Brief Intervention Models
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.
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
4. Designing interventions (individual and group)
Advanced Clinical Skills
Once our students 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
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 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.