Interview with the world's oldest living child psychotherapist: 98 years old Isca Wittenberg

Wittenberg, Isca and O'Rourke, Jane (2021) Interview with the world's oldest living child psychotherapist: 98 years old Isca Wittenberg. [Film/Video]

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For over fifty years Isca worked at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where she eventually rose to be its Vice Chair. Her colleagues were some of the greatest names in psychotherapy such as Donald Meltzer and Neville Symington. Isca was in analysis with Dr Sonny Davidson for four years when he tragically died. Hear her reflections on why she decided she wanted Wilfred Bion as her analyst. Having taught infant observation for over 50 years, Isca explains her passion for it and why it is an essential part of understanding babies and their parents. She also reveals the challenges of working with one of the key creators of Infant Observation, Esther Bick. Isca discloses how her own experience growing up led her to gravitate towards helping adolescents experiencing mental health difficulties. She developed a young peoples counselling service at the Tavistock where for the first time they could refer themselves. Hear too why a deep interest in spirituality alongside psychoanalysis runs through Isca’s life and work and why at 98 she’s learning to play the piano! A generation of Holocaust survivors has helped to shape the course of child psychotherapy and mental health services in the UK. You can also watch a clip of our upcoming interview with Lydia Tischler who survived the Terezin and Auschwitz concentration camps to go on to transform therapy services for mothers and babies and establish child psychotherapy trainings all over the world. Go to

Item Type: Film/Video
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adolescents - Psychotherapy
Emotions, Affective Psychology > Grief/Mourning/Loss
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalysis
Media Appearances > Film/Video
Department/People: Honorary Staff

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