Psychopathology: Theory and Practice


Study the mind at CPD, certificate or diploma level in our new post-qualification programme

19 September 2019 to 4 June 2020
Thursday evenings 19.30-21.30

This newly created 30 week course will provide professional practitioners of psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, counselling, creative arts therapies, and related professions with an intensive, year-long study of the field of psychopathology in its many forms, introducing participants to psychological conditions ranging from severe manifestations of psychological illness to the more ordinary neuroses of everyday life.

The programme has been designed to survey not only basic psychiatric knowledge but also the century-long accumulation of psychological knowledge about psychopathology.




The course will be divided into three terms which can be attended on different levels:

  • As CPD, attending the lectures and receiving a certificate of attendance OR
  • As a Certificate qualification, attending the lectures with a home study programme OR
  • At Diploma level, attending the lectures with a home study programme and submission of a 5000 word dissertation


Certificate in Psychopathology or a Diploma in Psychopathology

Unit One

Basic Psychopathology

A study of the history and theory of psychopathology and some of the major psychoses and other forms of psychopathology that often require institutionalisation and psychiatric interventions

Unit Two

Sub-Clinical Psychopathology

An exploration of forms of psychopathology which are common in our society, and which often become culturally assimilated including personality disorders, addictions, eating problems, sexual issues and criminal behaviour.

Unit Three

Developmental and Applied Psychopathology

Different manifestations of psychological suffering across the life cycle, from infant, child and adolescent to old-age psychopathology, as well as psychological illness in many different relational contexts (eg couples, families, groups, organisations, and even among nations).

Senior Course Director

Professor Brett Kahr

Deputy Course Tutors

Raffaella Hilty,Dr Richard Sherry,


The newly constituted course will provide professional practitioners of psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, counselling and creative arts therapies with an intensive, year-long study introducing participants to psychological conditions ranging from severe manifestations of psychological illness (e.g., schizophrenia, affective disorders, and the forensic psychopathologies) to more common ordinary neuroses and character disturbances (e.g., anxiety disorders, hysteria, obsessive-compulsive disorders, addictions, psychosexual disorders).

The course will be divided into three units. During the first unit, participants will have an opportunity to study not only the history and theory of psychopathology but, also, some of the major psychoses and other conditions which often require institutionalisation. During the second unit, participants will have an opportunity to examine psychopathology in the community. And in the third and final unit, participants will engage with different manifestations of psychological suffering across the life cycle, by investigating infant psychopathology, child psychopathology, adolescent psychopathology, adult psychopathology, old age psychopathology, as well as psychological illness in many different relational contexts (e.g., couples, families, groups, organisations, and even among nations).

The core teaching team of the Certificate in Psychopathology and the Diploma in Psychopathology has designed this course to survey not only basic psychiatric knowledge but, also, the century-long accumulation of depth psychological knowledge about psychopathology. We hope that in offering broad coverage with a focus on the depth psychologies that practitioners will be able to embark upon a serious and carefully constructed examination of the field in all its multiple facets.

The course will offer a comprehensive study of each subject area, focusing on the clinical phenomenology of each state of psychopathology, upon its aetiology, and upon its treatment. Although the primary theoretical lens will be a psychodynamic one, broadly defined to include classical psychoanalytical, Jungian, and modern relational perspectives, participants will also be exposed to the more traditional theories from biologically orientated psychiatry and related disciplines in order to provide a wide coverage of the field.

The teaching team of the certificate and diploma course consists of some of the nation’s leading mental health experts. Collectively, we have designed this course to foreground the century-long accumulation of depth psychological knowledge about the various manifestations of psychopathology, so that this information can sit alongside, and even challenge, the shibboleths of the more traditional somatic models.


