SHE Level 6
SCQF Credit Points 30.00
ECTS Credit Points 15.00
Module Code MDC825601
Module Leader Richard Golsworthy
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Critical Enquiry in Counselling Psychology OR Consultancy & Training (Health) OR Consultancy & Training (Sport & Exercise)

Summary of Content

This module addresses organisational and social contexts relevant to mental health and psychological working, and critically explores their themes and processes in relation to the theory and practice of applied psychology. The module locates the various professional domains (Health Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Sports & Exercise Psychology) within a range of organisational contexts (e.g. third sector, NHS, EAP's etc), considering these in terms of their underpinning philosophies, demands and expectations. This exploration will encompass a range of perspectives, including those informed by theories of organisations, teams and professions. A specific focus of the module will be the relationship between healthcare settings and applied psychology theory and practice. This will involve an exploration of psychological distress and its treatment, including critical exploration of topics such as psychiatric classification and diagnosis, theories of psychopathology, psychopharmacology in mental health. Allied to this will be an exploration of the role of psychometric testing in psychological work. A further element of this module will turn to wider issues of social context, considering social-constructionist, sociological and a range of other critiques of psychological practice. Integral to these are the concepts of diversity, oppression and social justice. The module will explore the nature and basis of oppressive practices, interrogate the meaning of an anti-discriminatory stance, and consider this through a range of perspectives, including those of the service user. This will provide the basis for ongoing exploration of cultural and spiritual diversity and the implications of this for applied psychology practice.


Students will explore the following topics: Organisational contexts and frameworks; Theories of organisations and groups; Policy drivers, including legal and ethical frameworks for professional practice, eg. safeguarding, informed consent; Multi-disciplinary team working; The relationship between applied psychology and the 'medical model' in mental health; Psycho-diagnosis & classification; Theories of psychopathology & the biopsychosocial model; Psychopharmacology; Theory and use of psychometric testing; Critical psychiatry & psychology, the recovery model and survivor movement; Working with interpreters; Social oppression and its relationship to applied psychology; Power in practitioner psychology relationships; Working with diversity and developing anti-discriminatory practice: examples drawn from disability, sexuality, age, gender, ethnicity, religion & spirituality, class.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, within a specific domain of practice (Counselling, Health or Sports & Exercise Psychology), students should be able to:1. Demonstrate critical and detailed knowledge and appraisal of the theory and use of psychometric testing in applied psychology practice;2. Critically reflect on the complex relationships between working contexts and applied psychology practice, and the professional dilemmas these present;3. Critically appraise the explanatory frameworks used to understand psychological difficulties in contemporary contexts in the light of research and practice;4. Critically analyse complex information, drawing on theory, research and practice to demonstrate a conceptual basis for innovative problem-solving and decision-making;5. Demonstrate an integrated and critical awareness of sociological, cultural and critical perspectives on the theory and practice of applied psychology (within a specific domain), and the capacity to demonstrate a personal stance on these;6. Demonstrate an advanced and conceptually sophisticated understanding of human diversity and the potential for oppression in the context of psychological working, and the capacity to develop an effective anti-discriminatory stance.7. Demonstrate a willingness and ability to deal with complex ethical and professional issues;8. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to communicate psychological and professional knowledge;9. Demonstrate the capacity to communicate at the standard of published academic and/or professional work (including appropriate referencing).

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered through day and part-day workshops, utilising lecture and experiential mechanisms, supplemented by video/audio materials, groupwork and discussion, and extensive reading. Learning will be supported by additional module materials accessed through GCU's VLE.

Indicative Reading

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed). Washington, DC: APA. Banton, R., Cliford, P., Frosh, S., Lousada, J. & Rosenthall, J. (1985). The politics of mental health. London: Macmillan. Beaumont, J.G. (2008). Introduction to Neuropsychology (2 nd Edition). London: Guildford Press. Bentall, R. (2007). Madness explained: Psychosis and human nature . London: Penguin Books. Billington, R., Hockey, S., & Strawbridge, S. (1998). Exploring self and society. London: Macmillan. Britsh Psychological Society. (2004). Special Editon on counselling psychology and psychological testng. Counselling Psychology Review 19(4). London: BPS. Clegg, S.R. (1989). Frameworks of power. London: Sage. Coaley, K ( 2010). An Introduction to Psychological Assessment and Psychometrics. London: Sage. Douglas, M. (1987). How institutions think. London: RKP. Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of Psychological Assessment. 5th Ed. New Jersey: Wiley Books. Hammersley, D. (1995). Counselling People on Prescribed Drugs. London: Sage. Healy, D. (2004). The Creation of Psychpharmacology. Harvard University Press. Hodges, J. (2017). Cognitve Assessment for Clinicians (3 rd Ed). Oxford University Press. House, R. (2003). Therapy beyond Modernity: Deconstructing and Transcending Profession-centred Therapy. London: Karnac. Johnstone, L. (2000). Users and Abusers of Psychiatry. London: Routledge. Joseph, S. (2001). Psychopathology and Therapeutic Approaches: An introducton. Houndmills: Palgrave. b7Kearney, A. (1996). Counselling, Class and Politics: Undeclared influences in therapy. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books. Kline, P (2016). A Handbook of Test Construction: Introduction to Psychometric Design. 2nd Ed. Hove: Routledge. Lago, C. & Smith, B. (2010). Anti-Discriminatory Counselling Practice . (2 nd Edition). London: Sage. Lemma, A. (1996). Introduction to Psychopathology. London: Sage. Marris, P. (1996). The Politics of Uncertainty: Atachment in Private and Public Life. London: Routledge. Newnes, C., Dunn, C. & Holmes, G, (Eds) (1999). This is Madness: a Critical Look at Psychiatry and the Future of Mental Health Services. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books. Newnes, C., Dunn, C. & Holmes, G, (Eds) (2001). This is Madness Too: Critical Perspectives on Mental Health Services. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books. Paterson, J.E., Albala, A.A., McCahill, M.E. & Edwards, T. (1996). The Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology. New York: Guilford Press. Proctor, G. (2002). The Dynamics of Power in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Ethics, Politics and Practice.Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books. Roth, A. & Fonagy, P. (2005). What Works for Whom: a Critcal Review of Psychotherapy Research, 2 nd Ed. London; Guilford Press. Slater, L. (2008). Welcome to My Country: Journeys into the World of a Therapist and Her Patents. US:Anchor Books. Smail, D. (2005). Power, Interest and Psychology: Elements of a Social Materialist Understanding of Distress. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.

Transferrable Skills

Literature searching; problem solving; awareness of context; self-awareness and reflection; affirmative working; advanced communication and writing skills; creativity and innovation; critical thinking; time management; critical dialogue.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 50.00
Independent Learning (FT) 220.00
Assessment (FT) 30.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 1.00 70.00 45% 4000 word assignment
Coursework 1 1.00 30.00 45% 3000 word assignment