This course has been developed with the aim of introducing students to the essentials of psychodynamic theory and practice. From its earliest beginnings as a ‘talking cure’ over 100 years ago, a range of psychodynamic theories and practices have been developed and refined in response to a variety of factors including changes in epistemology, socio-cultural trends, client populations, and contributions from other related fields such as neurobiology, developmental and attachment research. As will be explored throughout the course, these theories and their applications are rich in depth and complexity, highly informative and applicable to a wide range of clients.
In this course, students will be introduced to each of the major psychodynamic theories, and learn how to apply those theories to their current casework. As well, students will gain insight into the psychosocial context out of which these theories emerged, and the respective strengths and limitations of each theory in practice. Particular emphasis will be made on helping students to reflect on fundamental psychotherapeutic process issues, such as transference, countertransference and resistance, and how these play out in their clinical work. This course fits within the mental health stream of courses and is intended for students who are already engaged in clinical social work practice.