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Psychodynamic Psychotherapeutic Counselling PGDip

Course Description

Based on the idea that mental illness is to some extent the result of repressed negative experience, psychodynamic counselling aims to expose the contents of a client's unconscious to make him or her aware of any underlying psychological conflicts.

It prioritises the therapeutic relationship and draws from the work of psychoanalysts such as Freud, Klein, Winnicott and Bion, as well as more contemporary thinkers such as Lacan, Bowlby, Kohut, Mitchell and Benjamin.

The PGDip teaches models of both long-and short-term counselling, the second of which is particularly relevant to NHS work and employee counselling schemes. It stresses the importance of developing counselling awareness through practice in workshops and provides a sound theoretical foundation to the psychodynamic approach.

The course is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and therefore recognised as preparing students for work as a professional counsellor. The university itself is an organisational member of the BACP as well as the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (UCPA).

Course structure

The courses are taught on a semester system with two semesters each year.

In addition to academic study, you need to complete 100 hours of supervised counselling practice in an approved clinical placement, for example at the South Downs NHS Primary Care Trust, the Youth Advice Centre or Brighton and Sussex University counselling services.

You also need to undertake a personal course of therapy that lasts for the duration of the course, from October of year 1 to June of year 2, and we recommend that you factor in the cost of this therapy before your application.

In terms of assessment, four written assignments and three case studies of counselling work must be submitted. You must also keep a professional log of their clinical work and maintain a personal journal.

Areas of study

The course contains four major elements: academic and professional studies, practical training, training supervision, and personal growth and development. A strong theoretical knowledge is of great importance and considerable weight is given to canonical writers. The seminars provide a broad overview of the reading material and invite you to reflect further on it.

Psychodynamic counsellors rely on their own feelings to help make sense of the moment-by-moment changes in client sessions. This process underlies the need for a certain level of self-awareness and maturity, hence why personal growth and development is the fourth key strand on the course. This is partly met through personal development groups and partly through your own counselling or therapy.


Year 1

Introduction to Psychodynamic Counselling Theory: Human Growth and Development
Themes in Professional Practice
Psychodynamic Counselling Workshops

Year 2

Psychodynamic Counselling Practice 1
Psychodynamic Counselling Practice 2
Critical Perspectives in Psychodynamic Counselling
Research Methods for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Visit the Psychodynamic Psychotherapeutic Counselling PGDip page on the University of Brighton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should hold a degree/professional qualification. You also need to have successfully completed an accredited counselling training course that:involved at least 30 hours of face-to-face tuition at Level 2 or Level 3 (online courses are not acceptable)included both theory and practicetook place within the last six years.Ideally, you will have gained some counselling experience through full- or part-time employment, or through voluntary or pastoral work. You also must have experience of working with people in a helping capacity and access to clients throughout the course.Applicants should normally be at least 25 years of age.

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