Module PPC-4002:
Therapeutic Process & Context

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Fay Short

Overall aims and purpose

This module gives you an insight into the professional role and responsibilities of a therapist. You will learn about the professional autonomy and accountability of the therapist, the professional relationship developed with the client, and the therapeutic framework for practice. You will be guided through the important stages of the therapeutic process; from initial assessment and contracting with the client, through the intervention selected to support the client, to evaluating the outcomes for the client. You will also consider how these stages are managed for specific client populations, with particular focus on ethics, boundaries, and diversity. These topics will be illustrated with case study examples so that you can appreciate the social, professional, and organisational context for therapy. You will then have an opportunity to debate and discuss these case studies, drawing on your knowledge of professional practice, therapeutic theory, and research evidence. Throughout this module, you will be encouraged to reflect on your own development as a practitioner so that you are able to apply what you have learnt in your work with clients.

Course content

Topics covered in this module include: • Defining Counselling and Psychotherapy • Therapist and Client Roles • Therapy in the Modern World • Boundaries and Ethics • Appreciating Diversity • Risks and Safeguarding • Therapeutic Process • Outcome Evaluations • Case Formulation • Language in Therapy • Older Adults • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (please note that these topics are subject to change dependent on staff availability and the assessed needs of the students)

Assessment Criteria


• Some insights into the process and context of therapeutic work • Strong knowledge of the therapeutic process and context • Clear understanding and mostly free of factual errors • Some analysis showing critical evaluation and links between ideas • Some originality in approach, interpretation, and/or voice • Some independent research • Coherent arguments with evidence for most claims • Focused and well structured • Good presentation with accurate and appropriate expression • Mostly correct format in appropriate referencing style


• Insightful understanding of the process and context of therapeutic work • Comprehensive knowledge of the therapeutic process and context • Detailed understanding with no factual errors • Critical analysis showing evaluation and synthesis of ideas • Originality in approach, interpretation, and/or voice • Extensive independent research • Logically defended arguments with evidence for all claims • Highly focused and well structured • Excellent presentation with accurate and appropriate expression • Correct format in appropriate referencing style


• Limited insights into the process and context of therapeutic work • Some knowledge of the therapeutic process and context • Understanding of the main concepts, but with factual errors in non-core concepts • Limited analysis showing only obvious points of evaluation and links between ideas • Highly limited originality in approach, interpretation, and/or voice • Highly limited evidence of independent research • Arguments presented but lack coherence with evidence for only some claims • Focused but with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure • Acceptable presentation with appropriate expression • Attempt at correct format in appropriate referencing style

Learning outcomes

  1. Critically debate the importance and difficulties involved in adhering to ethical guidelines, maintaining boundaries, and appreciating diversity

  2. Critically reflect on the professional relationship between therapist and client, with specific focus on the student as a practitioner

  3. Discuss and evaluate the requirements, value, and restrictions involved in collaborative working in a professional setting

  4. Understand the applications of therapeutic theory at each stage of the therapeutic process in accordance with the specific needs of the clients

  5. Critically assess and monitor clients using a range of methods to determine nature of difficulty, suitability of intervention, and risk factors

  6. Engage in the ongoing process of formulation by generating a comprehensive framework for the client's presentation and creating a therapeutic strategy for intervention

  7. Orally present critical insights into a therapeutic case study in a mock group supervision setting

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Multiple-choice quiz covering knowledge of all module content. Test contains 50 items to be completed within one hour with a pass rate of 25 points. Metacognitively marked and can be repeated as often as required to pass, but pass grade must be accomplished to access the final oral exam.

ORAL Oral Group Exam

Twenty minute mock group supervision exam discussing an unseen case study.

ESSAY Insight and Evaluation

Analysis of 2000wds showing reflective insight and evaluation of any topic relating to the therapeutic process and context.

ESSAY What is Therapeutic Counselling?

Short essay of 500wds explaining the professional role of the therapist and the experience of therapy for the client.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Your lectures will present the theories and research for each topic to help you gain an understanding of the process and context of therapy.


Your case study discussions will mimic the format of a group supervision session by presenting a case related to the lecture topic for discussion within your small group.

Private study

Your private independent study should focus on reading beyond the lecture content to gain a deeper understanding of the therapeutic process and context.


Transferable skills

  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: