Undergraduate Course

BA Psychodynamic Practice

BA Psychodynamic Practice

Overview

The details
Psychodynamic Practice
C847
October 2024
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Are you fascinated by relationships and personality development, or intrigued by people's behaviour? What causes you to act as you do and what can lead to emotional or psychological difficulties? Do you want to learn about and develop ways of helping those who are in need? Laying the foundations for a career in a caring profession, whether education, health or social care our course will give you a solid basis in psychodynamic thinking, child and adult development, and the dynamics of therapeutic interventions in organisations.

Whether you want to work with troubled infants in the nursery, children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in schools or children's homes, adults in social care and mental health settings, the elderly or those with learning difficulties our degree leaves you fully prepared to make a difference. We equip you with what you need to take up a post in a range of education, health and social care settings. Includes a Placement in each year of study. There are no exams in this course.

Topics include:

  • Child, adolescent and adult development
  • Attachment theory
  • Working with groups
  • Psychodynamic counselling
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Trauma and violence
  • Psychosis
  • Looked after children
  • Eating disorders
  • Creating effective learning environments
  • Organisational dynamics and systems theory
  • Therapeutic communities
  • Psychodynamic interventions in non-clinical settings

Through the inclusion of an observational and work placement, giving you invaluable experience within your chosen sector, this course enables you to put theory and practice together as well as a gradual entry into the world of employment. We help you to explore and understand the kind of role you are preparing for so you graduate with a valuable balance of theoretical understanding and useful practical experience – rare qualities giving you the edge needed for to successfully gain employment upon graduation.

Why we're great.
  • You'll be taught by lecturers with years of experience working with troubled and traumatised adults and children as psychotherapists and therapeutic community practitioners.
  • We support students to undertake a placement in each year of study so you can make links between theory and practice.
  • 85% of our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies UK Undergraduate Full Time graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023)

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

This course is led by Dr Chris Nicholson. Chris has more than 25 years' experience working in and consulting to residential childcare and therapeutic communities for traumatised children. His is Chair of a charity, The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities and sits on the Advisory Board for Children and Young People at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He campaigns for better standards of therapeutic practice and staff training in the looked after children's sector and regularly speaks at both national and international conferences.

Amongst the lecturers teaching in the course are:

Dr Deborah Wright has over 20 years' experience as a Psychotherapist. She has management experience within residential care for people with learning difficulties and mental health problems, where she trained staff in working with psychodynamic theory.

Dr Ebenezer Cudjoe's background is in social work. His research area of expertise surrounds children's wellbeing which informs the areas of the course he covers such as safeguarding and ethical practice.

Chris Tanner has worked as a senior manager and company director in both public and private sector organisations. He devised and runs a range of consultancy, leadership development and staff facilitation interventions with organisations in the human service sector and beyond.

Specialist facilities

You will experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue your own interests:

  • You will have access to the Albert Sloman Library, which houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
  • The Department has its own dedicated library of specialist texts which inform and influence our research
  • Free evening Open Seminars on topics relevant to psychoanalysis which are open to students, staff and members of the public.

Your future

In undertaking this course you'll study a range of psychoanalytic concepts - applying them to individuals, relationships and organisations, which will provide you with a unique perspective of why we are the way we are, on understanding others and knowing how to relate to them, which will make you suited for further clinical training, postgraduate study in different fields, or employment.

Our future graduates may go to work in a wide range of careers, including:

  • Therapeutic services
  • NHS Mental Health work
  • Psychoanalytic therapy
  • Education
  • Social Care
  • Therapeutic Consultancy
  • Management Consultancy
  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Academia

We also work with the University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“I never expected to develop such enthusiasm and passion for my chosen subject. I have acquired and built on a range of different skills, and by the end of my first year I had obtained paid employment within two separate organisations: a community interest company in Essex and a registered charity in Suffolk.”

David Bloomfield, FdA Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisation.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team at ugquery@essex.ac.uk to request the entry requirements for this country.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Introduction to Practice-Based Psychodynamic Observation and Reflective Practice
(30 CREDITS)

What skills are involved in psychodynamic observation? How do you apply psychodynamic theory to everyday events? Gain a theoretical and practice-based understanding of psychodynamic observation. Develop your psychodynamic approach to reflective practice. Undertake your own observations, in the community and on placement, and present your findings in seminars.

View Introduction to Practice-Based Psychodynamic Observation and Reflective Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Therapeutic Work in Groups
(15 CREDITS)

What are the difficulties when undertaking group work? What issues would you need to consider when dealing with troubling behaviour, for example with gangs? Understand group work and working with groups from a psychodynamic perspective. Gain the techniques and skills to engage professionally in therapeutic orientated groups in the workplace.

View Therapeutic Work in Groups on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Understanding Individuals Groups and Organisations : An Introduction to Psychodynamic Concepts
(15 CREDITS)

How do unconscious dynamics work in individuals, groups and organisations? How can psychodynamic insight be applied to this? Explore how individuals affect one another, how institutions affect those who work there and vice versa. Understand key concepts in psychodynamic thinking and how to apply this to individuals, groups and workplaces.

View Understanding Individuals Groups and Organisations : An Introduction to Psychodynamic Concepts on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Child, Adolescent and Adult Development: Loss, Conflict and Growth
(15 CREDITS)

How are foundations of emotional development laid down in early life? What impact do early experiences have on future social and learning? Study personality development from a psychodynamic and attachment perspective. Examine key development stages to see how work with clients requires understanding of the initial roots of their difficulties.

