An exploration of the use of projective techniques by educational psychologists in the UK

  • Rachael King

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


As applied psychologists, educational psychologists are often involved when situations surrounding a child are complex (Lane and Corrie, 2006) and much of an EP's work is problem-centred (BPS, 2002). To make EPs effective in their role they need to be able to apply a range of theories and frameworks, specific to the clients involved, with projective techniques being part of a 'professional tool kit', which EPs can use when they feel appropriate in an open minded and child focused way. PTs have their roots in psychodynamic theory, with a belief that ambiguous stimuli will allow meaning to be given from the internal processes of the unconscious and enable these unconscious processes to be observed (Levin-Rozalis, 2006). The current research aims to address the use of PTs in relation to educational psychology practice in the UK, and looks at the challenges to EPs who are using PTs, the reported benefits and an exploration of why some EPs may not be open to the use of such techniques.Eight practising EPs participated in semi-structured interviews, two from a specialist sample who used PTs and six from a broader sample. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to identify key themes pertaining to the potential contribution, and the facilitators and barriers of using PTs and a psychodynamic framework for EPs based in the UK, aiming to add to the minimal academic research base and to encourage acceptance, usage and future training.
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Woods (Supervisor) & Caroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • assessment
  • psychodynamic
  • educational psychology
  • psychoanalytic
  • projective

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