Although the formal study of psychopathology requires a lifetime of immersion in the profession, we intend that by the end of this year-long course, participants will be have acquired:

  1. A comprehensive knowledge of the traditional taxonomy of psychopathology (e.g., schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; neurodevelopmental disorders; bipolar disorders; depressive disorders; personality disorders; paraphilic disorders; anxiety disorders; sexual dysfunctions; gender dysphoria; and many more).
  2. An understanding of the basic biomedical approach to the phenomenology, aetiology, and treatment of these aforementioned mental conditions.
  3. An engagement with the psychoanalytical and psychotherapeutic alternatives to the study of aetiology and treatment.
  4. A capacity to read the empirical and clinical research literatures in more critical depth.
  5. An ability to undertake a piece of clinical or academic research (for those pursuing the final qualification for the Diploma in Psychopathology).



19 September 2019 – Professor Brett Kahr

Introducing Psychopathology: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
In this introductory lecture, Professor Brett Kahr will provide an historical overview of the concept of psychopathology, exploring the ways in which our predecessors conceptualised the treatment of insanity from ancient Greece to the present day. Drawing upon the extensive research on the history of psychiatry, Kahr will consider the century-long tension between the conceptualisation of madness as either a spiritual curse or as a brain disease, unrelated to one’s personal biography, or as a consequence of early childhood experiences, especially those of a traumatic nature. After reviewing medieval models of mental illness and its treatment, Kahr will focus on the landmark year of 1856 – the date of birth of both Emil Kraepelin (who would become the father of biological psychiatry) and Sigmund Freud (who would, of course, become the father of psychoanalysis). We shall conclude with a study of the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s and the critical psychiatry movement of the 1970s and beyond, exploring the tension between the biomedical model, the psychoanalytical model, and the deconstructive model which has questioned whether psychological distress should be conceptualised as a condition requiring treatment at all.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

26 September 2019 – Professor Brett Kahr

No topic within the mental health field has generated as much controversy as that of schizophrenia. Since the publication of Professor Eugen Bleuler’s ground-breaking monograph on schizophrenia in 1911, members of the medical and psychological professions have engaged in heated debate as to the origin and treatment of this severe form of mental distress. Professor Brett Kahr will introduce course participants to the different ways in which colleagues have conceptualised the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, and he will help students to understand such aspects of schizophrenia as positive and negative symptoms; so-called “thought disorder”; catatonic retreats; and so forth. He will provide an overview of the theories of aetiology, ranging from genetic, biochemical, and neuroanatomical approaches, to those derived from social psychiatry and psychoanalysis and traumatology, prior to considering the psychoanalytical alternatives to traditional psychiatric treatment. Kahr will examine the pioneering contributions of both Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung, as well as those of more modern contributors such as Harry Stack Sullivan, Harold Searles, Herbert Rosenfeld, Bertram Karon, and many others, and will also discuss his own work on the role of early parental death threats in the aetiology of psychotic states, which he has come to understand as the “infanticidal attachment”.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

3 October 2019 – Raffaella Hilty

Depression: A Psychoanalytical Approach
In view of the widespread use of antidepressant medication and time-limited cognitive-behavioural therapy as so-called treatments of choice for depression, many practising mental health professionals have lost sight of the landmark contribution of the early psychoanalysts who made great strides in the understanding of severe melancholia, more than one hundred years ago. Raffaella Hilty will provide a detailed overview of some of the most seminal psychodynamic contributions to the study of depressive illness, beginning with the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud, who, in his classic essay, “Mourning and Melancholia”, formulated a profound theory of the impact of loss and bereavement. We shall also consider the contributions of other major psychoanalytical thinkers including Melanie Klein, René Spitz, Edward Bibring, Donald Winnicott, John Bowlby, and Edith Jacobson.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

10 October 2019 – Elizabeth Wilde McCormick

Affective Disorders
The evening will look at the contribution of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) to disorders of mood such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. CAT was pioneered by Dr Anthony Ryle in the 1980’s at Guy’s and Thomas’ hospitals in London and is a therapy offered throughout the UK and in eight other countries. The model offers patients presenting with a wide range of difficulty a way of making sense of their learned responses. The emphasis is on a collaborative approach to change and to learning ways to manage shifts in mood. There will be an overview of the model and research, and an invitation for some live supervision and mapmaking. Please bring someone you would like to discuss.

