Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (Online, ED10)

Course overview

Our work roles and professional experiences are increasingly networked, geographically dispersed, and environmentally conscious. It seems inevitable that, one way or another, a lot more of our work and working relationships will take place online.   Validated by the University of Essex this course will help you develop a ‘consultative stance’ as a leader, consultant or manager in this context - offering the opportunity to study live what is required and what emerges when working in the mixed economies of face to face and online work relations. The contemporary online medium of the course will be a focus of study.

* NEW for October 2021 * We are delighted to offer this course completely online starting in October 2021.  This course will be running in tandem with, and sometimes remotely joining, colleagues studying on the classroom based course of Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (D10)

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.

Group Relations Conference

Students choosing this online pathway to achieve their Masters must attend a Group Relations Conference preferably in person - either joining other students for the Discovering Leadership Conference at the Tavistock Centre in London from 5 -8 September 2022, or choosing a Group Relations Conference to attend in their own country or elsewhere. A list of recognised conferences will be provided 

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.

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.

This online version of the course will have a focus on virtual teams and mixed virtual and co-located in-person teams.   We will examine if the unconscious at work prevails whether the work takes place in real or virtual rooms, or both.

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 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
  • are comfortable in working and studying online and have access to a good internet connection.


The course will take place across 11 Friday and Saturday blocks per annum and will start at 11.30am UK time on Fridays and 11.00am UK time on Saturdays.

There will be four hours of seminars/experiential work on each day of each block, with generous breaks provided. Approximately 34 hours of seminars will take place each year between the blocks.  


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 and 32 evening webinars per year.  Fridays of the blocks will run from 11.30 - 17.30 and Saturdays from 11.00 - 17.00 with generous breaks. 

Webinars will be held on Wednesday evenings between 18.00 and 19.30 


September 29  2021

Block 1

October 1 and 2 2021


October 6, 13 and 20  2021

Block 2 

October 22 and 23 2021


October 27  2021

November 3, 10 and 17  2021

Block 3

November 19 and 20 2021


November 24  2021

December 1 and 8  2021

Block 4 

December 10 and 11 2021


December 15 2021

January 12 2022

Block 5 

January 14 and 15 2022


January 19 and 26 2022

February 2 and 9  2022

Block 6 

February 11 and 12 2022


February 16 and 23 2022

March 2 and 9 2022

Block 7 

March 11 and 12 2022


March 16 and 30 2022

April 6 2022

Block 8 

April 8 and 9 2022


April 13 and 27 2022

May 11 2022

Block 9

May 13 and 14 2022


May 18 2022

June 8 2022

Block 10 

June 10 and 11 2022 


June 15 and 22 2022

Block 11 

June 24 and 25 2022


June 29 2022

Group Relations Conference

5 - 8 September 2022

Please note: These dates may be subject to change.

£ 7,210  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. 

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

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This course is validated by the University of Essex

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