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Psychotherapy Training Program: Core Subjects

Human Development I & II

These subjects examine the study of human development for the practice of psychotherapy including an inquiry into the relationship between clinical work, theory and an introduction to some significant models of human development which provide a grounding for therapeutic work. The main areas of study are contemporary infant research, self psychology, object relations theory, attachment theory and somatic theory.

Therapeutic Relationship and Process I & II

In these subjects we explore clinical and theoretical issues concerning the therapeutic relationship and the on-going process of psychotherapy especially focussing on the use of the frame, transference, countertransference, hypothesis making and testing and the implications of developmental theories for the practice of psychotherapy. Historical, philosophical and socio/cultural perspectives are included, encouraging students to critically reflect on different ways of conceptualising the therapeutic relationship. The emphasis is on relating theoretical understanding to therapeutic practice.

Psychotherapeutic Skills I & II

In these subjects ongoing practice and development of the communication and relating skills for psychotherapeutic work is the focus. The use of language within the therapeutic dialogue is explored, particularly the use of verbal microskills, imagery, metaphor, empathy and interpretation. Students are assisted to develop the verbal and non-verbal psychotherapeutic skills to effectively engage at every stage of the therapeutic process. Skill practice will be related to specific clinical issues and dilemmas such as developing a therapeutic alliance, assessment, contracting, negotiation of boundaries, containment and termination.

Ethics and Values I & II

These subjects provide a study of ethics and values for the practice of psychotherapy. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own personal values, beliefs and identity, facilitating self-awareness and professional responsibility in the role of psychotherapist. Students are also assisted to explore issues of cultural, personal and professional identity which impact upon the therapy relationship. There is a focus on the therapist's responsibilities to clients, to colleagues, to the community and to themselves.

Group Process I & II

Psychotherapy involves engaging empathically with different human beings. Participation in the group process helps students to learn how to 'sit' with others, to process feelings and to develop their communication and interpersonal skills. It also establishes a firm base for the effective functioning of the training group over the course. The dynamics of the group throughout the course and the symbolic meanings generated by the group are also explored.

Embodiment & the Self (Year 1)

This subject provides an introduction to the theoretical and philosophical bases for understanding body processes in psychotherapy. It offers an historical overview of important traditions which have informed body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy, and introduces some of the philosophical, ethical and socio-cultural issues which are relevant to a study of somatic processes. It also provides grounding in observational skills, particularly focussing on facilitating awareness of bodily experience, energetic patterns and breathing patterns. Students are assisted to deepen awareness of their own somatic experience and their patterns of embodiment and self regulation.