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The Tavistock approach to autism
Thursday 10 December 2020, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Join us for a talk on our ground-breaking work with people with autism and their families.
This event will explore the rich clinical work and innovative thinking around Autism Spectrum Condition at the Tavistock over the past five decades. We are delighted to welcome Child Psychotherapists, Sue Reid and Anne Alvarez who will describe their early ground-breaking work within the multidisciplinary Tavistock Autism Team and Workshop. Their experiences yielded clinical observations that there were some children with the condition who made significant gains in therapy, leading to developments in psychoanalytic techniques for this group. They also provided detailed insights into the nature of the condition and the role of personality. Their work underlined the importance of providing support for parents and siblings, and working with schools and wider networks.
We will also be joined by current members of the service, who will discuss the continuing influence of psychoanalytic and systemic perspectives on the Tavistock approach. It is an approach which at the same time is firmly rooted in the research around Autism’s neurodevelopmental basis. The parallels and differences in work with individuals with Learning Disabilities will be explored – in particular the stigma and marginalisation that individuals with these conditions unfortunately still face.
In recent years in the service, there has been an increasing focus in the service on supporting young adults with autism, particularly as they face the complexities of transition to adulthood. The team has also developed a diagnostic assessment service that predominantly sees adolescents. This has brought to the fore questions around the young person’s consent, giving voice to their experience and exploring the meaning of a diagnosis and concepts of neurodiversity.
The contribution of other disciplines including social work, clinical and educational psychology, speech and language therapy and psychiatry have been vital. But the most important has been the work of those who have collaborated and drawn from ideas across disciplines, true to the Tavistock tradition. We hope that we will be joined by both professionals from a range of backgrounds, and those with lived experience of Autism Spectrum Condition in our discussion of how we can continue to best support individuals and their families in the future.
For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman has proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. From attachment theory and infant observation, to applying psychoanalytic and systemic approaches in varied settings, our ideas have led to changes in care, education, how organisations work and beyond.
Our Centenary Festival is celebrating our history and exploring contemporary issues in relation to identity, relationships and society. It is considering how we continue to draw on our heritage to provide valuable responses to contemporary and future problems from the perspective of equality and inclusion.
This event will support The Tavistock Clinic Foundation. This charity shares the fundamental aim of The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which is to highlight the importance of relationships from the earliest years throughout all our lives. The Foundation supports innovative approaches to improving mental health and preventing ill-health. Read more about its work on the Tavistock Clinic Foundation website.