MSc Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice

What is the role of empathy in the therapeutic process? How do you design a community-based intervention? In what ways does compassionate mind training support practitioner wellbeing?

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Develop your clinical skills (including assessment, formulation, intervention design and evaluation) and knowledge of theories related to promoting psychological wellbeing. Evaluate therapeutic methods and enhance your reflective practice. And, apply your clinical skills to a field-based dissertation related to best practice in mental health services.

We’ve designed this course for practitioners working across mental health services, from nursing to social work. It focuses on person-centred care in mental health settings and shaping professional practice values.

The course is designed to support the development of core clinical competencies, as outlined by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Through the core units, you’ll develop a thorough understanding of theoretical and practice frameworks in mental health settings, reflective practice and practitioner wellbeing.

You’ll explore popular therapeutic approaches (including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing) and advanced clinical skills, such as assessment, formulation, intervention design and evaluation.

You’ll apply these clinical skills to a field-based dissertation related to best practice in services. You might investigate a particular psychological intervention for clients or members of staff, conduct a service audit or evaluation project or produce an explorative project around how a psychological service caters for their clients.

Features and Benefits

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

Career Prospects

You’ll have the skills to help you pursue a leadership position across health and social care.

You could also continue with further study, such as for a professional doctorate in clinical psychology or counselling psychology. This course also forms Stage 1 of our Doctor of Professional Studies in Psychological Therapies (DProf).

When you complete Stage 1 and Stage 2 (the professional doctorate), you can apply to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for practitioner registration.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

A 2:1 or above in an honours degree course or overseas equivalent related to the allied health/social care professions (eg psychology, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, education). Each applicant will be judged on an individual basis and lower degree classifications may be considered depending upon the applicant's personal circumstances.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

An additional requirement for students of this programme is to have the opportunity to continue or begin relevant work alongside their studies, on a paid or voluntary basis.

Successful completion of one unit within this course requires a full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure you are able to undertake a suitable placement component. The cost of the DBS check is included in your academic fees and further information about the DBS policy at MMU can be found here. 

Finally, we will specifically look for applicants who can showcase their ability to develop skills in reflective and ethical practice.

If you are unsure as to whether you meet the entry requirements for the course, please liaise with the admissions team who can provide further information. 

Course details

Our masters course is for practitioners working in mental health settings and students hoping to pursue a professional doctorate in clinical psychology or counselling psychology, or PhD study.

You might be a social worker, a mental health nurse, an occupational therapist working in mental health services, an educator, or a medical practitioner. Whichever field you work in, you’ll focus on connecting theory with practice, developing your awareness of yourself as a practitioner, and improving your clinical skills.

Through this course, you’ll advance your clinical skills in assessment, formulation, intervention planning, evaluation, reformulation and reflection. You’ll be able to critically consider the use a range of evidence-based therapeutic techniques across a variety of situations, supporting people with differing needs and strengths.

Some of the topics you’ll study include psychodynamic interpersonal therapy, therapeutic approaches (with an emphasis on Person-Centred), and key policies and guidelines relating to common conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

You’ll consider theory-practice links appropriate to both the NHS and private sectors. This is to encourage you to develop a wider perspective on healthcare and the ability to critically appraise mental health provisions.

We focus on practitioner wellbeing in this course to help you become a self-aware and resilient practitioner. As a graduate, you’ll be able to recognise and meet your own wellbeing needs, as well as support those of your colleagues and clients.

You’ll learn through a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and workshops, skills practice, and peer learning, where you’ll share your practice experiences.

We assess you through a variety of methods, such as group presentations, exams, and critical reports. Your final piece is a dissertation focusing on a service evaluation within a mental health setting.

Typically, your dissertation consists of an evaluation and an article, which you’ll write to the guidelines of an appropriate journal of your choice.

Your evaluation study is usually 6,000 words and presents the theoretical basis, undertakings and findings of your work. Your clinical recommendations article (normally 2,000 words) explores the clinical implications and findings of your work further, to help services develop.

Core course teaching takes place on Mondays and Tuesdays, although additional Study Skills teaching and supervisory meetings will take place throughout the week. Therefore, full-time students should ensure they are able to attend all teaching and supervision meetings to maximise their learning experience throughout the course.

The central ethos of this Masters programme is of person centred care in mental health settings, shaping professional practice values. In order to graduate with the MSc qualification, students must gain 180 credits over seven core and optional units. 

