Psychodynamic Counselling & Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents (MSc): 3-year, part-time

There are many different types of counselling, each based on their own concepts and orientations.

Psychodynamic counselling offers a model for understanding the human personality and how it develops, our network of relationships and how we interact with others, how psychological problems may originate and the repetitive patterns that maintain them, and how personal change takes place.

This part-time, daytime course teaches you the essential knowledge and skills of psychodynamic counselling, with particular emphasis on its application to children and adolescents. It establishes an understanding of psychoanalytic-based theory and covers the technical processes of counselling children and adolescents, while developing the personal and professional awareness required for effective practice as defined by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

By the end of the course you will have the ability to work as a psychodynamic counsellor at an appropriate professional standard with children and adolescents. You will understand, and know how to use, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic principles to increase knowledge of both theory and practice, of personality development, of the inner and outer worlds of the child and adolescent, and of the institutional and group influences on personal development.

You will possess high-level skills in thinking psychodynamically about counselling issues, and making professional communications about counselling work, and display a capacity for self-reflection, especially knowledge of your inner world and how it impacts on counselling work, and your role in groups and institutions.

Highlights

  • Counselling courses have been running at Birkbeck for over 40 years and have built up a reputation among employers for their high quality.
  • Emphasis on how organisations and groups function, which will enable you to understand and manage professional settings and relationships.
  • Accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the British Psychoanalytic Council.
  • Attracts people from a range of backgrounds, including educational, medical, field and residential social work, youth work and voluntary agencies.

Course structure

The foundation year (Year 1) covers the psychoanalytic attitude and provides an introduction to basic psychoanalytic concepts and techniques and their application to children and adolescents. It gives an overview of individual development and psychosocial issues from this perspective and there is emphasis on understanding infancy, through mother/infant observation.

Year 2 provides a deeper study of psychoanalytic theory and psychotherapeutic practice, including a supervised counselling placement. There is an introduction to organisational theory.

Year 3 is primarily a clinical year consisting of more intensive supervision in a counselling placement. Advanced seminars in counselling theory and technique and in organisational dynamics are related to the practice placement. A group relations week is also held in both years.

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Second-class honours degree in any subject or an equivalent professional qualification; non-graduates with academic and professional experience may be considered.

    Work with children/adolescents.

    Prior completion of a basic counselling course at certificate level is desirable.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £5625 pa
    Part-time international students: £8700 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

    On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

    Students must be seeing a personal therapist at least once a week for the duration of this course. You will need to find your own therapist, although the course tutors can help you with this, and you will have to fund your therapy yourself. The cost of therapy can vary widely, depending on location, availability and income, but you should expect to pay £25-£60 per therapy session.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Seminars, work discussion, infant observation, practical exercises and experiential groups.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Year 1: two termly essays, a 'take-away' examination and a student review.

    Year 2: infant observation assessment, case study and student review.

    Year 3: mid-year essay, final portfolio and student review.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go on to careers in counselling and education. Possible professions include child psychotherapist, counsellor, or educational psychologist. Those already working in the field often remain in their post with enhanced competence. This degree can also be useful in becoming a learning mentor or youth worker. Read about how you can become a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    In order for your application to be considered for this course, you must include full details of each of the following points in your supporting statement. Failure to include any one of them may lead to your application being rejected.

    Please also give full details of relevant experience of working with children/adolescents, including exact dates, ages of clients, full-time/part-time, etc.

    1. Present employment

    Please include your job title, employer and describe the nature of your work, including details of responsibility and extent of counselling/therapy commitment. If your clinical work is outside your main job, please describe the place, nature and extent of this.

      2. Previous experience

      Please detail your previous experience of working as a counsellor/therapist (including age of client group), or of related or relevant voluntary work.

      3. Activities and interests

      Please tell us about any professional or personal activities or interests that support your application.

      4. Counselling/therapy training, or other relevant professional training already completed

      Please give dates, length of course, and indicate how much of the teaching was psychodynamic.

      5. Experience of personal therapy or counselling

      Please give name(s) of therapist(s)/counsellor(s), dates of starting and finishing, frequency, orientation and professional affiliation of therapist (if known).

      6. Please indicate your knowledge and experience of the psychodynamic approach.

      7. Personal information

      Please add any information about your personal history, experience, interest in counselling and career plans that you consider relevant to your application.

      8. Other Birkbeck applications

      Please indicate whether you are making an application to another Birkbeck course, or to any other course. Please give details.

      9.  How did you hear of this course?

      Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form.

      Application deadlines and interviews

      Early application advised.

      Group and individual interviews from February.