This module aims to provide students with a theoretical and practice based understanding of psychodynamic observation and the skill and qualities involved. In addition students will be developing professional skills involved in assessment and case presentation. Students will be asked to undertake their own observations in the community and later in their placement, to write these up and present them in seminars.

They will learn to apply their growing grasp of psychodynamic theory to everyday events and encounters and to develop their appreciation of the role of unconscious and emotional communication in ordinary life. This will enable them to become perceptive in terms of detail and more subtle in their understanding of the meaning of what they observe and what they themselves bring to the learning experience. It will enable them to reflect on their own process in observations and in groups and to become more self aware. They will become more alert to first, the conscious and unconscious ways in which their capacity to observe and participate in learning is influenced by their experiences, and second, the way their own self awareness affects their capacity to provide therapeutic care to others.

Alongside their observation seminars, which have an experiential element, students are also developing a psychodynamic approach to reflective practice. Reflective practice is represented by the following components.
Attending reflective groups, maintaining a reflective journal and, as a specific end of year assignment, writing a reflective report. These activities encourage and support the conscious use of self, self awareness, in social and professional relationships, the experience of learning from action and a recognition of oneself as a participant observer in different contexts. The reflective components bring the theoretical learning into the personhood of the student and thus more effectively into actual practice.


To develop a keener eye for the detail of human behaviour and interaction .
To increase awareness of the role of emotional communication and the unconscious in everyday events and encounters.
To understand the application of psychodynamic concepts and insights to all aspects of human experience.
To lay the foundations for psychodynamic observation as a key skill in psychodynamic practice.
To develop employability skills related to psychodynamic assessment, case presentation and reflective practice.
To establish a reflective space for acknowledging and processing the emotional and psychological implications of the material studied on this course.
To develop the capacity for self reflection and an awareness of the influence of ones own processes and personal experiences.

Learning Outcomes

Familiarity with the application of key psychodynamic concepts to observed individuals and relationships.
Greater ability to observe detail and to perceive subtle indications of emotional and unconscious dynamics.
Familiarity with the role of conscious and unconscious mechanisms in relationships.
Awareness of the use of psychodynamic observation in work with clients.
The capacity to apply psychodynamic thinking to everyday situations.
The capacity to reflect on ones own process in the observing and in the learning contexts.
To be increasingly reflective and recognise the relationship between self-awareness and therapeutic care.