities for reflection
  • Consider a Case Study to help apply the theory to your work
  • Test your knowledge with a quiz, and unlock a certificate

Course topics

This course will allow you to:

  • Make sense of children’s behaviours and mental states by linking these to family background, biological inheritance and emotional contexts
  • Gain an awareness of how the brain and nervous system develop, and the impact of early experiences on how children behave, think and feel
  • Understand the impact of adverse experiences, and how emotional growth and resilience can develop as a result of positive new experiences
  • Apply this knowledge to your own interactions with children and young people – understanding that change is always possible, even in our brains.

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone to this course who has a keen interest in the subject area.

In particular, this course is for you if you are working with children, young people and families, and wish to learn more about cutting-edge research in this area, and how it can be applied to your work.

You may be working in:

  • A school
  • Social services
  • Healthcare
  • The voluntary sector
  • Or you may be considering work with children in the future.

Know someone who’d enjoy this course? Download a course flyer (PDF) to share with friends and colleagues.


Course requirements/assessment

There are no specific requirements for the course, although we suggest you are working with, or have an interest in working with children, or want to learn more about the effects of difficult early experiences on children’s minds and behaviours.

There’s a multiple choice question assessment at the end of the course, which unlocks a Digital Academy CPD certificate upon completion.



Course Timings

This course runs continuously, so you can sign up at any time. It offers five hours of self-directed learning which you can undertake at a time and pace that suits you.

You will have access to the course and its materials for a total of one year. Access begins the day after you’ve registered and paid, when you will receive login details by email.


Course facilitators

Dr Graham Music

Dr Graham Music

Dr Graham Music (PHD) is Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and an Adult Psychotherapist in private practice. He has a particular interest in exploring the interface between developmental findings and clinical work. Formerly Associate Clinical Director of the Tavistock and Portman’s Child and Family Department, he has managed…

CPD Certified

CPD certified

This course has been independently evaluated for Continuing Professional Development purposes by The CPD Certification Service. This means that the learning activity meets global CPD standards and benchmarks, and the learning value has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality.


Book your place today

Our Mini Courses run continuously. You can book a place at any time using our secure 'MyTAP' booking system, and access begins the day after you’ve registered and paid, when you will receive login details by email.

...or try a course bundle

This course is also available as part of a convenient course bundle – providing you with one year’s access to four complementary online resources.



I highly and thoroughly recommend this course to any professional working with children who have experienced trauma or neglect. It is digestible, manageable and it is essential information for helping to improve outcomes of the children we work with. I will be telling all my colleagues about this course. Huge thanks.
Mini Course Student
This is an excellent course, well laid out, clear and easy to use giving students a comprehensive understanding on how adverse early childhood experiences shape the structure and function of the brain, impacting emotional, psychological and physical development all the way into adult life. The course covers both the challenges and possibilities of change working with children and adolescents who have experienced developmental trauma and neglect.
Amanda Glass
I really enjoyed this course. It has given me a greater understanding of how trauma and poor early experiences can affect a child. It has motivated me to learn more and to apply this knowledge when working with children and infants and in particular those who have had a difficult start to life.
Mini Course Student
This course is important for anyone working with children. It draws upon extensive up to date research to explain the long lasting emotional, physical and psychological effects of adverse childhood experiences. It helpfully explains how children and young people in schools and society may feel and behave because of their early experiences. I found the combination of videos, diagrams and reading very helpful in explaining complex concepts. The course includes important relevant topics such as the effects of technology and social media. Lastly the course offers hope by explaining that change is possible with the aid of understanding adults and caring environments.
Robyn Saffer
Child and Family Psychodynamic Psychotherapist
This is a ‘must’ for people from all sectors working with children & young people wanting to get an understanding of why so many children & young people struggle as they do. The material is easily accessible, incredibly clear and engaging, leaving me wanting to know more!
Harriet Gordon
I thought I knew quite a lot about trauma and neglect but I can highly recommend this course. Informative, interesting, up to date and has given me a lot more food for thought and ideas about the young people I work with.
Mini Course Student
Really excellent course. Very informative in terms of sharing current research on brain development, linking how genetics and environment impact the developing mind and beyond. It has helped to enhance my work with clients. Loved the fact I could log on and complete over several weeks in my own time. This was particularly helpful at a time when demands on time have been greater due to balancing work, home schooling and life in general! Many thanks to all involved in producing such a worthwhile course.
Mini Course Student
I really enjoyed the course, it was just the right level to apply to what I am doing. It has made me want to do more courses with the Tavistock.
Mini Course Student
I found the course content very useful and presented in a very accessible way. The various presentations of the content - videos, journaling and reading were all helpful in consolidating what I was learning.
Mini Course Student
This course will help me to be more alert to the effects of early trauma / neglect on the behaviour / reactions of children when I see them manifested in the therapy room and be more sensitive to how I might help balance emotional deficits.
Mini Course Student
I am very pleased that I was able to attend this course. Dr Music shares his knowledge in a digestible way, which helps me to link it to the work I do with ease.
Mini Course Student
This course is a brilliant course which enables us to understand and learn more about what cutting edge research shows about what neglect is and how it affects children's development. The course can also help professionals, services and the government to also think about what everyone may be able to do to help prevent neglect to children, whilst at the same time to think more creatively about how we might be able to support parents to achieve change; intervening in ways that can empower parents and enable to make changes to their circumstances and behaviors - where it is possible to do so with compassion and understanding, in order to promote every child's chances to optimum development and well-being.
Mini Course Student
The course is very good! It is well organised and interesting in terms of readings about key concepts from theory and videos to understand them.
Mini Course Student
This course was a lucky find after spending time looking at specialisms for current education pathway. There are many good courses out there; however this one is great because of its professionalism and content.
Mini Course Student
This course offers a user friendly insight into human brain development and how it impacts behaviour. It's a well-crafted and interesting course for anyone working with young people who wish to understand how our brains, bodies, emotions and behaviour interact and impact.
Mini Course Student
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