Ambedkar University Delhi
Established by The Government of NCT of Delhi
The MPhil programme in Psychoanalytic psychotherapy hopes to attend, in a small but significant way, to this huge lacuna in the field of mental health care. So far, in our country, there is no provision of training psychotherapists. Within the purview of medicine, the only degree that a psychologist can earn is that of clinical psychology. A clinical psychologist works largely within the biological framework of mental illness/mental disorders and mostly functions as a subordinate to the psychiatrist. Apart from this there are courses available in counselling and rehabilitation psychology.
The field of psychotherapy and especially psychoanalytic psychotherapy is promising for it offers the most thorough going and nuanced understanding of the human psyche and the conflicts which often beseech it. The psychoanalytic orientation is premised on a belief in the unconscious, an experience-near lens, a value for caring relationships and an ethic of cultivating compassion. The psychologist in this tradition is trained to receive articulations of the unconscious such as free floating thoughts, dreams, fantasies, dreaming, reveries and free associations. In having been trained to receive the “drift of the patient’s unconscious by attuning one’s own unconscious to that of the former, the psychotherapist serves both as a “transference object” as well as one who heralds transformation by her devoted care and interpretative capacities.
In accordance with this perspective, the sources of suffering/ emotional distress in individual and group life may range from subjection to emotional injustice, acute and chronic loss and trauma, conflicts and relational breakdowns, the imbalance between the power of drives and impulses and their familial and cultural reception, bio-genetic predispositions, socio-economic marginalization, deprivation and political oppression. In the training, the psychoanalytic therapist is taught to listen to the emerging clinical material from a life historical lens which takes into account intergenerational passing on of trauma and/or capacities of resilience. (The special relevance of this in the Indian context can hardly be exaggerated, given that the familial self is so strong in our culture). The human subject is located within his or her cultural embededness, historical and socio-economic situatedness. The training helps one to receive the other as a living stream in which the currents of personal unconscious (the drives and instincts) flow alongside that of the dynamic (conflict ridden parts of the psyche), receptive (the feel of the psyche and its ceaseless push for wholism and creativity) and cultural, also spiritual (strivings to transcend one’s limitedness) unconscious. In having been trained to listen affectively to the oscillations in human communication, the therapist is able to accord primacy to sometimes the familial and personal, and at other moments to the historical and political layering in unconscious material, even as the patient- other continues speaking through the same clinical hour.
The psychoanalytic journey helps the patient- the suffering being- to reach relative health and integration of one’s painful losses. More often than not, this process also opens up the patient’s potential for dreaming and embracing life with a relative sense of self-aware joyfulness. Unique to this tradition is the emphasis that before becoming a healer, the analyst too undertakes the same treatment as the one through which she would lead her patients. In this sense, the analyst and the patient are fellow travellers, both of whom journey through the darker labyrinths of their respective inner worlds. This is the authentic space from where empathic understanding and compassionate attending take birth. From the first semester onward the student will be encouraged to be in personal therapy, which will become the first template of how one feels as one opens up one’s world to another. Hence, the aim of the programme is to train a reflective practitioner who is also self-reflexive. While this practitioner is immersed in the field of experience (her own as well of those who seek her assistance), she is at the same time able to “think” through experiential states (her own as well as of others).
The focus on clinical thinking as a significant theme running through the all components of the programme will help the trainee to inculcate a capacity for thinking and researching by re-listening to the emphasis in the clinical hour long after the hour has actually come to an end. Clinical thinking is always guided by the clinical hour, the image of a patient and the flow of communication. It is a form of thinking which emanates from the space of actual experiences. It questions and corrects our usual tendencies of imposing theory on experience. Instead it is this form of thinking which often is at the birth of theory In this programme we take with us the thoughts of two significant thinkers Andre Green and Erik Erikson (amongst others) who have given space to an elaborate the paradigm of clinical thinking in their writings.
This programme will play between the Universal in human development and psyche and its relativization in specific cultural contexts. Of particular significance, would be the emphasis through which we could receive the psychological material in clinical work located as we are in the Indian context.
