COUN6261 Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Masters Course Unit

Duration: One trimester

Level: 2nd year

Credit points: 6 (out of a total of 96 points)

Co-requisites: COUN6221 Advanced Placement and Supervision 1 

Mode(s) of delivery: Blended Delivery

Core/elective: Core

Unit description

This unit provides students with the opportunity to develop and apply knowledge about a range of contemporary psychotherapy models and their historical development, including Freudian, Object Relations, Lacanian, Self Psychology, the Conversational Model and Relational therapies. Students will be introduced to current controversies and debates about these models, and be provided opportunity to assimilate important theoretical and practical dimensions of psychodynamic practice into their developing practice frameworks.   

Students will develop comparative understandings of these models’ view of the self, the body, the unconscious, the nature of consciousness and the role of defences. The conceptualisation of the role of the therapist within each modality will also be compared. The strengths and limitations of each model will be critically reviewed, and important skills and interventions derived from these approaches demonstrated and applied.

The on campus workshops will build intervention skills related to contemporary psychodynamic practice, and develop the capacity to conceptualise client presentations from each model’s frame of reference. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

a)      demonstrate knowledge of the historical development and key concepts of a range of psychotherapy models

b)      critically evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness and limitations of the psychotherapy models presented, with reference to contemporary research findings

c)      critically compare concepts of consciousness, the Unconscious, dreams, the body, defense mechanisms, anxiety and the role of therapist across the models studied

d)      demonstrate and critically analyse therapeutic skills pertaining to different models and modes of interpretation

e)      demonstrate integration of the selected method/s with their own models of practice and therapeutic skills

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Assignment information is available here

Special provisions

Students will attend an on campus workshop of 14 hours in this unit, which will include lectures, discussion of research methods and practice of research skills.


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the School of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link:

Relevant journals and resources

Knowledge and understanding of these topics will be enhanced by wide reading of international peer-reviewed journal articles from various domains of counselling and psychotherapy, which can be accessed via the ACAP Library’s journal databases.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing.  Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.