Psychotherapy - Group Analytic Psychotherapy

Course Overview
The MSc Group Analytic Psychotherapy forms an essential component of the final or Qualifying level of a three-tier clinical training in the theory and practice of group analytic psychotherapy.

Who should take this course?
The seven-year training delivered over 9 weekends annually is typically taken by experienced professional who recognise the clinical value of working psychotherapeutically with groups. It is taken in three steps or tiers:
1. Tier one: A one-year Foundation Certificate in Group Analysis - awarded by TSOP
2. Tier two: A two-year Diploma in Group Work practice - awarded by TSOP
3. Tier three: A four-year Qualifying Course in Group Analysis - awarded by TSOP but within which the UCD MSc contributes years 2 and 3

Each tier builds upon the previous one and students can choose to take one, two or three tiers depending on how their relation to Group Analysis develops. Students are often highly qualified health and education professionals. Others are attracted to the programmes from their experience working in organisations.

This training in Group Analysis is accredited by the Irish Group Analytic Society, a constituent member of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP) which is a member of the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP). The School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent's University Hospital is a member of the European Group Analytic Training Network (EGATiN).

Course Description
The minimum seven-year Group Analytic Training provides a rigorous and comprehensive professional formation in the practice of Group Analysis recognised by the Irish Institute of Group Analysis (IIGA). 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.

To be eligible for this two year MSc programme applicants must have already successfully completed the Foundation Certificate and Diploma in Group Work Practice in The School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent's University Hospital (SVUH) as well as Year One of the Qualifying Course in Group Analytic Psychotherapy in the School of Psychotherapy. Further information is available on Clinical training in Group Analytic Psychotherapy has been delivered since 1987 by the School of Psychotherapy at St Vincent's University Hospital, D4.

Programme Structure
The MSc in Group Analytic Psychotherapy is a two-year part time postgraduate course. It is designed as a 'block' training which is delivered over nine weekends per year. Each block begins at 9.00 am on Friday morning and finishes at 2.30 pm on Sunday afternoon, delivering 20 course contact hours on average per weekend. Attendance is for eighteenblockweekends over four semesters. The three-day weekend is divided between clinical supervision, formal teaching and participation in large and small experiential groups. Group supervision is provided by a designated supervisor.

The programme has a strong experiential and clinical focus with ample support provided through small group experience and supervision for the development of self awareness, critical reflection and integration of personal growth and skills training. Coursework includes assessing client suitability, the setting up and maintaining of an adult psychotherapy group, researching and completing all written assignments, including project and fieldwork.

The second academic year is dedicated to research methodology, evidence-based practice and completion of a dissertation. In addition, students must join a peer group which meets between training weekends for three hours at least eight times per year.

Subjects taught

The course is delivered in 13 modules.

Six of the modules - three in year one and three in year two - provide five 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

Psychoanalytic Theory
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.

Entry requirements

Eligibility criteria
To be eligible to apply for the MSc in Group Analytic Psychotherapy candidates must have satisfactorily completed the Foundation Certificate and Diploma in Group Work Practice in The School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent's University Hospital (SVUH) as well as Year One of the Qualifying Course in Group Analytic Psychotherapy in the School of Psychotherapy. Further information is available on

Application for the Foundation Certificate of the Group Analysis training is made directly to the School of Psychotherapy at SVUH through It requires that the candidate hold a primary degree or equivalent in the health sciences or education or a professional qualification in a relevant field involving significant work experience and responsibilities.

An interview will also be required.

Application dates

Important dates & information
• Applications are now being accepted for this programme
• Next intake is September 2023 - enquires regarding the Foundation Certificate in Group Analytic Psychotherapy are welcome to

Apply Online
• Applications are now being accepted for this programme
• The next intake will be September 2023
• Applications for this course must be made online at
• Applications for the MSc in Group Analytic Psychotherapy are only open to graduates of the Foundation Certificate and Diploma in Group Work practice delivered by the School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent's University Hospital. For further information on these programmes contact Louise Hughes on and consult
• For applicants who are eligible having completed the School of Psychotherapy programmes a detailed, step-by step guide to the UCD online application process is available on the UCD direct applications page.
• You can track the status of your documentation online. Log in to your account & click on your submitted application. This will bring up an application summary. The application requirements are listed at the end of the summary.
• If you have any problems or queries with the online application process, Email: or Tel: + 353 1 716 1142/1476

International applications
International applicants should contact the Academic Programme Director for a full list of entry requirements.

Assessment Info

The MSc in Group Analytic Psychotherapy will be awarded following attendance at teaching sessions, participation in group and supervision sessions and successful completion of all related course work.

There will be no end-of-year examinations.

Course assignment work includes essays, case studies, fieldwork, journals, group and individual assignments and research thesis of 7,000 words.

An attendance rate of 80% is expected throughout the course.

To attain the MSc, participants must-pass the Clinical Group Practice modules Parts 1 and 2, the Supervision of Clinical Practice and Advanced Clinical Supervision modules. The rationale for the clinical assessment components being designated as 'must-pass' is due to the fact that these clinical components are absolutely essential for a student to qualify in this area.


2 years part time


Fees per annum [2017-2018]

EU Students
Non-EU Students

Fees are correct at the time of writing and subject to change.
For more information on course fees please visit the Fees & Grants Office website.

Enrolment dates

Next intake: Annually

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Daytime,Weekend

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    Course provider