The FTC’s mission is to promote the family’s confidence through the child development process.

Parents and Carers Workshops

The FTC offers parents and carers the possibility to share questions and reach a deeper level of understanding with their children. The workshops are developed focusing on different Child Development stages, identifying typical behaviours in practice which make sense within a theoretical framework. The themes vary from small tips to support school work to a psychodynamic understanding to allow transformation of relational patterns. All workshops have a sharing and case solving time at the end.

Workshops are designed to offer a pleasant, useful, growing experience for everyone. They are developed by an experienced team of Psychologists, Paediatricians and Educators.

Family Workshops (Parent and Children’s Workshops)

Each workshop contains Tavistock & Portmann’s approach for Working with Parents and Children in a clinical setting.

The Family Training Center’s approach is preventive. In a pleasant, non-clinical setting, an engaging activity is offered parent(s) or carers and their child. The activity is orientated by an experienced facilitator (painting, engineering, dancing) and a ‘relational specialist’.  In this group, the family experiments with new relational patterns in an informal environment, which are then easily adopted because they are more pleasant for everyone (and therefore tend to be repeated).

Workshops Offered

1. Understanding Development I – Babys, Toddlers and Infants

(Prerequisite for any of the following workshops)

The Family Training Center’s approach is supported by psychodynamic thinking. It helps adults understand unconscious communication with children right from the very early stages in life. This first FTC workshop has two main goals: (1) to provide a consistent theory basis for parents and carers to identify the first development stages in the early years emotional development, and (2) to present psychodynamic thinking as a tool to communicate with children in a deeper (unconscious) level. With this material, the participants will be able to think about the specific themes presented in the following workshops. The principal benefit is the ability to understand what a child/adolescent is unconsciously communicating when behaving in a certain way, and to answer in an emotionally empathic way. Both parties (adults and children) feel understood and able to understand and the family aligns in more pleasant relational patterns. This is the main goal of the Family Training Center.

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2. Mother and baby: gentle and not so gentle adjustments

Especially for the first baby, there really should be a gene or something that produced an instruction manual for each baby, and dads should read it out in the evening for everyone…’  This workshop helps identifying adjustments and difficulties with which a family is bombarded during the first moments after a baby’s birth. The principal goal is to offer an emotional understanding (quite often hidden) about what is happening to each family member after the baby’s birth. This knowledge will increase empathy in the family and will fight the high statistical rate of parental separations during the baby’s first year.

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3. Separation and Identity

At around two years old the child starts exploring the space around her in an increasingly confident way and along come the first words…‘No!’ is quite often one of the first ones and not unusually comes together with a tantrum.  The Mother and baby’s attachment moments are about to give way to two distinct psychological entities with different wills… This workshop aims to help adults identify the emotions and behaviours associated with this stage, and so understand and facilitate the child’s separation and identity formation mechanisms.

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4. Food relating

Feeding is naturally one of the main causes of concern with children, and also, naturally, children easily ‘learn’ the power that concern offers them. This workshop trains parents and carers in psychodynamic thinking to better understand (and reply to) negative behaviour patterns relating to food.

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5. Sleep and its absence

Darkness and silence at night take us all to the earliest abandonment anxieties, although we are usually not aware of this. All through development (life) one experiences anxious days which are reflected in sleepless nights. During childhood it happens quite often, because the changes are constant and emotionally intense. This workshop helps parents and carers to understand what is happening with the child’s sleeping patterns and to use this understanding to change them.

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6. Bye-bye nappies

The power to control what is happening with her body offers each child the possibility to control adults around her, offering them a nice wee-wee in the potty if she wants to be nice, or somewhere else if her mood is not so good. In this workshop we think about possible unconscious reasons that can be causing problems with abandoning nappies. Parents and carers are guided to understand the child’s unconscious communication, and so how to correctly respond, unblocking the moment and helping her to overcome it.

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7. Playing and its meaning

Playing is one of the most important activities for child development. It is through play that she expresses and organizes her inner world, relating to herself and others and to life in general. This workshop guides parents and carers to identify key issues through observing play, and how to change some of these relating patterns by playing with their child. Getting tuned in with the unconscious child communication, the adult gains the ability to help finding an organizing sense for the child’s anxieties, and the pleasure of playing reinforces this.

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8. Adaptation to school

Starting school is socially a huge life event; most of us can still remember our first day at school. The child is now a ‘grown up’ and is expected to behave like one. The expectations surrounding her are high, and usually for parents this is also an intense experience. This workshop helps parents and carers to understand the child’s need for organizing answers to their anxieties and the theory provided supports this task. The main objective is that the family finds strategies to think and organize anxieties at the moment they appear, releasing them to enjoy with pleasure the next developmental challenges.

