Counselling Skills for Therapeutic Work

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


Requisites for this module


PA215, PA216, PA217, PA218, PA221

Key module for

BA LX5C Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations,
BA C847CO Psychodynamic Practice,
BA C848CO Psychodynamic Practice (Including Foundation Year),
BA C849CO Psychodynamic Practice (Including Year Abroad),
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 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.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assessed Observation  13/12/2023  20% 
Coursework   Case Study   22/01/2024  80% 

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 Ann Addison, email:
From Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Student Administrator, 5A.202, telephone 01206 874969, email



External examiner

Dr Anthony John Faramelli
Lecturer in Visual Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 68 hours, 68 (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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