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Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy

MA, PG Dip

Application options include:

On campus

Course Overview

Our new MA and Postgraduate Diploma in Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy are offered in collaboration with Tavistock Relationships, a leading training and research centre in therapeutic and psycho-educational approaches to supporting couples.

The courses will provide you with the skills and knowledge required for a career as a psychodynamic therapist for couples and individuals. You will gain both an academic qualification and the clinical training requirements for accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Through experiential learning and your own experience of personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy, you will develop an analytical understanding of self and other, and interpersonal dynamics. A diverse range of family structures are also studied on this course and we encourage an inclusive approach to couple relationships through reading, discussion groups and self-reflection.

Key areas of study include:

  • how to assess the core issue that can be presented by clients
  • the principles of working psychodynamically with a focus on unconscious processes and transference
  • key psychoanalytic models of the mind
  • the historical development of psychoanalytic thought
  • complex theoretical concepts and how they are applied to the couple relationship.

Working with experienced practitioners in the helping professions, you will attend tutorials, weekly clinical seminars, online seminars and supervision, and undertake in-person clinical placements. Teaching and clinical work is based at the Tavistock Relationships' premises in central London, close to Liverpool Street station, with occasional sessions at Birkbeck's Bloomsbury campus.

You will be required to undertake clinical placements in Years 2 and 3 and be in a minimum of once-weekly personal therapy within two months of starting the course.

Discover the career opportunities available by taking Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy (MA, PG Dip).

Key information and modules

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  • Tavistock Relationships is the leading couple therapy centre in London. It has a long history in training, research and best practice.
  • You will become part of Tavistock Relationships' alumni group, enabling you to take advantage of its CPD and conferences that will keep you up to date with recent developments in the field and further develop your clinical practice.

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) or an equivalent international qualification,

    Professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience are also taken into consideration positively and may be accepted in place of a degree.

    You will also need to have:

    • a minimum of six months' voluntary or paid work experience in emotional and mental health wellbeing
    • Tavistock Relationships Foundation Certificate in Couple Counselling and Psychotherapy or an equivalent level (Foundation/BACP Stage 2) psychodynamic or psychoanalytic counselling skills training.

    It would be an advantage to have undergone previous psychotherapy, preferably psychodynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

    We will request a short assignment from applicants without our standard requirements.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    You will be expected to attend psychoanalytic psychotherapy once a week within two months of starting the course.

    Apply now to secure your place. The earlier you apply, the sooner your application can be considered and you can enrol. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    English language 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 6.5, 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 and foundation programmes 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 and funding requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, 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: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

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

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant visa and funding requirements by country.

    Please note students receiving US Federal Aid are only able to apply for in-person, on-campus programmes which will have no elements of online study.

    Credits and accredited prior learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university, 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.

  • Fees Fees


    Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy MA: 4 years part-time, on campus, starting in academic year 2024-25

    Academic year 2024–25, starting October 2024

    Part-time home students: £8,130 per year
    Part-time international students: £12,000 per year

    Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy PG Dip: 3 years part-time, on campus, starting in academic year 2024-25

    Academic year 2024–25, starting September 2024

    Part-time home students: £8,130 per year
    Part-time international students: £12,000 per year

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

    If you’ve studied at Birkbeck before and successfully completed an award with us, take advantage of our Lifelong Learning Guarantee to gain a discount on the tuition fee of this course.

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, such as for travel to and from the place of study, books and stationery.

    It is a also a requirement of this clinical training that you are in personal therapy at least once a week with a British Psychoanalytic Council-registered psychoanalyst or psychoanalytic psychotherapist (not a psychodynamic psychotherapist) within two months of starting the course. This is in addition to any previous psychotherapy you may have undergone. Your training therapists need to be approved by us, so you are advised to check first before entering into a new therapy at the same time as applying for a place on the training. For those established in current, ongoing therapy, this will be discussed at interview. The current cost of personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy is likely to range between £50 to £90 per session. Fees are negotiated directly between the student and the therapist.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Teaching and Assessment Teaching and Assessment


    At Birkbeck, most of our courses are taught in the evening and all of our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience.

    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.

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

    Methods of teaching on this course

    You will learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, group work, self-directed study, assessed written work, individual and group presentations and experiential work.

    Teaching will occur for one afternoon/evening a week. Sessions typically run from 3pm.

    Teaching hours

    Our evening hours are normally between 6pm and 9pm (6-7.30pm and 7.30-9pm). Some programmes also offer teaching during the day and this will be clearly signposted to you where it is available.

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Scheduled teaching sessions may include lectures, seminars, workshops or laboratory work. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and field trips. 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 (if applicable).

    Alongside your contact hours, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. The amount of time you need to allocate to study both for taught sessions (this might include online sessions and/or in-person sessions) and personal study will depend on how much you are studying during the year and whether you are studying full time or part time.

    Birkbeck’s courses are made up of modules and allocated ‘credit’. One credit is equivalent to ten hours of learning time. Modules are usually in 15, 30 or 60 credit units. A 15-credit module will mean around 150 hours of learning, including taught sessions and independent study or group work. This is spread out over the whole period of that module and includes the time you spend on any assessments, including in examinations, preparing and writing assessments or engaged in practical work as well as any study support sessions to help you in your learning.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students is encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies.


    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.

    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 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

    Assessment includes process recording and recorded session analysis and evaluation, a couple theory paper, a clinical practice and theory paper and a seminar review paper. The MA also includes a dissertation.

  • Careers and employability Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue the following career paths and opportunities:

    • as a professional couple and individual psychoanalytic psychotherapist, qualified to work in the statutory, voluntary or private sector
    • registration with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
    • a Diploma in Psychosexual Therapy and registration with the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT)
    • entry into the clinical qualification in psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy which leads to registration with the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
    • Tavistock Relationships and Birkbeck-run CPD courses for qualified clinicians
    • progressing your studies to PhD level at Birkbeck.

    We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

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

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section.