Elizabeth Wilde McCormick has worked as a psychotherapist, supervisor, trainer and writer for nearly 40 years. Her professional background is in Transpersonal and Humanistic psychology; Mindfulness based stress reduction; Sensorimotor psychotherapy and Cognitive Analytic Therapy. She is the author of a number of books including Surviving Breakdown, Living on the edge, Your Heart and You and Change For The better, the CAT self help book now in its fifth edition.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

17 October 2019 – Michael Knight

First, some thoughts and discussion about how we respond as therapists to a client at serious risk of suicide, a situation that tests the limits of the underlying robustness of our theory and practice and our relational resilience.

The main content of the presentation will then be on Maytree, a unique short stay (100 hours) respite (and therapy) centre for those in suicidal crisis, of which I was a co-founder, and the principal architect of its model. In expounding its genesis and vision, and the gap in services it fills, I will focus on its ethos and the core values of its practice, namely containment and compassion – the essence surely of all our work. Finally, we’ll look at outcomes, successes, failures, inviting discussion on its merits and potential.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL


7 November 2019 – Marcus West

Borderline Personality Disorder
The term – Borderline Personality Disorder – has a long history, dating back to 1938 and Adolf Stern’s definitive paper (although it has recently been supplanted in the psychiatric field by the term Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). In this lecture, Marcus West will be tracing some of the ways the concept has been understood in both psychiatric and analytic fields, particularly focusing on Kernberg’s and Fonagy’s conceptualisations and contemporary attachment and trauma theories, which have afforded us further, and now widely accepted, ways of looking at the phenomena. West will explore the overlap between borderline and narcissistic organisations and ways of functioning, before focusing on the powerful and profoundly distressing clinical phenomena as they occur in the consulting room, understood primarily as sometimes near-unbearable (for both patient and analyst) co-constructions in the analytic relationship of early relational trauma. The clinical challenges, as well as the opportunities, opened up by these co-constructions will be explored using, amongst other things, a developed understanding of Jung’s concept of the traumatic complex.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

14 November 2019 – Dr Carine Minne

Forensic Psychopathology
In this talk there will be a brief introduction to forensic psychiatry settings, the Criminal Justice System and how these can interact. Some individuals suffering from mental disorders can end up involved in both systems. This talk will focus on the most prevalent disorders seen within these settings and suffered by the individuals. There is often a division and indeed, segregation, made between those suffering from psychoses and those suffering from personality disorders with dual and indeed triple diagnoses being made. Carine will describe the helpfulness of using a single entity diagnostic approach, illustrating the psychopathological presence of several features, some times more manifestly psychotic and at other times more manifestly personality disordered. An emphasis on the aetiological factors, particularly early environmental traumas, will be made. Many of the presenting features can evoke strong responses in others, which can influence the management and treatment of the patients and these will be referred to. There will be descriptions of the multi-disciplinary treatment approaches with special focus on the role of psychoanalytical psychotherapy.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

21 November 2019 – Dr Richard Sherry

PTSD: The Past and Potential Future
In his lecture on PTSD Dr Sherry will take 20 years plus of expertise within the field of psychological traumatology that has literally taken him around the world and across multiple fields of training.

His psychological traumatology work has evolved from his seven years treating traumatized soldiers when he headed the Clinical Psychology section for US Military inpatients for Europe. As a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with neuropsychology training, he is a specialist in traumatology (ESTSS Cert and an EMDR Consultant), a licensed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (BPC Reg.); he will take these expert insights to shed light on this diagnosable condition from the assessment and treatment across modalities. Much of his work has looked at extreme environments including gender based violence (GBV) and genocide as well as this he did his ethics training focused on re-examining the core ethical approaches within a disaster.

