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Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations
University of Essex
University of Essex
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Health Studies

External Examiners

Dr Gary Winship
University of Nottingham
Associate Professor

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 3 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 PA210-6-AU Counselling Skills for Therapeutic Work Core 30
02 PA211-6-SP Organisational Dynamics Core 30
03 PA212-6-SU or PA215-6-SU Compulsory with Options 15
04 PA213-6-FY Long Essay Core 30
05 PA214-6-FY Advanced Work-Based Learning Compulsory 15

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

This programme aims to provide an experiential, work-based and theoretical understanding of the problems faced by children and young people in difficulty at school and with their families and society more generally.

Many end up in residential care centres, others become the objects of concern because of learning difficulties or antisocial behaviour.

In all instances, the institutions in which they find themselves can be disrupted by them or can misunderstand their needs and the disruptive ways that they express them, or can become instruments for helping them.

This programme offers a ‘‘psycho-social' view and process, underpinned by a long tradition in psychoanalysis, whereby the distorted communication between the young people, between them and staff, between staff themselves

- all of them in an institutional framework

- can be understood and turned into a therapeutic process.

The same view and process can be applied to adults, and adult centres will be added to our programmes as it develops.

More particularly, this programme aims:

1. To utilise the students' existing work experience to introduce psychodynamic concepts

2. To provide a basic psychoanalytic vocabulary and understanding of the unconscious dimension of relationships, communication and emotional containment

3. To understand the psychodynamics in working groups and institutions

4. To understand the principles of psychodynamic observation as a way of understanding institutions

5. To understand the role of emotions in learning, and the differences from the role of behaviour in learning

6. To develop a psychodynamic understanding of the effect of disruptive behaviour on the institution and the therapeutic potential of a psychodynamic management of the institution

7. To understand a basic model of emotional functioning in individuals, groups and therapeutic and educational processes in institutions

8. To explore ideas related to hope and the therapeutic process.

This course builds on the learning of the FdA Communication and Therapeutic Organisations.

It aims to equip the students with increased theoretical and practical expertise in the core areas covered by the course, i.e. in their work with children and adolescents or vulnerable or challenging adults and in their understanding of and ability to operate therapeutically within their organisations.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Further theoretical knowledge of and understanding of the counselling relationship
A2 Further theoretical knowledge of an understanding of organisational dynamics
A3 Theoretical knowledge of and understanding of the mentoring supervisory relationship
A4 In depth knowledge of and understanding of a relevant topic of the students choice
Learning Methods: Reading and seminars
Assessment Methods: Essays and exams

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 To define and use specific psychoanalytic concepts describing relationships and communication, including transference, counter-transference, projection, introjection, etc
B2 To describe psychoanalytically the unconscious factors in group structuring and functioning, such as anxiety, defences against anxiety, authority and leadership.
B3 To describe in psychoanalytic terms the impact of an institution on an individual and of an individual on an institution.
B4 To describe the emotional factors that affect learning, and the progression from emotional learning to emotional understanding, and their relationship to behaviour.
B5 To describe psychoanalytically the eruption, containment, management in groups, and in wider social settings, such as the family and community.
B6 To identify opportunities to consider with colleagues the sources of pessimism and optimism in individuals, groups and institutions, and to apply this recognition to working in institutions and planning for change.
Learning Methods: The programme makes use of theoretical seminars (B1, B4), clinically orientated seminars (B2, B5, B6), work-based clinical practice (B4, B6), the experience of group relations and psychodynamic group observation (B2.
B3, B6).
In addition, students learn how to carry out psychodynamically informed social observations, and through work-place supervised practice and performative assessment, focus their theoretical understanding on specific settings and situations
Assessment Methods: Essays and exams

C: Practical skills

C1 Enhanced counselling skills
C2 Enhanced ability to conduct psychodynamic observation of organisations and to operate therapeutically in the workplace
C3 Ability to conduct a literature search and produce a self-organised piece of work
Learning Methods: Application of learning in the workplace Seminar discussion of work Seminar discussion of observations Observation in an organisation
Assessment Methods: Essays Dissertation

D: Key skills

D1 Ability to communicate therapeutically with children and adolescents. Ability to communicate effectively in the workplace. Ability to convey understanding of individuals, interactions and organisations in essays, exams and dissertatio
D2 Basic computer literacy required
D4 Ability to apply psychodynamic thinking to work related issues and develop skill in using it in the here and now
D5 Ability to work constructively in the organisation. Ability to use seminar, mentor and tutorial input constructivel
D6 Ability to reflect on own practice is a key skill in all parts of the programme. Ability to conduct own approach to dissertation
Learning Methods: All aspects of the course
Assessment Methods: Mentoring report Essays Reflective report


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, 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 courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: