Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy (D58)

Course overview

Validated by University of Essex, this course forms part one of a training that enables you to be registered with The British Psychoanalytic Council. You will be introduced to a psychoanalytic way of thinking about your clinical work which will form a solid foundation from which to pursue further training in psychotherapy. This course is also available in an Evening version (BD58).

Please note: Due to the popularity of this course, an initial deadline for applications was set as Monday 26 April 2021.  If you wish to apply after this deadline we can accept your application but sadly cannot guarantee that if shortlisted, you will be interviewed before the end of July.  Please read the entry requirements below and ensure you meet them all before submitting an application.

Centred on clinical work you will undertake a supervised clinical placement, where you will see a patient for psychotherapy once a week for a period of a whole calendar year.  You will also learn through supervision groups, clinical seminars and theory seminars on fundamental psychoanalytic concepts and texts.

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 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 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 a 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.

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.   


In the third year, 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).

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 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 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.

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.

Please note: Due to the popularity of this course, an initial deadline for applications was set as Monday 26 April 2021, with interviews taking place between May and July. If you wish to apply after this deadline we can accept your application but sadly cannot guarantee that if shortlisted, you will be interviewed before the end of July.  Please read the entry requirements below and ensure you meet them all before submitting an application.


All day Tuesday from  9.30am to 5.30pm.


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

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. 


£ 5,670 per year


£ 11,340 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:
3 years
All day Tuesdays
The Tavistock Centre, London, Leeds, Manchester
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
Course lead:
Leezah Hertzmann

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