Psychodynamic psychotherapy with couples

Course overview

This course is grounded in thinking that has been developed at our clinic over the last 70 years. Couple psychotherapy is a skilled intervention in itself and the teaching is based on psychodynamic ideas with a strong accent on the couple as a system, a dynamic and interactional entity in its own right.  The course is accredited by the British Psychoanalytic Council and is fulfilling for NHS and private practice clinicians who are interested in how partners affect and relate to each other.

Over the two years you will undertake the following:

  • theory seminars (28 per year)
  • clinical seminars (28 per year)
  • clinical component (two couples seen for psychotherapy for a minimum of one year each)
  • individual supervision (separate fortnightly supervision for each couple 15 session per year)
  • personal psychotherapy (twice weekly)

Theoretical seminar

You will attend a series of weekly theoretical seminars on psychodynamic theory, especially focused on those issues most relevant to understanding couple relationships. 

Clinical seminar

Throughout the course you will attend a weekly clinical seminar where trainees take it in turns to present supervised clinical work.  This  provides an opportunity for detailed discussion and exploration of clinical material.  This forum also allows consideration of issues of technique.  In year two, there is a particular emphasis on the assessment of couples for psychotherapy.  

Clinical component

Over the period of the two year training, you will be required to see two couples, each for a minimum of one year, in weekly therapy. The therapy sessions last for one hour. The couples are seen within the Complex Needs Adult Service in the Tavistock Clinic and students who are outside London, will be able to negotiate the possibility of doing the clinical work in an NHS psychotherapy department close to them.

Individual supervision

You will be supervised fortnightly on your first training couple and later on, once permission has been given for you to begin with your second, supervision for each training couple will take place fortnightly with two different supervisors.  There will be 15 sessions of supervision offered per couple over one year. Further supervision can be undertaken but will be charged separately (£50 per session).

When people think of psychotherapy, they tend to think of individual work, however, the individual is not a free-standing subject but is in a dynamic relationship to others. Being in a relationship throws up all sorts of challenges, including disillusionment and disappointment. It’s often the experience of difficulty with the couple relationship that prompts many people to seek psychotherapeutic help. 

This course will provide you with the essential skills necessary for working therapeutically with couples in the NHS and as an independent practitioner.  Upon completion you will gain BPC accreditation as a psychodynamic psychotherapist with couples and have new skills in understanding and working with couples. This is a a unique opportunity to develop your clinical psychodynamic skills in the context of seeing a couple with both partners present.

This course is for you if want to work with couples and deepen your understanding of psychoanalytic theory and practice. If you have already completed a foundation course in psychoanalytic psychotherapy then this course is the second part of the training in order to gain your BPC accreditation.

If you are already qualified as a psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapist working with individuals, you may wish to undertake this course to develop a further area of expertise and expand your practice to working with couples.

This course may be of  interest if you are working with children, parents and families and you may be a professional in the mental health field and allied professions, such as a psychologist, social worker or doctor.

There are many reasons why clinicians are drawn to this work. In the present day context of a nearly 50% divorce rate, there is often an increasing demand on clinicians to see couples and they often feel ill-equipped to do so. Training in couple work broadens your portfolio of skills, provides a varied experience in the consulting room, is a rich source of work and perhaps unexpectedly it helps enormously in understanding and thinking about individuals as well.

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

  • have successfully completed our foundation course, Psychodynamic psychotherapy,  or its equivalent elsewhere OR
  • are a qualified (and experienced) psychoanalytic psychotherapist who is interested in extending their practise to working with couples.

The annual fee for this course is £4560 for Home/EU students and £9120 for International students. 

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. 

Please note that course fees will increase by 2% each year.

The previous code for this course was D59C.

Professional Qualification & Clinical Training
Course length:
2 years
Thursday afternoons
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Joanna Rosenthall

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