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Module PPP-4013:
Theoretical Models in Clin Psy

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Lee Hogan

Overall aims and purpose

The module will begin with an introduction to the profession of clinical psychology in the UK, outlining the emphasis on a biopsychosocial (rather than biomedical) framework and illustrating the way in which clinical psychologists understand difference and distress through the use of clinical case formulation (as opposed to psychiatric diagnosis). The relevance of adopting a lifespan developmental framework will be explained. In the following weeks, the theoretical models that clinical psychologists most frequently draw upon to inform their practice will be examined. Typical lectures focus on Behavioural Theory, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Psychodynamic Theory, and Cognitive Analytic Therapy; each be introduced by a practising clinical psychologist or psychological therapist, who will explain the principles underlying each model and how these are applied in clinical situations. The module is an introduction to various theoretical approaches and is NOT designed to teach proficiency in the application of therapy.

Course content

This module explores the key theoretical models on which clinical psychology practice is based, and illustrates how these models inform clinical practice. This is intended to assist students in making decisions about pursuing a career in clinical psychology and to help prepare students for seeking relevant posts or training places. The module is presented in 11 weekly sessions consisting of lectures and small-group activities. Lectures will be given mainly by practising clinicians with expertise in particular theoretical approaches and their practical application to clinical problems, who have kindly agreed to contribute as guest lecturers to this module. Small-group work will include a range of activities designed to broaden students’ understanding of the concepts outlined in the lectures.

Assessment Criteria


Adequate answer to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.


Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.


Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues

Learning outcomes

  1. Give examples of how these theories are applied in practice. For example, understanding which theories and therapies are most relevant for certain populations and disorders.

  2. Appreciate the importance of a lifespan developmental framework for clinical psychology. For example, understanding how various historical and contextual events increase and contribute to distress.

  3. Develop an understanding of the scientist-practitioner approach that clinical psychologists adopt in their training and practice in the UK.

  4. Outline key concepts of the major theories underpinning clinical psychology practice. For example, exploring the unique contribution that clinical psychology makes to mental health provision.

  5. Explain the distinctive approaches clinical psychologists take in conceptualising and formulating distress. For example, applying a structured model to understand the various factors leading to and maintaining distress.

  6. Learn the ability to formulate clinical case studies using the theory learnt during the lectures.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Assignment 1

All written assignments will be submitted electronically only, by 9am on Monday 8th March 2021.

EXAM Exam 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Teaching will be delivered in various forms of didactic lecture, films, class demonstrations and small group interactions. You will be encouraged to be interactive. You will be expected to participate in class discussions in small groups.

Private study

Reading lists and case study prep for lectures will be provided on blackboard along with papers and articles directly relevant to each lecture.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

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.
  • Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
  • 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.


Reading list

See individual lectures on Blackboard

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: