Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (D10)

Course overview

Validated by the University of Essex this course will develop you as a leader, consultant or manager by giving you a fuller understanding of the human dimensions of organisational systems and helping you to develop a ‘consultative stance’ to organisational dilemmas and opportunities. You will be helped to see the bigger picture, from different perspectives, and acquire the skills to work more effectively.

Please note: This course is now closed for September 2021 entry.  

Want to hear more? Join our open evening session on Tuesday 7 December and meet the course team! Book your place here.

This course combines experiential learning with the study of psychoanalytic and systemic theory in relation to organisations, bringing into view the complex emotional lives of contemporary organisations. You will learn how to track the flow of pressure around organisational systems, noting how pressure may move up and down hierarchies, or flow out into certain departments, roles or professions, or into ‘troublesome individuals’. 

Theory seminars and webinars will introduce you to key concepts such as the individual unconscious, the group unconscious and the institutional unconscious. Contemporary papers and case studies will bring theory to life, exploring issues such as authority and power, organisational change and the politics of difference. Race, intersectionality and difference are approached using a theoretical, individual and organisational lens, in order to explore how they impact  organisational dynamics, and the capacity of leaders, managers and consultants to take up their roles. 

A range of conceptual tools will develop your capacity to think critically and systemically about organisations. You will learn to map organisational systems and understand the effects of organisational structure on organisational dynamics and vice versa. You will be encouraged to think creatively ‘across the boundary’ between the conscious and unconscious aspects of organisational life, including those of the organisational system in which the course takes place. 

In the first year of the course, you will observe an organisation which will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to watch a group functioning when it is engaged in its usual task.

In your second year, you will undertake a supervised consultancy in small supervision groups. You will also be expected to organise yourselves to plan and staff a consultancy intervention for year one students. The focus is not only on the success or failure of the intervention but on the opportunity provided for learning about group processes that emerge when engaging with a client group.

Over the two years you will participate in experiential groups, the aim of which is to learn how to observe the functioning of a group and to understand the dynamics which influence it, while also participating in the group. Experiential groups allow for the study of issues such as leadership, followership, rivalry, boundaries, group defences and cultural and role differences.

Between years one and two all students take part in a Group Relations Conference which is an intensive and immersive experience of group and institutional processes. The conference is, in effect, a temporary organisation created to enable you to study relatedness and relationships between groups, boundary dynamics and issues of delegated authority.

* NEW for October 2021 * We are delighted to offer this course completely online starting in October 2021. Please see Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (Online, ED10) for more information.

This course will give you a better understanding of yourself in a working context and a greater capacity to understand group processes that create functioning or dysfunctional organisations and teams. It will enhance your capacity for appropriate task related leadership and develop your ability to act effectively as a consultant on organisational issues.

What our students say

"This MA has enabled me to think about organisations in a completely different way. It has not only developed me as a consultant, but has changed me as a leader." 

"This programme taught me how to think in a crisis, and get my team to think too."

"The course allowed me to reflect on how I might come across to people. The experiential blocks are very useful; and the Group Relations Conference has been a mirror which you can't get in everyday life."

"The course opens one's eyes to a whole new world by accessing the unconscious through one's emotions, which has to be experienced. There is a richness gained by having people on the course from different backgrounds."

This course is for you if you are a manager, leader, consultant or coach who wants to gain insight into the unconscious processes that affect organisational systems.

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:
  • have a minimum of three years’ experience in your chosen profession
  • have experience of direct involvement in the management, training or development of other professional workers, or engagement in consultative work for specific organisations
  • have a first degree or equivalent, and/or professional experience commensurate with that qualification.

Please note: The next round of group interviews will be on Friday 9 July 2021   If you wish to be included in these interviews, please ensure you have applied to us by 5pm on Friday 2 July.


11 Friday and Saturday blocks plus:

Year one:

  • 6 evening seminars 
  • 3 mid block online supervisions  (dates by arrangement with tutors)

Year two:

  • 4 evening seminars 
  • Up to 10 mid block online supervisions (dates by arrangement with tutors)


Over the two years of the masters assessment will be through four 3000 word essays (two each year), two 2000 essays (one each year) plus a dissertation of 14000 words completed during the summer following year two. There is also an element of continuous assessment provided by tutors and supervisors in the Consulting and Leading in Practice module of the course - worth 50% of assessment for that module.

Kay TrainorKay Trainor

Dr Kay Trainor has led the Masters in Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (D10) for over ten years. During this time she has worked as an organisational consultant in a range of organisations spanning corporate, media, health and third sectors.  She has directed many group relations conferences, both nationally and internationally​. Before joining Tavistock Consulting in 2008 she ran her own Consultancy Company, combining a systems psychodynamic approach with the creative practices of working artists. 

This course will be delivered over 11 Friday and Saturday blocks per year and 10 evening webinars (6 in year one, 4 in year two). 

Fridays of the blocks will run from 09.30 - 17.30 (year 1) and from 11.30 - 17.30 (year 2).  

Saturdays will run from 09.00 - 17.00 (years 1 & 2). 

In addition 4.5 hours of observation seminars (year 1) and 16.5 hours of supervision (year two) will be scheduled outside the blocks. 

Block 1

October 1 and 2 2021

Evening webinar October 13 2021

Block 2 

October 22 and 23 2021

Evening webinar November 10 2021

Block 3

November 19 and 20 2021

Evening webinar December 1 2021

Block 4 

December 10 and 11 2021

Block 5 

January 14 and 15 2022

Evening webinar January 26 2022

Block 6 

February 11 and 12 2022

Evening webinar February 23 2022

Block 7 

March 11 and 12 2022

Block 8 

April 8 and 9 2022

Evening webinar April 27 2022

Block 9

May 13 and 14 2022

Block 10 

June 10 and 11 2022 

Block 11 

June 24 and 25 2022

Group Relations Conference

5 - 8 September 2022

Please note: These dates may be subject to change.


£ 7,210 per year


£ 14,420 per year

For more information about how Brexit may affect your fee status, please see Brexit information for EU & EEA and Swiss Nationals

Please note that course fees are subject to a 3% or CPI uplift each year, whichever is greater.

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

Bursary opportunities

New for 2021: we are delighted to be offering two bursaries for applicants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who secure a place on the course starting in October 2021. Applications due by Monday 19 July. Please download and read the full information here.

MA / Master's
Course length:
2 years
Part-time – Friday and Saturday
The Tavistock Centre, London
Admission status:
Course lead:
Kay Trainor

Enquire about this course

Make an enquiry

Next steps

Professional doctorate in advanced practice and research: consultation and the organisation (D10D)

This course will provide you with an advanced and sophisticated education in organisational consultancy in a stimulating learning community. It is...

Find out more

This course is validated by the University of Essex

Essex University logo with transparent background

Read more about our University partners

Share this page