Anna Freud Centre

The Anna Freud Centre (now renamed the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families) is a child mental health research, training and treatment centre located in London, United Kingdom. It is one of only a small number of places in the UK where children can receive full psychoanalysis.[2] It is closely associated with University College London (UCL) and Yale University.

Anna Freud Centre
Anna Freud Centre logo.png
TypeCharitable organisation
Registration no.England and Wales: 1077106[1]
FocusChild psychoanalysis
  • London, United Kingdom
Key people
Peter Fonagy (Chief Executive)
£3,656,863 (2009/10)[1]


The Hampstead Child Therapy Course was started by Anna Freud in 1947. Students included Joyce McDougall, who had her first experience of intensive analysis with children whilst on the course.[3] The Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic was founded in 1952 by Anna Freud, Dorothy Burlingham, and Helen Ross, becoming the first child psychoanalytic centre for observational research, teaching and learning.[4][5] The Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic was established as a charity with the purpose of providing training, treatment and research in child psychoanalysis. After Anna Freud's death in 1982, the Centre was renamed the "Anna Freud Centre".[4]

The Centre's current Directors, Linda Mayes, Peter Fonagy, and Mary Target, were appointed in 2003. Their aim has been to secure the Anna Freud Centre's position as the leading psychoanalytic innovator and provider of mental health treatment to children and families in Europe.[4]

In June 2003 a study conducted jointly by the Anna Freud Centre, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Coram Family Adoption Services on the way in which abused children can have their faith in adults restored through adoption was published.[6] In September 2009 a collaborative project involving the Anna Freud Centre, Kids Company and UCL was launched to study what happens to the brains of children who have suffered early trauma.[7] In May 2010 a campaign was launched by the charity Kids Company to raise £5 million to fund a study into how children's brain development is affected by loving care and attachment, with the study work to be conducted by the Anna Freud Centre in partnership with the Institute of Psychiatry, UCL, the Tavistock Clinic and Oxford University.[8]



The Centre provides short-term and long-term specialist treatments for children suffering from mental illnesses.[9]


The Centre conducts research in collaboration with the Yale University Child Study Center and the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine.[10] The Centre's historic links with Yale University have been renewed through the recently established Anna Freud Centre/Yale Child Study Center Bridge Programme. Research teams from the Menninger Department of Psychiatry, the Anna Freud Centre and Yale Child Study Center form a developmental and clinical psychoanalytically-inspired research consortium.

The Centre also hosts the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Evidence Based Practice Unit, an interdisciplinary research unit which is part of University College London.[11] Its research focuses on supporting the implementation of evidence-based practice and also gathering practice-based evidence for mental health interventions. Current projects include a national evaluation of therapies (part of the Children and Young People's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme); research on shared decision making; and the development of models for resource need as part of the CAMHS Payment by Results project.


The Centre offers the following certificate, diploma and MSc courses:[12]

  • MRes (previously MSc) in Developmental Neuroscience & Psychopathology (in collaboration with UCL and Yale University; Child Study Center). This course was established in 2006 as part of the new Anna Freud Centre/Yale Child Study Center Bridge Programme and addresses a growing interest among both neuroscientists and developmental scholars in integrating ideas of social-emotional development with contemporary understanding of brain development and brain function. It consists of one year of teaching at the Anna Freud Centre/UCL, and one year or independent research at the Yale Child Study Center/Yale University.
  • MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology (in collaboration with UCL). The course combines theoretical consideration of psychoanalytic perspectives on developmental issues and inter-family relationships with year-long observations of infants and children.
  • MSc in Developmental Psychology & Clinical Practice
  • UCL Post Graduate Certificate/Post Graduate Diploma/MSc in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and other Outcomes-Based Interventions. These new UCL programmes are intended for all professionals working in children's services, including social care, education and health.
  • PGCert in ‘Leadership and change’ new from Jan 2020

The Centre also offers an extensive range of short courses.[13]


The Anna Freud Centre Library supports the academic, clinical and research activities at the Centre.[14] It currently holds approximately 2,000 books covering both historical and contemporary psychoanalytic material, and subscribes to 22 journal titles.[14] Electronic access to research publications is also available.[14]


Alumni include Erna Furman.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "The Anna Freud Centre". Charity Commission. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Health: Children on the couch: Is three the perfect age to meet your shrink?". The Independent. 16 September 1997. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Joyce McDougall obituary". The Guardian. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "History". The Anna Freud Centre. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  5. ^ Robert A. King, Peter B. Neubauer and Samuel Abrams (2008), The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume 62, United States of America: Yale University Press, ISBN 0300125402, retrieved 17 April 2011
  6. ^ "How abused children learn to trust adults". The Guardian. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  7. ^ "We should separate at-risk children from their parents at birth". The Telegraph. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Metro Urban Action: Girls aged eight are carrying weapons". Metro. 16 May 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Services". The Anna Freud Centre. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Research". The Anna Freud Centre. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  11. ^ "UCL Programmes". The Anna Freud Centre. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Courses". The Anna Freud Centre. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  13. ^ a b c "The Library". The Anna Freud Centre. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2010.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°32′51″N 0°10′39″W / 51.5476°N 0.1776°W / 51.5476; -0.1776