Module
descriptions

and programme structure for DPsych Counselling Psychology

Year 1

The first year of the DPsych introduces you to the theories and practices of counselling psychology and equips you with two therapeutic approaches: existential-phenomenological, and cognitive-behavioural. Course input on Mondays and Tuesdays aims to build your confidence and skills, so that you can begin to practice safely and ethically with clients. Training in counselling psychology’s research values, skills, and methodologies begins straightaway, with two consecutive research modules, followed by a term of individual research tuition, putting you in an excellent position to submit your research proposal at the end of the year.


Weekly group and individual tutorials with personal tutors support you in starting out in placements and beginning work with clients. By the end of the year, you will have completed 70 client hours, an accompanying 12 hours of supervision, and 40 personal therapy hours, together with a research proposal, and other clinical and academic assignments.

 

Term 1

Counselling Psychology Theory & Practice (20 credits)

  • Day-long mixed theoretical and clinical module, aiming to build foundational skills in counselling psychology practice
  • Assessment: an exam, short reflective piece, and in-class skills appraisal

Counselling Psychology Research I (10 credits)

  • Introduction to Master’s and doctoral level research skills and processes, counselling psychology research values, and qualitative methodologies, with an emphasis on generating a research question from a literature review; innovative didactic and experiential methods of teaching
  • Assessment: a methodology information sheet

Ethical & Professional Issues (10 credits)

  • Aims to enable you to begin practicing safely and ethically with clients
  • Assessment: an “ethical dilemma” essay

 

Term 2 

Existential Approaches in Counselling Psychology (20 credits)

  • Day-long mixed theory and practice module, introducing you to the DPsych programme’s primary therapeutic model; a three-hour afternoon seminar portion uses a variety of methods to help you put theory into practice.
  • Assessment: a formulation & process report

Counselling Psychology Research II (10 credits)

  • This second research module continues to develop your competencies in counselling psychology research, with an emphasis on quantitative, practice-based and mixed methods, and the skills you need to write a Master’s level research proposal with doctoral viability.
  • Assessment: a 5000-word research proposal is due at the end of the year, after individual tuition in the Summer term to support its development.
  • Submitting your research proposal at the end of the first year supports you in completing your doctoral research on time - three years from registration.

Critical Psychopathology (10 credits)

  • Aims to inform and develop critical and experiential perspectives on common diagnostic systems such as the DSM-V
  • Assessment: an in-class presentation

 

Term 3

Counselling Psychology Settings & Contexts (10 credits)

  • Increases familiarity with the range of clinical contexts and placements available; a basic introduction to psychometrics and outcome measurement
  • Assessment: an essay focusing on a particular working context of interest

Working with Difference & Discrimination (10 credits)

  • Aims to develop reflexive awareness of your own biases and assumptions to help you in working with difference and avoiding discriminatory practice
  • Assessment: an essay on a topic of your choice

Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches in Counselling Psychology (10 credits)

  • Day-long mixed theory and practice module, focusing on second-wave CBT; this module supports you in your acquisition of a CBT placement
  • Assessment: a vignette-based formulation and treatment plan

Year 1 Professional Practice (year-long module; 20 credits)

  • One hour a week is devoted to individual or group tutorials with your personal tutor, to support your acquisition of a placement, supervisor(s), and a personal therapist, and to explore the early stages of your work with clients
  • Assessment: client, supervisory, and personal therapy logs, supervisors’ evaluations, client notes, and programme team feedback are all reviewed with your personal tutor at a Collaborative Evaluation of Progress meeting at the end of the year. A formative Collaborative Evaluation of Progress meeting occurs in the Spring term. These meetings are opportunities for on-going reflective practice, and help to ensure you are on track in gaining all practice and placement requisites.

End of Year 1: Potential exit awards
At the end of the first year, it is possible to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Counselling or a Masters in Psychological Counselling if you complete a Master’s level dissertation. In order to exit with either one of these qualifications, you will need to complete a total of 150 clinical hours.

 

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 Summer term of Year 1. Your DoS and an additional supervisor will support you through your doctoral research, offering you up to 15 hours of supervisory meetings per year, with additional time allocated for reading and feeding back on written work.


You will be introduced both to third-wave CBT, and to psychodynamic approaches, the third model of the programme this year. The module, Philosophical & Psychological Perspectives on Human Issues, extends and advances your learning of existential and phenomenological approaches, in an applied fashion – exploring human issues through these lenses, such as the life-span.


Weekly group and individual tutorials with personal tutors continue to support your work in placements and the development of your placement portfolio. By the end of the year, you will have completed 150 client hours, an accompanying 25 hours of supervision, and 40 personal therapy hours, together with other clinical and academic assignments. The increasing commitment to placements and research means that you only attend university one day a week on a Monday.

