Contemporary Issues in Clinical Psychology and Mental Health (912C8)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This module describes what clinical psychology is and explores a range of contemporary issues in the professional practice of clinical psychology and related professional groups.

The module will begin by exploring the profession of clinical psychology and how it has evolved. We will think about how people become clinical psychologists and what they do when they are qualified. We will explore the different models of working in clinical psychology including the 'intuitive practitioner', 'scientist practitioner' and 'reflective practitioner' approaches. We will consider what makes clinical psychology unique in the multidisciplinary context and learn about what it means to work psychologically in the modern healthcare system. This will include a consideration of the roles other professional groups who offer psychological intervention such as psychological therapists and psychological well-being practitioners.

We will think about the range of different theoretical approaches and basic psychological science that underpins the knowledge and practice of clinical psychology, in particular learning theory and behaviourism, cognitive theory, systemic approaches and psychodynamics. 

Contemporary debates in clinical psychology practice will be considered, these include the value of formulation versus diagnosis, the role of common versus specific factors in psychological interventions and the meaning and implementation of evidence based practice in clinical psychology.

We will go on to explore some of the important drivers of clinical practice that influence the delivery of clinical psychology within modern health services in the United Kingdom. This will include an introduction to the modern National Health Service, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme. Finally, we will look to the future of clinical psychology and try to prediction the shape of clinical psychology and related professions in the years to come.


100%: Practical (Workshop)


20%: Coursework (Group presentation)
80%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.