Our foundations & experiences

Our foundations

The Brent Centre for Young People was founded in June 1967 by Psychoanalysts Moses Laufer, Egle Laufer, Mervin Glasser, Myer Wohl and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Maurice Friedman.

Dr Maxim de Sauma, Mrs Egle Laufer and Dr Moses Laufer

Moses Laufer (known as Moe), who led the group, had already become a pioneer of treating adolescents using psychoanalysis at the Anna Freud Centre (previously named the Hampstead Clinic). Moe and his colleagues recognised that adolescents had different needs to those of children and adults, and would therefore benefit from specialist mental health services. The Centre was one of the first in the UK to cater specifically to adolescents. 

Since 1967, the organisation has grown and developed to become the leading provider of psychotherapeutic services in our community. Our clinicians have developed talking therapies which are unique to the Centre, including Adolescent Exploratory Therapy, Group Therapy for Young Offenders and Sport & Thought, as well as providing more widely used therapies that include psychotherapy and family therapy.

Our vision has always been to provide help and support to young people who may not otherwise receive any, and to help young people address their difficulties at an early stage so that they can become healthier, happier adults.

Our experience

Our team of therapists is led by some of the most experienced clinicians working in adolescent mental health.

Brent Centre therapists are members of a number of scientific professional institutions, including:

  • American Psychoanalytic Association
  • Association of Child Psychotherapists
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • British Medical Association
  • British Psychoanalytical Society
  • British Psychoanalytic Council
  • British Psychological Society
  • British Psychotherapy Foundation
  • General Medical Council
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists
  • United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists

Our therapists have been involved in teaching and lecturing about adolescent mental health around the world. The founders of the Brent Centre, Moe and Egle Laufer, and other Centre staff have lectured and taught extensively in North America, Scandinavia, Italy, France, Latin America and Switzerland. More recently, our therapists have been involved in teaching at the University College London and the British Psychoanalytical Society, and regularly present at conferences on adolescent mental health around the world.

Our research

Since the Centre was founded, one of our key objectives has been to further the understanding of adolescent mental health and the benefits of psychoanalytic talking therapies.

The Centre’s founders, Moses and Egle Laufer, have written many papers and books on adolescent breakdown and therapeutic approaches to working with young people. More information about their published work can be found on our publications page.

Our staff continue to actively research the mental health of adolescents, and have published a great number of papers. We are currently running two research projects at the Centre:

  • Psychotherapy Outcome and Evaluation Study: researching how our psychotherapy service benefits young people with mental health difficulties.
  • Adolescence and Delinquency:  researching whether offending behaviour can be understood as an adolescent breakdown, and how group therapy can help.

Timeline

1967  

The Brent Centre for Young People (then called the Brent Consultation Centre) was founded

Noel Gallagher, Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell were all born

The Centre’s walk-in service, offering short term therapy, was created

The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of rock's most acclaimed albums

Research began at the Centre into adolescent breakdown

1968  

Brent Centre therapists began providing consultations on adolescent mental health to teachers, GPs, youth workers, policemen, social workers and other professionals in the community

1969  

Neil Armstrong became the first person to land on the moon

The Centre organised eleven local conferences in Brent

Eleven monographs on adolescent mental health were printed by the Centre

1971  

The first ever e-mail was transmitted

1975  

The book ‘Adolescent Disturbance and Breakdown’ by Moses Laufer was published

1982  

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, was released

1984  

The book ‘Adolescence and Developmental Breakdown’ by Moses and Egle Laufer was published

1985  

Video game Super Mario Bros. was first released

1986  

Moses Laufer became president of the British Psychoanalytical Society

1987  

The Brent Centre became a registered charity and was renamed Brent Adolescent Centre/Centre for Research into Adolescent Breakdown

1989  

The book ‘Developmental Breakdown and Psychoanalytic Treatment in Adolescence’ edited by Moses and Egle Laufer was published

1991  

The ‘Web’ became a publicly available service on the Internet

1993  

The Brent Centre held a conference called ‘The Suicidal Adolescent’

1994  

British pop girl group the Spice Girls were formed

1995  

The book ‘The Suicidal Adolescent’ edited by Moses Laufer was published

1996  

Dr Maxim de Sauma became Director of the Centre, replacing Dr Moses Laufer who became a Trustee