After careful consideration and consultation of curriculum of psychoanalytic programmes across the world, we have accorded a place of primacy to themes of social suffering, engagement with the margins and immersion into community oriented work. A divide which has plagued the field of psychoanalysis is that of the psyche from the social. This has led to psychoanalytic elitism and created a situation of non-communication between social scientists on the one hand and psychoanalysts on the other. In India this becomes, all the more, a pressing concern. Given the fact that a large majority of people live in situations of social abjection and poverty, it becomes imperative for a psychotherapist to relate to these states of human life as well. Our training will provide a sensibility which is psychoanalytic to the student as she sets out to relate, understand and intervene in contexts of social marginalisation.
As this is a praxis oriented programme, the relationship between theory and practice is imaginatively and creatively given shape all across the six semesters. The programme begins with an experiential immersion. In the first two semesters the, students are encouraged to enter into personal therapy, experiential work in small group settings is introduced, an emphasis on reflection and observation and testing in clinical contexts, also reading of case studies and an initiation into an experience-near psychosocial-clinical perspective acquaints them with a psychoanalytic pedagogy and its inculcation as a sensibility. They will learn from experience and engagement with experience would also help them to conceptual thought and theory differently.
True to its promise of enabling students to relate to contexts where life is weighed down by social deprivation and historical and political suffering, students move to work in social and community based contexts. This mutually transformative work will also help them to appreciate difference as difference and not convert differences into hierarchies. Over the semesters, they will gradually be introduced to more clinical and psychosocial sites, even as their inputs with patients intensify over the semesters.
Semester three and four take a concentrated load of conceptual, theoretical and perspective based courses. MPhil trainees will immerse themselves in learning from case material and contributions of thinkers from the past, relating to clinical states and those of breakdown and engaging with the basic framework, technique, setting and issues concerning therapeutic process.
Given the fact that at present psychoanalytic psychotherapy is slowly gaining recognition in the Indian set up and also that patient’s needs may call upon diverse skills and capacities in the therapist, the MPhil Psychoanalytic psychotherapy programme will have running lecture series and clinical seminars in which contributions of related psychotherapeutic orientations such as existentialism, humanism, cognitive behaviour therapy, spiritual orientations to healing, psychiatry and neuroscience would be explored. Hence, respecting the richness and plurality of psychotherapeutic traditions as well as the need for a psychotherapist to work with a range of human states and to respond to emotional distress in a variety of ways, even as this programme will centrally draw from the psychodynamic tradition; it will incorporate salient insights from other psychotherapeutic perspectives and incorporate aspects of psychological testing. The aim would be to create a professional who is sensitive and competent, open minded and flexible and who understands culture, history and politics, even as they emerge in the consultation room, i.e., the psychotherapeutic context. An understanding of symptoms as rooted within a life-historical, familial and cultural envelope, i.e. symptoms as meaningful, condensed statements of a person’s life. Advances in understanding core concepts of psychoanalysis: the unconscious, dreams, sexuality and relationships. The programme will also focus on Post-Freudian developments- stress on object relationships and psychology of self, the interpersonal and relational schools of thought.
In continuation with the foregoing account, the following may be considered as the related objectives of the programme
Distinctive features and format of the MPhil Programme
Psyche as formed through relationships
A study of the human as a bio-psycho-social being who grows within a relational ambit is of value to this perspective. Healing too, as envisioned here, takes place within the context of a caring, trusting relationship between the therapist and the patient. At the theoretical level as well as in its practice oriented dimension, the programme will engage with the intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts lived and experienced in human relationships by focusing on themes of intimacy, loss, separation and trauma.
Culture and its symbolic processes: A special focus on “Indianness”
The MPhil programme aims to provide the students with a deep going understating of the relationship between culture and psyche.
