Salta al contenuto principale della pagina


CODE 67553
CREDITS 8 credits during the 3nd year of 8751 Psychological Sciences and Techniques (L-24) GENOVA
TEACHING LOCATION GENOVA (Psychological Sciences and Techniques)
SEMESTER 1° Semester
You can take the exam for this unit if you passed the following exam(s):
  • Psychological Sciences and Techniques 8751 (coorte 2019/2020)


The teaching of clinical psychology concerns one of the main theoretical and applied branches of psychology including the scientific study and applications of psychology about the understanding, prevention and intervention of psychological and relational problems in individuals, families and groups.



The teaching aims to provide a framework of clinical psychology, with regard to the main theories and methods of intervention with a specific focus both on the psychodynamic paradigm and attachment theory. Particular attention will be devoted to the reflection on the role of clinical psychologist in the different contexts of intervention, the demand analysis model, the dynamics of the clinical relationship, from the institution of the setting to its conclusion, the psychodynamic assessment and attachment-based psychotherapeutic treatments.


The course aims at providing students with theoretical and methodological knowledge on Clinical Psychology, its intervention methods and research field. The course will address the main issues of clinical psychology and it will be organized in three parts: 

Ø Part 1: Concepts, definitions and paradigms of Clinical Psychology.

Definition of Clinical Psychology – Theoretical models of motivation – Psychopathology – Intervention techniques – Diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative activities – Psychological intervention in different contexts

Ø Part 2: Assessment of clinical disorders and personality disorders.

Mental functioning - Psychopathological suffering - Affect Regulation - Relational patterns - Developmental issues - Defense mechanisms - Personality organizations – Psychodynamic diagnosis

Ø Part 3: Models and Methodologies of Clinical Intervention. 

Therapeutic relationship - Transference and countertransference – Therapeutic Alliance – Clinical Training -Attachment-based Psychotherapies- Ethical principles and professional ethics

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

1.     to define the clinical psychology and the role of the clinical psychologist in the different contexts of intervention (knowledge and understanding)

2.     understand and reflect on the model of demand analysis (applying knowledge and understanding)

3.     acquire adequate knowledge related to the construction of the clinical relationship, from sending it to its conclusion, to its processes and problems (knowledge and understanding)

4.     acquire adequate knowledge concerning the psychodynamic evaluation and its methodologies (knowledge and understanding)

5.     apply the acquired knowledge to the analysis of clinical cases (applying knowledge and understanding)

6.     acquire adequate knowledge concerning attachment-based psychotherapies (knowledge and understanding)

7.     acquire the technical language typical of clinical psychology to communicate with specialists and non-specialists and to orientate oneself in future choices (learning skills)


Required prerequisites: Dynamic Psychology exam. The student must adequately master the concepts of dynamic psychology and have good knowledge of the contributions of the most significant and influential psychoanalysts.


Combination of traditional lectures in the presence through slides and presentations, also with not academic expert clinical psychologists (if it will be possible), and classroom discussion of clinical cases both in small and large group. 

A critical and active participation of the students will be encouraged.


The course program will include the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

  • The complex definition of clinical psychology
  • Analysis of the demand as a model for clinical-psychological practice
  • The unconscious in the clinical relationship
  • Treat the question of clinical psychology: from sending to the consultation institution
  • The "short" psychological-clinical intervention
  • The clinical relationship: the therapeutic alliance
  • The conclusion of the psychological intervention
  • The supervision relationship
  • Nosography-descriptive (DSM) and interpretative diagnosis (psychodynamic evaluation)
  • Methodologies: the Structural Interview by Kernberg
  • The evolutionary levels of personality organization
  • Defence mechanisms
  • Types of personality organization (psychopathic, narcissistic, schizoid, etc.)
  • Attachment in clinical practice
  • The trauma and the avoidant client
  • Avoiding defences
  • Activate the attachment system: challenge the client
  • Emotional detachment: the mourning’s avoidance
  • Build the therapeutic relationship with the avoidant client: the centrality of empathy
  • The treatment of avoidant client


Bibliography list: 


The following books can be also found in English: 

1.     McWilliams N. (1994). La diagnosi psicoanalitica. Tr. it. Astrolabio, 1999, Roma; 

2.     Gabbard G. O. (2005) Introduzione alla psicoterapia psicodinamica. Raffaello Cortina, Milano; 

3.     Muller R.T. (2010). Il trauma e il cliente evitante. Strategie di guarigione basate sull’attaccamento (Trauma and the avoidant client: attachment-based strategies for healing). Giovanni Fioriti, Roma. 

