Clinical Psychology is an online course from Continuing Education.
Psychology is the scientific study of human thought and behaviour, the field of Clinical Psychology specialises in understanding the complexities of human behaviour in particularly ‘abnormal’ behaviour by applying the insights of research in various areas (eg Developmental; Cognitive; Biological). Clinical Psychology aims to understand, prevent, and relieve psychological distress, with topics such as origins of mental illness, understanding psychological formulation and psychosis, this short course will provide an overview of key clinical areas, offering a solid foundation for budding psychologists or those interested in learning more about the field.
Aims and Objectives
The aim of this course is to give students an introduction to Clinical Psychology. During this course we will think about how clinical psychologists understand people’s experience of mental health problems and how psychologists support people when they are experiencing psychological or emotional distress. We will consider the tensions between the classic biomedical approach and a thoroughgoing psychological approach, as well as the attempt to combine them in the biopsychosocial perspective. The course will give students an understanding of some of the key ideas underpinning the practice of Clinical Psychology which are still being challenged. Throughout the course students will have the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge by participating in interactive learning sessions.
- Online Discussions:
Students will be required to participate in online discussions throughout the course and will be instructed to do so at appropriate points in the online sessions. The online discussion boards will contain prompt questions to support students to structure their discussions in line with the aims and objectives for each session. The discussion boards will be closely monitored by module staff.
For the online course students will be given access to online lectures or podcasts during each of the sessions.
Students will be required to watch a number of short video clips during the online course. These video clips are included to supplement the students learning. Students will be informed if videos contain any content they may find distressing and viewing video clips will not be compulsory.
- Wiki Project
During session two of the course students will be required to carry out a piece of independent research. Once students have completed their research they will be required to submit their pieces to a ‘Wiki Page’ which will be accessible to all other students enrolled on the course and module staff.
- Online Quiz:
During session two of the course, students will consolidate their learning by participating in an online quiz. It will not be compulsory for students to take part in the quiz; the quiz will act as a learning resource to supplement learning during the session.
- Case Based Learning:
Over the course of the sessions students will develop skills in applying psychological theory to case materials. Students will be required to read case materials and answer a series of questions about the case as directed by module staff.
- Self-Directed Learning:
The self directed learning aspect of the course will include; independent research time, completion of the assignment and any reading students wish to complete from the recommended reading list. You must not try to read everything – choose what interests you at the level you are at. (Ask me for advice on where to go for a good book on compassion-based therapy or CBT or formulation, etc, and I will help.)
Below is a schedule of the sessions students will be participating in over this course. This session plan lets students know what we will be learning each week and what will be required of them to achieve the learning outcomes set for each session.
Week One: What is Psychology?
During this session we will define the discipline of Psychology, in particular the specialism of Clinical Psychology. We will learn about the origins of Clinical Psychology and key historical figures who influenced positive changes in mental health care.
Week Two: Understanding Diagnosis
In this session we will explore what society considers to be ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ behaviour. We will learn how mental health problems are understood by the medical profession and discuss the differences between this and psychological approaches. During this session students will be required to conduct their own independent research around some of the limitations of a diagnostic approach.
Week Three: An Introduction to Psychological Formulation
Following the previous session about medical diagnosis, this session introduces the concept of formulation. Students will be given the opportunity to understand how psychologists think about and understand mental health problems in the context of life experience. Students will further develop this knowledge by applying general principles of formulation to real life case studies.
Week Four: The Therapeutic Relationship
This session will further develop previous ideas by looking at the therapeutic practice of Clinical Psychology. During this session students will develop an understanding of the importance of the therapeutic relationship in facilitating meaningful therapeutic change.
Week Five: Understanding Anxiety
During these next two sessions students will develop an understanding of how psychological approaches are applied to specific sets of problems. This session in particular looks at anxiety problems. (Anxiety is suited to a biopsychosocial approach.)
Week Six: Understanding Psychosis
During this session students will again apply psychological approaches to understanding specific problems. This session will look at psychosis (schizophrenia is the most common example). People who experience psychosis can have a wide range of distressing experiences, the focus of this session will be around students building an understanding of the subjective experience of psychotic phenomena. We will also note the different understanding of the classic biomedical approach that usually sees psychosis as due to internal, biological factors, and the psychological perspective that has made a very strong case for the importance of trauma in creating psychosis.
