module specification

PY8PB7 - Advanced Psychological Theory and Practice 1 (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Advanced Psychological Theory and Practice 1
Module level Doctoral (08)
Credit rating for module 100
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 1000
204 hours Placement / study abroad
670 hours Guided independent study
126 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Other 0%   Appraisal
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance
Coursework 100%   Integrated case study and process report (6,000 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

Advanced Psychological Theory and Practice - 1 runs over the second year of the doctoral programme in counselling psychology, and supports development of a range of postgraduate level competencies in psychological theory and practice that help the trainee progress further towards the achievement of HCPC and BPS standards of proficiency. It is assessed via an integrated case study and process analysis and an end-of-year appraisal, which includes a competency evaluation by students’ practice placement supervisors.

Prior learning requirements

Pass in all Year 1 modules from Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, plus pass in the research proposal of Research Project and Critical Skills PYPPB4N

Module aims

The module aims to support and monitor continued development of students’ theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in counselling psychology over the second year of the programme. It aims to promote students’ ability to critique and think about theory-practice issues in a way that reflects the development of their own professional identity and makes a potential contribution to psychological knowledge. This and the Advanced Psychological Research module constitute a framework via which students develop a standard of proficiency across academic, clinical and practical competency areas that will enable them to meet HCPC and BPS standards for qualification as a counselling psychologist at the end of the third year.


• The theory and practice of cognitive behavioural models of therapy
• The theory and practice of psychodynamic models of therapy
• Contemporary models of psychological therapy
• Supervised counselling psychology practice and development

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy for the module incorporates a variety of methods and activities that support achievement of the learning outcomes. Lectures help students develop knowledge of theory, research and practice, in relation to a range of models and modalities of therapy. Guided independent study consolidates understanding and promotes independent thinking and engagement. Workshops focus on student-centred development of knowledge and skills in relation to a number of relevant professional topic areas for counselling psychologists. Group exercises promote independent critical evaluation of ideas and expose students to a problem-based learning approach. Case discussion supports students’ abilities to conceptualise clinical material from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Reflective practice groups and personal therapy foster student’s capacity to reflect on themselves, their clients and their relationships. Ongoing supervised practice placement work enables students to develop their proficiency in the required range of core professional competencies. Mid-year reviews and end-of-year appraisals support integration of personal, academic, theoretical and practical learning, and planning of future development. Reflective journals promote students’ skills and engagement in ongoing reflective learning. Weblearn is used to provide students with access to a range of resources relevant to achieving the learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the philosophy, theory, and practice of cognitive behavioural therapy, and an ability to practice safely and competently within this model, through the cycle of assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation

2. Demonstrate a sound working knowledge and understanding of the philosophy, theory, and practice of psychodynamic therapy

3. Be aware of and able to conceptualise clinical material and experiences from a variety of theoretical perspectives in coherent manner that enhances understanding

4. Be able to reflect on therapeutic process, relationships and use of self in a sophisticated manner that enhances practice, including in complex or challenging clinical scenarios

5. Be able to draw on research, experience and other forms of evidence to inform their practice and decision making 

6. Be able to offer critique and observations about psychological theory, research and practice that contribute to professional knowledge, and enable informed judgements on complex issues

7. Have an awareness and understanding of psychological work within a variety of settings, time-frames, client groups and modalities, and an ability to practice in a range of these

8. Be able to demonstrate a philosophy of practice that coherently integrates their personal, academic, theoretical and clinical experiences to date

9. Be able to critically and constructively reflect on their learning and development and identity as a counselling psychologist

10. Demonstrate a high standard of proficiency in a range of professional competencies, including standards of written communication in course assessment.

