Psychoanalytic Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Psychoanalytic Studies?

Psychoanalysis is defined as a set of psychological theories and therapeutic methods which have their origin in the work and theories of Sigmund Freud.

The primary assumption of psychoanalysis is the belief that all people possess unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, and memories. The aim of psychoanalysis therapy is to release repressed emotions and experiences and make the unconscious conscious.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Psychoanalytic Studies in the following subject areas:

  • Arts (General): Options from Cultural Studies, Economics, Film Studies, Literature & Drama, Media Studies, Philosophy & Psychoanalysis – This programme introduces students to a range of humanities subject areas to introduce a way of thinking about such topics and their role in governing human action and meanings.
  • Applied Psychology (M.Sc.) – This course is designed to provide students with a thorough appreciation of issues in applied psychology, knowledge of the skills required to apply psychology effectively, and a detailed understanding of their chosen focus of the application.
  • Diploma in Psychology – The scientific study of the mind and behavior, specifically how the mind works and how it influences behavior.
  • Psychology: The Science of Behavior and Mind – An overview of contemporary psychology and the science of behavior and the mind.
  • MSc in Psychology and Wellbeing – The focus of this programme is on the impact of psychological, societal, environmental and physical factors on the wellbeing of communities, families and individuals throughout their lives.
  • Online Diploma in Psychology – If you are interested in the key theories that shape our understanding of the mind and behavior, this course is for you.
  • Child Psychology (QQI Level 6) – Study the necessary theoretical knowledge relating to child psychology, as well as an understanding of how that theoretical knowledge is relevant in applied contexts.

Studying Psychoanalytic Studies

There are many courses in Psychoanalytic Studies that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. The type of experience needed depends on the area of psychology you’re interested in. Working as an assistant psychologist or in areas such as nursing, social work, mental health work, services for individuals with disabilities, mentoring young offenders and working in prisons, probation or social services is vital.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Psychoanalytic Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of a range of mental or physical health issues, conditions and disorders.

As a psychologist, your aim is to reduce the distress and improve the psychological wellbeing of your clients who may have a variety of mental or physical health conditions.

You’ll work in partnership with your clients in order to diagnose, access and manage their conditions.

You’ll work with individuals, including children, adolescents and adults, as well as families, couples and groups in a range of settings. You’ll also liaise with other professionals such as psychiatrists, social workers and counselling psychologists in order to deal with your clients’ complex issues.

Career paths in psychoanalysis range more widely than one might think. This stems from the fact that psychoanalysis is both a clinical method of treating emotional disorders and an in-depth psychological theory that can be used to understand all aspects of human motivation, behavior, development and relationships.

Analysts share their expertise through a variety of complementary careers and can be found in the courtroom, the classroom, and the boardroom, as well as sharing their insight into literature and theatrical arts.

By choosing a specialty in addition to clinical practice, analysts are successfully providing the insight, understanding and perspectives of psychoanalysis to the general public in a variety of ways. The application of psychoanalytic theory in other fields besides that of the clinician is often referred to as “applied psychoanalysis.”

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies.  Working hours are typically Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, although you may do some extra hours in the evenings or at weekends.

Related jobs include:

  • Psychotherapist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Counselling psychologist
  • Education mental health practitioner
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Health psychologist
  • High-intensity therapist
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Psychological wellbeing practitioner
  • Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Advice worker
  • Careers adviser
  • Counsellor
  • Dance movement psychotherapist
  • Education consultant
  • Human resources officer
  • Life coach
  • Play therapist

Further study

After completing a course in Psychoanalytic Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as clinical, counselling, educational, health, occupational, sport and exercise, or forensic psychology.


What are some of the techniques used in Psychoanalytic Studies?

Psychoanalysis is a therapy as well as a theory. Psychoanalysis is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.

A psychoanalyst uses various techniques as encouragement for the client to develop insights into their behavior and the meanings of symptoms, including:

  • Rorschach inkblots – The inkblot itself doesn’t mean anything, it’s ambiguous (i.e., unclear). It is what you read into it that is important. Different people will see different things depending on what unconscious connections they make.
  • Freudian Slip – Unconscious thoughts and feelings can transfer to the conscious mind in the form of parapraxes, popularly known as Freudian slips or slips of the tongue. We reveal what is really on our minds by saying something we didn’t mean to.
  • Freud believed that slips of the tongue provided an insight into the unconscious mind and that there were no accidents, every behavior was significant and all behavior is determined.
  • Free Association – Free association is a practice in psychoanalytic therapy, in which a patient talks of whatever comes into their mind. This technique involves a therapist giving a word or idea, and the patient immediately responds with the first word that comes to mind. It is hoped that fragments of repressed memories will emerge in the course of free association, giving an insight into the unconscious mind.
  • Dream Analysis – According to Freud the analysis of dreams is “the royal road to the unconscious.” He argued that the conscious mind is like a censor, but it is less vigilant when we are asleep.

Where can I study Psychoanalytic Studies?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • A renowned physiologist, psychologist, and one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud studied the structure of the mind, and developed a therapeutic framework for understanding and treating psychological problems. Many of the modern world’s understanding of psychoanalysis is based on Sigmund’s numerous theories.
  • Before the harmful effects were discovered, cocaine was often used as an analgesic and euphoric. Sigmund Freud developed an interest in the potential antidepressant effects of cocaine and initially advocated its use for a variety of purposes.
  • Josef Breuer, the Austrian physician and physiologist, was Sigmund Freud’s mentor for many years. He contributed to the development of talk therapy and is considered the founder of psychoanalysis.
  • Following the publication of several books on his theories, including 1899’s The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud’s notoriety grew exponentially. In 1925, MGM head Samuel Goldwyn declared him the “greatest love specialist in the world” and asked him to consult on scripts for several love stories from history, including Antony and Cleopatra. Freud had no interest in that film or any other. He did, however, once make time for an informal examination of actor Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s “Tramp” character, Freud wrote in 1931, was Chaplin channeling his own self “as he was in his early dismal youth.”

Mariza Halliday

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