Psychoanalytic Theory

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
24 August 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIP C8N209 Management and Organisational Dynamics,
DIP C8N221 Management and Organisational Dynamics,
MA C8N212 Management and Organisational Dynamics,
MA C8N224 Management and Organisational Dynamics,
MA C8N2MO Management and Organisational Dynamics,
MA C89012 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C89024 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C890MO Psychoanalytic Studies,
MPHDC89048 Psychoanalytic Studies,
PHD C89048 Psychoanalytic Studies

Module description

This module comprises a systematic exploration of major developments in psychoanalytic thought following Freud. Following Freud's innovations, there have been a number of diverging developments in psychoanalysis, resulting in an array of different schools of thought. The primary focus of the module is on developments that have taken place in Britain, mainly stimulated by the work of Melanie Klein. To foster a strong comparative perspective, we will also consider developments from distinct psychoanalytic traditions, including the work of French psychoanalysts Jacques Lacan and American psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut.
Klein was herself influenced by Sandor Ferenczi and Karl Abraham whose works are a development from Freud. In turn, she was an inspiration to a number of analysts working in Britain, including, Bion, Bowlby, Fairbairn, Rosenfeld, Segal and Winnicott, and a younger generation of analysts who established the 'object relations' tradition in British psychoanalysis. Term I will introduce the work of Ferenczi, Anna Freud, Klein and Bion. Term II will concentrate on some psychoanalysts of the independent group (Bolwby, Balint, Winnicott), as well as Lacan and Kohut.

Module aims

To present the work of the psychoanalytic theorists considered and set them in relation to Freud’s thinking;
To explain leading themes and concepts in psychoanalysis, including clinical concepts such as instincts, projection, transference / counter-transference, containment, projective identification;
To acquaint students with the problems involved in trying to compare different analytic and psychoanalytic schools;
To put psychoanalysis forward as a cultural and philosophical endeavour as well as a clinical one;
To encourage a comparative understanding of psychoanalytic theories.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:
• demonstrate an understanding of a range of psychoanalytic concepts, and to use them to explore clinical or non-clinical themes;
• discuss, compare and debate the trends and evolution of psychoanalytic thinking, particularly within the British School of Psychoanalysis, with a critical attention to the issues which have led to divergence between schools of psychoanalysis;
• discuss, compare and debate theories critically.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Learning & Teaching Methods: We will have a weekly 2-hour seminar, with set texts to be read in preparation for each session. We will combine small group work, student presentations, and large group discussion over the different weeks and topics. Sometimes you will be asked to prepare some supplementary material, or to connect themes across seminars; on such occasions you might like to do some additional research to prepare for such presentations. Throughout, we will be attentive to the how the theoretical ideas studied find expression in different contexts (clinical, cultural, biographical).


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   Essay    100% 

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 Leonardo Niro, email:
Dr Leonardo Niro
Student Administrator Tel: 01206 873745 Email:



External examiner

Dr Noreen Giffney
Ulster University, Jordanstown Campus, Northern Ireland
Lecturer in Counselling
Available via Moodle
Of 37 hours, 37 (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

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