The book written by Italian scholar (Grasso M. (2010). La relazione terapeutica, Il Mulino, Bologna) can be replaced with other text agreed with the Professor.


Exam Board


CECILIA SERENA PACE (President Substitute)



Combination of traditional lectures in the presence through slides and presentations, also with not academic expert clinical psychologists (if it will be possible), and classroom discussion of clinical cases both in small and large group. 

A critical and active participation of the students will be encouraged.


The lessons, following the decisions taken by the Degree Course Council on 06/09/2021, will take place:

-      Tuesday, 2-4 pm in person (in the same way as Psychological Intervention Methods in Educational Contexts - 67268 - by prof. Morra). The lessons will not be videotaped but, given the limited capacity of the classroom that does not allow access to everyone, students can attend via Teams in synchronous mode (code: cwzwa5k).

-      Wednesday and Thursday 10-12 am remotely via Teams platform (code: cwzwa5k).

Class schedule




To ensure uniformity of treatment for all students, which in the Professor's opinion would not be guaranteed by a mixed modality, for the current academic year (2021-22) the exam modality will be in oral form remotely through Teams, which will be followed by the electronic recording of the grade by the Professor.

The evaluation will be expressed out of thirty. For passing the exam, the lowest grade will be 18/30 and the highest will be 30/30. In the event of "failure / withdrawal / refusal of grade" in an exam session, students are allowed to repeat the exam in the next session.


The oral exam includes open-ended questions regarding the bibliographic material and, only for attending students, topics presented and discussed in classes. 

The professor will consider, with the attending students, the possibility of adding a pre-session exam in the last lesson of the teaching. In this case, the pre-session exam will take place in written form and in person.

The students must be able to demonstrate that they have acquired the contents of teaching, they are able to appropriately managing them, connecting and comparing different clinical constructs/perspectives, as well as they have learned how to communicate them using scientific language and technical terms.

Extraordinary sessions will not be granted outside the periods indicated in the Study Program Regulations.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
11/01/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
25/01/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
15/02/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
24/05/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
07/06/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
21/06/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
05/07/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale
06/09/2022 14:00 GENOVA Orale


For the 2021-22 academic year, the teacher of Clinical Psychology (67553) is available to follow 10 theses of the Bachelor's Degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques. The topics proposed are the following:

1. Eating disorders and alexithymia for a maximum of 4 theses, each on more specific topics (eg anorexia nervosa and alexithymia, bulimia nervosa and alexithymia, etc.).

2. Adoption for a maximum of 4 theses, each on more specific topics (eg brother/sister in adoption, the emotions of adopted minors).

3. Minors in residential communities for a maximum of 2 theses, each on more specific topics (eg relationships between brothers, relationships with peers.)

The teacher of Clinical Psychology (67553) is available to follow 1 Master's thesis in Psychology on the topic of Mental health services for foreigners: objectives, methodologies and interventions.

The theses will all be organized as reviews of studies on the international scene, written almost exclusively in English, so a good knowledge of that language and above all excellent reading skills are required.

Interested students can send an email to the teacher's address ( within the next two weeks (deadline: 03/10/2021), indicating:

- Topic of interest and motivation

- CV related to experiences that you consider useful (e.g. knowledge of English, software, exam marks, etc.)

The individuals * identified * will then be trained on how to carry out an accurate online bibliographic search.

Other questions on the thesis may be asked during the first teaching lesson on Tuesday 28/09/2021 at 2-4 pm in person.

Students with SLD (Specific Learning Disabilities), disability or other special educational needs are recommended to contact the professor at the beginning of the course to agree on teaching and exam methods which, according to the course’s objectives, take into account the modalities individual learning and provide suitable compensatory tools.