The MSc Group Analytic Psychotherapy forms the academic component of the final or Qualifying level of a three-tier clinical training in the theory and practice of group analytic psychotherapy.
Put simply, to be eligible for this two year academic programme applicants must have already reached a particular 'milestone' in their clinical training.Clinical training in Group Analytic Psychotherapy has been delivered since 1986 by the School of Psychotherapy (Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Mental Health Research) at St Vincent's University Hospital. As the only course of its kind in Ireland, it provides a rigorous and comprehensive professional formation in the practice of Group Analysis in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Group Analysis (IIGA). The latter is the recognised national accrediting body in the field of Group Analysis in Ireland.
The course is delivered in 13 modules.
Six of the modules - 3 in year one and 3 in year two - provide 5 credits each. Two further modules, assessed at the end of the first year provide 2.5 credits each. Clinical formation in the practice of group analysis and the accompanying supervision of that formation are continuous for the two year duration of the course. These core clinical components are captured in two, year-long modules in year one, and two year-long modules in year two. Each provides 10 credits or 40 credits in total. The dissertation in the second year is a minor thesis of 7,000 words and contributes 15 credits. All modules are year-long modules
This module provides a systematic understanding of psychoanalytic theory from classical to contemporary psychoanalysis. This includes the study of Freud’s topographical, instinctual theory and defences. The work of Melanie Klein, in particular projective processes and envy, an introduction to the British School of Object Relations with reference to Winnicott, Self-Psychology models of Kohut and Kernberg, and contemporary theories related to personality development will form part of the content of this module.
Group Analytic Theory
This module provides a systemic understanding of the origins and development of Group Analytic theory. The theoretical orientation and contribution of S.H. Foulkes and other principal contemporary theorists will be studied with particular attention to the complexities of the group setting, dynamic administration and conducting. A critical appreciation will be applied to the concepts of therapeutic processes such as the matrix, resonance, mirroring, location and condensation. A comprehensive appraisal will be undertaken of group analytic processes such as levels and translation of communication, group as gestalt, and the anti group.
Group Analytic Therapy Skills
This module emphasises the role and techniques of the group analytic conductor at an advanced level. Students will be guided to develop a mobile perspective which includes the conductor as therapist and group member; complex decision making in terms of establishing and maintaining boundaries; promotion of free-floating discussion in the group; observation and interpretation of the language of the group, and intervention strategies to deal with blockages in communication and destructive processes in groups. Attention will be given to developing the student's awareness of individual transferences within group and towards the conductor and to the group as a whole, as well as similar counter-transference issues.
Ethics and Professional Practice
The module aims to foster knowledge and competence in the ethical practice in psychotherapy including current mental health policy developments. The module will inform the student in the implications of ethics in clinical practice, i.e. professional representation and misrepresentation, record keeping, and access to records, Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation, informed consent, confidentiality and breach of confidentiality, codes of practice, and professional ethical guidelines. Progressional liaising and referral to other mental health providers, including report and letter writing will be focussed on. The module will instruct the student on the necessity of post training supervision and maintenance of professional development.
The module will provide a systematic understranding of the psychiatric model and the mental health services for aduts in Ireland. Topics will include: history of psychiatry, psyciatric pheonomenology, assessment and diagnosis, classification of mental disorders, treatment approaches in psychiatry, risk assessment and Mental Health Law, and the interface between psychotherapy practice and mental health services.
Social and Systems Theory
This module examines some of the socio-historic and intellectual contexts that have contributed to the emergence of group analysis. It will focus on the core assumption of the social nature of the individual, social factors, and the social unconcsious. The relationship between mind, self and society will be explored from historical, sociological and psychological perspectives. This intellectual analysis and evaluation will include the social theory of Norbert Elias and Foulkes: the social unconscious as posited by Hopper and Weinberg; the influence of race and culture [Dalal]. The concept of difference and the construction of gender [Nisun and Burman], the theories of Bion, and the Tavistock model of organisational dynamics, will be also critically examined.
Communication Theory Part I and Part 2
The aim of these modules is to develop and exten the student's understanding and awareness of group phenomena and communication levels in small, median, and large groups. Differing group processes as outlined by Foulkes, Kreeger and de Mare are examined. The phenomena of group regression and projection will be explored and experienced, and particular attention to be paid to levels of communication with special focus on the primordial level evidenced in dream narrative, metaphor and poetry. The development of "Koinonia" will be analysed within the median and large group frameworks.
Supervision of Clinical Practice
The supervision seminars will aim to establish the principal precepts of group analytic theory within clinical practice. The concepts of dynamic administration, boundary maintenance, and early developmental phases, as outlined by Foulkes and Nitsun, will be integrated into clinical practice. The student will be trained in patient assessment and group composition.
Advanced Clinical Supervision
Advanced supervision will focus on the internal processes within group such as intrapersonal, interpersonal and transpersonal processes. Students will be encouraged to analyze the groups' levels of communication including transference, counter-transference and projective mechanisms.Advanced supervision will develop the student’s capacity to take up the role of conductor, to locate meaning in context, to make appropriate interventions and interpretations and adopt a group analytic attitude.
Clinical Group Practice Part 1 and Part 2
The student will select, establish and conduct an adult psychotherapy group for a minimum of 88 sessions (132 hours). The student will maintain records in accordance with best professional practice. The student will display a capacity to integrate and apply theory to facilitate their understanding of individual and group development, process and interpretation. The student will be encouraged to reflect on their capacity to build a therapeutic culture and to encourage the transfer of therapeutic agency from conductor to group.
Fieldwork which includes completion of 44 sessions (66 hours) per year, of adult group psychotherapy. The assessment will be undertaken by means of a portfolio which will include records of attendance, referral letters, notes on significant events in respect to the setting of the group, boundary maintenance, and any other communication concerning the grou
Thesis and Research
A systematic understanding of the qualitative and quantative approaches to research in psychotherapy will be taught. Students will acquire a critical awareness of statistical methods and their application in the areas of Health Sciences, research methodology; population sampling, single case studies, survey methods, and randomised controlled trails. Research design and research methods will be studied in order to develop participants' capacity to critically evaluate published research material. Students will be required to engage with research methods currently used in research on psychodynamic groups, including action research methods of organisational and applied settings. The thesis will comprise a literature review, and the interpretation and theoretical analysis of ongoing clinical work.