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PSY8080 : Applied Professional Psychology Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gavin Clark
  • Lecturer: Dr Tracy Donachie
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module will aim to help students develop a number of core applied professional psychology skills and competencies which students will be able to utilise across a range of psychology settings. The module will therefore aim to address a key published learning outcome of the Foundations in Clinical Psychology MSc “to furnish students with the knowledge, understanding and skills which will best prepare them to be competitive in the marketplace for jobs in the Clinical, Forensic and Health Psychology sectors”. The module will build upon the knowledge and skills attained within Semester 1 modules and will specifically aim to prepare students for psychological roles such as working as an assistant psychologist across a number of settings or for further professional psychology training.

The teaching content and the associated assessment tasks will require students to develop, demonstrate and reflect upon a variety of foundational psychological skills. Students will be required to watch pre-recorded lecture content, scrutinise clinical materials and engage in problem-based learning tasks on the Canvas learning platform. Online non-synchronous activities will be directly linked to the content of live workshops and to the completion of a professional skills portfolio. Skills will be consolidated within live present in-person workshops.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will aim to make students aware of the core competencies of psychologists across settings, with a specific focus upon the British Psychological Society’s nine core competencies that clinical psychologists are expected to possess upon qualification. Following the introduction of these core competencies the module will proceed to focus on specific issues pertinent to psychological practice across professional settings. Topics covered include:
Professional psychology competencies
Psychological assessment
Clinical record keeping
Questioning and recording issues of risk
Professional roles and clinical supervision
Ethics in practice
Explaining and maintaining confidentiality
Applied therapeutic and clinical skills
Treatment planning and monitoring
Communication with service users
Communication with professionals

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:0090:00Preparation and completion of clinical skills portfolio.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Non Synchronous online lecture/seminar material - on-line e-learning content
Guided Independent StudySkills practice16:006:00Clinical Skills practice/recording.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops92:0018:00Present in person: Theory skills group sessions: discussions/group activities and skills practice
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity101:0010:00Online learning activities: reflection/application of skills & concepts covered in teaching
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study166:0066:00Further reading and study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods outlined are designed to facilitate students’ understanding, abstract conceptualisation and application of a variety of skills and competencies. Online pre-recorded lectures will provide straightforward didactic teaching content related to the topics covered. Live workshops will involve coverage of topic content, student questions and group problem-based learning activities. The content of these live workshops will reflect development and consolidation of skills primarily through group discussion and role-play. The workshops will be arranged as timetabled PIP sessions.

Online reflection and skill-based learning activities will include application of knowledge and skills to specific clinical examples. These online activities will directly link to completion of components of the clinical skills portfolio assignment. The teaching methods will be applied in line with a variety of learning theory (e.g., Kolb, 1984) and theoretical models of psychologist skill development (e.g., Binder, 1999; Bennett-Levy, 2006). Such theories emphasise the development of declarative knowledge (what you can remember and describe) and procedural knowledge (a working knowledge of the practical application of techniques and the ability to skilfully deliver this) and the importance of reflection in analysing experience in the context of previous learning.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M100Clinical Portfolio (Part 2 - Summative Assessment - 3500 words)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio1MClinical Portfolio (Part 1 - Formative Assessment - 1500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The topics covered in this module will be introduced with a focus on students applying key principles of each topic area to relevant clinical examples/materials and through building on principles covered in compulsory modules.

The assessment comprises of a formative and summative Clinical Portfolio and will involve the application and demonstration of knowledge and skills related to each of the module topics and, thus, provide a clear demonstration of whether students have achieved the module learning outcomes.

For the formative assessment (Clinical Portfolio Part 1), students will submit an initial portfolio consisting of clinical documentation and a brief reflective essay considering specific clinical skills covered in the first half of the module. This formative assessment will allow students to gain initial feedback on some aspects of skills assessed within the Clinical Portfolio (Summative).

For the summative assessment (Clinical Portfolio Part 2), students submit a final portfolio of clinical documentation relating to the topics covered throughout the entire module.

The clinical skills portfolio parts 1 and 2 will involve submitting a portfolio of clinical documentation relating to the topics covered throughout the module and will incorporate reflection upon the practice and application of these skills.

Within the module, students will be required to engage in skills practice and role play in which they demonstrate the application of key clinical skills that are pertinent across professional psychology settings. This will include three 10 minute role-plays in which students demonstrate talking through the confidentiality agreement for a service and engaging in initial questioning and information gathering, a separate task in which they conduct questioning regarding risk, and a third task where they are required to briefly deliver some psychoeducation where they are asked to demonstrate explaining a psychological concept to someone in an understandable and interactive fashion. Students will be asked to video record their role-plays during skills practice. The videos of skills practice will not be formally assessed but, instead, students will be required to engage in peer feedback upon their role-plays. The Clinical Portfolio part 2 will require students to incorporate reflection regarding the role-play and what they have learned from the peer feedback process. The peer mark-sheet will be submitted as part of the summative Clinical Portfolio part 2.

This portfolio will involve a reflective exercise requiring students to consider what they found challenging in the module, how they feel their skills are developing, the clinical importance of these skills and how these relate to the competencies introduced at the commencement of the module. As outlined above, each component of these tasks directly links to the module learning outcomes and the stated aims of the course and will lead to the student developing, demonstrating and reflecting upon the acquisition of a number of key professional skills

Reading Lists