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Fundamentals of Professional Practice and Ethics

Module titleFundamentals of Professional Practice and Ethics
Module codePYCM070
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Professor Ken Laidlaw (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module affords you the critical knowledge and skills in order to function as a Clinical Associate Psychologist in range of clinical settings and with range of patients of all ages. The module addresses general professional ethical issues and values pertinent to NHS and related care settings. You will explore the critical professional and ethical issues surrounding the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. Areas covered include staffing structures and roles within the NHS and relevant voluntary and local authority agencies; clinical governance issues regarding effectiveness, quality and confidentiality of service; ethical and legal aspects of clinical practice; management of clinical time and caseload.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop your core therapeutic competencies in the following domains:

  • Knowledge of, and ability to operate within, professional standards of conduct and ethical guidelines.fostering reflective practice as an evidence-based applied psychologist
  • Ability to engage clients, families and support networks; understand the importance of social and cultural values in the presentation and management of complex emotional problems
  • Ability to foster and maintain a good therapeutic alliance, and to grasp the client’s perspective and world view.
  • Ability to manage the emotional content of sessions.
  • Consider the impact of ending relationships on self and other people, while developing an understanding of the importance of using scarce clinical resources as effectively as possible.
  • Ability to undertake generic assessment (relevant history and identifying suitability for intervention).
  • Ability to make use of supervision. Understand the need to maintain a logbook of clinical practice and experience.
  • Ability to appraise and reflect upon personal strengths and weaknesses in training and experience.
  • Ability to reflect upon need for further and continuing professional development.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Reduce psychological distress and enhance and promote psychological wellbeing.
  • 2. Reflect on the clinical, professional and social contexts of Clinical Applied Psychology practice.
  • 3. Implement psychological interventions with clients from engagement to ending.
  • 4. Implement good practice in the use of supervision.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Apply a reflective scientist-practitioner model to consideration of work with clients and systems.
  • 6. Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the values required to work effectively under supervision with systems relevant to clients, including for example statutory and voluntary services, self-help and advocacy groups, user-led systems and other elements of the wider community.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Practise reflectively within a professional and ethical value base.
  • 8. Demonstrate high level skills in managing a personal learning agenda and self-care, in critical reflection and self-awareness.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module uses a mixture of pedagogical approaches to structure learning such as didactic teaching, skills-based workshops, problem-based learning groups, online resources etc. The module is delivered across all terms of the year and emphasises reflective learning within teaching sessions (including peer groups, case study vignettes etc). Teaching incorporate an element of experiential learning where you are encouraged to reflect on your clinical experience and to draw on transferable learning experiences. There will be case studies, role plays and skills practice to engender a questioning and open stance to inform your work with clients, services and healthcare colleagues.

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 teaching66Class-based activities (didactic and skills-based teaching)
Guided independent study80Self-reflective learning, work-based study
Guided independent study54Recommended reading and study


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective weblogFortnightly exchange with peer1-5, 7-8 Written feedback from tutor
Client-focused ecosystems mapA2 representation of client ecosystem4Service user feedback

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
Professional practice reflective log (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)1002000 words1-8Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Professional practice reflective log Professional practice reflective log 1-8Four weeks after initial feedback

Re-assessment notes

One assessment is required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within four weeks from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

If you fail re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), you will be failed in the module and as a consequence you will be failed in the programme and your registration as a student of the University will be terminated.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Beinart, H.,Kennedy, P. & Llewelyn, S. (2009). Clinical Psychology in practice. Leicester: BPS-Blackwell.
  • British Psychological Society. (2008). Socially inclusive practice. Leicester: BPS.
  • British Psychological Society. (2011). Good Practice guidelines on the use of psychological formulation. Leicester: BPS.
  • British Psychological Society (2014) Division of Clinical Psychology policy on supervision. Leicester: BPS
  • British Psychological Society. (2018) Code of ethics and conduct. Leicester: BPS.
  • Division of Clinical Psychology. (2010). The Core Purpose and Philosophy of the Profession. Leicester: BPS.
  • Francis R. (2009) Ethics for Psychologists. Wiley, Blackwell
  • Johnstone, L. & Boyle, M. with Cromby, J., Dillon, J., Harper, D., Kinderman, P., Longden, E., Pilgrim, D. & Read, J. (2018). The Power Threat Meaning Framework: Towards the identification of patterns in emotional distress, unusual experiences and troubled or troubling behaviour, as an alternative to functional psychiatric diagnosis. Leicester: BPS.
  • Health & Care Professions Council (2016). Information for students and education providers: Guidance on conduct and ethics for students. London: HCPC. Available online at
  • Llewelyn, S., & Murphy, D. (2014).What is Clinical Psychology? (5th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hall, J., Pilgrim, D., Turpin, G. (2016) Clinical Psychology in Britain: Historical perspectives. Leicester: BPS-Blackwell.
  • Page, A.C. & Stritzke, W.G. (2014). Clinical Psychology for trainees: Foundations of science informed practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Professional, clinical, psychology, practice, ethics

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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