Module
descriptions

and programme structure for DPsych Counselling Psychology

Year 1

The first year of the DPsych introduces you to the practice of counselling psychology and equips you with two approaches, existential-phenomenological and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Course input aims to build your confidence and skills so that you can safely and ethically begin practice with clients, which should begin by the second term of the year. Training in doctoral-level research processes and methodologies begins straightaway, with two consecutive research modules followed by a term of supervision, putting you in a good position to submit a strong research proposal at the end of the year. 

Basic psychometrics are covered, which will facilitate your work in any settings where these are used.  Group tutorials cover a number of professional issues and aim to support and develop you in all aspects of your training, while individual tutorials provide one-to-one support and mentoring of your development.  By the end of the year, you should have completed 70 client hours, 40 personal therapy hours, and a research proposal.

Term 1

  • Counselling Psychology Theory & Practice (20 credits)
    • Daylong mixed theoretical and clinical module, aiming to build foundational skills in counselling psychology practice
    • Assessment: exam and in-class skills appraisal
  • Counselling Psychology Research I (10 credits)
    • Introduction to doctoral-level research processes, with an emphasis on developing research questions and matching them with appropriate methodologies; innovative, experiential, workshop-based method of teaching
    • Assessment:  detailed methodology information sheet
  • Ethical & Professional Issues (10 credits)
    • Aims to enable you to begin practicing safely and ethically with clients
    • Assessment: “ethical dilemma” essay
  • Tutorials: Preparation for Professional Practice
    • One hour at the end of each Tuesday is devoted to either individual or group tutorials, depending on the week.

Term 2

  • Existential Approaches in Counselling Psychology (20 credits)
    • Daylong mixed theoretical and clinical module, introducing you to the core model for this DPsych programme; the three-hour afternoon clinical seminar portion of the module uses a variety of methods to help you put theory into practice.
    • Assessment: 4000-word formulation & process report
  • Counselling Psychology Research II (10 credits)
    • Second research module begins to consider more complex research designs (mixed methods/multistrategy), exploring further possibilities for your doctoral research.
    • Assessment:  Research proposal (NB: This is not due until the end of the year, enabling you to have a term of supervision in term 3 to help you towards their proposal.)
  • Counselling Psychology Settings & Contexts (10 credits)
    • Focuses on the various working contexts and roles in which UK-based counselling psychologists find themselves, increasing your familiarity with the range of placement and career possibilities that may be available to you
    • Assessment:  2500-word essay focusing on a particular working context of interest to you
  • Professional Practice I (10 credits)
    • You begin your placements in earnest during this term. 
    • Assessment: Your placement logs, supervisors’ reports, and competency logs are reviewed with your personal tutor at the Mid-Year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress. 
    • The one-hour group and individual tutorials on Tuesday afternoons continue.

Term 3

  • Critical Psychopathology (10 credits)
    • Aims to enable you to understand and work with common diagnostic systems such as the DSM-V, from a critical and informed vantage point
    • Assessment: in-class presentation
  • Working with Difference & Discrimination (10 credits)
    • Aims to develop reflexive awareness of your biases and assumptions and to help you in working with individuals from a range of backgrounds
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches in Counselling Psychology (10 credits)
    • Daylong mixed theoretical and clinical module, focusing on “2nd wave” cognitive-behavioural theory and therapy; placement of this module at the end of year 1 puts you in a better position to acquire NHS and CBT placements
    • Assessment: vignette-based formulation and treatment plan, 2000-3000 words; vignette material is presented at beginning of term to enable you to gradually work on the formulation and plan
  • Professional Practice II (10 credits)
    • The group and individual tutorials on Tuesday afternoons continue, as do clinical placement and external supervision and personal therapy.
    • Assessment: In September, you will undertake the End-of-Year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress with your personal tutor to ensure that you are ready to progress to the second year.  Your supervisors’ evaluations, your placement logs, and your competencies log will be considered at this meeting, as well as feedback from members of the programme team.

Submitting your research proposal at the end of the first year puts you in an advantageous position to complete your doctoral research on time (e.g., three years from registration).  At the end of the first year, it is possible to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate in Psychological Counselling, or even a Masters in Psychological Counselling if you complete a Master’s-level dissertation. 

Year 2

During the second year, you will be formally assigned an experienced Director of Studies (Dos), with whom you may already have been working in the third term of year 1.  Your DoS and an additional supervisor will support you through your doctoral research, giving you up to 15 hours of supervisory meetings with additional time provided through reading and feeding back on work. You will be introduced to psychodynamic approaches, the third model of the programme. 

A number of different human issues relevant to counselling psychology practice will also be covered. In Year 2 you are expected to undertake 150 hours of appropriately supervised client work and a further 40 hours of personal therapy.  The extent of commitment to placements and research means that you only attend classes one day a week in Year 2; this will be on a Monday.

