Master of Arts (MA) Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Structure
  • Career Opportunities
  • Fees
  • Next Steps

DBS Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy  

The MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is a recognised component which contributes to a post-graduate specific modality training in psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. A combination of this Masters’ programme with the Post-Masters’ Specific Modality Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in The School of Psychotherapy at St Vincent’s University Hospital meets the minimum 4-year postgraduate training requirement to enable graduates to apply with confidence for accredited membership of a professional body in the field.



The interpretation of dreams announced psychoanalysis to the world in 1900. In it Freud proposed that "the most complicated achievements of thought are possible without the assistance of consciousness." This psychoanalytic position revolutionised our understanding of mental life and the basis of any psychological intervention.

Psychoanalysis is a clinical practice which attends to the hidden, or unconscious, processes of the mind. Its epoch-marking insights shed invaluable light on the fragility of meaning in our lives and on the dynamics of mental health and its collapse in illness. Psychoanalysis stands at the origin of all the major developments in psychotherapy over the past 100 years. It is designed to introduce students in a thorough and rigorous way to clinical settings and practice and so is a solid basis for work in the field of mental health as well as being a foundation for training in the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Key Features of the MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

  • Aims to direct learners in establishing and maintaining a psychoanalytically informed therapeutic position for the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

  • Aims to provide extensive placement experience – each 15 weeks, one-day-a week –   in psychiatric, educational, and social care settings to allow learners to develop a psychotherapeutic position under supervision.

  • Designed paying due attention to requirements of psychoanalytic psychotherapy professional bodies and to discussions regarding statutory and European regulation in the field of psychotherapy.

  • Offers an opportunity to engage with professionals in fields related to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy through attendance at a weekly Psychiatric Case Conference with a multidisciplinary team in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

  • Classes are typically conducted on Thursday afternoon, followed by two small group tutorials on Thursday night.

  • The three pillars of the programme are personal psychoanalysis/psychoanalytic psychotherapy, academic study, and clinical experience with clinical supervision.

  • The psychoanalytic orientation is Freudian-Lacanian.

  • The programme is entirely staffed by practitioner-teachers.



All learners are expected to attend in person in class.

Entry Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, applicants must:

  • Hold a minimum second-class honours (2.2) in an undergraduate degree in the psychological and medical sciences, humanities, arts or social sciences.

  • Have the minimum requirement in English Language which is greater or equal to B2+ in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages for admission where full-time study has been conducted in a language other than English or applicants whose first language is not English.

  • Complete a personal statement of approximately 400 words outlining why they wish to pursue this particular course.

  • Attend two one-to-one interviews with psychoanalytic practitioners, one of whom is typically the Programme Leader.

Applicants with an undergraduate degree in other areas may be considered on a case-by-case basis. 



APPI logo black

This programme is recognised by Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland (APPI) as a Master’s component of a four-year minimum training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The combination of this DBS Master’s programme, together with the Post-Master’s Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Specific Modality Training Programme in The School of Psychotherapy (TSOP), St Vincent’s University Hospital, forms an APPI recognised, TSOP Specific Modality Training Programme in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. APPI is a constituent member of ICP (Irish Council for Psychotherapy). Graduates of the TSOP Specific Modality Training Programme in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy may apply for accredited member status in APPI. As accredited members of APPI, graduates are automatically members of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP). In turn, these graduates meet requirements to apply for membership of the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP).

Garda Vetting

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016 make it mandatory for people working unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Garda Siochana National Vetting Bureau.  Under the Acts, anyone whose work or activity involves unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults must be vetted.  Workers include staff, volunteers and those on student placements working for a relevant organisation where they have access to children and/or vulnerable adults. 

DBS offers a number of educational Programmes that require students to undertake placements with external agencies, which will bring them into contact with the public and in which they will assume positions of trust.  It is for this reason that students on these type of programmes are required to undergo vetting prior to commencing placements (or visits).

New entrants on to these programmes will receive the relevant form and information in their orientation packs and will need to complete the process before their final registration on the course can be completed.   At the time of application, students will be required to declare as to any previous convictions.   Students can start on the course before their Garda clearance is completed but may be withdrawn if the vetting does not produce a satisfactory finding.

Where a vetting process identifies a previous conviction the case will be referred to an internal College Vetting Committee.   This committee will consider all relevant information in relation to a disclosure from the vetting process and make a determination on the case on behalf of the College.