Through an ongoing immersion in cultural processes-such as myths, epics, folk tales, stories and native systems of understanding life and forms of traditional healing, students will be ushered into a proximal relationship with culture, Indianness and is diverse experiential renderings. The works of the Indian psychoanalysts, particularly Sudhir Kakar, Giriendrashekar Bose and AshisNandy will be of immense value here.
Focus on personal work, clinical supervision, clinical seminars, reflective groups and experiential immersions:
In tune with the Freudian dictum, “you will not see in others what you are unable to see in yourself”, this training programme values the student’s growing capacity to look at one’s own life with dispassionate ruthlessness and paradoxically, with empathy and compassionate understanding. From semester 1 onward, the trainee will be encouraged to seek personal therapy and thus to also experience what it feels like being a patient oneself.
Each student will be assigned a mentor from semester 1 till semester 6- the time when the training concludes.
There will be regular supervision of ongoing clinical work- psychological testing, intake interviews, crisis intervention and of course of long term therapeutic work undertaken by the trainee. Apart from supervision, there will be clinical seminars and clinical lectures every month in which students will present their ongoing clinical work.
Anchored by the larger values and principles which Ambedkar University stands for, namely, engaged scholarship, praxis based generation of knowledge that seeks to approximate the contours of lived life, an active concern for social justice and equity and regard for those existing at socio-economic margins, the proposed programme for training psychotherapists, hopes to create reflective and involved professionals who will make significant contributions to the field of mental health. We hope our trainees will be eager to grapple with the challenges that face the professional landscape and will be empathically responsive to the emotional crises of human beings across class, gender and caste boundaries. Therefore the training programme envisages a twin focus i) on lives and communities existing on the social margins and ii) with the felt emotional pain of those who carry an inner sense of fragmentation and deprivation in spite of having lived in visible richness.
Praxis oriented 110 credits programme with an objective of creating a reflective and self reflexive- practitioner of psychoanalytic psychotherapy
Taught/ theory based courses (50 credits)
Practice based psychosocial clinical internships (36 credits)
Research Dissertation (12 credits)
Personal work (10 credits non-assessed)
Workshops and clinical lectures (2 credits non-assessed)
Personal work: In line with the psychoanalytic principle that the future healer too must go through the same process as one hopes to take one’s patients’ through, all students will undertake personal therapy on two times a week basis. The student will be encouraged to start with personal therapy from the beginning of the first semester itself. Personal work has been made a compulsory component of the MPhil curriculum. Every student will have to complete 150 -200 session of personal therapy. At the completion of which in the semester – 6 they will be awarded 10 credits.
Experiential workshops in small group settings: Reflective workshops and group work in small units will help the student to make sense of human experience and associated dynamics which are ever prevalent in the life of groups and communities.
Reflective immersions: In the first semester there will be a week long reflective immersion. The purpose of the immersion will be to provide the candidates with a first-hand feel of psychoanalytic processes and sensibility. The reflective immersion may take place in a field site of mental healing or at the university as a week-long intensive immersion into books, psychological narratives, literary stories, cinematic representations and their interpretations. Students may create a theatre performance or write scripts at the end of the immersion on themes carrying psychological and self-reflexive import. The introspective and analytic thrust of the immersion would enable one to feel, receive and work with experience. A focus on listening and sensing human themes would guide this process. (2 credits)
During the fourth semester, there will be a second reflective immersion. This time the students will be exposed to ways of feeling and thinking about the uses of psychoanalysis in settings of communal violence, war, migration, refugeehood and political insurgency, terrorism and displacement, disability, queer sexuality or any other related concern. Excerpts from conversations with persons living in conflict laden contexts such as Kashmir, the North East, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Burma, Syria, Jerusalem- for instance could lead to focus group discussions and an imaginative way of working with conflict from the standpoint of the unconscious. An emphasis on grieving, mourning and understanding group life will prepare students to later on work in such situations. Alternatively students may be taken through a concentrated reflection on queer issues, the lives of the disabled. The theme of the reflective immersion will not be fixed but could vary from year to year, given the possibilities of the programme team and the interest of a particular cohort of students (2 credits)
Clinical and psychosocial internships
On-going Clinical internship at ehsaas Clinic:
Candidates will be introduced to ehsaas clinic during the first semester. At this time they will be expected to undertake psychological assessment and intake interviews. During the second semester, they would be required to do crisis oriented work, learn to make a psychodynamic case formulation and initiate insight oriented supportive therapy.
