Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy (BD58, evening)

Course overview

This  course will introduce you to a psychoanalytic way of thinking about your clinical work and will explore whether you may wish to pursue further training in psychotherapy. This course is delivered via weekly online video lectures and face-to-face work discussion groups held in the evening at the Tavistock Centre

Over the three years, you will undertake the following elements:

  • supervised clinical work
  • a clinical placement within an NHS psychotherapy/counselling service
  • clinical seminars
  • Lectures
  • personal psychotherapy
  • optional dissertation

This course is centred around your clinical work, where you will see a patient for psychotherapy once a week in the NHS (or an equivalent setting) for a minimum of a year. Please note: You will be responsible for finding this placement, in discussion with the course team.

Years one and two

Supervision groups

You will meet in a small group with a supervisor on a weekly basis throughout the first two years.  You will take it in turns to 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 placement in an NHS or equivalent setting. It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to see a patient at the Tavistock Clinic and therefore, you will need to secure your own placement. 

Clinical seminars

You will meet in groups of 8-10 students with a clinical seminar leader and you’ll take it in turns to present your psychotherapy patient. The aim is to reinforce the clinical skills you learned in the supervision group but also to link the clinical material with theoretical ideas and to introduce the idea of clinical formulation. 


Lectures will be watched online.  The aim is to introduce you to fundamental psychoanalytic concepts and texts, looking at these both historically and with reference to different theoretical traditions. There is reading to be undertaken prior to each seminar.

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). 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.

Year three


A dissertation workshop is held to help you develop a dissertation proposal which is then submitted for approval. You will be required to work independently with a supervisor to write a dissertation over the spring term, usually based on your clinical work in the preceding years. This must then be submitted at the beginning of the summer term.

This is a three year Masters level course. Students may exit after two years with a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip).

This course will introduce to clinical work in psychodynamic psychotherapy and 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 apply the knowledge in a range of settings other than actual psychotherapy.

The course provides the first part of a unique, British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) accredited training in psychodynamic psychotherapy.  All staff teaching on the course are experienced practising psychoanalytic psychotherapists or psychoanalysts.  The course has received a very high student satisfaction rating on teaching and student support.

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 or nurse, or be in another mental health role in the NHS or voluntary sector. Even if you don’t have a clinical background, you can still be considered if you have sufficient experience of working in relevant settings, and if you have completed some psychoanalytically informed introductory training and a psychiatric placement prior to applying.

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 one year)
  • Have established personal psychotherapy at least once a week with a BPC registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist or psychoanalyst (NOT psychodynamic psychotherapist) prior to starting the course or ideally by the time you apply.
Please note: These 3 points are essential prerequisites for being considered for the course.

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.


Thursday evenings, 6.30 to 9.15pm.


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.

Leezah HertzmannLeezah Hertzmann

Couple and Individual Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Leezah Hertzmann is an individual and couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist and Course Lead for D58. She works in the Couples Unit in the Adult Department of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Leezah has developed several applied psychoanalytic interventions including for couples whose relationships are violent, and for parents in post separation conflict. Recent publications have focused on the use of psychoanalytic concepts with lesbian and gay patients, treatments for relationship violence and several papers from a randomized controlled trial of which she was co-principal investigator.  Leezah’s particular interests include psychoanalytic theory as applied to issues of sexual diversity, and the use of applied psychoanalytic models of intervention for vulnerable populations.  She is a member of the British Psychoanalytic Council special advisory group on sexual diversity. 


£5150 per annum

£2060 dissertation year


£10300 per annum

£4120 dissertation year

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. 

Postgraduate Diploma / Master's
Course length:
3 years
Thursday evenings
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Leezah Hertzmann

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