If a student has started on the course and is withdrawn because of a conviction that was not declared at the time of application, any fees paid will not be refunded.

DBS will charge a fee of €25 to each student for the administration and costs of obtaining Garda clearance. This fee is payable at the commencement of the programme and is non refundable.

CORU Recognition

CORU is Ireland's multi-profession health regulator whose role is to protect the public through regulating the health and social care professions listed in the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (as amended). It includes the Health and Social Care Professionals Council and the Registration Boards established under the Act 2005 (as amended).

CORU confirmed the establishment of and appointment of members to the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Registration Board in 2019, under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (amended) to separately regulate the professions of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Currently there is no date for the opening of the CORU registers for Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Please refer to the CORU website here for more information.

DBS will make an application for programme approval to the Registration Board when CORU opens the process.

  1. Course Content

The Master of Arts (MA) in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy programme has the following content:

Taught/Academic Modules (one per semester)

Clinical Modules

- Formations of the Unconscious

- Infantile Sexuality and Infantile Neurosis

- The Clinic of the Unconscious

- Sexuality, Sexuation and the Division of the Sexes

- Neurosis in the Clinic of Psychoanalysis

- Psychoanalysis and Addiction

- Psychosis in the Clinic of Psychoanalysis

- The History of Psychoanalysis

- The Ethics of Psychoanalysis

- Transference in the Clinic of Psychoanalysis

- Research Seminar and Thesis (3rd Year, two semesters)

Classes start at 3.00 pm on Thursdays

- Psychiatric case Conference and Seminar (in St Vincent’s University Hospital, Elm Park, Thursdays, 9.00 am – Years 2 & 3)

- Clinical Supervision (on DBS campus)

- Supervised Clinical Experience* (various locations)

- Infant Observation** (weekly class on DBS campus; observation - various)


- Semester 2, year 1

- Semesters 1 & 2, year 2.

- One-to-one client work, year 3

**24 months of actual observation – though the Infant Observation classes start at beginning of Semester 1

It is also required that students take up their own personal psychoanalysis. Cost associated with personal psychoanalysis is independent of the DBS programme fee.

Assessment Methods

• Continuous assessment of clinical practice

• Continuous assessment and end of year report in infant observation

• Continuous assessment and examination relating to academic components

• Research thesis at the end of the programme


  • A training based on a series of clinical placements one day a week in years 1 and 2 in mental health and education settings supervised by senior mental health professionals in each placement.

  • Infant observation experience supervised by a highly qualified tutor in the field

  • A final year of supervised appointment based clinical practice in settings recommended by the college. Students engage an individual supervisor for this work the fee for which is independent of the DBS programme fee.

  • Weekly Psychiatric Case Conference at St. Vincent's Hospital followed by  a clinical seminar

  • Weekly psychoanalytic supervision tutorial

  • An academic programme of lectures presented by clinicians

It's also required that students take up their own personal psychoanalysis. Cost associated with personal psychoanalysis is independent of the DBS programme fee. 


Supervised placements are organised in years 1 and 2. These start in the second semester of year 1 and each placement comprises 15 weeks, one day a week, totalling 45 weeks over years 1 and 2. In year 3, students arrange their own appointment-based one-to-one sessions with clients within a placement setting. There is a requirement to complete a minimum of 50 client sessions during 3rd year.

Over the 14 years the MA has been running, placements have been arranged in the following settings:

  • Department of Adult Psychiatry, Mater Misericordiae Hospital

  • Department of Psychiatry, National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street

  • The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook

  • Department of Old Age Psychiatry, St. Ita’s Portrane & Beaumont Hospital

  • Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, Lucena Clinic, Orwell Road 

  • Stewarts Hospital, Palmerstown

  • Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health Research, St. Vincents University Hospital

  • Navan Mental Health Service

  • St Audoen’s National School, Dublin 8

  • Mounttown Neighbourhood Youth Project, Dun Laoghaire

  • Dolphin Homework Club, Dolphin's Barn

  • Kilbarrack Coast Community Project

  • Saol project, Dublin 1

  • Shine Dublin 1

  • St. Enda's National School, Dublin 2

  • Tower Probation Project, Clondalkin

All learners are expected to attend in person in class.