From the third semester onward they will be encouraged to begin long term work with patients- children, adolescents and adults. Till the sixth semester, the candidates will continue their internship at ehsaas. At the end of the sixth semester, along with a portfolio of their on-going clinical work, they would also be required to submit two cases of long therapy. The University clinic will serve as a continuous site for their clinical training. There will be other clinical internship sites too to which the students may be sent (8 Credits)
Interest based clinical or psychosocial clinical internships: Each student will undertake one long or two short term special interest internships. The internship could vary from 3-4 weeks (two internships) or 6-8 weeks (single internship). Candidates can choose to work in a general hospital setup, a psychiatry ward, half way home, an orphanage, a school, de-addiction centre, NGO, homeless shelter, prison, a neurological setting, cancer or terminal ward, multiple sclerosis society etc.; field sites such as Kashmir, North East, a refugee settlement, a home for women and so on. Learning, observations, questions and reflections from the field will be evaluated through the field immersion reports that the student will write and present. (2+2 credits)
Community based internships: Following the theoretical orientation to community based psychodynamic work; the candidate will choose a field site in the vicinity of the University where they will continue to relate to the life of a community for duration of one and a half year. This, we hope will be a mutually transformative process, where one’s own ways of life too will be reimagined, just as one would hope to bring about some change in the life of the community. (6 credits)
Observing infants and learning testing in clinical contexts: During the first and the second semester, candidates in training will focus on the birth of affect, feelings and relationships by observing a baby and a mother dyad for an extended period of one year. The observations of an infant coming into psychic life will be discussed in an on-going seminar (2+2 credits)
Psychological testing in clinical contexts: Students will learn to use their knowledge of psychological assessment in clinical contexts. They will learn to administer and interpret projective techniques. Report writing and communicating to patients and families regarding their findings will be part of the candidate’s training and work. Each student will create assessment related profiles of patients. (4 credits)
Clinical Seminars: Candidates will participate in clinical seminars on a regular basis. They will receive feedback for the cases they are working with. Clinical seminars will focus on the process of clinical work as well as the issues triggered thereof. (2 + 2 credits)
Lecture series and workshops: These will be continuous processes spread across the entire span of the programme. All students will be required to be present and participate in them. They will be awarded 2 credits (non-assessment based) in the 6th semester for their presence throughout.
Research Dissertation: During the 5th and 6th semester, the candidate is expected to concentrate on her research dissertation. The work on the dissertation will begin from the fourth semester onward. The research dissertation will be a culmination of the overall training, its focus being on a specific clinical or psychosocial topic. It could be based on exploratory work, theoretical contributions clinical work. Students may like to explore other modalities of working on a dissertation apart from it being a written document. It could for instance be a film or a theatre production they make on issues of relevance to mental health. They could also create an art based work on themes of psychosocial clinical. In all cases the work will have to be closely supervised. (12 credits)
Clinical Supervision and Mentorship:
Each student will be assigned a mentor from the first semester onward. They will also carry on their clinical work under the supervision of clinically trained faculty. The clinical supervision will be on a one to one basis as well as in group settings.
All of the above components put together would constitute the process oriented portfolio of each candidate.
Theory based taught courses of the programme (50 credits)
Pedagogical design: Seminar based, reading of case material, lecture oriented, discussion based.
