SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 30.00
ECTS Credit Points 15.00
Module Code MMC825597
Module Leader Rosemarie Lynass
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)-C (May start)

Summary of Content

This module introduces the psychotherapeutic competencies required for person-centred practice, allowing students to practice key therapeutic skills and develop the critical and self-reflective ability to analyse and augment their therapeutic practice. The module focuses on the process of developing a therapeutic relationship and critically examines the primary elements involved in doing so from a humanistic perspective, introduced as the core model of the programme. This is supported by a thorough introduction to the key applied concepts of the person-centred approach; such as empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. Key concepts and skills of person-centred/experiential working are incorporated into skills practice sessions, alongside broader therapeutic skills, such as contracting, beginning and ending a therapeutic relationship. Students are introduced to the different approaches that have evolved with regards to person-centred practice and encouraged to examine critically, empirically and experientially, similarities and differences between the different 'tribes' of humanistic and person-centred working; including the 'classical' perspective associated with Carl Rogers (e.g. 1959), the focusing perspective (c.f. Gendlin, 1996), the process-experiential perspective (e.g. Greenberg et al. 1992). Finally, the relationship between the humanistic approach and the philosophy and practice of the professions within Applied Psychology is considered, including application to a range of client presentations.


The module will explore the following topics; The nature and role of empathy in effective psychotherapeutic practice; Reflection and self-awareness; The nature and role of congruence in effective psychotherapeutic practice; The nature and role of unconditional positive regard in effective psychotherapeutic practice; The 'relational' conditions for effective psychotherapeutic practice; Assessment and formulation in person-centred therapy; Key issues in beginning, maintaining and ending a therapeutic relationship; The therapeutic alliance; The role of 'self' in humanistic therapy; The relationship between humanistic practice and philosophy/practice within specific relevant applied domains of psychology; Working with specific client presenting difficulties.

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. Critically appraise applied psychology practice from a humanistic perspective;2. Critically examine professional and ethical practice in the effective conduct of a client session;3. Demonstrate reflective awareness of personal experiencing and learning, as key elements of effective therapeutic practice; 4. Communicate detailed and sensitive assessments and formulations of clients' psychological states and difficulties in a manner appropriate to humanistic therapy; 5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of how change is conceptualised by humanistic theory and evaluate ways in which this is manifested in a therapeutic process;6. Utilise supervision and feedback to demonstrate a capacity for in-depth self-reflection in the context of professional working; 7. Initiate and maintain effective psychotherapeutic relationships using a humanistic approach;8. Demonstrate an ability to make informed judgments or decisions in the absence of complete or consistent data/information/guidance;9. Demonstrate an ability to respond to challenges in creative and original ways;10. Demonstrate advanced, well-structured and coherent academic writing within a specified word limit (including appropriate referencing).

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Teaching will be undertaken via weekly skills-based lectures followed by tutor-supported skills practice sessions. Video and audio materials will be employed to support students' ability to link theory to practice. There is a focus on experiential learning on the module, with emphasis on the use of formative peer and tutor feedback to enhance skills development. GCU Learn will be used a repository for supplementary learning materials.

Indicative Reading

Cooper, M., Schmid, P., O'Hara, M., & Wyatt, G. (Eds.). (2007). The handbook of person-centred psychotherapy and counselling . Basingstoke: Palgrave. Cooper, M. (2008). Essential research findings in counselling and psychotherapy: The facts are friendly . London: Sage. BACP Cooper, M., Watson, J.C. & Holldampf (2010) Person-centred and experiential therapies work: A review of counselling, psychotherapy and related practices . Herefordshire: PCCS Books Gillon, E. (2007) Person-centred counselling psychology: An introduction . London: Sage Mearns, D., & Cooper, M. (2017). Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. (2 nd edition). London: Sage. Mearns, D. & Thorne, B. (2013). Person-centred counselling in action (4th Edition) . London: Sage. Murphy, D. (2017) Counselling psychology: A textbook for study and practice . BPS Textbooks/Wiley: West Sussex (Ch.6) Rogers, C. R. (1951). Client-centred therapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Rogers, C.R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21(2) , 95-103. Rogers, C.R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships as developed in the client-centred framework. In S. Koch (Ed.) Psychology: A study of a science, Volume 3 (pp. 184-256). New York: McGraw-Hill. Rogers, C.R. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy. London: Constable. Rogers, C.R. (1980). A way of being . Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. Sanders, P. (2012). The Tribes of the Person-centred Nation: an Introduction to the Schools of Therapy Related to the Person-centred Approach . PCC Books. Douglas, B., Woolfe, R., Strawbridge, S., Kasket, E. & Galbraith,V. (2016). Handbook of counselling psychology 4th Edition London:Sage

Transferrable Skills

Advanced communication and writing skills; creativity; time management; critical thinking & dialogue, collaborative working; ethical practice; capacity to reflect on, conceptualise and manage practice-based issues and personal development; ability to use role-play to explore personal methods of working.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 30.00
Lectures (FT) 26.00
Practicals (FT) 49.00
Independent Learning (FT) 195.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 3 1.00 50.00 45% assignment 4000 words
Coursework 2 1.00 40.00 45% assignment 3000 words
Coursework 1 1.00 10.00 45% readiness to practice 1500 words