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Educational Philosophy and Approach: Theory


The place of theory in helping therapists and clients make sense of and organise experience is emphasised and reflected in the training content and structure.

In the first year students are given an historical overview and introduced to some of the important ways in which both human development and psychotherapy practice have been understood over the last one hundred years. We seek to give students a strong sense of how these ideas arose: the historical and social contexts for these ideas and the particular personal and professional background of these theorists and schools of psychotherapy.

In the course we assist students to use theory as a "map" for understanding how different people organise themselves and structure their experience and relationships. In this sense we are articulating a belief that no single theory about human development or about how to facilitate a healing psychotherapy process will be equally useful for all human beings.

Our aim is to give students the opportunity to critically reflect on different theoretical models and to develop some flexibility in using theory to understand the particular metaphors, dilemmas, issues and conflicts with which each client presents. In this sense we do not simply want students to integrate a whole range of theoretical "content". We actively engage students in developing their capacity to reflect on theory and evaluate and critique it's underlying values and usefulness for clients. We hope that graduates will then have the openness and flexibility to seek appropriate supervisory help for their work with clients and to use this to expand and develop their thinking and practice throughout their professional lives.