In this lecture Dr Sherry will cover some of the history of what PTSD is, the assessment and diagnostic issues, including from a psychoanalytic vantage point, and the treatment issues including some of the innovations with very low resource environments. Much of his focus on PTSD will examine the question of identity and how can we transform issues of instability through expert leadership to create profound well-being.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

28 November 2019 – Dr Maggie Turp

Making Sense of Self-Harm
Drawing on infant observation extracts, clinical practice and service user testimony, we will consider both the history and intentionality of acts of self-harm. With regard to history, a well-functioning capacity for self-care is identified as a protective factor in relation to the destructive and self-destructive tendencies that are part of our human make-up. We will endeavour to identify the building blocks of such a capacity within parental care and consider how psychotherapy practice can best address early damage or deficit in this area of development. With regard to intentionality – and bearing in mind that the most common reason given for self-harm is a desire to ‘cope’ – we will consider self-harm as an extreme attempt at self-regulation. Bick’s theory of psychic skin functioning offers a perspective that links self-harm of various kinds to difficulties in the management of the psychic skin boundary between self and others, a perspective that will be explored with the help of clinical examples. We will also consider possible reasons for the gender imbalance in acts of self-harm and the recent increase in incidence among teenage girls.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

5 December 2019 – Dr Adah Sachs

Dissociative Identity Disorder
There is a famous tale about a young Dutch boy who noticed a hole in the dike which protected his village from the sea. There was no one to call for help, and the rising waves of an approaching storm were threatening to flood the village. The boy pressed both his hands against the hole as hard as he could, and stood there all night in the storm, holding back the sea.

In Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a young part of the person is often in the role of the Dutch boy. Faced with collapsing boundaries and no help, he or she must put their own body in danger, sustaining injuries to body and psyche, to save others.

Does this role promote the persons sense of altruism, strength and purpose, or does it only entrench a reality of perpetual enslavement? Why does the hero part have to be a young one? And how can therapy support the growth of the young part, and the development of safety which does not depend on such sacrifices?

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL


12 December 2019 – Professor Brett Kahr

Hysterical Neuroses and Obsessive-Compulsive Neuroses
Although Sigmund Freud pioneered the theory and practice of depth psychology, based predominantly on his work with neurotic patients, especially those struggling with hysteria and with obsessive-compulsive disorders, the concept of neurosis has become increasingly marginalised within the fields of psychiatry, psychopathology and, even psychoanalysis itself. In this seminar, Professor Brett Kahr will review the classical foundations of the theories of hysteria and obsessive-compulsive illness and will argue for the importance of a detailed understanding of these ongoingly important characterological states. We shall begin by exploring Freud’s original work on the Studien uber Hysterie – the Studies on Hysteria – co-authored by Dr. Josef Breuer, as well as his exploration of the famous case of the obsessional “Rat Man”. We shall then consider more recent psychodynamic investigations of these foundational mental states.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

19 December 2019 – Sian Morgan

Sian will draw on her research into phobias. She will mainly be focusing on claustrophobia and agoraphobia.

Claustraphobia as pathological fullness and agoraphobia as pathological emptiness, both defences against painful traumatic and unmourned losses, leading to a constriction of both internal and external space. She will explore the notion of transitional space within which loss and emptiness can be borne and transformed through the expression of creativity.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL


9 January 2020 – Dr Gwen Adshead

Attachment and Forensic Psychopathology
In this talk, Gwen will discuss the implications of attachment theory for the understanding of those mental states which are involved in the commission of violent offending. There is growing evidence that early childhood adversity is a potent risk factor for persistent and severe violent crime. Gwen will explore how childhood adversity leads to disorganised attachment systems; and the parallel disorganisation of how relationships and the people in those relationships are represented in the mind. Specifically, Gwen will discuss the importance of attachment narratives; and the language that offenders use to describe themselves, their offences and their victims. Gwen will conclude with what these findings might imply for interventions for offenders and the services in which they are provided; and discuss recent relevant research.

Venue: The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL

16 January 2020 – Dr Phil Mollon

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Freud provided many interesting observations and perspectives in his classic 1914 paper On Narcissism. These were developed further in Kohut’s 1966 paper Forms and Transformations of Narcissism, in which he proposed a separate line of development of narcissism, from primitive to mature. The concept of narcissistic personality disorder did not em