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Course content

Studies in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

The main aim of this programme is to provide a training in research for psychological therapists, currently working with complex cases, relevant to their area and modality of clinical practice. Currently we are able to provide this for people who have undertaken a substantial Psychoanalytic or a substantial Systemic, clinical training.

By the end of the programme we aim to have enabled members to have:
• Developed the capacity to critically review and reflect upon the underlying theoretical and clinical assumption underlying their practice.
• Develop a substantial, in-depth and systematic understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of their discipline;
• Develop a capacity to critically evaluate that body of knowledge by reference to research developments in other related disciplines
• Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of research methodologies applicable to their discipline;
• Independently evaluate research, advanced scholarship and methodologies and to argue alternative approaches;
• Synthesise new approaches in a manner that can contribute to the development of methodology or understanding in clinical research practice;
• Analyse and manage ethical dilemmas and to link rigorously objective empirical research with rigorous, subjective understandings drawn from your therapeutic modality;
• Act independently and with originality in problem solving, leading in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level;
• Conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge at the forefront of psychotherapy practice
• Develop the capacity to work with a degree of fluency and rigour, that enables the practitioner to work in ways that may influence policy, effect positive change and lead at national and international levels commensurate with a senior professional role;
• Reflect on own and other’s functioning in order to improve practice, guide and support the learning of others and manage own continuing professional development;
• Communicate complex and contentious information clearly and effectively to specialists and non-specialists, understand any lack of understanding in others and act as a recognised and effective consultant.
• To make an original contribution to psychoanalytic or systemic psychotherapy practice;

This Research Doctorate provides a programme of teaching, academic assignments and supervised research training and usually takes three and a half years to complete. It may be undertaken as a free standing course by applicants who have successfully completed a substantial psychotherapeutic clinical training as a Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic therapist or Analyst (British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) registered or equivalent); as a Child psychotherapist (Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP)(or equivalent) as a Family or Couples’ Therapist ( or equivalent)or as a Group Analyst (Institute of Group Analysis (IGA) member or equivalent). Alternatively it may be undertaken by trainees on one of the above trainings but not before the beginning of the third year of their clinical training.

In addition to a sound clinical grounding the programme also emphasises the development of evidence based practice and practice based evidence. With students we consider what constitutes evidence; the particular strengths and weaknesses of particular kinds of evidence including the traditional single case approach traditionally associated with psychoanalytic ideas. We also consider the clinician as researcher; the countertransferential evidence acquired in the clinical session; the formulation of hypotheses in the therapeutic encounter; their extrapolation in generalised hypotheses of human psychological functioning; the need to generalise from these and the problems in so doing; the uses of extra-analytic information and theory as something which illuminates clinical practice or alternatively intrudes upon the patient therapist interaction.

Exeter has an international reputation for research relevant to psychotherapeutic clinical practice. It is part of Clinical Education Development And Research (CEDAR) within the department of Psychology at Exeter (http://cedar.exeter.ac.uk/programmes). As well as senior and experienced analytically trained clinicians who are also working in various clinical setting, teaching on the programme, students also have access to senior, research active supervisors and teachers in a range of research methodologies, qualitative and quantitative, with a wide spectrum of research interests.

Programme structure

The programme is suitable for practising clinicians who are interested in exploring, understanding and critically examining the ideas and assumptions which underpin their clinical practise in a systematic manner from a variety of perspectives. The idea of ‘research’ is critically examined along with what may be considered as ‘evidence’, the contexts in which it is gathered and the ways in which it may be used. Participants in the programme acquire the capacity to understand and critically evaluate various kinds of research relevant to their clinical practice along with its uses and limitations. The programme is appropriate for practitioners working in Health & Social Services, in the Independent or third sector who work with people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Over the first twenty months of the programme there are four, five day intensive block events which take place, on campus at the University of Exeter on its Exeter site. In any year these take place shortly before Easter and at the beginning of September. These four block events are the only part of the programme which members have to attend in person. The remainder of the programme may be completed ‘at a distance’ by means of Skype, video conferencing or telephone.

The backbone of the intensive block events is a rolling programme of research teaching; over the twenty months programme members acquire an understanding of a range of research approaches and methods, qualitative and quantitative. They also have the chance to become familiar with and critically examine classic and seminal research papers relevant to their psychotherapeutic practise. There are also seminars led and facilitated by experienced psychoanalytic psychotherapists, analysts, systemic practitioners and academics examining different kinds of research approaches and ideas and matters such as ethics and writing for publication.
Over the twenty months a number of assignments need to be completed. Teaching is also provided during the events in support of these as well as through the learning sets/research groups and monthly tutorials. For more details of the programme structure please see the CEDAR website (http://cedar.exeter.ac.uk/programmes/clinprac/structure/)

Visit the DClinPrac Clinical Practice page on the University of Exeter website for more details!






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