Psychodynamic Therapy in Psychiatry

Subject PSYT90090 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 03-Jul-2015 to 07-Aug-2015
Assessment Period End 07-Aug-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 10-Jul-2015
Census Date 10-Jul-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 24-Jul-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 21 hours
Total Time Commitment:

42 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Louise Newman


Academic Contact:

Prof Louise Newman

Administrative Contact:

Victoria Kingsley

Subject Overview:

Psychodynamic principles and treatment underpin a broad range of psychological treatments in psychiatry. This unit is intended to provide an overview of broad priniciples 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 to contemporary and integrative developments such as mentalisation based psychodynamic psychotherapy thus linking with infant development and attachment theory.

The sesions 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 convered including times-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy.

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

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. 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
  2. Explain the importance of developmental factors, particularly early attachment experiences and trauma in providing a detailed psychodynamic formulation for psychiatric patients
  3. Describe and apply the principles of assessment for psychodynamic psychotherapy
  4. Describe and apply the principles of supportive psychotherapy to general psychiatric patients
  5. Demonstrate the knowledge to be able to provide time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy including the termination phase
  • Class participation (due during term, 10%)
  • Oral presentation (due during term, 30%)
  • Written essay (2000 words, due end of term, 60%)
  • Attendance: 75% of sessions (for face-to-face students) OR 75% completion of online modules (for online students) (Hurdle requirement)
Prescribed Texts:

Core Texts

  1. Winston A, Rosenthal R and Pinsker HLearning Supportive Psychotherapy an illustrated guide” American Psychiatric Publishing (2012)
  2. Bateman, Brown and Pedder "Introduction to Psychotherapy - an outline of psychodynamic principles and practice" 4th Edition Routledge (2010)
  3. Gabbard G.O. Long-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy a basic text APP (2010)
  4. Holmes J. John Bowlby and Attachment Theory Routledge (1993)
  5. Ed Levy and Ablon Handbook of Evidence- Based Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Humama Press (2009)

Additional texts

  1. Cozolino The Neuroscience of Human Relationships Pub Norton (2006)
  2. Holmes J. Storr’s The Art of Psychotherapy Hodder Arnold (2012)
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

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

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

This subject is available through the Community Access Program (CAP).

Related Course(s): Master of Psychiatry

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