Undergraduate Courses at Bangor University

Module PHP-3008:
Theories of Th Counselling

Module Facts

School:Psychology
Credits:20 (or 10 ECTS credits)
Year:3
When:Semester 2
Taught in:
Organiser:Dr Fay Short

Overall Aims and Purpose

This module will provide an opportunity to understand the various approaches to counselling and psychotherapy in addition to establishing a range of basic communication skills. Students will be introduced to the concept of therapy with specific focus on issues relating to boundaries, contracts, and ethics.

Assessment Criteria

Threshold

•    Adequate knowledge of key concepts in counselling and psychotherapy only.
•    Some understanding of theoretical issues with several factual errors.
•    Limited evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory, research, and practice.
•    Weak written and oral presentations, but some evidence of argument and coherent expression.
•    Some consideration of communication skills with honest reflection on own capabilities

Good

•    Strong knowledge of key concepts in counselling and psychotherapy.
•    Solid understanding of theoretical issues with few factual errors.
•    Some evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory, research, and practice.
•    Well-structured written and oral presentations showing focus of argument and expression.
•    Some insight into communication skills with honest reflection on own capabilities.

Excellent

•    Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of counselling and psychotherapy.
•    Excellent understanding and original interpretation of theoretical issues with no factual errors.
•    Clear evidence of critical analysis and insightful evaluation of theory, research, and practice.
•    Well-structured written and oral presentations showing focus and clarity of argument and expression.
•    Depth of insight into communication skills with honest reflection on own capabilities.

Assessment Methods

1. Coursework (30%)

Evidence of a communication session and reflective essay analysing communication skills (LO 6)

2. Coursework (30%)

Essay critically analysing therapy in action using evidence from one of the video sessions (LO 5)

3. Exam (40%)

Formative MCQ gateway assessment must be passed to access the final oral exam (LO 1-4)
Final Oral Exam comprising of graded contribution in a discussion group (LO 1-6)

Supplementary assessment for this module will be in the form of coursework and will be appropriate for assessing the core learning outcomes of the module

4. Exam (25%)

Final written exam comprising of short answer questions. (Learning outcome 1 - 4)

Teaching and Learning Strategy

1

It is important that you have a clear understanding about the available modules so that you can make an informed choice. Unfortunately, some people misunderstand counselling - they think that a module in counselling and psychotherapy will be very low on academic content and require little more than sitting around discussing your childhood and your dreams! In reality, this module has a huge amount of content and you will need to be able to understand some very difficult core theories in order to pass the course.

It is also important for you to understand the ways that you will be assessed on this course. This course uses a range of assessment methods in order to help you develop all of the skills relevant in psychotherapy. Firstly, you will be expected to write a critical essay focusing on psychotherapy in action. Secondly, you will be expected to work in small groups to demonstrate your communication skills - these sessions will be recorded and you will write a reflective essay about your own skill development. Thirdly, you will sit an oral exam during which you will contribute to a small group discussion led by the lecturer. Finally, you will sit a written exam containing short answer questions covering the breadth of the topics presented in the lectures. Success in this module demands that you engage with all aspects of the course, and this will require you to attend many sessions per week. We have a two hour lecture, one hour video, two hour practical, and one hour discussion session every week. As counselling is a practical skill requiring you to be able to interact effectively with others, there is a lot of contact time associated with this module. It is extremely important that you attend all of these sessions in order to understand the material and develop the relevant skills.

2

This module is ideal for those who are keen to pursue a career in counselling or psychotherapy - it will provide you with a foundation in both the theoretical and practical aspects of counselling, and it will give you specific career guidance in this area. This module is also ideal for those who are interested in the topic - it will provide you with a detailed understanding of this field and develop your general skills making you more employable in a wide range of other fields.