View Child, Adolescent and Adult Development: Loss, Conflict and Growth on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Therapeutic Practice and Responsibility: Statutory Frameworks
(15 CREDITS)

What are the frameworks around therapeutic work? How do you ensure responsible practice? Examine professional conduct and ethical considerations. Build your psychodynamic understanding of the issues and dynamics involved. Gain knowledge of your wider responsibilities to your organisation, discipline, clients and yourself.

View Therapeutic Practice and Responsibility: Statutory Frameworks on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Assignment and Research Writing for Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
(15 CREDITS)

Want guidance in understanding your course? Know how your academic skills will transfer to the world of work? Develop your abilities to undertake independent research. Learn to read critically and to write clearly. Build the employability skills that will help you during your studies and after graduation.

View Assignment and Research Writing for Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: OPTIONAL

Option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Advanced Practice-Based Psychodynamic Observation and Reflective Practice
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Trauma and Recovery: A Psychodynamic Approach
(15 CREDITS)

What place does trauma have within psychoanalytic thinking? What impact does loss have on children? Or on adolescents and adults? Explore human development and organisational dynamics by studying themes of child abuse, deprivation, loss and trauma. Understand the implications for organisations working with traumatised people.

View Trauma and Recovery: A Psychodynamic Approach on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Critical Analysis of Psychodynamic Theory and Practice
(15 CREDITS)

The aim of this module is to enhance your psychodynamic thinking and practice in specialist areas. You will develop your knowledge of the psychodynamic field and become more familiar with interventions in specialist areas, with the aim of developing further understanding of and the application of the transference and countertransference phenomena. The module emphasises skills in critical analysis.

View Critical Analysis of Psychodynamic Theory and Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Violence
(15 CREDITS)

Why are some people violent towards children? What are the underlying reasons for antisocial behaviour? Examine psychodynamic thinking to issues around aggression, violence and antisocial behaviour, as well wider socio-political topics. Explore psychodynamic applications in social and health care, culture and society.

View Violence on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Non-Psychodynamic Approaches to Practice
(15 CREDITS)

The aim of this module is to broaden your knowledge of alternative approaches to practice and further understand where psychodynamic thinking sits within the range. You will look at the underpinning ideas behind five different schools of thought and look at the relationships between them, so that you can improve your capacity to make informed choices about the most appropriate intervention for a particular case. You will also look at employability and career development so that you can extend your awareness of the labour market, current trends and routes into different professions within the sector.

View Non-Psychodynamic Approaches to Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Counselling Skills and Therapeutic Work
(30 CREDITS)

This module will help you put psychodynamic theory into practice. You will learn skills and techniques used in counselling and how to apply these to working therapeutically with an individual child, adolescent, or adult. You will study written material relating to counselling skills and take part in workshop based learning to support your theoretical understanding.

View Counselling Skills and Therapeutic Work on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Dissertation
(30 CREDITS)

Throughout the year students will be pursuing a research project based on a subject of their choice. There will be an introductory workshop to help with choosing the project, followed by a series of lectures and workshops and three 30-minute supervision meetings with a named member of staff to monitor progress and offer support. Students will draw on the theory from the three years of the course and apply these to a subject of their choice, exploring the conscious and unconscious dynamics involved.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Reflective Practice and Professional Development
(15 CREDITS)

Reflective practice is the capacity to reflect on your actions so that you can learn from your experience. This module uses reflective practice techniques to help you develop the employability skills required in the social, education and health care sectors through the use of greater self-awareness in professional relationships. You will keep a reflective journal and attend reflective groups where you will discuss and consider any academic, personal or professional issues identified during your course or work placement. By looking at your personal reactions and responses to these, you will be able to link your theoretical learning more effectively in your practice.

View Reflective Practice and Professional Development on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Organisational Dynamics
(30 CREDITS)

This module aims to develop your understanding of both psychodynamic and systemic thinking about organisations. Alongside theoretical reading you will set up and conduct a weekly observation of an organisation which will be written up and presented in seminars for analysis using the concepts you have learned. You also participate in a 7 week group dynamics workshop.

View Organisational Dynamics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Group Relations and Professional Life
(15 CREDITS)

What are the challenges faced by organisations in getting the best out of their teams and how can you operate within group dynamics? This module includes reflective practice groups and a three day residential Group Relations Conference. Here you will learn through experience about the complex world of group, organisational and social dynamics and gain a greater understanding of the key features of organisational life including roles, leadership, conflict and participation. You will also look at how conscious and unconscious factors impact effectiveness and influence the relationships between individuals and groups within the work place and large institutions.

View Group Relations and Professional Life on our Module Directory

Placement

On a placement year you will gain exciting and relevant work experience within an external organisation, where you can gain the competitive edge you need in the graduate job market, make key contacts in the sector and further develop the competencies and experience needed to build your CV. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.’

Teaching

  • Undergraduate students in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies typically attend a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for each module per week. There are some variations in place depending on the module.
  • Teaching takes place in relatively small seminars and fora, with a focus on group discussion
  • Discussion in seminars includes both discussing other peoples' work and discussing your own experiences in the workplace
  • You also undertake supervised clinical practice, participate in skills based workshops, and teach others through presentation of theoretical readings and clinical cases

Assessment

  • Your grade is made up entirely of coursework marks, including essays and reflective reports

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

As part of your course, you’re required to undertake work-based observations and attend a conference. You may incur associated travel costs.

International fee

£19,500 per year

As part of your course, you’re required to undertake work-based observations and attend a conference. You may incur associated travel costs.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have 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

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 17 August 2024 - Colchester Clearing Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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