Cropped photograph of Sigmund Freud

"The brain is wider than the sky." - Emily Dickinson

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • Tuesdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: October to December
  • Tutors: Various leading members of the UKCP
  • Fees from £126 to £235
Booking link

Logo of the U.K.C.P.This course is organised in partnership with the UK Council for Psychotherapy

Since the earliest recording of human culture, there has been evidence of human mental and emotional distress and ways to explain and alleviate it. On this ten week course we will explore aspects of the history of psychotherapy in the company of some of the leading figures working in psychotherapy today.

The course will begin by looking at the pre-history of psychotherapy which stretches back as far as the ancient Greek writer Hippocrates in the third-century BC, and we will look at other approaches rooted in ancient mystical and medical practices. Moving forward in time we will discover the work of Chalcot in the late 1800s, when psychological causes for physical symptoms started to be identified, which prompted the young Sigmund Freud to develop his psychoanalytic theory and practice. We will explore the ways in which World War I left civilian and social trauma that continued for generations and we will move on to post-Freudian understandings of the mind and therapies used today including exploration of the work with children, families and groups as well as development of cross-cultural therapy.

The programme will conclude with a consideration of what the future may hold against a backdrop of remarkable technological and medical advances, and yet seemingly ever-increasing feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.

Through this historical study we will encounter engaging facts, stories and discussion which will illuminate a practice that has often been shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding. The aim of the course is also to be interactive, so discussion on the themes raised will be welcomed and encouraged. Following a lecture, we will have discussions in smaller (breakout room) groups or questions and answers (Q&A) session exploring the topics in more depth.

We would like to create a safe space for open discussions on a range of potentially sensitive topics for all students and speakers, therefore none of the sessions will be recorded.

No prior knowledge of history, medicine or psychotherapy is required to join this course. Also please note that this course is not designed to train people in the practical skills of psychotherapy.

Live Online Course

This course will be taught live online (via the internet). To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped device for session attendance each week on the weekday and time shown above.

Attendance Certificate


Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate


Terms and conditions apply to all enrolments to this course. Please read them before enrolment

Course Information

Course Programme and Additional Reading

Autumn Term Course Programme (subject to possible minor modification)

  • Week 1 (11 October): How to Fix a Hole in the Head: A History of Psychotherapy from Trephination to the Talking Cure – Prof Brett Kahr
  • Week 2 (18 October): War and Neuroses – Martin Pollecoff
  • Week 3 (25 October): The development of Psychoanalysis by the Archaeologist of the Mind – Prof Brett Kahr (as above)
  • Week 4 (1 November): Psychotherapy’s connection with Art and Film – Prof Sarah Niblock
  • Week 5 (8 November): Self-actualisation: Humanistic Psychology and the Transpersonal – Martin Pollecoff (as above)
  • Week 6 (15 November): Mind, Body and Soul Rethought – Prof Divine Charura 
  • Week 7 (22 November): Stories unfold. Stories retold: A brief history of Child Psychotherapy – Michèle Bartlett 
  • Week 8 (29 November): Cross-cultural psychotherapy: Exploring identity, belongingness and otherness – Dr Zack Eleftheriadou 
  • Week 9 (6 December): Towards a global approach to psychotherapy - Syed Azmatullah
  • Week 10 (13 December): Beyond the Individual: Working with Families and Groups – Matthew Adam 

Course Facilitator: Professor Sarah Niblock, Chief Executive of UKCP

Our aim is to offer additional joint Imperial/UKCP courses entitled ‘Through the Psychotherapists Eyes’ (January to March 2023) and ‘Greatest Psychotherapists’ (April to June 2023), subject to sufficient student recruitment.

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.

Your Lecturers

Logo of the UK Council for PsychotherapyThe lecturers for this course are all members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy and experts in the field. By combining their expertise into one course this is a truely broad-ranging and enlightening series of classes that draws on the knowledge of some of the best people working in psychoterapy today.

The course convenor and lecture series facilitator is Professor Sarah Niblock who is the Chief Executive of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

For more information on the UK Council for Psychotherapy please visit the UKCP website.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

LecturesStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 10 Early Bird: £212  (£10.60 p/h)
Full price: £235   (£11.75 p/h)
Early Bird: £126  (£6.30 p/h)
Full price: £140   (£7 p/h)
Early Bird: £166  (£8.30 p/h)
Full price: £185   (£9.25 p/h)
All fee rates quoted are for ten lectures. Early Bird rates available 1 August to 30 Septmeber 2022 only. Part-payments are not possible. Equivalent to hourly rate is shown for comparison guidance only, it is not possible to pay pro-rata hourly rates.

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Term Dates

LecturesAutumn termSpring termSummer term
10  Week commencing 10 October to 17 December 2022*  n/a n/a
* This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August 2022. Early bird discounts are available from 1 August to 30 September 2022.

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. When enrolling:

  • Do check on the drop down menu above called "Course Fees and Rate Categories" to see if you are eligible for a discounted rate and also do make sure you select that rate when enrolling on the eStore
  • If you are a first-time eStore user you will need to create an account before enrolling. You can do this by entering an email address and password. This account can then be used for any future enrolments via the eStore.

When you have enrolled you will be sent the following email notifications:

What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working days. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about the academic content of this lecture series please contact the facilitator, Professor Sarah Niblock,

If you have any questions about your enrolment or payment processes please contact the Programme Administrator, Christian Jacobi,