Students can expect feedback on their work in this module in the following ways:
•    Peer feedback through the observation sheets used for active listening sessions
•    Self feedback through the video recorded active listening sessions considered for the reflective journal
•    Tutor feedback (verbal) through the use of short answer questions covered at the end of each lecture
•    Tutor feedback (written) through the feedback sheet and comments written on the essay critically analysing therapy in action using evidence from one of the video sessions (Assignment 1)
•    Tutor feedback (written) through the feedback sheet and comments written on the reflective essay analysing active listening skills (Assignment 2)
•    Online feedback from the formative MCQ test (gateway assessment for final oral exam)
•    Tutor feedback during the weekly discussion groups and the final graded discussion group (final oral exam)
•    Weekly surgeries during which any student can receive feedback on practice work or sit mock exams
•    Open invite to meet with tutor to discuss on-going performance, assignment results, etc during office-drop-in times or pre-arranged meeting

3

Student feedback indicated no significant problems on this module last year. However, the content did feel a little rushed during the lectures. To address this issue, some content will be vodcasted in bite-size chunks next year for students to watch independently. Lectures will then focus on the primary issues of interest. Student comments also suggested that the final written short-answer question exam did not sufficiently assess breadth of knowledge. This has now been replaced with a formative MCQ test.

Learning Outcome 1

Consider the nature of the therapeutic counselling process by demonstrating an appreciation for the importance of boundaries and an understanding of the ethical principles.

Course Content

The course will explore the four key approaches and therapies in psychotherapy (person centred therapy from humanistic approach, psychoanalytic therapy from psychodynamic approach, behaviour therapy from behavioural approach, and cognitive therapy from cognitive approach). In addition, the course will further explore some integrative and eclectic therapies (rational emotive behaviour therapy, Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, and/or neurolinguistic programming). To support learning, students will be invited to watch therapy in action through a series of video sessions and provided with a forum to engage in regular discussion groups. Students will also be given an opportunity to practice interpersonal communication skills in a controlled small group setting. Each student should expect to complete 100 hours of work for this module across the semester (including scheduled classes, independent research, and completing assignments).

Topics covered in this module include:
•    Counselling and Psychotherapy (defining counselling and psychotherapy, therapist and client roles, boundaries and ethics in the therapeutic relationship, distinctions between approaches therapies and models);
•    Humanistic Approach and Person-Centred Therapy (history of approach with focus on Carl Rogers, theories of human nature and personality, therapeutic relationship, therapeutic techniques);
•    Psychodynamic Approach and Psychoanalytic Therapy (history of approach with focus on Sigmund Freud, theories of human nature and personality, therapeutic relationship, therapeutic techniques);
•    Behavioural Approach and Behaviour Therapy (history of approach with focus on Burrhus Frederic Skinner, theories of human nature and personality, therapeutic relationship, therapeutic techniques);
•    Cognitive Approach and Cognitive Therapy (history of approach with focus on Aaron Beck, theories of human nature and personality, therapeutic relationship, therapeutic techniques);
•    Approaches, Therapies, and Models (distinguishing between approaches and therapies and models, purist vs non-purist perspectives, integration/eclecticism vs syncretism, types of integration and eclecticism, Egan’s Skilled Helper Model)
•    Integrative and Eclectic Therapies (Rational Emotive Behaviour therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, and/or Neurolinguistic Programming)

Learning Outcome 2

Describe and evaluate the principles of the four main psychological approaches and related therapies: Human Approach and Person-Centred Therapy, Psychodynamic Approach and Psychoanalytic Therapy, Behavioural Approach and Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Approach and Cognitive Therapy.

Learning Outcome 3

Distinguish between approaches, therapies, and models by defining inegration/eclecticism and discussion Egan's Skilled Helper Model.

Learning Outcome 4

Describe and evaluate various intergrative and eclectic therapies, such as rational emotive behaviour therapy, Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis or neurolinguistic programming.

Learning Outcome 5

Recognise, identify, debate, and critically evaluate therapeutic approaches in action.

Learning Outcome 6

Demonstrate effective and appropriate communication skills in one-to-one therapeutic simulations.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses:

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