If you wish to receive credits for your participation in this course you will be required to complete the final assignment which will be applying principles of psychological thinking to a case study.
Bentall, R. (2004). Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature. London, Penguin Group.
Cromby, J., Harper, D.,& Reavey, P. (2013). Psychology, Mental Health and Distress, London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good. London, Icon Books.
Duncan, B.L., Miller, S.D., Wampold, B.E. & Hubble, M.A. (2010) The Heart and Soul of Change. (2nd edition) Washington:APA. [I recommend this above all others, it changed my informed view of clinical therapies upside down after 30 years!]
Gilbert,P. 2010 The Compassionate Mind. London:Constable. [New edition due]
Johnstone, L. (2006). Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Making Sense of People’s Problems. London, Routledge.
Kinderman, P. (2014). A Prescription for Psychiatry: Why We Need a Whole New Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
McCormick, E.W. (1996) Change for the Better: Self-Help Through Practical Psychotherapy (2nd edition). London:Cassell. [Get latest edition.]
Weatherhead, S., & Flaherty-Jones, G. (2011). A Pocket Guide to Therapy: A ‘How To’ of the Core Models. London, SAGE Publications.
Romme, M., Escher, S., Dillon, J., Corstens, D., & Morris, M. (2009). Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery. Birmingham, PCCS Books.
Recommended Reading (Accessible via University of Liverpool Library)
Adame, A. (2015) – ‘Review of Formulation: Making sense of peoples problems’
Bentall, R. and Kinderman, P. (2008) – ‘A transdiagnostic investigation of ‘theory of mind’ and ‘jumping to conclusions’ in patients with persecutory delusions‘
Bentall, R. (2011) – ‘Madness Explained‘
Bentall, R. (2011) – ‘The Point is to Change Things’
Bentall, R. (2014) – What Are We to Believe About How We Believe?
Cheshire, K. (2004) – ‘A Short Introduction to Clinical Psychology‘
Cutting, J. (1995) – ‘Living with voices’
Dunkley, J.E, Bates, G.W.and Findlay, B.M (2015) – ‘Understanding the trauma of first-episode psychosis’
Frances, A. J. (2011) – ‘The Constant DSM-5- Missed Deadlines and Their Consequences: The Future Is Closing In. (cover story)‘
Frances, A. J. and Widiger, T. (2012) – ‘Psychiatric Diagnosis: Lessons from the DSM-IV past and autions for the DSM-5 future‘
Honig, A., Romme, M., Ensink, B., Escher, Sandra D., Pennings, M. and deVries, M. (1998) – ‘Auditory hallucinations’
Kinderman, P. and Lobban, F. (2000) – ‘Evolving Formulation: Sharing Complex Information with Clients’
Kinderman, P. (2005) – ‘A psychological model of mental disorder’
Kinderman, P. and Tai, S. (2007) – ‘Empirically Grounded Clinical Interventions Clinical Implications of a Psychological Model of Mental Disorder‘
Kinderman, P. (2007) – ‘Human Rights and Applied Psychology’
Longden, E., Corstens, D., Escher, S. and Romme, M. (2012) – ‘Voice Hearing in a biographical context: A model for formulating the relationship between voices and life history’
Rosenhan, D.L. (1973) – ‘On being sane in insane places‘
Selzer, R. and Ellen, S. (2014) – ‘Formulation for Beginners’
Watts, S., Turnell, A., Kladnitski, N., Newby, J. and Andrews, G. (2015) – ‘CBT systematic review‘
Zaitsoff, S., Pullmer, R., Cyr, M. and Aime, H. (2015) – ‘The role of the therapeutic alliance in eating disorder treatment outcomes: A systematic review’
Assessment and Certification
This course is accredited. To be awarded credit you must satisfactorily complete all elements of the course. Successful students will receive credit which will take the form of 5 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit is available via the Liverpool Life web pages.
For further information regarding credit and certification please visit: