About the course
Are you interested in how people develop and how they relate to each other, both personally and in organisations? Do you want to make a start on pursuing a training to work therapeutically with children and adolescents/adults?
Taught at our Colchester Campus, this course offers a grounding in psychodynamic theory and its applications. It can be pursued in its own right if you're interested in the psychodynamic approach but also constitutes the first year of our Grad Dip/MA training in Psychodynamic Counselling (if you have taken our FdA/BA Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations (TCTO) course you can enter the MA direct).
If you're a psychology graduate, this course is the ideal next step if you wish to progress in the field of psychodynamic counselling. It also provides a route to a counselling and psychotherapy qualification for professionals, such as teachers, social workers, nurses and care workers.
It is not possible to study via distance learning on this course.
Our expert staff
Our Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies is internationally recognised as one of the leading centres for work that focuses on the role of the unconscious mind in mental health, as well as in culture and society generally. Our research and teaching is deeply grounded in knowledge deriving from clinical practice, to which our highest standards of academic thinking are then applied.
The Centre consistently achieves top ten rankings in the UK's research assessments, most recently in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Being located within the UK’s leading university of the study of social sciences means you are surrounded by strong departments that fully support and enhance our work. This allows you to gain the opportunity to work with and be taught by senior clinicians and world-class scholars in their fields.
If you are studying within our Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, you will have access to our extensive facilities to aid your learning and research. In particular, our Albert Sloman Library is well stocked with books, journals, electronic resources and major archives relevant to our work and, in addition, we have our own library of specialist books and journals.
We hold free evening Open Seminars on topics relevant to psychoanalysis which are open to students, staff and members of the public.
As this is the first year of the Counselling training most graduates progress towards qualification with the MA Psychodynamic Counselling. Other graduates go on to a number of different destinations, including further study and training in psychoanalysis, Jungian analysis, or psychoanalytic psychotherapy, or take their new understanding back to enrich their related professional work.
Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.
How does children and adolescent counselling differ from counselling adults? You will study written material relating to counselling skills with children and adolescents and take part in workshop based learning to support your theoretical understanding. This will involve you presenting and discussing your own work with a child or adolescent to help you develop your clinical skills.
What do you understand about the complexities of being a counsellor? What are the settings within which counselling takes place? And what are the ethical and statutory framework within which you’ll be working? Gain an understanding of the professional environment of counselling before starting your placement.
How can you apply psychodynamic theory to everyday events? What do you understand about the role of unconscious and emotional communication in ordinary life? Understand and practice the skills of psychodynamic observation. Become more perceptive about understanding the meaning of what you observe.
In this module you’ll be familiarised with the key concepts of psychodynamic thinking relating to individuals and organisations. It will supplement your learning to provide the theoretical underpinning for progression to a clinical placement on our MA Psychodynamic Counselling course with children and adolescents.
What are normal child development processes? And what can interfere with healthy emotional relationships? Understand psychodynamic and attachment-based theories on child and personality development, from pre-birth to adolescence and beyond. Apply a developmental perspective to children’s behaviour and examine the specific tasks of each developmental stage.
What are the personal attributes required to be a psychodynamic practitioner? How do you develop the reflective capacities for this role? Reflect on your learning and experience. Gain answers to questions about the role of psychodynamic practitioner through a group relations weekend, regular tutorials and occasional reflective group sessions.
What happens when people get together and work in groups? This module aims to help you understand the conscious and unconscious dynamics at work in organisations and the effect that this can have as a result. You will a deeper understanding of organisational dynamics and a greater capacity for psychodynamic observation, enabling you to apply psychodynamic insight to a wide range of settings.
- Teaching takes place in relatively small seminars and fora, with a focus on group discussion
- You also have a personal tutor who advises you about your work on an individual basis
- For most modules, assessment is by coursework only, typically an essay of between 3,000-5,000 words
UK entry requirements
We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above.
It is desirable for you to have had some relevant experience in a caring or supportive role. Experience of your own counselling or therapy is also an asset.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.