COUN6951 Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Specialisation

Master Course Unit

COUN6951 Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Specialisation

Level: Masters

Credit points: 4

Prerequisites: Advanced Counselling Applications

Recommended prerequisites: Approaches to Therapy I and Approaches to Therapy II

Unit description

This unit offers students a thorough and comprehensive foundation in Psychodynamic Therapeutic methods, micro-skills, and applications essential to working within a variety of clinical manifestations.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • demonstrate and evaluate a client for assessment purposes and apply a Psychodynamic Formulation as a working hypothesis and a treatment plan
  • apply the terminology and concepts of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy to a range of clinical presentations
  • critique and evaluate the approach that differing Psychodynamic methods can respond to and treat differing clinical manifestations in the clinical setting
  • identify and understand the differing symptomatology and presentation of clients from a developmental deficit and trauma perspective and how to work within the Psychodynamic Frame
  • examine each theory and method in relation to therapeutic process and identify common issues and difficulties that may be experienced in the application of therapeutic processes

Unit content

  • Psychodynamic Assessment and Formulation
  • Boundaries, The Therapeutic Frame and Termination of Treatment
  • Affect Regulation
  • Developmental Trauma
  • Clinical Manifestations: PTSD and Dissociation
  • Clinical Manifestations: Depression and Anxiety
  • Clinical Manifestations: OCD, Avoidant Personality and Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Clinical Manifestations: Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Clinical Manifestations: Addiction and Eating Disorders
  • Clinical Manifestations: The Suicidal Client and The Sexually Abused Client
  • Family Therapy and Group Therapy
  • Ethics

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 13 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Case Study




Academic Essay




Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Creative self-expression
  • Reasoned criticism
  • Multiple research methodologies
  • Complex data acquisition techniques and analysis
  • Written expression and reasoned argument from empirical data
  • Evaluating possible outcomes of alternative courses of action

Recommended texts

Gabbard, G. O. (2005). Psychodynamic psychiatry in clinical practice (4th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric.

McWilliams, N. (2011). Psychoanalytic diagnosis: Understanding personality structure in the clinical process (2nd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

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. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.