Undergraduate Course

BA Psychodynamic Practice

(Including Foundation Year)

BA Psychodynamic Practice

Overview

The details
Psychodynamic Practice (Including Foundation Year)
C848
October 2023
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies.

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.
  • 88% of our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2022)

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

Our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies is internationally recognised as one of the leading departments for work that focuses on the role of the unconscious mind in mental health, as well as in culture and society generally. Our teaching is deeply grounded in knowledge deriving from clinical practice, to which our highest standards of academic thinking are then applied.

Our staff blends clinical experience and expertise in their field with the academic rigour for which the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies has such a reputation. You will be taught by lecturers who have years of experience, both in working directly with troubled individuals and groups and delivering lectures and seminars on specialist topics.

This gives you the opportunity to work with and be taught by senior clinicians and world-class scholars in their fields. From year one, this course is led by Julie Walsh, whose current research projects include Face-Work; investigating the changing role of the face in therapeutic encounter, and Not Mother; a creative-critical writing project that explores what the figure of 'not-mother' may have to offer a world that seems in such dire need of mothering.

Our staff specialise in areas ranging from psychoanalysis and neuroscience, to practical therapies and anxiety in criminal psychopaths, to oral history interviewing. More information on their research is available on our staff pages.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our Academy to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies provides excellent on-campus facilities:

  • 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.

With 83% of our undergraduates are in professional employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2016), this course prepares you to move successfully into your own career path.

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 our University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BCC

BTEC: DDM, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 28 points or three Higher Level certificates with 544
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 units at Merit or above

T-levels: Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

Please note that a satisfactory enhanced DBS check may be required prior to starting any placement(s) for this course. This will be organised by the University where required.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

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 select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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.

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. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, 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
(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 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 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 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 and Containment: A Psychosocial Approach to Physical and Psychological 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 and Containment: A Psychosocial Approach to Physical and Psychological 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 for 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 for Therapeutic Work on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Dissertation
(30 CREDITS)

What interests you? Do you want to deepen your knowledge, build invaluable research skills and develop your academic freedom? Your dissertation lets you study a topic of your choosing, in depth, with supervision and guidance from our world-leading academics.

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

Teaching

  • 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

TBC

International fee

TBC

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU 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 EU applicants 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.

Please note that this course is not open to international applicants.

Applicant Days

If you are an undergraduate student residing in the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2023, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Applicant Days. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from February to May 2023 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus Applicant Days run from March to June 2023 on various weekdays and Saturdays. Applicant Days provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. We appreciate that travelling to university events can be expensive. This is why we have increased our Applicant Day Travel Bursary cap, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Applicant Days, including Terms and Conditions and eligibility criteria for our Travel Bursary, please visit our Applicant Days webpage.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

Set within the 200-acre award-winning beautiful 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.

Whether you are planning to visit us at one of our Open Days, or coming to an Applicant day. Our campus conveniently located and easy to reach by car, train or bus.

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.

Exhibitions

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.

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.

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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