Skip to main content

Clinical and Counselling Psychology


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Ute Liersch
  • Assessment: coursework of 1500 words (50%) and a 1.5-hour examination (50%)

Module description

The purpose of this module is to help you acquire a comprehensive understanding of the work of clinical psychologists (focusing on their work within the NHS). It is likely to be of interest to anyone who would like to learn more about mental health services within the NHS, and to anyone considering a career in clinical psychology (or counselling, or health, psychology).

Indicative module content

  • Do clinical psychologists only use CBT?
  • How do clinical psychologists formulate an understanding of their clients’ needs?
  • How is the effectiveness of clinical psychologists’ interventions assessed?
  • What does confidentiality mean and how does this work in practice?
  • What sort of moral and ethical dilemmas do clinical psychologists face in their work - and how do they manage these?
  • What role do supervision and reflective practice play in the day-to-day work of clinical psychologists?
  • How does the role of the clinical psychologist differ to that of other therapeutic practitioners?
  • Where do clinical psychologists work - and what are the issues and challenges of each setting?
  • How do multi-disciplinary teams function and what’s the role of the clinical psychologist in these teams?
  • What are the particular issues that arise for clinical psychologists when working in multicultural settings?
  • How adequate is the public body of knowledge that informs the work of clinical psychologists?
  • Why does there never seem to be enough money for mental health services?
  • How will the role of clinical psychologist develop in the future and what factors will impact on this?
  • How do you become an accredited clinical psychologist?

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • explain the range of therapeutic approaches employed in practice by clinical psychologists, discussing when each might be most appropriate; the strengths and limitations of each; and how ideas from different approaches might be integrated in practice
  • explain, giving detailed examples, the process by which clinical psychologists assess clients’ needs; formulate your understanding of clients’ difficulties; decide upon interventions; and evaluate their outcomes
  • explain the meaning of confidentiality in this context and discuss its limitations
  • explain and critique the concept of reflective practice
  • identify some of the ethical and moral dilemmas faced by clinical psychologists, and suggest some of the principles that might guide their thinking and practice in relation to these
  • explain the role of supervision
  • outline the contexts in which clinical psychologists work, highlighting the issues and challenges of each
  • discuss the network of relationships within which the work of the clinical psychologist is set, and the factors that enhance productive working relationships
  • explain the difference between the ‘direct’ work that clinical psychologists undertake with clients and the ‘indirect’ work they undertake with teams and other systems
  • offer a critique of the public body of knowledge that informs the work of clinical psychologists, suggesting ways that this might be developed in the future, and demonstrating a nuanced understanding of the relationship between theory, practice and research
  • explain and discuss the issues that arise for clinical psychologists when working in multicultural settings
  • discuss funding for mental health services, highlighting how decisions are made and the factors influencing these decisions
  • have an informed discussion about the future of the profession: the factors likely to shape this and the possible directions in which it might go
  • understand the routes into clinical psychology and the types of experience that may support a successful application to an accredited training programme.