SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 30.00
ECTS Credit Points 15.00
Module Code MMC821813
Module Leader Emily Pathe
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

-64 The module has two strands that are enmeshed with one another. The first strand is an introduction to the philosophical, empirical and professional basis of Counselling Psychology, as a profession distinct from, but related to, other disciplines such as Clinical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy. Counselling Psychology is a distinctive profession within psychology which takes as its focus the meanings, experiences and processes that are constructed within and between individuals, and which inform psychological wellbeing and distress. In this module, trainees will be introduced to the philosophical, empirical and practical basis of Counselling Psychology, and enquire into its philosophical basis, as well as the range of psychological traditions and findings informing its development and continued evolution as a discipline. It will also critically examine the relationship between Counselling Psychology and the range of relevant professions within the psychological and psychotherapeutic domains, considering some of the core skills that mark out Counselling Psychologists from others within these arenas The module will also the concepts, theories and practices underpinning professional practice as a Counselling Psychologist. Topics covered will be the philosophical and moral underpinnings of ethics as a basis for professional practice, the ethical principles embedded within the British Psychological Code of Ethics and the Health Professions Council Standards of Conduct Performance & Ethics, specific issues and dilemmas that may arise in ethical working, the relationship between ethics and therapeutic model, ethics and risk, and the nature and practice of ethical decision making. The second strand of this part of the module will focus on professional practice in Counselling Psychology, and consider the nature and basis of competent working as a Counselling Psychologist. Topics covered will include assessment and formulation, risk assessment, report writing and record keeping, working in teams and in psychotherapeutic contexts, evaluation and evidence-based practice. These topics be considered from a critical perspective, and examined in terms of their challenges and opportunities for Counselling Psychologists, the tensions they present to person-centred/experiential theory and practice, and the presenting features and issues associated with common client problems and concerns.


The syllabus will cover a range of topics including the following; The historical development of Counselling Psychology as a branch of applied psychology; The philosophical underpinnings of Counselling Psychology; Defining characteristics of Counselling Psychology theory and practice; The empirical foundations of Counselling Psychology: methodologies and findings The humanistic, psychodynamic, existential-phenomenological and cognitive-behavioural traditions and their relation to Counselling Psychology; The philosophical underpinnings of ethical practice; Key ethical principles and the BPS Code of Ethics; Common ethical dilemmas in counselling psychology; The nature and process of ethical decision making; Evidence-based practice and practice evaluation; Psychometric testing and Counselling Psychology; Assessment and formulation in Counselling Psychology; Common presenting problems in Counselling Psychology. Assessing for risk.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:" Demonstrate an understanding of the historical, empirical and philosophical basis of Counselling Psychology as a distinctive profession within psychology; " Critically understand the empirical methodologies, developments and findings that serve to support, and contest, the development of Counselling Psychology;" Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the diverse philosophical, psychological and empirical paradigms of relevance to Counselling Psychology; " Have an awareness of the role of ethics in competent counselling psychology practice; " Have a critical understanding of the principles embedded within the British Psychological Code of Ethics and the Health Professions Council Standards of Conduct Performance & Ethics, and their implications for therapeutic practice; " Have the capacity to deploy ethical decision making in clinical work; " Have a critical appreciation of the role of assessment and formulation in counselling psychology practice; " Have a critical understanding of risk and risk assessment in therapeutic practice; " Have an awareness of the role of record keeping, report writing in counselling psychology practice.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module will be taught via a combination of formal lectures and seminars through which trainees will be given the opportunity to engage with the curriculum while exploring personal standpoints and understandings relevant to the syllabus.

Indicative Reading

-567-64 Clarkson, P. (ed) (1998) Counselling psychology: Integrating theory, research and supervised practice. London: Routledge. -567-62 Cooper, M. & McLeod, J. ( 2010) Pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy London: Sage Gillon, E. (2007) Person-centred counselling psychology: An introduction. London: Sage. -567-64 Milton, M. (ed) (2010) Therapy and beyond: Counselling psychology contributions to therapeutic and social issues. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell -567-62 Orlans, V. & Van Scoyov, S. (2009). A short introduction to counselling psychology. London: Sage -567-64 Woolfe, R., Dryden., Strawbridge, S., Douglas, B., & Dryden, W. (Eds) (2009) Handbook of counselling psychology (3rd ed). London: Sage.

Transferrable Skills

Upon completion of the module, students will have developed the following: - a capacity to locate Counselling Psychology within a philosophical, historical and socio-political context, and to differentiate this from other additions within applied psychology An ability to identify the theoretical traditions informing a particular therapeutic model; - An ability to critically evaluate psychological theory and practice from a social constructionist standpoint; - A critical appreciation of the role of 'self' in therapeutic practice ; - An understanding of the key dimensions of competent therapeutic practice within the psychological domain; - The ability to formulate and critically appraise a personal philosophy as a 'Counselling Psychologist'.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (PT) 25.00
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Seminars (PT) 22.00
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Independent Learning (FT) 231.00
Independent Learning (PT) 231.00
Assessment (FT) 25.00
Lectures (PT) 22.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 50% 5000 word essay A
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 50% 5000 word critical review B