Psychoanalytic Theory Courses

Course Overview

The course format consists of both input and discussion. The theoretical framework is rooted in the psychoanalytic work of Freud, Klein, Winnicott and Bion.

Students are invited to think about the interplay of both internal and external factors in forming the developing sense of self and its structuring into personality and how this can be facilitated in the psychotherapeutic relationship and setting.

The broad objective is to ensure that students read the selected psychoanalytic texts and achieve a fruitful integration of the theory component of the course with the clinical components.

Course Aims:

The psychoanalytic courses will enable students to:

  • Develop some understanding of psychoanalytic theories about normal and pathological development
  • Become familiar with the main themes in the work of seminal psychoanalytic theorists
  • Appreciate the links and conceptual differences between the authors studied
  • Understand central psychoanalytic concepts such as transference and countertransference
  • Increase the capacity to apply the theory to work experience or clinical practice
  • Develop formal writing skills through submission of essays on particular topics

Theory Course Programme for 2016

For more information on a theory course, please click on the title of that course.


Lecturer: Sue Van Zyl
Dates: January 27, February  3, 10, 17 24 March 2  2016

CDP Points: 12

Translating Theory into Practice: An Introduction to thinking and working psychoanalytically

Lecturer: Yvette Esprey
Dates: 27th Jan, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd Feb, 2nd March
CPD Points: 9

Lecturer: Julie Green
Dates: TBC
CPD Points: 12

Dates: TBC
CPD Points: 9


Lecturer: David Hadley

Dates: TBC

CPD Points: 9





Essay Requirements for the Diploma and Certificate Courses

  1. Freud
    Choose two of the following techniques widely associated with Freudian psychoanalysis

    • Free Association
    • Analytic Neutrality
    • The couch

    Explain the importance of these elements to the particular techniques associated with psychoanalysis.  Your answer should provide more than a description of the nature or significance of each of these elements, but should also make it clear that you understand how and why they are important to the practice of classical psychoanalysis and are grounded in psychoanalytic psychopathology and metapsychology.

  2. Klein
    What did Melanie Klein learn from children’s play?
  3. Bion
    It may be claimed that Bion’s most significant contribution to psychoanalysis was to investigate the fundamental nature of thinking, and what made it possible.  It is this inquiry into thinking – or the refusal to think – as a means of engaging with, or disengaging from, psychic reality, that is the key to understanding how the various aspects of Bions’ work fit together.  Discuss the question of what it means to think from both developmental and clinical frames of reference.
  4. Winnicott
    At a meeting of the British Psychoanalytic Society somewhere around 1940, Winnicott made a spontaneous statement that “there is no such thing as an infant”.  Discuss this contention, its provocative nature and what it means in terms of Winnicott’s conceptualization of the nature of the infantile psyche as well as the requirements for development of the infant into a subject.