Counselling Skills for Therapeutic Work

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
12 March 2020


Requisites for this module


PA215, PA216, PA217, PA218, PA221, PA228

Key module for

BA LX5C Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations,
BA L520 Childhood Studies,
BA L521 Childhood Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA L522 Childhood Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA L523 Childhood Studies (Including Foundation Year),
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

Module description

This module aims at helping students put more effectively into practice their psychodynamic understanding of their work with children, adolescents or adults. While this module cannot provide a counselling qualification, students will be learning to use counselling skills in their normal working roles.

You will study the nature of the counselling relationship; consider how to develop a therapeutic alliance, and the overall process of counselling. You will explore issues of assessment and formulation, understanding the underlying verbal and non-verbal communication, including the application of skills and techniques utilised, for example, in art and play, and how all this works within the psychodynamic framework that the module supports.

The module balances academic study and discussion of the issues along with active participation in weekly workshops and the chance to undertake an on-going observation, or piece of direct work, with a child, adolescent or adult. The observation or direct work is written up and presented within seminars providing an opportunity to enhance observation skills and the capacity to develop a psychodynamic formulation.

A DBS check is required for this module.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:
* To observe or work with a single person over 10 weeks
* To apply psychodynamic thinking to the therapeutic relationship in placement or work
* To deepen your understanding of therapeutic communication and counselling skills
* To practice therapeutic communication and counselling skills

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:
* Recognise what factors support the development of a therapeutic alliance
* Understand how to utilise a range of counselling and communication skills effectively in a therapeutic or supportive role
* Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the dynamics of relationships and interactions between people in professional settings, especially between those providing the service and those receiving it
* Appreciate the depth and richness of the inner world of a single person and the factors which contribute to their state of mind and behaviour
* Demonstrate the acquisition of the skills and knowledge required to make a psychodynamic assessment of a single person

Module information

Preparatory reading for students taking this module as an outside option

'Key theoretical ideas in Psychodynamic Thinking' in Kegerreis, S. (2010) Psychodynamic Counselling with Children and Young People. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan (pp12-18)

'Defining the theory – Psychodynamics' in Preston-Shoot, M. and Agass, D. (1990) Making Sense of Social Work: Psychodynamics, Systems and practice. London: Palgrave

'Psychodynamics: A Changing Theory' in Leiper, R. and Maltby, M. (2004) The Psychodynamic Approach to Therapeutic Change. London: Sage. (pp 12-33)

Rycroft, C. (1995) A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, London: Penguin

Learning and teaching methods

Seminar 1 - Students will discuss readings on theoretical and practical aspects of counselling relationships with children, adolescents and adults. There will be a reflective group at the beginning and end of this module Workshop 1 – Students will participate in experiential workshops to practice new skills and to deepen their understanding Seminar 2 – Students will bring descriptions of their work with children, adolescents or adults which will be discussed applying psychodynamic insights to the interaction.


  • Kegerreis, Sue. (2010) Psychodynamic counselling with children and young people: an introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. vol. Basic texts in counselling and psychotherapy
  • D. W. Winnicott. (1971) Therapeutic consultations in child psychiatry, London: Hogarth Press [for] the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. vol. no. 87
  • Axline, Virginia Mae. (1967, ©1964) Dibs in search of self, New York: Ballantine Books.
  • R. D. Hinshelwood. (1991) 'Psychodynamic Formulation in assessment for psychotherapy', in British Journal of Psychotherapy. vol. 8 (2) , pp.166-174
  • Malan, David H. (1995) Individual psychotherapy and the science of psychodynamics, Oxford: Butterworth.
  • Meares, Russell. (2005) The metaphor of play: origin and breakdown of personal being, Hove: Routledge.
  • Sternberg, Janine. (2005) Infant observation at the heart of training, London: Karnac.
  • George Mak-Pearce. (2001) 'Engaging troubled adolescents in six-session psychodynamic therapy', in Community-based psychotherapy with young people: evidence and innovation in practice, Hove: Brunner-Routledge., pp.15-24
  • Noonan, Ellen. (2000) Counselling young people, London: Routledge.
  • Temperley, J. (no date) The implications for social work practice of recent psycho-analytic developments *.
  • Hopper, Linda. (2007) Counselling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Leiper, Rob; Maltby, Michael. (2004) The psychodynamic approach to therapeutic change, London: Sage Publications. vol. Sage therapeutic change series
  • R. D. Hinshelwood. (1994) Clinical Klein, London: Free Association Books.
  • Marshall-Tierney, J. (2010) 'Melting muddy mixtures : an exploration of the art psychotherapy process with an adolescent boy in a therapeutic community', in Children and adolescents in trauma: creative therapeutic approaches, London: Jessica Kingsley. vol. Community, culture and change
  • Clare Winnicott; Joel S. Kanter. (2004) Face to face with children: the life and work of Clare Winnicott, London: Karnac.
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1992) Through paediatrics to psycho-analysis, London: Karnac Books and the Institute of Psycho-analysis.
  • Hamish Canham. (2004) 'Spitting, kicking and stripping: technical difficulties encountered in the treatment of deprived children', in Journal of Child Psychotherapy. vol. 30 (2) , pp.143-154
  • Shirley Hoxter. (1981) 'Play and communication', in The child psychotherapist: and problems of young people, London: Karnac., pp.202-231
  • Tessa Dalley. (©2014) 'The therapy in art therapy', in The handbook of art therapy, Hove: Routledge., pp.59-64
  • McGoldrick, Monica; Gerson, Randy; Petry, Sueli S. (c2008) Genograms: assessment and intervention, New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Carpy, D. (1989) 'Tolerating the countertransference: a mutative process.', in The international journal of psychoanalysis. vol. 70, pp.287-294

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 Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assessed Observation    20% 
Coursework   Case Study     80% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Bethany Morgan Brett, email:
From Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Student Administrator, 5A.202, telephone 01206 87 4969, email



External examiner

Dr Gary Winship
University of Nottingham
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 57 hours, 54 (94.7%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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