The unit will cover the rationale and key components of each brief intervention. For example, the students will critically appraise therapeutic strategies of CBT (including exposure, cognitive restructuring, relaxation, assertiveness training); solutions focused brief therapy (eg the miracle question, exception questions, scaling questions), motivational interviewing (eg open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections, summaries) and brief psychodynamic interpersonal therapy (a dynamic exploration of core repetitive patterns of relating). Emphasis is placed on the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these interventions. Teaching will consist of lectures, seminars, role-plays, experiential exercises, and class discussions of case studies. Formative assessment and feedback will take place through class discussions and presentations of ideas.
Core Therapeutic Skills
The unit presents the basic principles of different therapeutic approaches (Freudian, Cognitive-Behavioural, Compassion-focused, etc) and their theoretical underpinnings. Special emphasis is given to the Person-Centred / Humanistic Model (eg Carl Rogers’ views, self-actualisation, congruence, conditions of worth, etc) and central elements of the Person-Centred therapeutic process (eg the role of empathy, genuineness, acceptance, positive regard, etc). The unit addresses the role of the therapeutic alliance and evaluates various other relevant issues, such as areas of diversity in therapy, boundaries and ethics. Using scenario-based learning, role-playing and exercises, the unit involves practice of various core therapeutic skills (eg active listening, reflecting, paraphrasing, identifying internal / external frame of reference, Socratic questioning, etc).
Professional Practice Values
This unit covers topics that are essential for practitioners in the field of mental health including: the development of psychological therapies and how accessible they are to different communities of people; key policies and guidelines relating to common conditions; ethical codes of conduct including those from professional, regulatory and commissioning bodies and responsible practice issues. There will be a reflective focus to encourage self-evaluation of developing ethical knowledge and awareness. Learning will include direct teaching, discussion and debate, group appraisal tasks, PBL tasks relating to case vignettes.
Research Principles and Methods
This unit will introduce students to the principles and practice of research and evaluation will allow them to develop a critical overview of various methodologies. The content will allow students to make comparisons between different quantitative and qualitative modes of investigation and review the ethical, legal and political issues in the research process. Reflection and reflexivity in the research process will be encouraged. Students will be introduced to computing and information technology and how to undertake a literature searching strategy. They will develop a research question and write a research proposal/protocol. Additionally, they will review descriptive and inferential statistics and hypothesis testing. Lastly, students will review methods of qualitative and quantitative data analysis and experience interpreting the results of data analysis.
Service Evaluation and Development Research Dissertation
This unit will develop and apply independent clinically relevant research skills. It is related to applied psychology, social and personal change and to best practice in services.
Students will identify research questions, prepare an evaluation proposal and submit these to the Department of Psychology Postgraduate Ethics Committee for approval along with risk assessment appraisals and letters of authorisation from external bodies, prior to commencing the work. Students will design and carry out their evaluation study under the supervision of a member of staff in collaboration with a suitable service. All projects will involve collection of empirical data. Research may utilise whatever method or methods most suitable to address the identified evaluation aims. Depending upon the design of the project, qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approaches could be used. Collaborations with external agencies are likely to be required. Teaching is mainly via one to one supervision or group supervision (where appropriate). This enables students to develop research skills and use supervision sessions appropriately at the different stages of research.
Therapeutic Relationships and Processes
An introduction to three different approaches to psychotherapy characteristic of psychological practice; group/systems therapy, contemporary psychodynamic approaches, and cognitive analytic therapy. An understanding of each approach in terms of the processes of psychic change, techniques and interventions and the characterisation of the role of the therapist in the therapy. Critical evaluation of each approach will include a review of the research and the suitability and adaptation for the individual client in their social and cultural context. Students will be expected to develop a personal reflective attitude to the module content.
Personal Development and Reflection
This unit will focus on theory, research and practice in personal development and reflective practice. A number of psychological theories will underpin student learning and the practice of development and reflection. Core topics include boundaries and safe practices, motivations, core values and beliefs, training needs, record keeping, reflexivity and reflective practice, professional identity, privilege and social responsibility, supervision, self-care and resilience, working in teams and groups.
Learning will take place through a range of modalities including personal development groups, facilitator led tasks, and discussion groups and one-to one tutorials. Students will be required to keep a practitioner log and reflective diary throughout the unit.