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PSY8057 : Professional Practice in Forensic Psychology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Darren Johnson
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to provide students with the necessary skills to work as a scientist-practitioner in forensic settings. This will include the development of core skills in reflective practice, evidence-based practice, personal development, report writing, therapeutic interventions, group processes, consultancy and training skills, and the providing of expert witness testimony. These skills will be developed through an understanding of ethical principles and practices within professional forensic settings. There is a strong focus on the BPS and HCPC codes of professional conduct and ethical issues that arise in the context of working with individuals, groups, vulnerable populations, organisations, other professionals, and members of the public.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Working as a scientist-practitioner;
•       Consultancy and training;
•       Expert witness testimony;
•       Theory into practice;
•       Working ethically (BPS and HCPC Codes of Ethics);
•       Reflection;
•       Parole boards;
•       Evidence-based practice.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Present in person sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1178:00178:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Present in person teaching (PIP) workshop-based learning will be used as the main way to impart knowledge and to stimulate interests in the topics. There will be a particular emphasis on the demonstration of academic understanding of ethics and practice which support professional practice, including reflection. In order to benefit fully from the module, students will be expected to prepare and carry out in-depth reviews of the knowledge imparted through workshops, to generate their own views on the topics. Thus, their time management skills and demonstration of respect for colleagues will be key to successful completion of this module. To attain the intended knowledge outcomes and skills in full, it will be essential that students engage in private study before and after the taught sessions. Students will be given detailed guidance on writing an expert witness report, presentation skills and training others. They will also be introduced to the key principles underpinning the role of a psychologist as a consultant and the skill of imparting psychological knowledge to diverse audiences. The private study time will allow students to take control over their learning and prepare them for the assignments. Formative practice will be included within the teaching strategy of this module.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M100A 3,000 word training plan report with a topic focus of vicarious trauma
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module will be assessed by one summative assessment as detailed below:

For this in course summative assessment students are required to write a 3,000 word plan for a mock training session to be delivered to trainee forensic psychologists on the topic of vicarious trauma (100% of the module mark). Students should demonstrate that they have considered, and critically evaluated relevant psychological literature, and how this informed the training plan. Students should also indicate how they have considered the needs of their target audience. The rationale underpinning the design of the training should also be addressed. Appendices containing training material such as PowerPoint slides, and handouts must be attached and will be marked, but will not be included in the word count. Feedback that the students receive will be in the form of detailed written comments relating to the submitted report.

This will assess both the knowledge and skills outcomes for this module.

Reading Lists