Introduction to Clinical Psychology

Module titleIntroduction to Clinical Psychology
Module codePSY1204
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Professor Huw Williams (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Clinical Psychology is a major area of Applied Psychology that makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them deal with a range of problems. From depression and anxiety, psychosis and drug problems through to managing the effects of brain injury or the risk of heart attacks. The module involves the use of psychological theories – such as Psychodynamic or Cognitive Behavioural and the collection of evidence for “what works” - to guide practice. In this module clinical psychologists – amongst them invited speakers who are experts in their field – give lectures that provide overviews to major mental health and neuro-developmental disorders, providing you with a valuable insight into how such problems arise, the treatments that may be offered and to what benefit. This module provides a key starting point for anyone considering a future in applied psychology enabling them to understand the true nature of the role.

Module aims - intentions of the module

To provide an overview of how clinical psychologists understand major psychological disorders from a bio-psycho-social perspective. The specific aims of the module are:

  • To familiarise you with a range of mental health conditions
  • To provide you with an introduction to causes of Mental Health conditions
  • To provide a review of psychological interventions for Mental Health conditions
  • To introduce you to the historical background of mental health and individual differences

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Discuss mental health conditions and the role of clinical psychologists
  • 2. Describe the skills involved in clinical psychology practice, in particular, relating research to practice
  • 3. Outline the interaction of personal, social and physiological factors in the presentation of mental health conditions
  • 4. Give examples of the causes and treatment of major anxiety disorders, psychosis, depressive conditions, drug misuse and eating disorders
  • 5. Illustrate the issues involved in the development of clinical psychology models for understanding how such conditions may develop across the lifespan

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Acquire basic and essential factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject, and demonstrate understanding of this knowledge
  • 7. Review and evaluate published work and identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of this work
  • 8. Structure this literature to present logical and coherent arguments at a basic level
  • 9. Address well-defined problems systematically, think critically and creatively, and begin to appreciate the complexities of the issues at a basic level
  • 10. Understand and apply essential principles in designing research, evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using defined techniques at a basic level
  • 11. Demonstrate some awareness of ethical issues relating to the subject and its application

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 12. Work effectively with others as a member of a group and meet obligations to others
  • 13. Work within an appropriate ethos and access and use a range of learning resources
  • 14. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses within set criteria, and seek and make use of feedback
  • 15. Manage information, collect appropriate information from a range of sources and undertake essential study tasks under guidance
  • 16. Take responsibility for your own learning with appropriate support
  • 17. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

A brief outline of the history and nature of the understanding of individual difference as it relates to clinical problems in mental health, and indicating important trends and defining important developments. The general nature of psychological distress and disorder. A description and critique of classificatory systems, and alternative models, whilst referring to: Anxiety based reactions; depression; psychosis; drug and alcohol misuse; eating disorders; neurological disorders. There will also be an overview of treatment approaches at individual, family, social and biological levels.

Practical Classes (3):

In the first practical class there will be an overview of understanding personality and its assessment from a clinical perspective. Students will be required to undertake a brief personality measurement process and feed-back on that process. In the second practical class, students will be asked to consider key issues in diagnosis and treatment ratings as portrayed in vignettes. In the third practical there will be an overview to emotion processing and experience of measures of emotion processing. Links will be made between media representation of mental health, stigma and social solutions to mental health problems.

Academic tutorials (3) will support the lectures and practicals as described above.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Tutorial (3 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Practical (3 x 2 hours)
Guided Independent Study93Exam and essay preparation
Guided Independent Study26Wider reading/private study


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group discussions led by Tutor3 x 1 hourAllSocratic questioning

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination501 hour1-10Generic
Essay502000 words1-11,13-19Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-10August Ref/Def
EssayEssay1-11,13-19August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the essay you will be required to resubmit the essay. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Psychology, clinical psychology, applied psychology, cognitive behaviour therapy

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date