What is involved in Training in the Meaning of the Child Interview?

The Meaning of the Child training is offered by Dr Ben Grey and Juliet Kesteven of Cambridge Centre for Attachment (  It is offered as separate training and is also part of the University of Roehampton’s MsC in Attachment Studies, an internationally pioneering course in the field.  The MotC course is taught as a 6-day course, usually in 2 blocks of 3 days, and  involves practice classification of interview transcripts, and email tuition, both within and following the course.  Participants can then complete an optional reliability test to become reliable coders of the MotC.  Learning the MotC to the level of reliability requires about 40-50 hours of individual practice classification of interviews (over an approximately 6 month period, both during and after the face-to-face course).  However, many participants use the course to develop their understanding of the way parents think and talk about their children, without pursuing reliability in the procedure, finding the training nonetheless valuable to their development.  Accreditation can also be given in administering the interview with parents as part of the full course, or through a shorter 2-day training.


‘The MotC training was pivotal in increasing my knowledge of both attachment and the assessment of psychological risks posed to a child by their parent.’

Barry Tilzey, Consultant Practice Development Lead – London Borough of Wandsworth

[For more testimonials, click here]


Whilst the MotC has a solid foundation in academic research and psychological theory, particularly in the area of attachment and reflective functioning, it requires neither an academic background nor a psychological qualification to learn to use.  It has been successfully taught to social workers, family centre workers, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists alike.  Learning to classify parenting interviews using the MotC does require commitment and self motivation to make use of the email tuition and practice, as it needs to be learned by ‘doing’ as well as by attending face-to-face training.  It requires a willingness to engage with the theoretical content, but as a means to understanding particular parent-child relationships, rather than in the abstract.


The Meaning of the Child training is currently offered every year at the University of Roehampton and can be trained ‘in house’ to voluntary agencies and Local Authorities, and other organisations.  Past training has included Milton Keynes children’s services, Norfolk and Suffolk CAMHS, Murray children’s services, a Birmingham CAMHS/Local authority partnership, Action for Children, and NAGALRO (the professional association of family court advisors, Children’s Guardians, and Independent Social Workers).  Training has been conducted across the UK and internationally.  Small group training is also offered here in Cambridge.  It is possible to do the course online via Zoom and asynchronously through working through video materials and with online assistance by zoom and email.



“The Meaning of the Child Interview has proved to be one of the most powerful and informative clinical tools used in our clinical practice, and has helped make sense of some very complex cases.  Dr Grey and Juliet Kesteven have a particularly engaging and effective teaching style, and a generous approach to sharing their extensive clinical and academic knowledge and experience.  I would highly recommend attending training / seminars at the Cambridge Centre for Attachment.”

Dr Emma Hunnisett, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Child and Family Psychology Clinic, Norwich



Current and Planned Courses

(10 – 4.30 pm UK time, except where specified.  Where delivered online, catch-up recordings can be viewed subject to agreement of all participants.  Asynchronous online training is available upon request).  Please note that attendance at both parts is necessary for the full training.


November 22 – 24 2021 and January 17 – 19 2022: University of Roehampton.  Will be available online – please check for details.  Please go to for more information and to book.


January 24-26th 2022 and February 28 – March 2 2022: online via Zoom (organised by Children’s Therapy Services).   Please go to to book.


Introductory Workshops:  We are able to offer tailor made short introductory courses for those considering using the MotC in their agency, or wanting to inform a wider staff group about the MotC, so that they can understand and use feedback provided by those fully trained in the procedure.  We are also able to offer a 2 day course on giving the MotC, which leads to certification in carrying out the interview (but not in its classification/analysis).



Advanced Courses:  These are offered to those who have already completed the main training, but wish to build on their skills learned, network with other professionals using the MotC, come back to the MotC after a gap, and/or require extra support in working towards reliability.  There is a MotC refresher e-course, an online MotC network (available to anyone interested in using the MotC), and regular workshops taking place in Cambridge. Please email if interested, or visit 



Dr Grey and Ms Kesteven are available to train the Meaning of the Child ‘in house’ to Local Authorities, Voluntary Organisations, and other agencies, and can adapt the course to suit specific needs. Please contact for further information.


“I am a Social Worker and have worked in Child Protection for all of my career of 15 years and have completed a lot of training over the course of my Social Work career.  I completed the Motc training with Dr Grey about 2 years ago and I loved every minute of it! It challenged me in how I thought, how I assessed families/parents and how I interpreted the information.


The Motc Interview has given me a structured and focused assessment which has enable me to explore the relationship between the parent and child. It has given me more confidence as a professional and I feel more confident in my assessments. I cannot believe what wealth of information I have gathered using the Motc interview. I would genuinely and whole heartily recommend this training for everyone who works with families.”

Social Worker, Northern Ireland