Psychological Therapies (PSYL10145)

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Psychological Therapies (PSYL10145)

Semester 1, Tuesday 2.10pm - 4pm

BPS core area – Individual Differences, Social Psychology


What will be covered?

This course examines current practice in psychological therapies and the psychological research which informs this. Attention will be paid to claims about evidence and its application in diverse clinical settings and across specific populations. This will include: an examination of a competency and evidence-based approach to psychological therapies and a discussion of the research designs which underpin this; assessment, case-formulation and the decisional framework for intervention; the development of psychoanalytic approaches and their current application; interpersonal models of therapy and the therapeutic alliance; the influence, legacy and application of behaviourism; the cognitive turn in therapy and its application across diverse clinical presentations; the third wave of psychological therapies and the move to acceptance-based models; technology-mediated delivery and the use of mobile devices; systemic approaches with carers and family members; psychological therapies with specific populations.

How will it be delivered?

The course will be taught in lecture format, with slides, reading lists and learning outcomes for each lecture available at least seven days in advance.  There is no specific requirement for students to read each week’s key references beforehand, although students may wish to do so in order to support their learning. Some representative references are given below, but there will be specific reading lists for each lecture.

What skills will be gained?

Skills developed within this course include critical analysis of what constitutes evidence; an ability to understand how clinical judgements are formed; the ability to differentiate between different theoretical psychological models and why they have influenced service delivery; an understanding of clinical psychology as a discipline, considerations of the methodological difficulties in gathering evidence for psychological therapies.

Learning Outcomes: 

1. An understanding of the scientist-practitioner model and its relevance to psychological therapies.

2. Knowledge of what constitutes scientific evidence and its application.

3. How intervention is informed by assessment and problem formulation.

4. An understanding of the historical development and legacies of psychotherapies and their current applications.

5. How therapies have relevance across different clinical populations and presentations.


30% Mid-course MCQ test (40, 5 answer option)

The mid-term MCQ test is a summative assessment (so the mark will provide numerical feedback as to grade). Also, as the MCQ test is designed to assess foundational knowledge about the course topic, performance on the MCQ test will provide formative feedback as to whether students have a good grasp of the foundations or need to do some more study to consolidate knowledge and provide the necessary basis for more advanced parts of the course to follow.

70% Essay (3000 words). One answer from a choice of three topics.

One answer from a choice of three topics to be set by the course organiser.

Relationship Between Assessment and Learning Outcomes

LO1: MCQs will assess knowledge of terminology and historical landmarks. Essay will assess understanding of parapsychology's scientific development.

LO2: MCQs will assess knowledge of the types of pseudo-psychic claims. Essay will assess understanding of challenges of testing claimants.

LO3: MCQs will assess knowledge of methods. Essay will assess deeper understanding of methodological issues in lab psi research, of the research database and meta-analytic reviews thereof, and limitations of the lab research literature.

LO4: Essay will assess the deeper understanding of wider methodological ramifications of parapsychological research and relevance to psychology and scientific endeavour more broadly.

LO5: Essay will assess the understanding of how therapies have relevance across different clinical populations and presentations.

Reading resources

Indicative reading:

Barlow, David H. (Editor). (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Resources list: