Anna Freud Centre - History


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. 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. 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".

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.

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. 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. 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.

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