Trauma and Recovery: A Psychodynamic Approach

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
31 March 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module will build upon student knowledge of human development and of basic psychodynamic terms and concepts by introducing a topic which is central to psychoanalysis both at its origin and in the contemporary world. Students will be introduced to the theoretical conceptualisations of trauma, including sociological critiques of its functionality. Alongside a psychodynamic examination of the intra-psychic, interpersonal and psycho-social mechanisms involved, students will explore traumas' relations to the themes of child abuse, deprivation, loss and violence, and how trauma impacts upon professionals and organisations working with traumatised people. This must include the defensive methods sometimes utilised to manage anxiety as well as the adaptations which can be made to strengthen therapeutic processes and efficacy. In addition, the module aims to support the student's skills in making a psychodynamic assessment or formulation, and will deepen students' working knowledge of the key concepts: identification, projection, projective identification, transference and countertransference and introduce newer terms such as adversity activated development and post-traumatic growth.

Module aims

To introduce the topic of trauma and its place within psychoanalytic and other frameworks of thinking
To understand the impact of trauma, deprivation and loss on children, adolescents and adults
To recognise the concept of adversity activated development and the sociological issues surrounding this
To develop knowledge and understanding about the assessment of individuals and their capacities
To apply basic psychodynamic models of intervention in organisations

Module learning outcomes

A critical understanding of the psychoanalytic model of trauma, its definition and its antecedents
A capacity to limit the definition of trauma and to theorise and problematise this concept
An understanding of deprivation and loss and their impact on children or adolescents or adults
A capacity to identify adversity and conflict as potentially formative, as well as difficult and damaging
An ability to use and / or intellectually deploy this understanding in communicative and therapeutic techniques in one-to-one work or in groups and organisations
An understanding of the principles behind therapeutic practice in organisations
To recognise psychodynamic concepts such as denial, splitting, projection, displacement and identification.
An ability to recognise and utilise the concepts of transference and counter-transference
An ability to describe these concepts and processes in both written and verbal forms showing potential to influence thinking and practice in educational, mental health and social care settings

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

There are 10 week of seminars. Teaching is 2hr duration Teaching is divided into two components. Seminar 1 is a taught seminar. Seminar 2 is a group discussion. Seminars may include workshops and other exercises.


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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Group presentation    30% 
Coursework   Essay  29/01/2024  70% 

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.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Chris Nicholson, email:
Chris Nicholson
Student Administrator, 5A.202, telephone 01206 87 4969, email



External examiner

Dr Anthony John Faramelli
Lecturer in Visual Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 21 hours, 21 (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.


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

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.