Observation Skills for Counselling
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
21 January 2022
Requisites for this module
BA L333 Criminology with Counselling Skills,
BA L334 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Year Abroad),
BA L335 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year),
BA L330 Sociology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year),
BA L331 Sociology with Counselling Skills (Including Year Abroad),
BA L332 Sociology with Counselling Skills
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of psychodynamic observation and the skill and qualities involved. In addition, students will start to be develop professional skills involved in assessment and case presentation.
They will learn to apply their growing grasp of psychodynamic theory to everyday events and encounters and to develop their appreciation of the role of unconscious and emotional communication in ordinary life. This will enable them to become perceptive in terms of detail and more subtle in their understanding of the meaning of what they observe and what they themselves bring to the learning experience. It will enable them to reflect on their own process in observations and in groups and to become more self-aware. They will become more alert to first, the conscious and unconscious ways in which their capacity to observe and participate in learning is influenced by their experiences, and second, the way their own self-awareness affects their capacity to provide therapeutic attention to others.
Alongside their observation seminars, which have an experiential element, students are also developing a psychodynamic approach to Reflective Practice. There will be activities designed to encourage and support the conscious use of self (self awareness) in social and professional relationships, to provide the experience of 'learning from action' and a recognition of oneself as a 'participant observer' in different contexts. The reflective components bring the theoretical learning to life in order to enhance future capacity to practice.
* To develop a keener eye for the detail of human behaviour and interaction
* To increase awareness of the role of emotional communication and the unconscious in everyday events and encounters
* To understand the application of psychodynamic concepts and insights to all aspects of human experience
* To lay the foundations for psychodynamic observation as a key skill in psychodynamic practice
* To develop employability skills related to psychodynamic assessment, case presentation and reflective practice
* To establish a reflective space for acknowledging and processing the emotional and psychological implications of the material studied on this course
* To develop the capacity for self-reflection and an awareness of the influence of one's own processes and personal experiences
By the end of the module students should have:
1. Familiarity with the application of key psychodynamic concepts to observed individuals and relationships
2. An introductory knowledge of key ideas and aims of reflective practice
3. Greater ability to observe detail and to perceive subtle indications of emotional and unconscious dynamics
4. Familiarity with the role of conscious and unconscious mechanisms in relationships
5. Awareness of the use of psychodynamic observation in work with clients
6. The capacity to apply psychodynamic thinking to everyday situations
7. The capacity to reflect on one's own process in the observing and in the learning contexts
8. To be increasingly reflexive and recognise the relationship between of self-awareness and therapeutic practice.
No additional information available.
Each week students will observe out in the community or in the workplace/placement and write detailed accounts of what they have observed. Later in the module, they will take it in turns to bring observations to the seminar groups for discussion.
There is a reading list of texts on the subject of observation which will underpin the approach.
There will be a series of Reflective Groups.
Bondi, L. (2013) ‘Research and Therapy’, Qualitative Inquiry
, 19(1), pp. 9–19. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800412462978
Hinshelwood, R.D. and Skogstad, W. (2000) Observing organisations: anxiety, defence and culture in health care
. Philadelphia, Pa: Routledge. Available at: https://doi-org.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/10.4324/9780203135150
Urwin, C. and Sternberg, J. (eds) (2012a) Infant Observation and Research
. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203133941
Caper, R. (2013) Building Out into the Dark
. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315787442
Bondi, L. (2014) ‘Understanding feelings: Engaging with unconscious communication and embodied knowledge’, Emotion, Space and Society
, 10, pp. 44–54. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2013.03.009
Sternberg, J. (2005) Infant observation at the heart of training
. London: Karnac Books. Available at: https://doi-org.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/10.4324/9780429475870
Trowell, J. and Miles, G. (1995) ‘The contribution of observation training to professional development’, in The Emotional Needs of Young Children and Their Families: Using Psychoanalytic Ideas in the Community
. London: Routledge, pp. 38–53. Available at: http://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780203135129-9/contribution-observation-training-professional-development-judith-trowell-gillian-miles
Rustin, M. (1989) ‘Encountering Primitive Anxieties’, in Closely Observed Infants. London: Duckworth, pp. 7–21.
Urwin, C. and Sternberg, J. (eds) (2012b) Infant Observation and Research
. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203133941
Ludwig-Körner, C. (2020) ‘And who thinks on the baby? Thoughts on the method of infant observation’, International Forum of Psychoanalysis
, 29(2), pp. 104–114. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/0803706X.2020.1729408
Felman, S. and Laub, D. (2013) Testimony
. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203700327
Brown, J. (2006) ‘Reflexivity in the Research Process: Psychoanalytic Observations’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology
, 9(3), pp. 181–197. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645570600652776
Doyle, S. (2013) ‘Reflexivity and the Capacity to Think’, Qualitative Health Research
, 23(2), pp. 248–255. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732312467854
Rose, G. (1997) ‘Situating knowledges: positionality, reflexivities and other tactics’, Progress in Human Geography
, 21(3), pp. 305–320. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1191/030913297673302122
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Marita Vyrgioti, email: email@example.com.
From Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Student administrator firstname.lastname@example.org 01206 874969 Room 5A.202
Mr Mike Keating
Wessex Counselling and Psychotherapy
Head of Training
Available via Moodle
Of 14 hours, 14 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.
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