The counselling relationship and counselling techniques

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
12 December 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIPLC89A09 Psychodynamic Approaches,
DIPLC89A24 Psychodynamic Approaches,
MA C89D36 Psychodynamic Counselling (3 year)

Module description

In this module students study the nature of the counselling relationship, how to develop a therapeutic alliance and the overall process of counselling. The module covers the understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication including the use of art and play, skills in listening and therapeutic intervention, issues of assessment and formulation and the place of these within the psychodynamic framework.
Students acquire an understanding of the personal qualities needing in psychodynamic work and ethical and boundary issues involved in therapeutic relationships.
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. Process recordings are written and presented within seminars providing an opportunity to enhance observation skills and the capacity to develop a psychodynamic formulation.

Module aims

This module aims at helping students:
* understand key features of the therapeutic relationship in counselling
* appreciate the complexity of therapeutic communication
* develop supportive and therapeutic skills in a workplace setting
* learn ways of putting into practice their growing psychodynamic understanding.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:
* understand how they can work effectively using psychodynamic thinking and counselling skills in their approach
* have a deeper understanding of the dynamics of relationships and encounters between client and counsellor
* have a grasp of key psychodynamic techniques in counselling
* appreciate the many levels of communication operating in a counselling relationship
* begin to be able to work with play and art as well as verbal communication
* understand key aspects of a therapeutic role and its boundaries
* develop the capacity to apply psychodynamic thinking to a piece of supportive/observational work

Module information

A Disclosure and Barring Service check is required for this module which the University will undertake.

Learning and teaching methods

Seminar 1 (1 ½ hours) - Students will discuss readings on theoretical and practical aspects of counselling relationships with children and adolescents. There will be a reflective group and the beginning and end of this module Workshop (1 hour) – Students will participate in experiential workshops to practice new skills and to deepen their understanding Seminar 2 (2 hours) – Students will bring descriptions of their work with adults, children and/or adolescents which will be discussed applying psychodynamic insights to the interaction.


  • Spurling, Laurence. (2017) An introduction to psychodynamic counselling, London: Macmillan Education, Palgrave.
  • Spurling, Laurence. (2009) An introduction to psychodynamic counselling, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Kegerreis, Sue. (2010) Psychodynamic counselling with children and young people: an introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shirley Hoxter. (1981) 'Play and Communication', in The child psychotherapist: and problems of young people, London: Karnac., pp.202-231
  • Malan, David H. (1995) Individual psychotherapy and the science of psychodynamics, Oxford: Butterworth.
  • 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
  • Carpy, D. (1989) 'Tolerating the countertransference: a mutative process.', in The international journal of psychoanalysis. vol. 70, pp.287-294
  • 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
  • Temperley, J. (no date) The implications for social work practice of recent psycho-analytic developments *.
  • Winnicott, Clare; Kanter, Joel S. (2004) Face to face with children: the life and work of Clare Winnicott, London: Karnac.
  • McGoldrick, Monica; Gerson, Randy; Petry, Sueli S. (c2008) Genograms: assessment and intervention, New York: W.W. Norton.
  • R. D. Hinshelwood. (1991) 'Psychodynamic Formulation in assessment for psychotherapy', in British Journal of Psychotherapy. vol. 8 (2) , pp.166-174
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1971) Therapeutic consultations in child psychiatry, London: Hogarth Press [for] the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. vol. no. 87
  • Hinshelwood, R. D. (1994) Clinical Klein, London: Free Association Books.
  • Mak-Pearce, George. (2001) 'Engaging troubled adolescents in six-session psychodynamic therapy', in Community-based psychotherapy with young people: evidence and innovation in practice, Hove: Brunner-Routledge.
  • Noonan, Ellen. (2000) Counselling young people, London: Routledge.
  • Sternberg, Janine. (2005) Infant observation at the heart of training, London: Karnac.
  • 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
  • Meares, Russell. (2005) The metaphor of play: origin and breakdown of personal being, Hove: Routledge.
  • Case, Caroline; Dalley, Tessa. (2014) The handbook of art therapy, Hove: Routledge.

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   Case Study    100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Arianna Pulsoni, email:
Susan Kegerreis
Student Administration 5A.202; Telephone: 01206 873745; Email:



External examiner

Dr Anne Elizabeth Worthington
Middlesex University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 70 hours, 66 (94.3%) hours available to students:
4 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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