module specification

SH7044 - Brief Interventions in Mental Health (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Brief Interventions in Mental Health
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Essay *FC*
Coursework 40%   Video role play presentation
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module is designed to introduce students to therapeutic levels of communication in mental health work, emphasising the importance of fit for service users. It will focus on the importance and need for service providers to more effectively engage with service users towards building therapeutic alliances. The theoretical aspects of the programme will provide a framework that enables students to reflect critically on their current clinical and social work practice increasing their awareness of the factors that influence and shape their approach to clinical work with service users. The module will include theoretical lectures and skills based video workshops where students will be required to practice and demonstrate interpersonal competence in case work based role-play scenarios.

Module aims

• To examine current debates and controversies related to evidence based approaches to clinical and social work in mental health care.

• To introduce students to a range of therapeutic and communication style based interventions based on different theoretical approaches to mental health problems with the emphasis on time limited approaches in therapy and the impact of more strengths based models in communicating with those experiencing inter and intra personal difficulties.

• To enable students to build upon and develop their interpersonal and therapeutic intervention skills towards effective communication styles

• To develop an ability to reflect critically on how the context of practice influences clinical approaches to working with individuals, families and communities and fits with the priorities of the service user population


This module will examine a range of therapeutic options in the delivery of talking approaches in the context of mental health care within both in-patient and community settings. It will begin looking at the historical perspective in the development of psychotherapy and counselling. It will introduce students to key approaches in therapeutic practice included in which will be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Concordance Therapy. It will also introduce the notion of being brief in therapy and develop more integrative or eclectic levels of delivery. It will also consider effective skills in therapy such as key communication styles and the process of developing therapeutic alliances with service users. It will relate differing approaches utilised in practice towards more serious and enduring mental health service user experiences. In light of more medical treatment options it will also introduce students to Concordance therapy and Motivational interviewing techniques towards supporting maintenance of treatment and understanding readiness for service user change. It also introduces the student to Rogerian principles in counselling based on humanistic psychology where empathising and unconditional positive regard are key. In contrast to this more psychodynamic concepts in therapy will introduce students to core principles of psychoanalytical thinking with emphasis on issues of transference, counter-transference and concepts such as splitting. Lastly the importance of supervision in shaping more effective styles of communication will be introduced helping students to establish effective supervisory relationships that build therapeutic skills towards more meaningful outcomes for service users.

Learning and teaching

A range of teaching and learning methods will be used in this module. Formal lectures will introduce students to contemporary literature, which they will be encouraged to debate and critically analyse competing theoretical perspectives. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on material related to their current practice through the process of peer review discussion groups that will explore and analyse the contextual realities of practice environments. As students are expected to develop and demonstrate their interpersonal and therapeutic skills, workshops will be organised to prepare students to take part in a video. London Metropolitan Media Services will provide technical assistance and support with video and filming. This will culminate in the production of a video or DVD (organised with peers), which will be used to reflect on practice and explore interpersonal competence in relation to client work. The profile of the course covering lectures' presentations and reading materials consisting of articles related to key themes and topics discussed on the course will be presented on Weblearn. Students are also expected to utilise literature developed by service users This module is further supported by on-line learning resources available via WebLearn. This allows students to directly access lecture notes and connect directly with html hyper links.

Learning outcomes

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

1.  Consider the differing theoretical perspectives on mental health and the treatment/intervention associated with each approach

2.  Reflect critically on both the value and impact from the service user perspective of a particular therapeutic approach or communication style in mental health care

3.  Evaluate the evidence base of a selected therapeutic approach to mental health problems 

4.  Demonstrate through a short filmed role play the application of a particular therapeutic approach or communication style


Assessment strategy

The assessment is in 2 parts. The first would be a 15 minute recorded film or taped and transcribed interaction demonstrating the student’s ability to carry out a selected clinical intervention (LO 4). This will involve the student role playing a specific therapeutic discussion in which an identified peer, role plays a service user with a specific mental health need. This will be assessed by the module convenor and other appropriate staff at London Metropolitan University. Further instruction and guidance is available on the module Weblearn

The student will also produce a 3,000-word essay (title will be similar to filmed role play, further guidance on the focus of this work will be available on Weblearn) that assesses Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3 and includes a critical reflection on the factors influencing its application in practice (LO 3).

The percentage of marks for the video recorded role-play of a client contact is 40%. The essay is worth 60%. Your work should relate to a specific area of mental health need, i.e. depression, exploring how your chosen approach can best influence positive change for the client.



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