 

Term 1
Philosophical & Psychological Perspectives on Human Issues (20 credits)

  • Day-long mixed theory and practice module continuing the study of existential and phenomenological approaches
  • Assessment: a theoretical essay on a human issue of your choice, incorporating client material

 

Term 2
Cognitive Behavioural Approaches 2: Third Wave (20 credits)

  • Day-long mixed theory and practice module focusing on third-wave CBT approaches
  • Assessment: an in-class presentation plus a vignette-based formulation and treatment plan

 

Term 3
Psychodynamic Approaches in Counselling Psychology (20 credits)

  • Day-long mixed theory and practice module
  • Assessment: a client study and process report focusing on integration (Note: a psychodynamic clinical placement is not required)

 

Year 2 Professional Practice (year-long module; 50 credits)

  • One hour a week continues to be devoted to individual or group tutorials with your personal tutor, to support your on-going acquisition of placements and your placement portfolio, and to explore your work with clients, together with ethical and professional issues as these come up on placements
  • Assessment: client, supervisory, and personal therapy logs, supervisors’ evaluations, client notes and programme team feedback are all reviewed with your personal tutor at a Collaborative Evaluation of Progress meeting at the end of the year. A formative Progress Check meeting takes place in the Autumn term, followed by a formative Collaborative Evaluation of Progress meeting in the Spring term. These meetings are opportunities for on-going reflective practice, and help to ensure you are on track in gaining all practice and placement requisites

Year 3

In the third year of training, trainees continue to experience much of their learning on placement and through research activity, meaning that attendance in the university is only for one day per week, on Tuesdays. Your research supervisory team will continue to support your doctoral research, again offering up to 15 hours of supervisory meetings, with additional time allocated for reading and feeding back on written drafts. Research is further supported through Doctoral Research Clinic and Viva Preparation modules, which are organised in a bespoke fashion around trainees’ individual and group research development needs, with a focus on building confidence and on dissemination.


A series of Advanced Counselling Psychology workshops are highly collegial and interactive modules geared towards strengthening your employability in the transition to qualified practice. Learning on these modules includes: advancing your knowledge of psychometrics, outcome measurement, service evaluation and audit, and practice-based research; demonstrating your influencing, consultancy, and leadership skills through the delivery of an activity-based assignment; and developing your CV and professional plan, including consideration of areas of potential specialisation post-qualification. In additional, a Clinical Seminar module, extends your knowledge of pluralistic and integrative theories and practices, towards the development of your emerging professional identity.


Weekly group and individual tutorials with personal tutors continue to support your work in placements, the development of your placement portfolio, and your transition to qualified practice. By the end of the year, you should have completed 230 client hours, an accompanying 38 hours of supervision, and 40 personal therapy hours. In September, you will submit your doctoral research portfolio, consisting of an introduction; your clinical paper from the Clinical Seminar module; 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 with Year 1 trainee

Doctoral Research Clinic (10 credits)

  • Focuses on further research support, particularly with regard to dissemination of work
  • Assessment: an abstract and conference poster


Term 2
Advanced Counselling Psychology Workshops II: Measurement & Evaluation (10 credits)

  • Advanced input on psychometrics and outcome measurement, service evaluation and audit, and practice based research
    Assessment: an examination

Clinical Seminar: Pluralistic & Integrative Working (20 credits)

  • This seminar brings together threads from your training to date and extends your knowledge of pluralistic and integrative theories and practices relevant to counselling psychology, with an emphasis on formulation
  • Assessment: a client study and process report (this paper forms part of your doctoral portfolio)

 

Term 3
Advanced Counselling Psychology Workshops III: Specialisation & Employability (10 credits)

  • Focuses on specialist topics, contexts, and communities of particular interest to your cohort; helps you develop your post-qualification plans and to prepare and situate yourself in the current employment market
  • Assessment: a CV and 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, research writing, and supervision time

 

Year 3 Professional Practice  (year-long module; 50 credits)

  • One hour a week continues to be devoted to individual or group tutorials with your personal tutor, to support your on-going work on placements and your placement portfolio as you begin your transition to qualified practice. Sessions continue to explore your clinical work with clients, together with ethical and professional issues as these come up on placements
  • Assessment: once again, a formative Progress Check takes place in the Autumn term, followed by a formative Collaborative Evaluation of Progress in the Spring term. These formative meetings continue to offer opportunities for reflective practice and support with gaining all the practice and placement requirements of the DPsych programme. At the end of year Collaborative Evaluation of Progress, client, supervisory, and personal therapy logs, supervisors’ evaluations, client notes, and programme team feedback are finally reviewed and signed off. An HCPC Standards of Proficiency log, which you will have developed throughout your three years of training, together with cumulative programme requirements, are formally reviewed and signed off. This end of year meeting is an opportunity to reflect on all your achievements while on the DPsych programme