The Pokémon franchise was created

1997  

The book ‘Adolescent Breakdown and Beyond’ edited by Moses Laufer was published

J.K.Rowling released ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, the first novel in the Harry Potter series

1998  

The Centre launched the Family Therapy service in partnership with the Brent Child and Family Clinic (NHS)

The seminal paper on Adolescent Exploratory Therapy ‘The development of a therapeutic space in a first contact with adolescents’ by Brent Centre psychoanalysts, Dr Catalina Bronstein and Dr Sara Flanders, was published in the Journal of Child Psychotherapy

The first David Astor Lecture promoting the Centre and raising awareness of adolescent mental health was given by John Coleman, Director of the Trust for the Study of Adolescence

1999  

The Centre launched its Mental Health in Schools Project at Preston Manor High School

The London Eye was erected

The second David Astor Lecture was given by Mr Paul Boateng, MP for Brent

2000  

The Schools Service was extended to a second school

The Centre’s working name became the Brent Centre for Young People

Dr Maxim de Sauma was appointed Chief Executive Officer & Clinical Director

The Centre launched a Drugs & Alcohol Service

The third David Astor Lecture was given by Mr Peter Wilson, Director of Young Minds

The Centre organised an international conference at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

The first series of ‘Big Brother’ was broadcast

2002  

The Brent Centre started providing services to young people excluded from mainstream schools at the Brent Key Stage 4 Pupil Referral Unit

2003  

The Schools Service was extended to three other schools

The Centre’s Sexual Health Service was created.

Dr Maxim de Sauma presented a paper about therapy at the Brent Centre at the 6th Conference of ISAP (International Society for Adolescent Psychiatry) in Rome

2004  

The social network Facebook was launched

2005  

The Brent Centre organised an international conference with ISAPP (International Society for Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology) at the University College London

Brent Centre psychoanalyst, Hannah Solemani, presented a clinical paper at the Adolescent Forum of the EPF (European Psychoanalytic Federation) in Vilamoura, Portugal

2006  

Dr Moses Laufer passed away on 21st of July 2006. Obituaries were published in The Guardian, Sunday Times, Independent and other newspapers

Dr Maxim de Sauma presented the paper ‘The establishment of a therapeutic space in the treatment of anorexia in adolescence’ at an international conference on eating disorders in Naples, Italy

The social network Twitter was created

2007  

The Centre organised an international conference in honour of Moses Laufer in collaboration with the ‘Universita Sapienza degli Studi di Roma’ in Rome

The Centre’s Sexual Health and Drugs and Alcohol services came to an end due to lack of funding

Wembley Stadium was opened in Wembley Park in Brent

2008  

Dr Maxim de Sauma and Brent Centre psychoanalysts Dr Catalina Bronstein and Dr Sara Flanders presented at the conference ‘Adolescent Breakdown and the work of the Brent Centre - A Tribute to Moses Laufer’

The Brent Centre started providing services at the Brent Youth Offending Service

2009  

The Brent Centre launched a study on adolescent breakdown and young offenders

The Centre was renamed Laufer House in Moses’ memory

2010  

Brent Centre psychoanalyst, Dr Sara Flanders, presented her paper ‘Hazards in Adolescence: When Puberty Explodes a Timeless Collusion’ at the Anna Freud Centre Colloquium 2010, London

The Schools Service was extended to another school

2011  

Author Zadie Smith organised the event ‘Teenage Kicks’ to raise money for, and awareness of, the Brent Centre

Dr Maxim de Sauma and Brent Centre therapists Hannah Solemani and Sarah Fielding presented papers at a conference on the work of the Brent Centre in Milan, Italy

Dr Maxim de Sauma presented the paper ‘Notes on the development of group work in a youth offending service’ at the 8th Congress of ISAPP (International Society for Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology) in Berlin

The Schools Service was extended to three other schools

2012  

Dr Maxim de Sauma presented the paper ‘Notes on the development of group work in a youth offending service’ at the Polish Psychoanalytic Society, Warsaw, Poland

2013  

The Centre organised a fundraising comedy event with comedians Natalie Haynes, Mark Thomas and Robin Ince