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Psychotherapy in medical practice

Type of the course: compulsory

                 code: AOKPSI050_1A

                 credit: 2 credits 14 hours lecture + 14 hours practice

Presenter of the course: Dr. Zsolt Unoka, Dr. György Purebl, Dr. Réthelyi János, Dr. Kovács József

First semester: 2018/2019

Course objectives:

The objective of the course is that students acquire basic skills in psychotherapy which are necessary in general medical practice. Students are expected to gain knowledge about basic psychotherapeutic techniques necessary in the medical profession. Further objectives of the course are to further-develop the students’ communication skills, to enable them to independently recognize and treat the problems approachable with psychotherapy on a basic level.

Course Syllabus:

Unit 1.

Highlights: Introduction, socialisation for skills-development training methods, activation of previous knowledge (medical communication, medical psychology). Skills need to be aquired: forms of relflexions, reframing, normalisation, decatastrophising, Socratic questioning.


  • Introduction.
  • The roles of psychotherapy in the general medical practice. Management of illness-related stress
  • Basic counselling skills
  • Basic psychotherapy skills for treating anxiety

Unit lectures:

  • The mechanisms and core competencies of psychotherapy
  • Pychotherapy of anxiety

Unit 2

Highlights: Basic CBT skills of frequent comorbid mental disorders. Skills need to be acquired: behavioral activation, shifting focus to positive experiences, standard questions, indentification of NAT, and cognitive distorsions, column-methods, stimulus controll, principles of individual and couple counselling and paradoxical instructions.


  • Psychoterapy of depression
  • Psychotherapy of insomnia
  • Psychoterapy of sexual dysfunctions

Unit lectures:

  • Pychotherapy of depression
  • Principles of counselling, stimulus control and paradoxical instrucition (focus of insomnia and sexual dysfunctions)

Unit 3

Highlights: Mental disorders in common medical settings and the management of compliance problems, with a special focus of motivational skills. Skills need to be acquired: Motiational interviewing, Solution-focused counselling, assertive confrontation.


  • Pychotherapy support of clients with chronic conditions
  • Psychotherapy pf somatic symptom disorders
  • Psychotherapy of addictions

Unit lectures

  • Motivational techniques in the common medical practices (with a special focus on substance abuse and non-comliance)
  • Pscychotherapy of somatic symptom disorders


Unit 4

Highlights: Management of difficult patients. Skills need to be acquired: Psychological first aid, crisis-intervention, LEAP


  • Psychotherapeutic support of clients with psychosis
  • Management of difficult patients
  • Suicide prevention and crisis intervention

Unit lectures

  • Crisis intervention and suicid prevention skills
  • Management of psychotic patients

Textbook and other learnng materials

Unoka, Purebl, Réthelyi, Kovács, Túry, Bitter: Psychotherapy basics. Semmelweis Kiadó Budapest 2018.

Psychotherapy in the medical practice E-learning units

Missing and make up classes: 3×45 min absence is accepted, otherwise the general regulation of blocked teaching shall be applied

Certifying the absence(s) from seminars and examinations:

Requirement for the participation on seminars is to read the e-learning material and complete the e-learning exercises. Attendance list and practice record will be made on every seminar. The seminar leader notes down the following data in the practice record: topic of the seminar, the demonstrated psychotherapeutic techniques, the practice group and the date.  In case of absence the Department will not accept medical certificate, absences have to be made up.

Assessments during the semester (reports, written assignments) :

Requirements for the signature at the end of the semester:

  • Regular active participation on the teaching units, where psychotherapy techniques are practiced (participate in role plays) , (2) reading the appropriate e-learning material before attending the teaching units

Method of the calculation of marks:

The condition for getting the semi-final grade is to pass a multiple-choice test examination. less than 50% -failed, 51-60% – 2, 61-70% – 3, 71-85% 4, 86% and more – 5

Type of the exam: semi-final test exam

Requirements for the exam: Regular active participation in seminars where psychotherapy techniques are practiced (participate in role plays) , (2) reading the e-learning material

(4) Studying the exam material.

Application for the exam: Through the Neptun system. Students are required to register for the exam date of the institution the seminars of which they have attended during the semester.

Changing the application for the exam: Through the Neptun system.

Justification of the absence from the exam: Medical certificate has to be presented within three workdays to the course leader.

Course textbook:

Unoka, Purebl, Réthelyi, Kovács, Túry, Bitter: Psychotherapy basics. Semmelweis Kiadó 2018.

Recommended texbooks:

Glen O. Gabbard, Judith S. Beck, Jeremy Holmes – Oxford Texbook of Psychotherapy, Oxford University Press, 2007 – 534 pages

Thomä H, Kächele H (1987) Textbook of Psychoanalytic Therapy. 1 The basics. MIET Psychotherapeutic Team. Budapest, 1987.

Rogers CR. (2006) On Becoming a Person. The Birth of a Personality.