module specification

PC6064 - The Brain Wise Counsellor (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title The Brain Wise Counsellor
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
111 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 100%   Power-point presentation
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module is aimed at raising awareness among counsellors in regards to the role neuroscience plays in counselling. The main theories of counselling will draw reference to neuroscientific research and brain imaging addressing how counselling can impact neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Further, the role certain areas of the brain are involved in wellness, fear, decision making and positive thinking will be addressed along with how varying substances including prescription medication, illicit drug use and psychoactive drugs can impact brain and behaviour. Reference to the use of technology in counselling such as neuro/biofeedback, virtual reality TMG and even eye tracking will provide students an additional practitioner tools regardless of their theoretical approach.


Counselling, neuroscience, neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, cognition, technology, brain and behaviour, psychopharmacology

Learning Outcomes LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Delivery and discussion of the module syllabi will be via interactive lectures and tutorials. In addition to the weekly seminar workshops which will provide a forum for the application of theory to practical problems, students are expected to work in groups to learn from each other and learn how to independently use other resources available, e.g. library, the internet, WebLearn and own organisation. The module will also have its own dedicated Web Learn site to enables staff and students to readily contact each other and offers an on-line support/learning.

Workshops and seminars:

Information and materials relating to the workshop will be circulated once the course has commenced.   The seminars and workshops will familiarize students with various aspect of the course.  All workshops will relate to lecture topics and may be tested in the examination.   Hence, each student is expected to do the prior reading and consult few recommended texts and be actively involved in the seminar activities and group discussion.

The usual programme each week will comprise of a lecture followed by seminar workshop activities and group discussion. The workshops will use the content of the lecture and pre-circulated material for class discussion and group work. 

Students will gain core knowledge and understanding of the topics through lectures, but deeper understanding, evaluation and skill development will be promoted through directed study of recommended reading material, seminars, and online resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will:

1) Have a critical awareness of a range of core topic areas and related research in neuroscience and counselling;
2) Be able to understand the role the brain has in counselling practice in terms of positive thinking, decision making and cognitive bias.
3) Have a critical awareness of the role technology has in supporting counselling practice
4) To develop competencies in working with vulnerable clients with complex needs
5) Be able to respect differences in pleural society and cultural values of minority groups and those from varying socioeconomic backgrounds.

Assessment strategy

Assessment is based on a power-point presentation  plus notes (300 words of notes for each slide- 10 slides in total) on the role neuroscience has in counselling practice (100% weighting). This assessment addresses learning outcomes 1,2,3,4


American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th Ed.  Arlington. American Psychiatric Publishing. Washington

Breedlove, S.M.& Watson, N.V., (2010). Biological Psychology: An Introduction to Behavioral, Cognitive, and Clinical Neuroscience 6th ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Chandler, C & Andrews, A., (2018). Addiction: A biopsychosocial perspective. Los Angeles and London: SAGE. (Core)

Chandler, C., (2015). Psychobiology. Chichester, Wiley Blackwell.

Chandler, C., (2010). The Science of ADHD: A Guide for parents and Professionals, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. 352.

Ecker, B., Ticic, R., & Hulley, L., (2012). Unlocking the Emotional Brain. 1st ed. New York and London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Higgins, E.S. & George, M.S. (2007). The Neuroscience of Clinical Psychiatry: The Pathophysiology of Behavior and Mental Illness. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Kolb, B. & Whishaw, I.Q. (2008). Fundamental of Human Neuropsychology. 6th ed. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Trimble, M.R. & George, M (2010). Biological Psychiatry, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wilson, R.Z., (2014). Neuroscience for Counsellors: Practical Applications for Counsellors, Therapists, and Mental Health Practitioners. 1st ed. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. (Core)