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 provides you with an opportunity to critically explore the professional role and responsibilities of a therapist. You will be given an insight into the professional autonomy and accountability of the therapist, the professional relationship developed with the client, the therapeutic framework for practice, and the stages of the therapeutic process. You will be supported in analysing the stages of the therapeutic process, from initial assessment and formulation through intervention to outcome monitoring. Consideration of how these factors are managed in the context of specific client issues will be explored, with particular focus on ethics, boundaries, and diversity. Throughout this content, you will be encouraged to reflect on your own development as a practitioner in relation to the topics under consideration. Content will be illustrated with case study examples so that you can appreciate the social, professional and organisational context for therapy. You will be supported in debating the academic content with consideration of professional practice, therapeutic theory, and research evidence.

Lecturers: Fay Short

Course content

Topics covered in this module include: • 24/09/18 Introduction • 01/10/18 Defining Counselling and Psychotherapy • 08/10/18 Therapist and Client Roles • 15/10/18 Therapy in the Modern World • 22/10/18 Boundaries and Ethics • 29/10/18 Appreciating Diversity • 05/11/18 Risks and Safeguarding • 12/11/18 Therapeutic Process • 19/11/18 Outcome Evaluations • 26/11/18 Case Formulation • 03/12/18 Language in Therapy • 10/12/18 Skills for Placement • 07/01/19 Older Adults • 14/01/19 Intellectual Disabilities

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

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

  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 insight and evaluation of any topic relating to the therapeutic process and context.

ESSAY What is Therapy?

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 focus on the core theories and concepts for each of the topics in the curriculum content.


Your case study discussions will involve small group discussions focusing on case studies related to the lecture topic for that week.

Private study 158

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.


Talis Reading list

Reading list

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. (2016). Ethical framework for the counselling professions. Leicestershire, UK: BACP. Dryden, W., & Reeves, A. (2008). Key issues for counselling in action. London, UK: Sage Publications. Egan, G. (1994). The skilled helper. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. Short, F. E., & Thomas, P. (2014). Core approaches in counselling and psychotherapy. UK: Routledge. Stedmon, J. & Dallos, R. (2009). Reflective practice in counselling and psychotherapy. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press. Sutton, J., & Stewart, W. (2008) Learning to counsel. Oxford, UK: How To Books Ltd. van Rijn, B. (2014). Assessment and case Formulation in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London, UK: Sage.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: