Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy (D58L, Leeds)

Course overview

This course, delivered in Leeds and validated by University of Essex, is accredited by the British Psychoanalytic Council. It will introduce you to a psychoanalytic way of thinking about your clinical work and form a solid foundation from which to pursue further training in psychotherapy.

This course is centred on clinical work. You will undertake a supervised clinical placement, seeing a patient for psychotherapy once a week in the NHS for a period of a whole calendar year. You will also learn through theory seminars on fundamental psychoanalytic concepts and texts, supervision groups, and clinical seminars.

Supervision groups

You will meet in a small supervised group on a weekly basis throughout the first two years. In this group you will present detailed sessions of your work with your psychotherapy patient. The focus is on developing the basic clinical skills of psychotherapy – maintaining the setting, understanding transference and countertransference, formulating interpretations, risk assessment and management, and appropriate record keeping. 

Please note: you will be seeing your patient on a placement you identify in an NHS or equivalent setting that is approved by the Course Lead. Guidance can be given in Leeds by the Course Lead to identify a suitable placement but students will need to secure a placement in order to progress on the programme.

Clinical seminars

You will participate in a group with a clinical seminar leader where you will present your psychotherapy patient. The aim of this group is to reinforce the clinical skills learned in the supervision group and to link the clinical material with theoretical ideas and to introduce the idea of clinical formulation.

Theory seminars

The aim of weekly seminars is to introduce you to fundamental psychoanalytic concepts and texts, looking at these both historically and with reference to different theoretical traditions.

Personal psychotherapy

You are required to be in personal psychotherapy at least once a week with a psychoanalytic psychotherapist or psychoanalyst registered by the BPC (please note: not psychodynamic psychotherapy or therapist on another register). Preferably you need  to have been in this type of therapy continuously for at least six months before the course starts and ideally at the time of your application. You will need to continue your therapy at least until all clinical work is completed.

You will need to successfully complete all of the modules in order to receive a nationally recognised award which has been quality assured and ratified - a Postgraduate Diploma (after two years) or an MA (after three years) awarded by the University of Essex, through the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies.

If you successfully complete the first two years of this course (Part 1 of Qualifying Course in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy) you will be eligible to apply for Part 2 of the Qualifying Course, Intercultural Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (D59) or one of the other clinical trainings such as those for couples or forensic patients at the Tavistock Clinic.   

All staff teaching on this course are experienced practising psychoanalytic psychotherapists or psychoanalysts. This course will help you gain a deeper understanding of your clinical work and dynamics in clinical settings by approaching these from a psychoanalytic point of view.

You will be able to use this at work and apply it in a range of settings beyond psychotherapy. The course provides the first part of a unique British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) accredited training in psychodynamic psychotherapy.

This course is for mental health professionals who work across a number of sectors including the NHS. You might be a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, nurse or be in another mental health role in the NHS or voluntary sector. Even if you do not have a clinical background in mental health you may still be considered. You will need to complete a psychiatric placement prior to taking on a patient.

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:

  • have a good honours degree 
  • have a professional qualification in Mental Health OR significant direct experience, paid or voluntary, of working within mental health (at least six months)
  • are established in therapy with a BPC registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist or psychoanalyst (NOT a psychodynamic psychotherapist) prior to starting the course,  or ideally by the time you apply.  You can find the names of all registered BPC clinicians here:

Please note that these three points are essential pre-requisites for being considered for the course. With regard to the personal therapy, you cannot start your clinical work with a patient until you are settled in your personal therapy for at least six months.

If you do not have a professional clinical qualification, we ask that you also have at least six months of experience of working, volunteering or shadowing in a psychiatric setting.


Assessment is through a mixture of essays and written academic submissions on psychoanalytic theory as well as your clinical work with your patient. Clinical work is assessed by your supervisors and clinical seminar leaders who will provide feedback on whether you are able to pass the clinical element of the course. All assessments are undertaken by course staff, verified by the Course Lead as well as other staff and then ratified by the assessment board of the University of Essex.


All day Wednesday.

Martin Gill is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in Manchester. He works in the NHS and privately. Martin initially trained as a general nurse then undertook post-graduate studies to train as a mental health nurse. Since then he has been involved in therapies training as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and then psychoanalyst. He is clinical lead in an outpatient eating disorder service. He is interested in the application of psychoanalytic ideas within mental health systems and more widely. He is a staff member of the IOPA northern clinic services and also works as a consultant to organisations offering psychoanalytic applications within staff and management groups.


£ 6,235 per year


£ 12,470 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. 

Postgraduate Diploma / Master's
Course length:
3 years
Admission status:
Course lead:
Martin Gill

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