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 (  Other trainers are in the process of being trained.

The MotC course is taught in 3 standalone blocks of 2-3 days to cater for participants differing goals and potential uses of the MotC.

Part 1 MotC foundations – 3 days. Participants would gain sufficient understanding to develop a MotC informed practice – that is to use the principles of the MotC in their work, in terms of developing awareness and understanding of how parents talk and mentalise for their children & their caregiving, and the implications of this for the parent-child relationship. The course will be a mixture of direct teaching and looking at actual interviews with parents, and is a standalone course, as well as being the first stage of learning to administer, code and use the MotC.  Further training is needed to use the MotC as a formal tool (Part 2) and to reliably classify it (Part 3).

**NEW** Now available as a self-taught asynchronous (done at your own pace) course using videos drawn from past training, course materials and supported by social media.  Please go here to book and for more details

Part 2: Using the MotC – 2 days + email practice and submission of practice interview. This course will extend learning from Part 1, to teach participants to administer and use the MotC in their work. Engagement in the practice and submission of a codable interview will allow participants to be accredited as a MotC practitioner – this enables participants to give the interview, using it either for their own reflection or, having it coded by a reliable coder (which will require completion of Part 3 and a reliability test), using the findings in their work. Requires Part 1.

Part 3: Coding the MotC – 2 days + practice supported by email & completion of a reliability test. This extends learning from Parts 1 and 2, giving participants the support and teaching to become proficient in coding (formally classifying and interpreting) the MotC. Upon completing the reliability test to a set standard, participants may be accredited as reliable coders of the MotC and code for themselves or others. Requires Parts 1 and 2.

Further training: Formulating intervention plans using the MotC. NEW 2 Day Course.

The approach of the MotC is not about providing a ‘diagnosis’ of generalised pathology but rather building an in depth understanding of resources and difficulties in the context in which they occur, from which to think about support, intervention, and in some cases, risk. This 2-day course will focus on using information gained from the MotC to think about families and how to help them. It will not teach or recommend a specific therapeutic approach but rather support practitioners in whatever service or context they work in to use the MotC to make sense of parent-child relationships in ways that allow them to make the best use of whatever tools, powers or resources at their disposal to improve life for children and their families. Requires Parts 1 and 2 (Participants do NOT need to be reliable coders of the MotC, however those who are, have been coding for more than a year, and submit a coding report, may be accredited as experienced coders of the MotC).  Requires Parts 1 and 2 or previous MotC training.  Participants do not need to be reliable coders


‘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 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

MotC live and in person in Ireland 2023/2023

Part 1: 27th – 29th Nov 2023
Part 2: 22nd – 23rd Jan 2024
Part 3: 26th – 27th Feb 2024

Cost: €450.00 per module lunch included.

Venue: Rockfield House, Kells, Co. Meath, A82 V9D5 IRELAND


MotC Part 1 Foundations: Self-Directed version (no previous training needed).  Self-taught asynchronously (at your own pace; no live participation required).

Participants will gain access to about 15 hours of training videos drawn from previous training, the MotC Manual, exemplar anonymised parenting interviews, and other course materials. Access is also give to MotC Slack channel (social media) for specific questions.  Please go here to register and for more information.

Motc Part 2: Using the MotC – Self-directed version (requires Part 1).  Asynchronously online via Cambridge Centre for Attachment.  Please book here.

MotC Part 3: Coding the MotC – Self-directed version (requires Parts 1 and 2).  A synchronously online via Cambridge Centre for Attachment.  Please book here

Formulation using the MotC: Self directed (requires previous MotC training or Parts 1 & 2 of the modular course).  Online via Cambridge Centre for Attachment.   This course requires previous MotC training or Parts 1 and 2 of the current course.  Please enquire (

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