Dr. Ruth Schmidt Neven is a clinical psychologist and child and adolescent psychotherapist based in Melbourne Australia. She is director of the Centre for Child and Family Development www.centreforchildandfamily.com and was previously the inaugural Chief Psychotherapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Ruth trained at the Tavistock Clinic in London and over four decades both in Australia and the UK, has brought a pioneering approach to clinical work with children, young people, and their parents, that emphasises the essential meaning making nature of behaviour. Ruth is the President of the not-for-profit Association of Child and Family Development that promotes understanding of all aspects of behaviour from infancy through to early adulthood via a series of podcasts Talking Child Development with a wide range of professionals in the field.
Ruth is committed to working dynamically with parents as well as children and young people since the evidence indicates that the most enduring therapeutic outcomes involve a shift or change in the parents’ relational understanding of themselves, as well as a change in the child. Ruth has championed the value and richness of a psychodynamic approach in work with infants, young and older children and adolescents and families. The psychodynamic approach rather than one which is purely behaviourally focused, promotes in-depth insight into the meaning of behaviour and the importance of developmental tasks. Ruth has designed a time-limited psychodynamic model of working which has at its core the recognition of the dynamic capacity for growth in the child and how this, in itself, creates opportunities for effective treatment over a relatively short period of time.
Ruth has published extensively on her work and approach. Her paper on Under Fives Counselling: Opportunities for growth, change and development for children and parents has been published in refereed journals in the UK and Europe. Her acclaimed book Core Principles of Assessment and Therapeutic Communication with Children, Parents and Families was nominated as Book of the Month by the UK Association of Infant Mental Health. This book together with others including her most recent book on Time-Limited Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents, is used in university and professional therapy training programs in Australia and overseas.
Ruth has been involved in extensive training throughout Australia and overseas including at the University of Cambridge, Peabody College, Van der Bilt University USA, Stellenbosch University South Africa, and at the NScence training organization in London UK. These trainings cover a variety of topics concerning the application of a psychodynamic approach in particular the importance of early infant parent relationships and attachment and the impact on brain development. These trainings have now been made available via audio for professionals in Australia and overseas and can be accessed via the website www.centreforchildandfamily.com
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