Taught course

Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust · Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to:

  • hold a good honours degree or equivalent;
  • hold a professional qualification in mental health OR;
  • have significant clinical experience in mental health (at least one year paid or unpaid) without professional qualification.

Months of entry


Course content

The aim of this course is to introduce you to a psychoanalytic way of thinking about your clinical work and to explore whether you may wish to pursue further training in psychotherapy. The course offers a Postgraduate Diploma or MA qualification, and comprises part one of a British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) accredited training in psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Over the three years, you will undertake the following elements:

  • supervised clinical work
  • a clinical placement within an NHS psychotherapy/counselling service
  • clinical seminars
  • theory seminars
  • workshops
  • personal psychotherapy
  • optional dissertation.

This course is centred around your clinical work, where you will see a patient for psychotherapy once a week in the NHS for a period of five terms. You will be responsible for finding this placement in the first term with the support of your personal tutor.

Years one and two:

Supervision groups

You will meet in a small group with a supervisor on a weekly basis throughout the first two years. You will take it in turns to present detailed sessions of your work with your psychotherapy patient. The focus is on developing the basic clinical skills of psychotherapy – maintaining the setting, understanding transference and countertransference, formulating interpretations, risk assessment and management, and appropriate record keeping.

Clinical seminars

You will meet in groups of 8-10 students with a clinical seminar leader and you’ll take it in turns to present your psychotherapy patient. The aim is to reinforce the clinical skills you learned in the supervision group but also to link the clinical material with theoretical ideas and to introduce the idea of clinical formulation.

Theory seminars

Theory seminars will take place weekly with the whole year group with a series of different seminar leaders. The aim is to introduce you to fundamental psychoanalytic concepts and texts, looking at these both historically and with reference to different theoretical traditions. There is reading to be undertaken prior to each seminar.


Workshops take place with the whole year group, and provide you with the opportunity for developing clinical skills or understanding through more active learning, e.g. role play and small groups.

Personal psychotherapy

You are required to be in personal psychotherapy at least once a week with a psychoanalytic psychotherapist registered by the BPC, preferably beginning six months before the course starts and continuing at least until clinical work is completed. The cost of psychotherapy is not included in the course fee and is by private arrangement with the psychotherapist. The course tutor can help you find a suitable vacancy with a psychotherapist if required.

Year three:


A dissertation workshop is held to help you develop a dissertation proposal which is then submitted for approval. You will be required to work independently with a supervisor to write a dissertation over the spring term, usually based on your clinical work in the preceding years. This must then be submitted at the beginning of the summer term.

This is a three year Masters level course. Students may exit after two years with a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

We are happy offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Please note that course fees will increase by 2% each year.

Qualification and course duration


part time
36 months


part time
24 months

Course contact details

Rosa Akerman
+44 (0)20 8938 2213 / 2214