SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 45.00
ECTS Credit Points 22.50
Module Code MMC825594
Module Leader Emily Pathe
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

The module has two principle strands. 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, students will enquire into the philosophical, empirical and practical bases of Counselling Psychology, as well as the range of psychological traditions and findings informing its development and continued evolution as a discipline. It will critically examine the relationship between Counselling Psychology and related professions within the psychological and psychotherapeutic domains, considering some of the core skills that mark out Counselling Psychologists. The second strand of the module will examine the concepts, theories and practices underpinning professional practice and consider the nature and basis of competent working as a Counselling Psychologist. The module will explore the philosophical and moral underpinnings of ethics as a basis for professional practice, using the ethical principles embedded within the British Psychological Society Code of Ethics and the Health & Care Professions Council Standards of Conduct Performance & Ethics as foundations. From this basis, the module will explore specific issues and dilemmas that may arise in ethical working, the relationship between ethics and therapeutic models, ethics and risk, and the nature and practice of ethical decision making. Further topics addressed will include assessment and formulation, risk assessment, report writing and record keeping, evaluation & psychometrics, evidence-based practice, social justice, reflection skills and key areas of therapeutic practice (for example, bereavement & loss, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety). Topics be considered from a critical perspective, and examined in terms of their challenges and opportunities for Counselling Psychologists, the tensions they present to humanistic theory and practice.


The module will explore the following topics; The historical development and defining characteristics of Counselling Psychology as a branch of applied psychology; The philosophical underpinnings of Counselling Psychology; The empirical foundations of Counselling Psychology: methodologies and findings; The philosophical underpinnings of ethical practice; Key ethical principles and codes of ethics; Common ethical dilemmas and the nature and process of ethical decision making in counselling psychology; Evidence-based practice and practice evaluation; Psychometric testing and Counselling Psychology; Assessment and formulation in Counselling Psychology; Record keeping and report writing; Common presenting problems in Counselling Psychology. Risk, risk assessment and safeguarding.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:1. Critically understand the philosophical and empirical paradigms underpinning Counselling Psychology as a distinctive profession within psychology; 2. Critically appraise the empirical methodologies, developments and findings that serve to support, and contest psychological theories relevant to counselling psychology;3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the subjectivity and inter-subjectivity of human experience and the personal construction of meaning;4. Critically appraise the ontological and epistemological foundations of a range of psychotherapeutic theories or models;5. Demonstrate an informed commitment to the principles embedded within the British Psychological Society Code of Ethics and the Health Professions Council Standards of Conduct Performance & Ethics, and a critical awareness of the role of ethics in competent counselling psychology practice;6. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the role of assessment and formulation in counselling psychology practice; 7. Demonstrate a critical understanding of risk and risk assessment in counselling psychology practice; 8. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of record keeping and report writing in counselling psychology practice;9. Demonstrate an ability to make informed judgments or decisions on complex issues in the absence of complete or consistent data/information/guidance;10. Demonstrate an ability to respond to challenges in creative and original ways;11. Demonstrate advanced, well-structured and coherent academic writing within a specified word limit (including appropriate referencing).

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered via weekly lecturing running across Trimesters A and B, through which students will be given the opportunity to engage with the syllabus while exploring personal standpoints and understanding of professional issues in Counselling Psychology. Learning will be supported by additional module materials accessed through GCU's VLE.

Indicative Reading

Bor, R., & Watts, M. (2006). The trainee handbook: A guide for trainee counsellors and psychotherapists (2nd ed.). London: Sage. Cooper, M. (2008). Essential research findings in counselling and psychotherapy: The facts are friendly. London: Sage. Cooper, M., O'Hara, M., Schmid, P. F., & Bohart, A. (Eds.). (2013). The handbook of person-centred psychotherapy and counselling . Basingstoke Palgrave: Macmillan. Douglas, B., Woolfe, R., Strawbridge, S., Kasket, E., & Galbraith, V. (Eds.). (2016). The handbook of Counselling Psychology (4 th Ed.) . London: Sage. Gillon, E. (2007). Person-centred counselling psychology: An introduction. London: Sage. Mearns, D., Thorne, B., & McLeod, J. (2013). Person-centred counselling in action (4 th Ed.) . London: Sage. Milton, M. (Ed.) (2010). Therapy and beyond: Counselling psychology contributions to therapeutic and social issues. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Orlans, V. & Van Scoyoc, S. (2009). A short introduction to counselling psychology. London: Sage. Papadopoulous, L., Cross, M. & Bor, R. (Eds.) (2003). Reporting in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Trainee's Guide to Preparing Case Studies and Reports . Brunner Routledge: East Sussex. Wallace, M. & Wray, A. (2006). Critical reading and writing for postgraduates. London: Sage.

Transferrable Skills

Literature searching; applied academic communication and writing skills; awareness of context; application of psychological theory; critical thinking and problem-solving; self-awareness and reflection; affirmative working; time management; ability to access information and resources utilising electronic and printed media; computer literacy; critical analysis; referencing.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 44.00
Independent Learning (FT) 361.00
Assessment (FT) 45.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 1.00 50.00 50% 4000 word
Coursework 2 1.00 50.00 50% 4000 word