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Module

PSY2018 : The Body, the Mind, and the Self-Interoception in Health and Clinical Psychology

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jessica Komes
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

Aims

Every human experience is created by a range of bodily sensations. Recent research in psychology and cognitive neuroscience highlights the foundational role of interoception, i.e. the perception of internal bodily signals, and the appraisal of those for cognition, emotion and behaviour. Students will be introduced to how awareness of bodily signals links to the sense of an embodied self, mental health and its disorders. Bringing together cognitive and clinical psychology this module aims to further students understanding of the body-mind interactions with the theoretical models that underpin them for both basic and applied areas in Psychology. Students will gain conceptual knowledge about how bodily signals and the representation of those link to the capacity to contribute to one’s own wellbeing and regulative behaviour. Students will also be equipped with practical knowledge about tools to foster this link in order to prevent and alleviate physical and mental disease for themselves and others.

Outline Of Syllabus

Models of processing bodily sensations and forming representations, interoceptive predicting coding theories
Conceptualising/measuring bodily signals and representation: Interoceptive accuracy versus sensibility versus awareness
The Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA)
The embodiment of emotion regulation
Somatic markers and somatic errors
Interoceptive attention and attribution-styles, categorization and symptom perception
(Dis-)embodiment, anxiety, eating behaviour/disorders
The role of movement and mindfulness to foster body awareness
Interventions fostering interceptive awareness skills for embodied selfhood
-       body-integrative approaches, e.g. yoga, somatics, mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy (MABT)
-       breath-based approaches, e.g. respiration-tasks, pranayama
-       contemplative approaches. e.g. meditation/mindfulness

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture72:0014:00Present in person: Interwoven formal lecture and interactive activities in seminar based style
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Preparation and completion of assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical51:005:00Sync Online. Skills dev'mt, activity based on lecture material, delivery/dev of prevent/intervention
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00Reading and researching material to deepen learning, revise content, and write a reflective journal
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00PIP grpwrk activities inc f'mative feedback on peer-rev of draft report.Prep for final assmt
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk12:002:00PIP Module intro: content, structure, learning activities, relevance for profess/clinical context
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The chosen teaching methods encourage students to take an active role in their learning experience. A module talk will introduce the module structure, outline its relevance for academic psychology and for applied/therapeutic practice. Lecture materials will impart information and ensure students will engage with relevant literature and research such that students can apply what they have learned from guided independent study and course work. Relevant research papers and instruments will be appraised in order to deepen understanding of the learning content and foster independent critical thinking. Activities and peer-reviewed formative activities will entail group work for students to develop their collaborative working skills and encourage them to negotiate and build relationships with others. In addition to this two workshops will be held and will also include an element of group work dedicated to the preparation of the final assessment.

The practical sessions entail research-led teaching enabling the students to track changes in their ability to be interoceptively aware using the MAIA (see syllabus section). A reflective journal is kept documenting if and how their changes in interoceptive awareness relate to an increase in capacity to contribute to their wellbeing. For skill development, students will learn how to design and instruct a tool to foster body awareness in others.

Students will be expected to complete guided independent study in order to help them prepare for lectures, tutorials, and practical sessions and will be encouraged to further their own specific interests in body-mind interactions and their link to basic and applied aspects in psychology.

If the public health situation requires a pivot to remote learning, then teaching will be delivered remotely.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M100Research Report based on pre-post MAIA scores and reflective journal/diary as appendix (1500 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2M10 minute pre-recorded small group presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Working towards in-depth comprehension and the skills-based module aim, 100% of the overall grade for this module will come from a research report based on self-reflection and pre-post measures of their interoceptive awareness.

Students will complete the MAIA (see syllabus section) at the beginning and the end of the semester. The report will be written in APA style presenting existing literature on the topic combined with examples/evidence from their own experiences documented in their diary.

There will be two workshops with group work activities in preparation for the final assessment. The first workshop will be dedicated to the analyses of the MAIA scores, writing time, issues about the write up and the marking criteria. Students will work in small groups to exchange ideas and address issues. General issues will also be discussed in the larger group. In between workshops students will exchange reports with approx. 2-3 others to gain peer-reviewed feedback in the second workshop. Here, students will work in small groups to give and receive feedback and work on the final draft.

This choice assesses the students’ understanding of the learning content and evaluates the learning outcomes accordingly. The research report and formative presentation will cover the theoretical approaches/models of interoception and its role for psychological functions (knowledge outcomes 1-3). The report represents an appraisal of the MAIA in relation to attention, emotion and self-regulation based on self-experience after a short-term intervention which will be linked to existing studies on interoceptive awareness and mental health (knowledge outcomes 4-6). The assessment requires both discerning and synthesising knowledge acquired over the course of the module and communication of such.

The research report and formative presentation of research papers will require clear articulation of the knowledge outcomes in oral/written form, respectively (skill outcome 1) as well as measure the ability to describe, interpret and appraise research on interception (skill outcome 2). The research report deepens the understanding of the learning material and transfers it into both research as well as clinical practice. This choice of assessment will enable the students to measure and track their ability to make use of bodily signals to establish a stronger internal locus of health control through the applied short-term intervention (skill outcomes 3-4). This self-experience will assist in designing prevention/intervention tools for practice-based settings (skill outcome 5).

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

Reading Lists

Timetable