Forensic psychodynamic psychotherapy (D59F)

Qualify as a psychodynamic psychotherapist and specialise in working within forensic mental health and criminal justice institutions

Accredited by the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and delivered within the internationally renowned NHS Portman Clinic, this course will allow you to practice as a forensic psychodynamic psychotherapist and equip you to work as an independent practitioner with patients who present with difficulties relating to compulsive sexual behaviours and/or violence.

Please note: you may see the D59F course also referred to as FOTCTP004 in communications from our application system.

About this course

Over the two years of this course you will learn through theoretical seminars, clinical seminars and supervision. You will also be required to undertake supervised psychotherapy treatment at the Portman Clinic.

Theory lectures are provided by Portman Clinic staff and a range of visiting lecturers from the forensic field help trainees deepen critical understanding of the forensic psychotherapy literature and tradition.

Lectures help conceptualisation of psychopathology, its psychodynamic formulation and assessment, and the clinical management of risk within the ethical frameworks of forensic practice.

Attention is given to the psychosocial contexts of forensic populations, including issues of normativity, difference, exclusion and criminalisation, and the dynamics of racial oppression and privilege. 

Working psychotherapeutically with forensic patients demands close attention to the organisational context around the patient.

In clinical applications seminars you will present material from your workplace. Through this process you will be exposed to the work of colleagues and will be able to develop your understanding of clinical, interpersonal and organisational issues.

Concepts developed in theoretical seminars will be identified and elaborated upon within the context of your own and others’ work. The learning is supported by the experience of externally facilitated reflective practice.

Clinical supervision will provide support for your clinical work and an opportunity to reflect on both the experience of the patient and you as the therapist. It is a BPC requirement that you be in twice-weekly psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a BPC-registered practitioner until the completion of the taught course and clinical work.

Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the emerging manifestations of the transference and counter-transference during the course of the treatment. Termly individual tutorials will offer a chance to discuss and monitor your progress on the course and to think about future opportunities.

Who is this course for?

This course is for you if you are a professional working in mental health and/or the criminal justice system and are interested in developing your understanding of the application of psychodynamic concepts to a forensic context.

You may be a medical practitioner, clinical or forensic psychologist, probation officer, social worker or nurse.

You will need to have completed a clinical foundation course such as Foundations of psychodynamic psychotherapy (D58) or equivalent. You may also be a psychotherapist seeking to develop specific expertise in forensic psychotherapy.

Course details

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:

  • have had at least two years of weekly personal psychotherapy with a BPC-accredited psychoanalytic psychotherapist



  • have two years supervised psychotherapy work with a patient

Please note that due to the nature of this course, personal suitability for the work is an important factor.

All students are required to attend twice-weekly personal psychotherapy with a BPC-registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist for the duration of their training, until the completion of clinical work. 


£ 5,625 per year


£ 11,250 per year

For more information about financing your studies and your fee status, please see our fees and funding area.

Please note that course fees are subject to a 3% or CPI uplift each year, whichever is greater.

We are happy to offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.


Theoretical and clinical applications seminars take place between 10am and 1pm on Monday mornings.

Supervision takes place on Monday afternoons

There is flexibility during the week regarding direct clinical work.


Progress during the course is assessed at the progression board which takes place three times a year. This is guided by feedback through written reports submitted each term by your seminar leaders and supervisors.

Subject to satisfactory progress, you will be given permission to take on clinical work (first case, second case etc.) until your progress is finally approved for qualification.

There is no assessed written work during the course but students are required to prepare presentations for clinical applications and theoretical seminars and provide case summaries.

Graduates from this course will often go on to create a generic private practice alongside their more specialist forensic work in organisations.

On graduation, trainees have achieved positions in NHS complex needs, personality disorder, community mental health teams, medium secure units and student welfare.

They have also gone on to work in therapeutic prisons, private forensic settings, the Ministry of Justice, the Probation Service, the voluntary sector and as reflective practice facilitators.

Why study with us?

This course offers a recognised qualification as a psychodynamic psychotherapist, providing you with a unique approach to working within forensic mental health and criminal justice institutions.

You will be taught in a systematic and rigorous manner by clinicians who are highly experienced in the field of forensic psychodynamic psychotherapy.

You will benefit from integrated theoretical and clinical teaching which will prepare you to an excellent standard for independent clinical practice.

The course provides the second part of a unique BPC-accredited training for work in the NHS and the criminal justice system.


“The seminars and supervision are so interesting and being taught by leading clinicians in their field is really motivating and inspiring. The course is run really well and I am determined to make the most of this learning opportunity.”

Course facilitators

Validations and accreditations

BPC logo

This course is validated by the British Psychoanalytic Council.

Register your interest

Applications for this course are now closed. Follow the link and complete the form to be the first to hear when this course opens for applications.

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