module specification

PY7177 - Counselling Psychology Practice and Development (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Counselling Psychology Practice and Development
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
96 hours Placement / study abroad
32 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Appraisal
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance (minimum 80% registered attendance)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

Counselling Psychology Practice and Development is a year long module that supports students’ work in supervised practice placements, the integration of various aspects of their learning, and their personal and professional development as a whole. It is assessed via an end of year appraisal.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The module aims to support, integrate and evaluate a variety of aspects of students’ personal and professional development as they progress through Year 1 of the programme and begin their work supervised practice placement settings. It also aims to provide opportunities for students to regularly discuss and reflect on their practice and learning with their peers and members of the course team. It constitutes an important context in which development of key aspects of HPC and BPS frameworks can be supported and assessed.


  • Practice placementsand module induction
  • Placement documentation and requirements
  • Aims,learning outcomes and assessment in practice placements and on the module
  • Professional standards and conduct in placements and training
  • Client consent procedures and forms
  • Key skills in professional correspondence and record keeping
  • The use and interpretation of psychological tests on placements
  • Making use of supervision
  • Personal therapy and reflective practice groups

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy utilises a variety of methods to support achievement of the learning outcomes. Placement induction helps prepare students for undertaking work in practice placements and develops understanding of a variety of relevant issues, including approval requirements and processes. Experience in placements and supervision enables students to develop an ability to practice safely and effectively in a model of psychological therapy at a level appropriate to their stage of training. Reflective practice groups provide a context for student led learning and discussion of cases, which enhance their ability to reflect on their work and relationships with clients. Keeping a reflective journal promotes skills in autonomous reflective learning. Personal therapy provides a supportive context for enhancing self awareness and robustness. Mid year reviews and end of year appraisals develop students’ capacities for self-appraisal and planning of their learning, and for using feedback constructively.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a range of core professional competencies in their practice placement work and other areas of the programme

2. Effectively integrate their academic and theoretical and practical learning into their placement work and professional development

3. Practise safely and effectively within a recognised model of psychological therapy at a level appropriate to their stage of training.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy comprises a number of elements and requirements which provide a framework for evaluating a student’s professional development and achievement in relation to the module’s learning outcomes.

i) Practice placement experience and supervision
Students are required to complete a minimum of 80 hours of supervised counselling psychology practice in an approved placement, supervised at a minimum ratio of 1 hour of supervision for every 5 hours of client work, i.e. a minimum of 16 supervision hours. These requirements provide a context in which students can demonstrate the module’s learning outcomes and ensure that they gain an appropriate amount of relevant practical experience in the field, under the supervision of a qualified experienced practitioner, while receiving input from the taught syllabus of the programme. (Learning outcomes 3, 5 and 8)

ii) Practice placement competency evaluation
Students are required to submit two annual practice placement competency evaluation forms that have been completed by their placement supervisor, for each placement undertaken, one mid-year and one end-of-year. The competency evaluation form constitutes a key mechanism by which students’ development and achievements in relation key standards of proficiency for counselling psychologists can be directly monitored, supported and assessed by the programme. The form asks placement supervisors to comment on the student’s practice and development in the placement in relation to a number of core areas of the HPC and BPS competency frameworks for counselling psychology. Supervisors are also required to rate students’ performance in relation to the specified competencies as well as overall, either as: 1) exceeding, 2) meeting, 3) falling below, or 4) failing in the necessary standard of proficiency. Where a student receives a rating of 3) or 4) on any of the specific competency areas or overall, the significance of this will be considered and discussed by a member of the programme team with the student in their review and/or appraisal (see below) before reaching  a decision about whether the student has passed the module. (Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8)

iii) Personal therapy
Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of personal therapy with an appropriately qualified therapist by the end of Year 1 of the programme. The requirement for students to undertake their own therapy seeks to ensure that students are engaged in and committed to their own process of personal exploration and development. This in turn supports the development of important professional competencies, such as self-reflective capacity, empathic understanding of clients, and sensitivity to the inter-subjective processes affecting therapeutic relationships. (Learning outcomes 5 and 8)

iv) Reflective journal
Students are required to keep a reflective journal that supports the integration of their personal, theoretical and professional learning while on the programme. This is not read by members of the programme team, but students ask their supervisors or personal therapists to provide written confirmation that the journal is being kept. They must also submit a one-page summary from their reflective journal at their end-of-year appraisal. (Learning outcomes 2, 4, 5)

v) Mid-year review and end-of-year appraisal
Students are required to attend one mid-year review and one end-of-year appraisal with a member of the programme team. The purpose of the mid-year review is to discuss the student’s experiences of their development and placements so far; to check that they are progressing well towards meeting the module requirements; to ensure that their placement paperwork is up to date; to review their practice placement competency evaluation form(s) and highlight any areas for discussion or development; to discuss their performance in other areas of the programme; to provide formative feedback on their professional development to date, and to receive feedback from the student on their evaluation of their placements; help the student think about and prepare for their end-of-year appraisal. The aim of the end-of-year appraisal is to comprehensively review and formally evaluate the student’s practice, learning and development on the programme over the academic year, in relation to the module’s learning outcomes, drawing on information from a number of sources, to inform a decision about whether the student can pass the module. In the appraisal the appraiser will consider information from the following areas:

• Achievement of basic module requirements (e.g. placement, supervision and personal therapy hours; up-to-date placement documentation)
• Practice placement competence evaluations
• Evidence of use of supervision, personal therapy, reflective practice groups and the reflective journal to support personal and professional development
• Evidence of the student’s ability to critically reflect on and plan their learning and development
• The student’s performance on other programme modules
• The programme team’s experience of the student, e.g. through in-class engagement, professional conduct, attendance, punctuality
• The student’s response to and ability to use feedback, in an open and constructive manner and to take personal responsibility for their learning
• The student’s ability to manage the clinical, academic, personal and workload demands of the course
Provided students achieve the basic module requirements and demonstrate evidence of having met the learning outcomes, they will pass. Any concerns raised by supervisors, appraisers or programme team feedback about a student’s competency or conduct will be subject to discussion with the student, their supervisor and module or course leader, before reaching a decision about whether or not the student can pass the module and progress. (Learning outcomes 1 - 8)

vi) Attendance
Students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions for the module (i.e. reflective practice groups).  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.


Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective practice: Writing and professional development (3rd ed.). London: Sage.

Bor, R. & Watts. M.H. (2010). The trainee handbook: A guide for counselling and psychotherapy trainees. London: Sage.

British Psychological Society, Code of ethics and conduct,

British Psychological Society, Division of Counselling Psychology Professional Practice Guidelines,

British Psychological Society, Accreditation through partnership handbook: guidance for counselling psychology programmes:

Health Professions Council, Standards of conduct and ethics for students:

Health Professions Council, Standards of proficiency for practitioner psychologists:

Hughes, J. & Youngson, S. (2009). Personal development and clinical psychology. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

London Metropolitan University, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, Practice placement database.

London Metropolitan University, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, Practice placement provider handbook.

London Metropolitan University, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, Practice placement trainee handbook.

Skovholt, T.M. & Ronnestad, M.H. (1995). The evolving professional self: stages and themes in therapist and counselor development. New York: Wiley.