The Observing Relationship - One day Conference


The Observing Relationship - A one day Conference

Shared Perspectives from Observational Documentary Film Making and Psychoanalytic Observation

Saturday 9 November 2019

09.30am arrival (for 10am start) - 4.30pm


The Watershed

1 Canons Road

Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5TX



Early Bird Rate: 17 July - 4 September

Trainees/Students £55

Standard: £65

Rates from 5 September - 8 November

Trainees/Students £65

Standard: £80

Book your place at the event here


Speakers include

Margaret Rustin, Consultant Child Psychotherapist; Paddy Wivell, BAFTA nominated and RTS Award winning documentary filmmaker; Gail Walker, Senior Child Psychotherapist, Bridge Foundation; Sara Tibbetts, Documentary filmmaker and Rachel Pardoe, Child Psychotherapist (Chair)


About the event

As part of the ACP’s 70th Anniversary events the ACP and The Bridge Foundation are hosting a one day conference in Bristol.

At the heart of the training to become a Child Psychotherapist is the practice of infant observation – a two year systematic study/observation of the development of infants that ‘provides the observer with the opportunity to encounter primitive emotional states in the infant and his family, and in the observer’s own response to this turbulent environment’ (Rustin, M 1989).

The aim is to describe the development of the relationship that develops between the infant and others including the observer, but also of the infant’s emotional states and internal world, through an understanding of the unconscious aspects of behaviour and patterns of communication.

Through the process of observation and the recording of observations, meaning can be given to complex states of mind (and situations).

The conference seeks to examine the commonalities – and differences between the psychoanalytic process of reflective observation and the role of the documentary film maker, paying particular attention to the relationships that are formed within both our disciplines and the potential for transformation.

We hope that the day will be an exciting inter-disciplinary event. There will be opportunity to hear formal presentations, interspersed with film clips, and plenty of opportunity for discussion about technical issues, and approach, with ideas shared, and possibly new relationships formed as we seek to understand something more about our respective approaches to ‘The Observing Relationship'.


About the Speakers


Paddy Wivell is an award winning documentary film maker, and director of the highly acclaimed Channel 4 series ‘Prison’ , documenting life in HMP Durham, and broadcast earlier this year. Other credits include “Boys and Girls” 2001, “Compulsion. The Trouble with Jonny” 2005, ‘‘Bedlam – Crisis” 2013, and ‘The Tribe” 2015.

"I’ve been making  documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4 for nearly fifteen years.  The people who’ve taken part in my films have come from all walks of life; from Rent boys to Eton scholars, Hasidic Jews to night time cruisers, from wayward kids to rebellious pensioners, reforming addicts and notorious conmen. But they all shared something – a desire to speak and be heard, a glint in the eye and a spirit for adventure. There’s always a moment after we’ve first met when, despite the risks, they decide to throw in their lot and choose to conspire with me to make a film together. It’s a heady moment, a rush and a thrill and a little bit like falling in love. I’ll always be grateful to them for it."


Margaret Rustin is a child, adolescent and adult psychotherapist and a child analyst at the British Psychoanalytic Society. She was head of child psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic from 1985 – 2009 and has taught extensively in Europe and elsewhere, most recently in China and Taiwan. Since retirement from the NHS she continues to teach and supervise and has a private clinical practice. Margaret also convenes a research workshop on Inter-generational trauma.

Margaret has written and edited many books and papers about aspects of psychanalytic observation,child psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, to include 1989 Rustin, M.E. (co-ed and contrib.). Closely Observed Infants. Duckworth.2013 Rustin, M.E. (co-ed and contrib.). Young Child Observation: A Development in the Theory and Method of Infant Observation. Karnac..and Observation Observed with Beth Miller (2003) available both on DVD and to stream.


Sara Tibbetts is a documentary Producer & Director She has been making films for over 25 years developing a reputation for sensitive yet unsentimental handling of difficult and painful subjects. Previously, Sara worked in mental health for 10 years, as a social worker.

From social work, Sara went on to study anthropology after which she joined the BBC. She made several programmes for the BBC’s award winning series “Trouble at the Top” and for Channel 4’s flagship documentary series “Cutting Edge” which included “Sleeping With My Sister“ about incest and “Life After Death” about a group of people widowed young as they grappled with their loss. Also for Channel 4 she made “Wanted New Mum & Dad” about the adoption of older children from the child’s point of view, and worked on their BAFTA winning “One Born Every Minute”.

Most recently, Sara was Executive Producer on “A Love That Never Dies” a feature length documentary about parents who have lost a child.

Book your place here


November 9th, 2019 9:30 AM   through   11:30 PM
The Watershed
1 Canons Road
Bristol, London BS1 5TX
United Kingdom

Show large map
Phone: 02079227751
Event Fee(s)
Early Bird - Trainee/Student £ 55.00
Early Bird - Standard £ 65.00

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