module specification

PY7176 - Working with Difference and Diversity (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Working with Difference and Diversity
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
178 hours Guided independent study
22 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100% 50 Essay (3,000 words)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance (minimum of 80% registered attendance)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

Working with Difference and Diversity is a spring semester module that develops awareness and understanding of issues regarding difference and diversity that are relevant to enabling effective, non-discriminatory practice as a counselling psychologist with a range of clients. It is assessed via a reflective essay.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The module aims to enhance student’s awareness of and ability to critically reflect on the potential relevance of issues regarding difference and diversity that arise in the course of contemporary psychological practice. It thus aims to support students’ ability to form effective therapeutic relationships with a range of clients and to promote high standards of non-discriminatory practice and service provision.


• The relevance of difference and diversity to socio-cultural and health service contexts
• Understanding the influence of contextual issues on human development and mental health inequalities
• Developing awareness of forms of difference and diversity
• Understanding potential barriers and access to services, relevant policy and research
• Promoting flexible and adaptive service provision and intervention; relevant practitioner skills
• Lifespan development and its implications for therapeutic practice
• Being critically reflective about difference and diversity discourse
• Reflecting on therapist difference and diversity, self-awareness and implications for practice and relationships
• Managing difficulties arising from difference and diversity 

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy promotes development of the awareness and skills relevant to the learning outcomes using a variety of methods. Lectures, supplementary reading and Weblearn resources promote knowledge and awareness of key concepts, issues and debates. In-class exercises and critical discussion enhance students’ capacities for reflecting on difference and diversity issues and provide opportunities to develop relevant practitioner skills. Discussion of diversity within the student group itself is used to provide a relevant source of learning and insight. Reflection on individual learning and future development is a component of the module’s assessment.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will:

1. Have a critical awareness of forms of difference and diversity, and their potential relevance to effective and non-discriminatory professional practice and relationships.

2. Show a capacity to form effective non-discriminatory relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds and adapt their practice as appropriate.

3. Be able to critically reflect upon aspects of their own difference, and potential implications for their practice and development.

Assessment strategy

i) Written assignment
The assessment strategy focuses on students’ awareness of issues of difference and diversity, their ability to work effectively with such issues in practice and their capacity to reflect upon potentially relevant difference and diversity issues in themselves. Students complete a written assignment in which they are required to demonstrate each of these competencies. The written assignment will have two parts.

Part 1) Students will be asked to select and describe two cases from their practice (1,000 words each) so far in which they feel issues regarding difference and diversity have been relevant. The two cases selected should address different kinds of diversity issues. Students will be asked to critically evaluate the way they responded to, thought about and worked with these particular dimensions of the cases presented, drawing on relevant literature, policy and research to inform their discussion and learning. Attention should be paid to i) potentially relevant considerations for the therapeutic relationship, non-discriminatory practice, ii) adaptations to practice that were or could have been made to the student’s practice; and iii) articulating what the student feels has been learned about working with difference and diversity from their experience in each case. (2,000 words; learning outcomes 1 and 2).

Part 2) Students will be asked to i) select and describe an aspect of themselves that they associate with a sense of personal difference and which they feel has some relevance to their professional role, and ii) to consider the potential implications of this for their practice, relationships with clients and other professionals, their identity and future development as a counselling psychologist. This should be illustrated with an example from one or two pertinent cases and supported by references to relevant literature to inform and expand the discussion and reflection. (1,000 words; learning outcome 3).

ii) Attendance
Students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions for the module.  Although there may be occasions when circumstances prevent trainees from attending (e.g., illness), a minimum of 80% attendance is required overall to demonstrate adequate engagement with the module.


Davies, D. (2000). Therapeutic perspectives on working with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients (Pink Therapy). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Lago, C. (2005). Race, culture and counselling: The ongoing challenge. London: Sage.

Palmer, S. (Ed.) (2001). Multicultural counselling: A reader. London: Sage.

Pilgrim, D. & Rogers, A. (2002). Mental health and inequality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Proctor, G. (2002). The dynamics of power in counselling and psychotherapy. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.

Storry, M. & Childs, P. (Eds.) (2007). British cultural identities (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.

Sugarman, L. (2004). Counselling and the life course (Professional skills for counsellors series). London: Sage.

West, W. (2004). Spiritual issues in therapy: Relating experience to practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wheeler, S. (2010). Difference and diversity in counselling: contemporary psychodynamic approaches. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Woolfe, R., Strawbriedge, S., Douglas, B. & Dryden, W. (Eds.) (2009). Handbook of counselling psychology (3rd ed.). London: Sage.