Term 1

  • Cognitive Behavioural Approaches 2: Third Wave (20 credits)
    • Daylong mixed theoretical and clinical module, focusing on “third wave” approaches
    • Assessment: in-class presentation plus a 2000- to 3000-word vignette-based formulation and treatment plan
    • Professional Practice III (10 credits)
      • Group and individual tutorials occur every week for the last hour of the day.  As in year one, these cover a variety of professional issues.  During Professional Practice III, some group tutorial time will be devoted to successfully clearing the Research Ethics Committee (REC) process and to considering the potential applications of your research. 
      • Given the need to complete 150 hours in the course of the year, you may change or increase your placement(s).
      • Assessment: satisfactory maintenance of placement logs

Term 2

  • Psychodynamic Approaches in Counselling Psychology (20 credits)
    • Mixed theoretical and clinical module
    • Assessment: client study and process report focusing on integration (NB: psychodynamic clinical placement hours not required)
  • Professional Practice IV (20 credits)
    • The one-hour group and individual tutorials on Monday afternoons continue, as do clinical placements and external supervision and personal therapy.
    • Assessment: Your placement logs, supervisors’ reports, and competency logs are reviewed with your personal tutor at the Mid-Year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress. 

Term 3

  • Philosophical & Psychological Perspectives on Human Issues (20 credits)
    • Mixed theoretical and clinical module
    • Assessment: 5000-word theoretical essay on an issue of your choice from the curriculum, incorporating clients material
  • Professional Practice V (20 credits)
    • The group and individual tutorials on Monday afternoons continue, as do clinical placement and external supervision and personal therapy.
    • Assessment: In September, you will undertake the End-of-Year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress with your personal tutor to ensure that you are ready to progress to the third year.  As in year 1, your supervisors’ evaluations, your placement logs, and your competencies log will be considered at this meeting, as well as feedback from members of the programme team.

Year 3

In the third year of training, trainees continue to experience much of their learning on placement and through research activity, meaning that formal attendance at class occurs on only one day per week (Tuesdays).  Your supervisory team continues to support you in your research, giving you up to 15 hours of supervisory meetings and additional reading and feeding back on drafts. You will undertake approximately 230 further client hours, bringing you to a total of 450 hours for your training.

You will have a further 40 hours of personal therapy, furthering your personal development.  On campus, you will have a series of Advanced Counselling Psychology Workshops.  These highly collegial, interactive sessions have different foci each term, but they are all geared towards helping you deepen your skills in specialist areas, enhancing your knowledge and abilities towards a high level of employability.  In September, you will submit your doctoral research portfolio, consisting of an introduction; your assessment from Clinical Seminar in Year 3; and a doctoral research thesis of a maximum of 40,000 words.  This is examined by viva voce.

Term 1

  • Advanced Counselling Psychology Workshops I:  Influencing and Leading (10 credits)
    • Assessment: each trainee develops a plan for influencing/leading activities in line with their particular interest (e.g., teaching; leading workshops; academic supervision; clinical supervision) – this plan is implemented and assessed during the year and may involve work done with year 1 trainees
  • Doctoral Research Clinic (10 credits)
    • Focuses on further research support, particularly with regard to dissemination of work
    • Assessment: abstract and conference poster
  • Professional Practice VI (10 credits)
    • In year 3, the last hour of the day may be occupied by (a) group tutorial, (b) individual tutorial, or (c) providing teaching/influencing/leading activities with year 1 
    • You continue with placements, increasing and changing as necessary
    • Assessment: satisfactory maintenance of placement logs

Term 2

  • Advanced Counselling Psychology Workshops II:  Measurement & Evaluation (10 credits)
    • Provides more advanced input on psychometrics (intellectual assessment; neuropsycholoical assessment; personality assessment; critical perspectives) than that delivered in Year 1, as well as service audit/evaluation and incorporation of client feedback into therapeutic work
    • Assessment: examination
  • Clinical Seminar: Pluralistic & Integrative Working (20 credits)
    • This clinical seminar brings together threads from all training to date and further develops your ability to formulate and intervene with each unique client
    • Assessment: Client study + process report + reflexivity (6000 words)
  • Professional Practice VII (20 credits)
    • The group and individual tutorials on Tuesday afternoons continue, as do clinical placement and external supervision and personal therapy.
    • Assessment: Your placement logs, supervisors’ reports, and competency logs are reviewed with your personal tutor at the Mid-Year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress. 

Term 3

  • Advanced Counselling Psychology Workshops III: Specialisation & Employability (10 credits)
    • Focuses on topics of particular interest to the cohort, to include specialist populations and working contexts; helps you develop your post-qualification plans and situate yourself for the employment market
    • Assessment: CV and 2000-word post-qualification plan
  • Viva Preparation & Independent Study (0 credits)
    • Trainees are offered four weeks’ worth of viva preparation, to include formative feedback on a mock viva
    • The remaining weeks of term are given over to independent study and research writing/supervision time.
  • Professional Practice VIII (20 credits)
    • You complete your final client and supervision hours
    • Assessment: In September, you will undertake your final End-of-Year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress with your personal tutor.  Your supervisors’ evaluations, your placement logs, and your competencies log will be considered at this meeting, as well as feedback from members of the programme team.  This is an overall verification that your clinical, supervision, and personal therapy hours are met, and that all course components are complete.  Collaborative reflection on your personal and professional development to date will occur.