Using Psychosocial and Psychodynamic Thinking in Practice

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


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA C89D24 Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy,
MA C89D36 Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy (3 year),
MA C89D48 Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy (4 year),
MA C89DFD Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy (3 year)

Module description

This module aims to help you understand the wider psychosocial issues which have an impact on your clients and on the work with them. This broadens the scope of your thinking to encompass racial, political, class, gender and other societal pressures so you can more fully understand your clients' personal development.

The module also provides seminars and workshops to further your understanding of psychodynamic theory and practice. The later theory seminars explore more extreme symptomatology requiring more sophisticated expertise, establishing greater capacity to work with more demanding cases.


Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide insight into psychosocial factors in individual and family development.

  • To show how psychodynamic thinking can help understand societal and cultural issues.

  • To show how psychodynamic and psychosocial thinking together can bring greater depth and insight into clients.

  • To consolidate the ability to take up the professional role of counsellor through linking theory to practice.

  • To extend the understanding of the clinical role in context.

  • To provide further practical and theoretical support in approaching the challenges of placement.

  • To broaden further the understanding of client presentations.

  • To broaden further the understanding of ways of working with clients.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to have:

  • Greater awareness of psychosocial influences on individual development.

  • Greater confidence in recognising, addressing and handling psychosocial issues as they come up in clinical work.

  • Consolidated understanding of the professional role of counsellor.

  • Greater confidence in taking up the role.

  • Greater familiarity with a range of client presentations.

  • Greater familiarity with and consolidated skill in a range of different techniques used in psychodynamic work.

  • Greater ability to operate ethically and effectively in role as counsellor.

Module information

Throughout the module, the clinical seminars will help students bring theory and practice together and be used to help you make the connections between the different kinds of thinking. They will aim to promote your ability to reflect on and learn about your own work using the observations of others, to learn from the work of others, and to bring creative clinical thinking to bear on a range of cases. They will aim to enable you to work towards the capacity to become independent practitioners on qualification.

Learning and teaching methods

This module is taught via a range of distinct styles of seminar:

Theory Seminars - For the theory seminars you will read texts before the seminar and come ready to participate in discussions with the tutor and each other. You may be asked to prepare a short presentation on the week’s texts, or to bring particular points of interest or concern to pursue in the seminar. In some seminars the tutor will provide an introduction to the topic, or play a more leading role in gathering and organising the learning from the reading of the text.

Workshops - There will be some workshops dedicated to the exploration of psychosocial and clinical issues. They will focus on building deeper knowledge of and confidence in dealing with a diverse client group and diverse clinical situations.

Clinical Seminars - You will bring written, detailed accounts of your clinical work on placement. These will be discussed in depth, with attention given to -:
• an understanding of the dynamics within the client
• an understanding of the family and other systems around the client
• an understanding of the dynamics between client and counsellor
• an understanding of the transference/countertransference interactions
• matters of psychodynamic technique in interventions with the client
• organisational issues relevant to the encounter
• any ethical or boundary issues relevant to the encounter 

Each week, the teaching will take place as follows:
Seminar 1 – Workshop
Seminar 2 – Theory seminar
Seminar 3 – Clinical seminar

On alternate weeks there will be a shorter workshop with the latter half of the slot dedicated to a reflective group. 


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  14/12/2023  50% 
Coursework   Essay  26/02/2024  50% 

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
Ms Joanne Emmens, email:
Ms Joanne Emmens
Student Administrator 5A.202; Tel: 01206 873745; Email:



External examiner

Mr Mike Keating
Wessex Counselling and Psychotherapy
Head of Training
Available via Moodle
Of 189 hours, 163 (86.2%) hours available to students:
21 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
5 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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