PSY8080 : Applied Professional Psychology Skills

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 PSY8034 Professional Issues in Clinical, Health and Forensic Psychology 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. Due to the fact that the module will necessarily involve students watching, reading and engaging with a variety of clinical materials which demonstrate the competencies covered, or which provide the basis upon which certain activities are built, the module will be most effectively and efficiently delivered via a blended learning format. The blended learning format will involve students watching pre-recorded content, scrutinising clinical materials and engaging in problem-based learning tasks (in addition to live workshops). Online activities will be directly linked to the content of workshops and to the completion of a professional skills portfolio.

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 will include:
Professional psychology competencies
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 (facilitating collaboration and delivering psychoeducation)
Treatment planning
Treatment monitoring and use of self-report measures
Communication with service users
Communication with professionals

Each of the topics will be studied in relation to a simulated case that the students would work through for the duration of the module (as well as in relation to other pertinent clinical examples) which will be integrated within e-learning activities and live workshops/seminars. The simulated case would depict a client through referral, initial assessment, evidence-based formulation, treatment and ending. The case will therefore serve as the lens through which each week’s topic will be considered.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:0090:00Preparation and completion of clinical skills portfolio.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice16:006:00Clin Skills practice/recording. Includes recording of submission of clin skills recording for assign
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops82:0016:00Theory and skills workshops
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity101:0010:00Online lrng: reflection/application of skills&concepts covered in tchg to simulate clinical material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study168:0068:00Further reading and study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time101:0010:00Scheduled on-line lecture/seminar - on-line e-learning content
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. 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 (e.g., a task involving scrutinising clinical records of an assessment will link directly to a task involving writing a clinical record of a simulated clinical session and reflecting upon this). 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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M100Clinical Portfolio (Part 2 - Summative Assessment - 3500 words) plus video & peer feedback mark sheet
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio2MClinical Portfolio (Part 1 - Formative Assessment - 2000 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 in relation to the simulated case 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 of clinical documentation relating to the topics covered throughout the module. Clinical Portfolio Part 1 reflects a formative assessment where students are able to gain initial feedback on some aspects of skills assessed within the Clinical Portfolio Part 2.

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. As part of this Clinical Portfolio, students are required to submit a video demonstrating role-play of key clinical skills along with a peer feedback mark sheet.

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 application of these skills. This will require students to record clinical notes on a psychological assessment and treatment session, write a letter summarising a psychological assessment, a summary of a risk assessment, describe an evidence-based treatment plan, scoring and plotting of changes in self-report questionnaire scores and a closing letter to the referrer.

Within the module, students will be required to record videos of role-plays demonstrating the application of key clinical skills that are pertinent across professional psychology settings. This will consist of three 10 minute role-plays in which students demonstrate talking through the confidentiality agreement for a service, a separate section in which they conduct questioning regarding risk, and a third section 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. The video will not be formally assessed but, instead, students will be required to engage in peer-marking of their role-plays and to write a reflective statement about the role-play and what they have learned from the peer feedback process. The video and peer mark-sheet will be submitted as part of the summative Clinical Portfolio Part 2, along with the reflective statement.

This portfolio will involve a brief reflective exercise requiring students to consider what they found challenging in the module, how they feel their skills are developing 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