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How bespoke courses worked for this university educator

Learn how we helped Dr. William Sharp of Northeastern University deliver a bespoke course for his students

“I generally don’t like online courses, so the fact that I was able to do this and really enjoyed it myself, speaks volumes in my mind.”

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Why did you decide to visit the Institute?

As a psychoanalyst, I love connecting with other like-minded people and of course the British Psychoanalytical Society in London has such an important history, I thought it was a must see. I made a contact and was able to then bring myself and 20 of my students in the Summer of 2018. I plan to return again in 2019 with more students. Psychoanalysis is something foreign to my students as undergrad psychology majors and I try to address that by showing that it is very much alive and relevant. Seeing a physical space for training and treatment is a great compliment to their visits to the Freud Museum and series of lectures there, and our visits to StillPoint spaces.

What did you want to get out of the visit?

I was very much hoping that students would find psychoanalysis relevant and accessible. I wanted them to see that there are real live psychoanalysts and people very committed to the field. They are told every semester in a counselling course offered here on campus that “that no one does psychoanalysis anymore” to which I assure them I exist and I am not the only one.

What online resources were provided to you and your students?

We did a selection of the Introductory Lectures online course content:

  • Freud and the Unconscious
  • Dreams
  • Transference and Countertransference
  • The analytic setting
  • Psychic Development

Each of the 5 recorded lectures came with transcripts, glossary of terms and study questions. All materials available continuously for the period of the course (end of June 2018 through August 5, 2018.)

How did they fit in alongside your face to face learning?

Very well! We did visits to the Freud Museum and had 4 lectures with Stefan Marianski. We visited the clinic at Stillpoint spaces and had some real great theory and applied work presented. In class, I also taught neo-Freudian theory to the students to augment and help understand the impact Freud had not just to psychoanalysis, but to the mental health field, applied psychology, and contemporary thinkers as well.

What did the students get from their visit?

Students definitely felt they “finally got a fair and balanced view of psychoanalysis”, they often referred to the whole trip as an “overview of psychoanalysis” even though I was providing a broader picture of personality theory and abnormal psychology concepts. I am fine with that as they get such a slant the other way in traditional on-campus classes. They enjoyed the readings
and really got into the history more than I thought they would, so that was an added bonus.

Have any of the students continued to pursue their interest in psychoanalysis after the visit?

Yes, one of the students who completed the dialogue graduated in August and got a job working with children. She intends to pursue a graduate degree in psychology and specifically psychoanalysis. The rest of the students are on average 2 years from graduating, but have stayed in contact and are on similar paths. I have written 2 recommendations for students who applied for internships in mental health settings, and are working with 2 now on long term planning for graduation school. As I am connected to BGSP (The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis) I have my program assistant interested in getting a Masters in Counselling there and I believe he will eventually come around to a full psychoanalytic training. (At the time, the state of Massachusetts doesn’t recognize Psychoanalysis as an independent license, so people start with a degree in social work, counselling, or clinical psychology). I did also have one student who wanted to read Freud more in-depth, so I made them a recommendation.

Would you recommend the bespoke programme to others? Why?
I would. This program was high quality- the video, transcripts and materials were laid out perfectly to help neophytes and interested parties alike. I actually raved about it at BGSP saying it was a model of what online courses should be. I am a fan of face-to-face teaching. I generally don’t like online courses, so the fact that I was able to do this and really enjoyed it myself, speaks volumes in my mind. I am interested and remain on the mailing list because I have the idea that one of these days I will take another course. The email announcements I get all pique my curiosity.

Dr. William Sharp is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Northeastern University in Boston. He holds a doctorate in Psychoanalysis from the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and also works as a psychoanalyst in private practice.

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