Supporting our members, offering outstanding psychoanalytic training to mental health professionals, and educating the general public about psychoanalysis since 1999.

Infant Observation

Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute offers a course on infant observation tailored to the needs of psychotherapists in the Seattle mental health community. This course, which has long been a central part of psychoanalytic training, is available to licensed mental health professionals interested in enhancing their professional development in British object relations theory and practice.

Course Description:

Observing an infant weekly from birth to one year gives a unique opportunity to learn about early childhood development as it is happening. This “experience near” form of learning allows access to the infant’s earliest relationships with parents, siblings, and others in the family milieu. The infant’s own experiences, its efforts to emotionally hold itself together, to develop trust, to have and internalize good objects, and to develop symbolic thought, can all be seen in their dynamic complexity.

Reflecting on these experiences in weekly classes with fellow observers and trained instructor(s) helps develop the capacity to infer mental growth and development in the infant and family members being observed. For many, there is a valuable carry over from this course to being able to better recognize and speak to the infant aspects of patients in the treatment situation, whatever their chronological age. The learning in this course derives from three components: the observation itself, the work of describing these experiences in written reports, and discussion of these experiences with colleagues and faculty trained in the Tavistock model of observing infants pioneered by Kleinian psychoanalyst Esther Bick.


1. One-hour weekly observation of the infant and caregiver in the home.

2. Detailed write-up of the infant/parent/sibling interactions and inferred emotional experiences, along with the observer’s counter-transference responses.

3. 90-minute weekly classes with a maximum of 5 colleague observers and instructor(s).

Please Note: Infant observation is a required course in the NPSI psychoanalytic training program. Consequently, if an observer successfully completes this course, and later applies for and is accepted for analytic training, this requirement will be fulfilled.

Fees: $35 NPSI member/$40 non-member

Maximum enrollment 5, CEU’s available.

Location: Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; 2710 First Avenue, Suite 120; Seattle, WA 98121.


For Additional Information, including when the next group will begin, or to apply, contact





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