Career Opportunities

For students who wish to pursue training as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist but who have minimal clinical exposure to the phenomena of mental suffering, which include psychiatric illness, addiction, learning disability etc., this MA provides the ideal initial step of that training.

Currently a basic requirement for entry into work in the field of mental health is having experience of mental health settings during training. The MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is unique in Ireland in providing a very impressive amount of hours in challenging clinical settings. A graduate with this amount of experience should satisfy concerns of any potential employer regarding their ability to work in such settings. In addition the MA provides a basis for developing private practice in the years following graduation. For the duration of the MA students begin their own personal analysis, the cornerstone of any practice calling itself psychoanalytic.

Over the years the MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy has provided a very stimulating basis not only for those graduates who wish to pursue work and practice in the field  of psychoanalytic psychotherapy but also for graduates who have taken up social and community care work in artistic and creative settings.


The course fees for the next academic year are €5,550 per annum for EU students. This covers the cost of tuition, registration and examinations.

Click here to view international fees. 

Click here to view EU fees.

You can also contact our admissions team who would be happy to discuss the options available for you.

Please note also that there is tax relief for Irish income tax payers at the standard rate of 20% on all fees exceeding €1,000 and up to €7,000. 

All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration offered by Dublin Business School (DBS) are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) (b) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby in the event that DBS ceases to provide the programme, for any reason, after learners have started on that programme, Kaplan Inc., as guarantor, will refund the moneys most recently paid by or for the learner.   More details are included in the terms and conditions of learner admission to DBS ( and on programme handbooks provided at induction.

Improve your employability

All of our postgraduate courses offer strong links with industry and the professional world and often carry accreditation from professional bodies. By choosing to study at postgraduate level, not only do you gain valuable skills and experience but you also demonstrate your determination to succeed in a chosen career. Far from being a postponement to employment, postgraduate study can help you progress further and faster in your chosen career. And, if you're not certain what direction you would like your future to take, further study can provide a secure and structured space to help you find out through exploring your strengths and interests.

Get your foot on the career ladder

A large number of our postgraduate programmes include a work placement option, giving you the opportunity to gain vocational experience, make valuable contacts and gain transferable skills. It is also worth considering that some postgraduate qualifications are essential requirements to getting on the career ladder.

Gain skills for success

During your undergraduate degree you will have developed a strong foundation of transferable skills. Postgraduate study will build on this base, giving you the opportunity to put these highly valuable skills in to practice. You will also gain invaluable practical working examples that you can go on to use at interview to set you apart from other candidates.

Next Steps

Visit Us

Open days are a great way to help you make your decision about DBS and learn more about the Master of Arts (MA) in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. As well as experiencing our outstanding facilities, you'll have the opportunity to receive personalised advice from academics from your subject area, meet current postgraduate students and also have your questions answered on general subjects such as entry requirements, student support and the admissions process.

EU Applicants

Applicants should complete the appropriate application form and return it to the Postgraduate Admissions Office along with the following documentation: 

  • Academic Transcripts (Original & Official English Translation where issued in another language). Applicants who have previously attended DBS need not provide this documentation. 

  • Proof of Identification (Birth Certificate, Drivers Licence or Passport) 

  • Detailed Curriculum Vitae 

  • Proof of English (i.e. IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent) where full time study has been conducted in a language other than English or applicants whose first language is not English 

  • Referee form and a personal statement of approximately 400 words outlining why you wish to pursue this particular course.  

Please see programme content for any course-specific additional application procedures.

In addition to the above, in the instance of Non-EU applicants who have residency in Ireland:

  • A copy of your GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) Card, Work permit (if applicable) & Passport 

  • The letter that was issued to you by the Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform stating why you were provided with the above documentation.

Please note that copies of all documentation must be submitted, and that it must be translated into English where issued in another language. Please do not send original documents as these will not be returned.

Dublin Business School has a number of overseas offices and representatives worldwide. Please contact us if you wish to receive further details on your closest DBS representative.

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Course overview

Awarding Body: 
Quality & Qualifications Ireland 
Award: Masters Degree
NFQ Level: 
Level 9
Award Title: Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Award Type: Major
Next intake: September 2024

Contact Us

We are now accepting applications for programmes taking place in 2024. Contact our admissions team for more information

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01 417 7500
Opening times:
Monday to Friday
8:45am to 5:15pm