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9. Understanding Development II – Latency and School

(Prerequisite for any other Level 2 or 3 workshop)

Around six years old and strengthened by her experiences in school, the child focusses her energy in learning and interacting socially in an organized way, leaving behind the emotional intensity of the early stages. Freud called this stage ‘latency’ and defines it as a period for emotional structuring. It will prepare the child for the next big restructuring moment which is adolescence. This workshop offers knowledge of social and emotional development for parents and carers to identify at which stage of development is their child(ren). This knowledge helps adults to understand typical behaviours at this stage, and the child is now able to think about her behaviour with the adult. The challenge for adults is to maintain the emotional/relational communication with the child and not to get stuck in an exclusively rational relationship, which will most likely be the child’s tendency at this age. The main objective is to prevent the emotional gap that tends to entrench itself and then obstructs communication during adolescence.

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10. Screen time management

Technology offers an irresistible stimulation and is always there for you. Nowadays, we can obtain nearly everything via a screen, and it is sometimes hard to decide how much this should occupy of our children’s life. This workshop helps us think about how can screens can become an obstacle to social interaction and helps to identify strategies to find a balanced management of screen-time.

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11. Peer competition

School evaluations and organized social interaction raise anxieties linked to ‘win and lose’ or being ‘wrong or right’. Children who struggle with power are usually the ones who fight more and parents, and authority figures are very often the target. This workshop helps in understanding the meaning of power needs and associated behaviours so that the adult can increase the child’s sense of capacity, as well as decrease her need to demand for it.

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12. Creativity

Learning and all cognitive processes are mentally very structuring. ‘Latency’ is defined as the learning period. If we consider learning as receiving models of thinking and knowledge from others and society we understand the need for balancing that with expressive moments. This workshop provides thoughts about how creativity and expressive moments are linked to life creativity in terms of finding creative solutions for life events, and how they reinforce the child’s sense of being.

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13. Homework

When we come home after a full working day and there is still some ‘stuff’ to finish we feel tired and often feel almost injusticed. Sometimes children feel the same about homework. This workshop aims to reinforce empathic links to the child and teacher, and uses homework as a motive for cooperation, sharing and growing within the family.

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14. Understanding Development III – Adolescence

(Prerequisite for any other Level 3 workshop)

Adolescence is the time in life when the most changes are happening to us. Knowing that there is an increase in anxiety before each moment of change, we can imagine (or remember) the emotional storm that often accompanies these changes. It is important to accept that adolescence always demands some degree of adjustment for a family, and sometimes a quite large one. This workshop aims to offer knowledge about what is expected in this developmental stage, focusing on personality structuring. We will identify expected behaviour patterns and concerns. The psychodynamic theoretical knowledge reinforces parents’ and carers’ strategies for empathic relation with the adolescent, even when his behaviour is quite challenging, as well as strategies to define or redefine boundaries to prevent risk behaviour.

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15. Isolation and agressive behaviour

The lonely adolescent is an almost universal image. Using psychodynamic thinking we can understand that with so much happening inside, any other exterior stimulus may well become unbearable and so he withdraws within himself, or even attacks… This workshop aims to clarify the unconscious communication underlying challenging behaviour during adolescence and to support parents and carers to help the adolescent to discover less extreme behaviour when dealing with his internal confusion.

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16. Extravagant behavior/ Formatted behavior

One of the central issues for personality structuring is ‘how to belong to a group whilst keeping my individuality’. This workshop tries to identify the continuous line of intermediate points in between the extremes of ‘losing individuality in order to belong to a group’ and ‘being so different from everyone else that I feel I don’t belong anywhere’. The workshop helps parents to understand the needs underlying each of these, and how relating to the needs instead of relating to the behaviour itself facilitates change.

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17. Sexuality

The associated hormonal explosion further intensifies the adolescent emotional storm. The search for a love object and the wish to be loved are still confused with narcissistic and belonging issues. The sexual drive increases and requires resolving with whatever means the adolescent can find. All the physical, physiological, social and psychological outcomes appear within a range of two years and these differences between peers can also be experienced with deep suffering. This workshop offers a wide view on first sexuality manifestations (boys and girls) and the opportunity to think through strategies to support a healthy introduction to sexuality.

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18. Promoting independence and boundaries

This is the central parenting task through all the developmental process, and is particularly important during adolescence because the adolescent has good argumentative abilities and there is no absolute truth to help us decide what is wrong or right. This workshop highlights the adolescent’s independence and need for boundaries and uses examples to illustrate them. Parents and carers are invited to identify strategies in group setting and to bring their own examples to the group.

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