Types of courses:
Skills and eclectic sensibility that a psychodynamic psychotherapist needs to inculcate(here we are also concerned with the transitional space between psychodynamic psychotherapists and clinical psychologists in the Indian context).Functioning as a bridge between work in a psychodynamic clinic and hospital and related mental health sites, skills will also include psychological testing of cognitive, intellectual childhood developmental processes, learning disabilities, neuropsychology assessment and particularly, projective techniques, enhancing listening and empathic abilities and communicating and sustaining relatedness with difficult experiential states in others. We would also like to keep place for special lectures such as on cognitive behaviour therapy, humanistic and existential psychotherapy, concerns and issues such as the mental health policy etc. (12 credits)
Perspective based courses: We hope that all courses will be inclusive of a regard for psychoanalytical developmental perspective, “Indianness “ and cultural and contextual sensitivity, psychosocial-clinical axis, emotional and social suffering, playfulness of psyche and the creative human element even in states of extreme despair and breakdown, dreaming and the opening up of artistic imagination, relational perspectives, the place of the erotic in human existence, feminist thinkers and critical thoughts and a regard also for radical/ departures from the mainstream of psychoanalysis). Of course the psychoanalytic domain of conflict, unconscious and salience of early human life is of integral to this work. (14 credits)
States of psychic conflict and breakdown- traditionally called as the focus on psychopathology and symptom related states, these courses will help the student relate to states of psychic conflict and/ or breakdown, including the neurosis, borderline states and psychosis. As the courses will progress across the semesters the level of difficulty of the courses will also increase. We will begin with an emphasis on anxiety laden affective states such as the variations in neurosis- generalised anxiety disorders, panic states, obsessive compulsive neurosis and hysteria. Gradually we will move to states of self disturbance be they borderline, narcissistic, depressive, schizoid and antisocial, perversions. A stress on psychosis and disintegrating moments in psychic existence will be the challenge that the student would be expected to meet in the latter semesters. Basic lectures on psychiatry as well as neurology will enable one to make differential choices for the forms of care that a person may be in need of.( 10 credits)
Psychodynamic psychotherapy- process, technique, and considerations of setting as well as forms of psychotherapies: Another basket of courses will centre on the setting, process, technique and therapeutic dyad in one to one psychotherapy. The candidate will also be introduced to working in therapy with families as well as groups. Distinctive features of the psychoanalytic process- transference, counter transference, dreaming, playing, listening, empathy and free associative linkages as well as processing unconscious material- will be deliberated on. Considerations for long term as well as brief psychodynamic psychotherapy will be instrumental in developing the clinical acumen of the student. (8 credits)
Guided reading courses: These would be based on a student’s special interest for a specific area of work. The guided reading course in semester 3 will culminate into a special interest internship which will follow it closely. This will not be a taught course but one in which a mentor and a student create a reading list and subsequently the student involves oneself in work in the chosen clinical or psychosocial clinical field (2 credits). In semester 5 and 6 there will be a guided reading course each (to be offered individually or to a small group of students from amongst a list of electives). These will be in areas of special interest for students (2+2 credits).
Proposed Plan of MPhil Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy:
Mode of instruction
Eligibility: Masters with 55% in Psychology and allied disciplines. (In rare circumstances the admission committee may consider the application of a prospective candidate who may not be fulfilling the eligibility requirements but who is able to demonstrate an exceptional commitment/interest/potential to pursue the proposed training as a psychodynamic therapist and researcher).
Duration: 3 years
Total Credits: 110 (98 assessed credits and 12 non assessed credits. Out of the non-assessed credits 10 are for compulsory personal work/ personal therapy and 2 for attendance and participation in clinical lectures (2))
Medium of Instruction: English
Nature of programme: Interdisciplinary (drawing from psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychiatry and neurosciences, sociology, political thought, anthropology, literature, cinema, arts and aesthetics, history and philosophy)
Number of Seats: 20 (for 2017)
Stipend: Rs. 12000/- per month (at par with NIMHANS stipend)
Reservation of Seats: In accordance with Government of NCT Delhi rules
As per University norms
The admission process for MPhil Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy will be inclusive of a four stage process:
Written test on the basis of uploaded readings: 25%.
Experiential group process: 25%
Writing based on experiential processes: 25%
On the basis of marks obtained in the written test, 3 times the number of candidates to be finally selected will be taken through the next three stages of the admissions test.
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