Meet our Faculty:
Our courses are developed and delivered by a faculty of NHS Clinician-Tutors. In this series, you’ll get to know them!
Caroline Black is a British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) registered Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, who completed her training at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
Caroline’s background is in mental health nursing and over her career she has worked in a wide range of settings as a specialist practitioner and psychotherapist. Caroline now works from her private practice in Hampshire, UK, where she treats both private and NHS-referred adult patients.
Caroline teaches on a number of courses at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, including our Digital Academy ‘Psychoanalytic Thinking at Work’ course.
What brought you to the Tavistock and Portman?
I had been working in various mental health settings for many years as a mental health specialist practitioner. Although I found this rewarding and interesting on many levels, I knew that I wanted to work at a deeper level with patients, especially those so called ‘revolving door’ patients.
It was also important to me also to understand more about team dynamics, given the demanding and challenging work environment I was working in. I was given the opportunity to experience various psychological modalities within the Trust where I worked but it seemed to me, as useful and effective as they might have been to many patients, they would not give me the depth of understanding of what might be at the root cause of the distress that many of my patients were presenting with. I was also curious about myself and exploring my own unconscious motivations for wanting to do this work (a requirement for training).
The Tavistock and Portman psychodynamic training was suggested to me by a colleague who had completed her training there some years previously. After much research and reading about the wide variety of courses offered at the Tavistock and Portman, I was convinced that this was an institution I wanted to train with, given its long history and proven track record as a centre of excellence. I was delighted to have been accepted for the 2 year Foundation course in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. This then led me to the 2 year qualifying course in Intercultural Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
What do you value most about your role?
I feel very privileged to work with students in my role as seminar leader and tutor with the ‘Psychoanalytic Thinking at Work’ course and the ‘Introduction to counselling and psychotherapy‘ (ED12) course. It really is a shared experience and a two way process. I not only share the knowledge and experience I have been fortunate enough to have gained over the years as a student and practising psychotherapist; but also the students bring a wealth of experience and diversity to the seminars, which I too benefit from. It is a joy to see so many of them complete their training and to watch how they grow and develop throughout the course. Some decide, and are selected, to go on and train as psychotherapists; while others are content to consolidate and bring what they have learnt back to their workplace and their communities. So many say at the end of the course “I think very differently now”.
What advice would you give Digital Academy students?
Don’t be in a hurry to get to the end and to start the ‘next thing’. Enjoy your student journey and try to be ‘in the moment’ of your learning. It goes by very fast! It’s not about acquiring lots of knowledge about psychoanalytic theories and concepts, although it is important to have a sound understanding of these. Rather, it is more about how you are able to ‘think’ about your own experience of learning, the readings, seminars discussions and clinical placements. It’s not a linear experience. I remember when I was training and reached the end of my foundation course, the thought that occurred to me at that time was “If only I could start again knowing what I know now about myself”.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Prior to my career in mental health and psychotherapy, I was an army nurse and in the latter years of that, worked in the MoD on various Defence Medical Services projects.
Discover ‘Psychoanalytic Thinking at Work’
Now recruiting for a second year, this interactive, online course offers you the opportunity to engage with some fundamental aspects of psychoanalytic theory – introducing ideas that will help you to think afresh about yourself, your relationships and the world around you, and providing you with the space to reflect on your current role, or start taking your career in a new direction.