11. Demonstrate fitness to practice, rigorous ethical standards and a commitment to their ongoing professional development as counselling psychologists

12. Have completed a minimum of 250 hours of supervised counselling psychology practice in approved placements

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy comprises a number of elements and requirements which together provide a framework for assessing students’ achievement of the module’s learning outcomes.

i) Integrated case study and process analysis
Students submit an integrated case study and process analysis at the end of the module, in which their ability to demonstrate core theory and practice learning outcomes is evaluated. The submission incorporates an analysis by the student of an audio-recording and transcribed extract from a selected session of the case, in which their capacity to examine therapeutic process and critically reflect on their work in a detailed manner is demonstrated and assessed. (Learning outcomes 1-11).

iii) Practice placement experience and supervision
By the end of the module, students are required to have accrued a minimum of 250 hours of supervised counselling psychology practice in approved placements. These requirements provide a context in which students can demonstrate the module’s learning outcomes and remain on track to accrue the amount of clinical experience necessary to be eligible to apply for Chartered status with the British Psychological Society by the end of the training (i.e. 450 hours). Supervision at this stage in the programme must be provided at a minimum ratio of 1 hour of supervision for every 8 hours of client work to adequately support development and evaluation of the requisite competencies. (Learning outcomes 1, 7, 11, 12)

iv) Practice placement competency evaluation
Students usually submit two practice placement competency evaluation forms, which have been completed by their placement supervisor, at approximately 6-monthly intervals for each placement undertaken. The evaluations are usually completed mid-way through and towards the end of an academic year or placement contract. Completion of the evaluations coincides with the mid-year reviews and end-of-year appraisals respectively (see below). In practice placement competency evaluations supervisors are asked to comment on and rate the student’s practice and development in relation to a number of core areas of the HCPC and BPS competence frameworks for counselling psychology. They thus constitute a key means by which students’ development of key standards of proficiency are monitored, supported and assessed on the programme. (Learning outcomes 3-6, 9, 10)

v) Personal therapy
Following the 20 hours completed for module PY7177 in Year 1 of the programme, students must continue to engage in personal therapy during module PY8PB7 and have completed a minimum of 60 hours of personal therapy with an appropriately qualified therapist by the end of the module PY8PB8. This provides a basis for supporting and assessing the development of their self-reflective capacities, and ensures students remain engaged in their own process of personal exploration and development in line with BPS requirements. (Learning outcomes 4, 11)

vi) Reflective diary
Students are required to keep a reflective journal that supports the integration of their personal learning and professional development while on the programme. This is not read by members of the programme team, but students must get 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 4, 8, 9)

vii) Mid-year review and end-of-year appraisal
Over the course of the module, each student is required to attend a mid-year review and an end-of-year appraisal with a member of the programme team. The review coincides with and takes place just after the mid-year practice placement competency evaluation forms have been completed; and the appraisal takes place just after the end-of-year competency evaluation forms have been completed. This is to enable the practice placement competency evaluations to be considered as part of the programme’s internal review and appraisal of the student’s learning and development. The purpose of the mid-year review is to discuss the student’s experiences of their development and placements so far; to check they are progressing well towards meeting the module’s placement 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, and to help the student prepare for their end-of-year appraisals. The aim of the end-of-year appraisal is to review and evaluate the student’s practice, learning and development over the academic year, in relation to the module’s learning outcomes, drawing on a range of information regarding student activity. (Learning outcomes 1-12)

viii) 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.


Borden, W. (2010). Contemporary psychodynamic theory and practice: Towards a critical pluralism. Lyceum Books. [CORE]

Beck, J. (2010). Cognitive behaviour therapy: Basics and beyond. London: Guildford Press. [CORE]

Carrol, M. (2001). Counselling supervision: Theory, skills and practice. London: Sage.

Dallos, R. (2000). An introduction to family therapy: Systemic theory and practice. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Leahy, R.L. (2006).  Contemporary cognitive therapy: Theory, research and practice. [CORE]

Lemma. A. (2003).  Introduction to the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Sussex: Wiley & Sons. [CORE]

Lemma, A., Target, M. & Fonagy, P. (2011). Brief dynamic interpersonal therapy: A clinician’s guide. Oxford University Press. [CORE]

Yalom, I.D. & Leszcz, M. (2005). Theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). Basic Books.