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.

Applications to this course for September 2019 entry are now closed as the course is full and applications for September 2020 entry will open at the end of 2019.

The course combines experiential learning with the study of psychoanalytic and systemic theory in relation to organisations. 

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. 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.

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 attempt 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.

Block 1
5 and 6 October 2018

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
17 October 2018

Block 2
26 and 27 October 2018

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
14 November 2018

Block 3
23 and 24 November 2018

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
5 December 2018

Block 4
14 and 15 December 2018

Block 5
18 and 19 January 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
30 January 2019

Block 6
15 and 16 February 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1)
27 February 2019

Block 7
8 and 9 March 2019

Block 8
5 and 6 April 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1)
1 May 2019

Block 9
10 and 11 May 2019

Block 10
7 and 8 June 2019

Block 11
28 and 29 June 2019

Group Relations Conference for October 2018 entry:

September 2–5 2019

Block 1
4 and 5 October 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
16 October 2019

Block 2
25 and 26 October 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
13 November 2019

Block 3
22 and 23 November 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
4 December 2019

Block 4
13 and 14 December 2019

Block 5
17 and 18 January 2020

Evening Webinar (Year 1 and Year 2)
29 January 2020

Block 6
14 and 15 February 2020

Evening Webinar (Year 1)
26 February 2020

Block 7
6 and 7 March 2020

Block 8
3 and 4 April 2019

Evening Webinar (Year 1)
29 April 2020

Block 9
8 and 9 May 2020

Block 10
5 and 6 June 2020

Block 11
26 and 27 June 2020

Group Relations Conference for October 2019 entry:

September 7–10 2020

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.

Assessment is through six 3000 word essays 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.

Attendance: 11 Friday and Saturday blocks per annum. 

Kay TrainorKay Trainor

Principal Consultant, Tavistock Consulting

Dr Kay Trainor is a Principal Consultant at Tavistock Consulting, where she directs the Masters programme in ‘Consulting and Leading in Organisations: Psychodynamic and Systemic Approaches’.  She works as an executive coach and organisational consultant in a range of organisations spanning corporate, media, health and third sectors.  She has a passion for Group Relations work and has directed conferences nationally and internationally​.


£6600 per annum


£13200 per annum

Please note that course fees are subject to a 2% 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.  

Please contact us if you have any questions. 

MA / Master's
Course length:
2 years
Part-time – Friday and Saturday
Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, NW3 5BA
Admission status:
Course lead:
Kay Trainor

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This course is validated by the University of Essex

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