Core units

  • Brief Intervention Models
  • Clinical Skills
  • Professional Practice Values
  • Psychological Wellbeing in Practice
  • Research Principles and Methods
  • Service Evaluation and Development
  • Core Therapeutic Principles 

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Brief Intervention Models

This unit covers the rationale and key components of each brief intervention. For example, you'll critically appraise therapeutic strategies of CBT (including exposure, cognitive restructuring, relaxation, assertiveness training); solutions focused brief therapy (e.g. the miracle question, exception questions, scaling questions), motivational interviewing (e.g. 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 consists 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.

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 and PBL tasks relating to case vignettes.

Clinical Skills

A number of therapeutic techniques will be drawn upon in order to explore how to undertake assessments, collaboratively formulate and support people with a variety of needs and strengths. The first part of this unit will cover:
1. The therapeutic alliance
2. Assessment
3. Formulation
4. Designing interventions (individual and group)

Advanced Clinical Skills

Once you have developed a secure-base of knowledge around core clinical skills and therapeutic techniques, a number of advanced clinical skills will be introduced. You will start to develop your critical appraisal skills and knowledge as you evaluate and reflect upon your clinical work and the work of other practitioners. In order to facilitate this process, both psychological theory and clinical vignettes will be drawn upon. Finally, key supervision models will be introduced  so you can start to develop reflective thinking into your practice.

The second part of the unit will address:
1. Audit and Evaluation
2. Reflective Practice
3. Supervision
Formative assessment and feedback will take place through class discussions and presentations of ideas. Finally, in order to ensure that you are familiar with these processes in contemporary and relevant therapeutic models, the core and advanced skills will be taught in four main strands: cognitive behavioural therapy, solutions-focused brief therapy, narrative and cognitive analytic therapy.

Psychological Wellbeing in Practice

To teach and support reflective practice, students will have a choice of the experiential learning groups they join. Students will take turns to lead peer supervision groups, although a member of staff will oversee them. These peer supervision groups will further facilitate reflective practice and learning through the experiences of other members of the group. The experiential learning group options will be:
(a) Compassionate Mind Training;
(b) Humanistic Perspectives;
(c) Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Within this unit, the following aspects will also be taught:

  • Special interest teaching sessions
  • Models of supervision in practice
  • Peer supervision groups around professional practice issues
Research Principles and Methods

This unit will introduce you to the principles and practice of research and evaluation will allow you to develop a critical overview of various methodologies. The content will allow you 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.

You'll be introduced to computing and information technology and how to undertake a literature searching strategy, develop a research question and write a research proposal/protocol and review descriptive and inferential statistics and hypothesis testing.

Finally, you'll 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.

You'll 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. You'll 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 you to develop research skills and use supervision sessions appropriately at the different stages of research.

Core Therapeutic Principles

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 (e.g. Carl Rogers’ views, self-actualisation, congruence, conditions of worth, etc.) and central elements of the Person-Centred therapeutic process (e.g. 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- and observation-based learning, students will develop familiarity with core therapeutic skills (e.g. active listening, reflecting, paraphrasing, identifying internal / external frame of reference, Socratic questioning, etc.). 

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Placement options

This course has an integrated placement and includes just over 300 hours of teaching, which together can form part of an individual application for registration with organisations such as the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). However, it is predominantly an academic postgraduate degree and not a professional qualification. Further information about careers in therapy can be found on the BACP and UKCP careers webpages.

Professional Practice Values

The learning outcomes for the Professional Practice Values unit are specifically practice-based and require the experiential learning of developing and implementing practitioner knowledge and values. Work-based learning will help you demonstrate your ability to work in the field of mental health and enhance your confidence in becoming practitioners. It will also deepen your experiential understanding of theory-practice links. Through the undertaking of work-based learning, you will gain work-based specific skills, contacts and knowledge to complement your academic learning. All students, irrespective of background, will be supported by members of staff in order to choose a suitable work-based learning provider.

For this unit you will require a full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure you are able to undertake the suitable placement component. The cost of the DBS check is included in your academic fees and further information about the DBS policy at Manchester Met can be found here. The placement component will be discussed in detail during your course induction.

Department of Psychology

Our Department of Psychology is a large, diverse team of accredited psychologists, which includes practicing researchers, counsellors, and forensic and community psychologists.

The department aims to bring a real, relevant and modern perspective to teaching, with a view to using its wealth of knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to inspire the next generation of psychologists.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £2,834 to £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £5,334 to £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2667 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

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If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

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