msc psychodynamics of human development

jointly run with birkbeck

  • starting September 2020
  • British Psychotherapy Foundation, 37 Mapesbury Road, London NW2 4HJ
  • Birkbeck University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX

A pre-clinical course providing preparation for training as a child and adolescent psychotherapist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist or Jungian analyst, personal and professional development for those working in Social Care, Counselling, Social Services, Primary Care, Mental Health and Education, exploration for a career change to therapeutic work or psychotherapy.

who is it for

The course is designed to provide professional and personal development for those working in settings such as community care, counselling, social services, primary care, mental health and education.

It also gives a foundation, including accredited infant observation, for those considering psychotherapy training and it fulfils the entry requirements for a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Doctorate.

course content

Two year infant observation, following an established practice for learning about the psychodynamics of human development through detailed weekly observation of an infant from birth with support from seminar discussion.

Work study seminars, following an established model of close observation of the work setting including personal and interpersonal responses and organisational dynamics.

A dissertation based on independent research into the psychodynamics of human development using a psychoanalytic or Jungian analytic theory and research methods taught by the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College. A post-graduate diploma is available for those not taking the research component.

For more information, please see the course handbook.

download handbook (pdf)
You can choose:
psychoanalytic approach
  • An introduction to selected core concepts of psychoanalytic thought from the work of Freud and Klein
  • Pregnancy and the origins of the relationship between the mother and her baby. The development of the infant as a social human being’
  • the emotional, social, cognitive and perceptual and especially communicative skills and attributes of the baby’s development as it becomes a toddler
  • adolescence and young adulthood and the of core tasks of adult life – the capacity for intimate relationships and establishing a family
  • An examination of how strains and stresses experienced in development impact on adult life
  • Recent research topics include: how teachers understand children’s aggression; the appeal of computer gaming for adult men; post-natal depression in British-Chinese mothers; the impact on feelings of identity in adults raised in a religious cult; the emotional impact of growing up in a boarding school; the experience of palliative care workers in working with the dying
jungian analytic approach
  • Jungian model of the psyche: the self, individuation, collective unconscious, archetypes, transcendent function, symbol formation and dreams
  • Jungian baby and child: Fordham’s development of Jungian concepts and psychoanalytic theories of Klein, Bion and Winnicott
  • Jungian life cycle: the unfolding of the self in individuation through developmental stages and archetypal contexts including adolescence, mid-life, old age and death
  • Contemporary Jungian thought: gender, sexuality, racism, spirituality, neuroscience, synchronicity, culture and collective experience
  • Work discussion includes contemporary Jungian concept of the cultural complex
  • Past research topics: individuation and early retirement; contemporary views on the animus; midlife in the workplace; homeopathy and sickness as symbol; the sense of Self in male to female transsexuals; Jungian perspectives on work with adolescents; spirituality and individuation; the feminine in the cultural unconscious


Wednesday evenings over 6 academic terms. During the first year seminars take place at the bpf, during the second - at Birkbeck College.

For more information about the times and location of classes see the course handbook:

download handbook (pdf)

entry requirements

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university , or an equivalent international qualification. In some circumstances non-graduates with academic and professional experience may be considered.

Experience of working with children, adults or families is an advantage.

international entry requirements

Please visit Birkbeck College's page

go to website


Part-time home/EU students: £6,510 pa
Part-time international students: £9,510 pa

Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases.

postgraduate loans

Government loans are available for postgraduate studies, allowing you to borrow up to £10,609 to put towards the cost of your Master's degree (MA, MSc, LLM, MRes). These loans are not means-tested - ie they are not linked to household earnings, savings or investments - and are available for those who have not previously completed a Master’s degree. For more information please visit:

Postgraduate funding for prospective MSc students planning to complete the MSc as part of the preclinical requirements for the child & adolescent psychotherapy training

Health Education England funding to improve equity of access and inclusion for Black, Asian and minority ethnic entrants and financially disadvantaged candidates to child and adolescent psychotherapy training

HEE has provided funding to the bpf, and other ACP recognised training schools, in order to improve equity of access and inclusion to child and adolescent psychotherapy training programmes. The aim is to improve access and opportunities for our BAME and financially disadvantaged students. This funding has been agreed for this year only and the money has to be allocated by the end of March. Requests for this bursary must therefore be received by 10th March 2021.

CAPT is a graduate entry profession and applicants must have completed a recognised pre-clinical course which includes extended psychoanalytic infant observations, work discussion seminars, psychoanalytic theory and child development lectures. It is also recommended that all students undertake a year of personal psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy prior to application to the clinical training. It is therefore an important element of the pre-clinical experience but one where those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds would be further disadvantaged if they were not able to access personal psychoanalysis. We are therefore proposing that, in addition to course fees, a proportion of the bursary funding is used to support students, who meet the criteria, to access psychoanalysis.

The bursary scheme will be targeted at pre-clinical students who meet the following criteria:

1. express an intention to continue on to clinical training
2. have necessary residency status for future employment by Trusts (because the aim of the bursary scheme is to increase the number and diversity of people eligible to apply for the HEE funded clinical training in CAPT)

There are two groups of students to whom this may apply:

1. Those who are currently enrolled on one of the recognised pre-clinical courses who, for reasons of financial disadvantage, may be struggling to pay course fees and therefore may not be able to complete the pre-clinical course. These students might be in year 1 or 2 of the course so would require either 1 or 2 year’s course fees to be funded.
2. Those who are currently applying to commence the course in September 2021 and who meet the criteria for receiving support. These individuals would require 2 year’s course fees to be funded.

how to apply

We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck/bpf on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

Apply now to secure your place and allow enough time for the application and enrolment process. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

go to website

access information

The bpf building has limited access - please call us on 020 8452 9823 to discuss your needs.

contact us

Dorothee Magni (Director) welcomes enquiries and are available for informal conversations before you make an application at

Alternatively, please contact course coordinator: Sandra Pereira on 020 8452 9823 or email:

Being taught seminars by many well known names within the field was a privilege; the infant observation component brought alive the theory being studied; and the academic support of my tutor enabled me to write a thesis that was later published.


The MSc has helped me to develop a new way of thinking about people and interactions. I have found the opportunity to observe an infant from birth for the first 18 months of their development a real privilege which has allowed the theory to be brought to life. The course strikes an excellent balance between theory and practice and is a great foundation for many careers.


This course has undoubtedly changed my life and been hugely influential.


The bpf is committed to diversity and inclusivity in all the work we deliver. We are fully dedicated to promoting, maintaining and supporting equality of opportunity in all aspects of our organisation and, as such, the bpf welcomes applications from all sections of society.