The first year of the course introduces you to counselling psychology focusing on the relationship between theoretical psychology and counselling by exploring the three major psychological ‘schools’, psychodynamic, humanistic/client-centred and cognitivebehavioural. You are also introduced to the core areas of psychology, including biological, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, as well as individual differences, whilst learning how these core areas are influenced and supported by research methods used in psychology. The first year ends with a programme level assessment, providing you with the opportunity to draw together your learning from all of the modules studied in the first year in a team-based activity. You then undertake a five-week professional placement in which you will be encouraged to develop an understanding of vulnerable people and disadvantaged groups, ideally in the help and caring professions. This is designed to develop your professional skills and career goals.
Your second year furthers your understanding and knowledge of the theory of counselling psychology and considers the range of personal issues experienced by the person in need of help and support. You will consider the wider issues affecting the counsellor and the client, in particular focusing on their interpersonal relationship and the personal development needs of both. You will also broaden and deepen your understanding of the core areas of psychology and research methods. The second year includes programme level assessment, and your personal and professional development continues to be supported through a fiveweek professional placement or you may choose to undertake a longer-term period of volunteering.
In your final year, you will consider the applied nature of counselling psychology in the wider cultural, social, political, pluralistic, economic and international context. You will also consider positive aspects of human behaviour, so as well as considering what causes psychological distress, you will also consider what causes optimal human functioning and how we can move towards living a happier lifestyle. Assessment in your third year will draw on your placement experiences to tackle real world issues through the use of case studies. You will also work with a supervisor to complete a Major Research Project in an area of your choosing. This represents the culmination of your research training in the course. In addition, you will select three modules from a range of options, in areas such as Business Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Mental Health, or Health Psychology. There is also an opportunity to undertake a further professional placement to round-off the professional and career development aspects of the course.