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Psychodynamic Therapy in Psychiatry (PSYT90090)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 6.25On Campus (Parkville) and Online

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePSYT90090
June - On Campus
June - Online
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Psychodynamic principles and treatment underpin a broad range of psychological treatments in psychiatry. This unit is intended to provide an overview of broad principles of psychodynamic psychotherapy and their application to psychiatric assessment, intervention and management of a range of psychiatric conditions.

This unit will cover the skills and knowledge required as mandated Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) training in supportive psychotherapy and in managing the therapeutic alliance. The unit will also assist in tackling the long psychotherapy training case which is mandated RANZCP training.

The course will have sessions on psychodynamic theory starting with Freud, Klein and Winnicott (object relations) and move to contemporary and integrative developments such as mentalisation based psychodynamic psychotherapy thus linking with infant development and attachment theory.

The sessions to follow will concentrate on the therapeutic alliance, particularly boundaries and frame. Skills involved in using supportive psychotherapy based on psychodynamic principles in many therapeutic encounters will be covered including times-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Sessions will be interactive using DVDs and group discussions in addition to didactic teaching.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Explain key concepts in psychodynamic theory such as the unconscious, transference and countertransference, defence mechanisms, the development of the self and the therapeutic alliance including their implications for clinical practice
  • Explain the importance of developmental factors, particularly early attachment experiences and trauma in providing a detailed psychodynamic formulation for psychiatric patients
  • Describe and apply the principles of assessment for psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Describe and apply the principles of supportive psychotherapy to general psychiatric patients
  • Demonstrate the knowledge to be able to provide time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy including the termination phase

Generic skills

Upon successful completion of the unit the student will have acquired a good understanding of the following:

  • Basic psychodynamic theories and their implications for clinical practice;
  • Unconscious mental functioning as it related to contemporary neuroscience and contemporary psychotherapy practice;
  • Mentalisation and relective functioning;
  • The basis concepts of personality and how this is linked with Borderline Personality Disorder and trauma; and
  • Integrating psychodynamic principles into treatment planning of general psychiatric patients.

Last updated: 19 June 2019