Through studying a Psychology degree at BGU you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the scientific nature of the subject and of its wider cultural and social impact. This course will develop your understanding of psychology and its theories of the mind, emotions and behaviour and become familiar with how these theories are applied in our lives, communities and societies.
The programme adopts a humanistic approach to counselling practice; the ‘humanistic’ label is an umbrella term for counselling approaches which are client-centred and fundamentally focused on the therapeutic relationship. Humanistic counselling requires a high level of self-awareness and, consequently, students will embark upon a journey of personal development throughout the programme. Alongside this process, students will learn about both the theoretical underpinnings of humanistic counselling and the practical application of that theory.
Mode of study
Bishop Grosseteste University
About this course
Do you ever wonder why is it we behave as we do? How do gangs, teams and friendship groups form? Do you wonder if smiling really does make you feel more positive? Do you often venture into the bigger questions about life and who we are?
Psychology has a science base, yet includes a balance of liberal arts, technological knowledge, statistics and computer-based skills. As well as classic psychological theories and research, on this undergraduate degree you’ll be debating social issues, studying specific mental processes, such as memory, language and attention, as well as broader issues and theories – both historical and contemporary. As well as applying psychological knowledge to a range of subjects, you will develop your skills in problem-solving, data analysis, predict and reasoning, with a focus on real-world application.
Here at BGU in Lincoln, we ensure you have close support and contact with your tutors and, with small group sizes, you’ll always get the support and feedback you need on your course. We also know how important it is to experience a real working environment so, through work placements and other projects, you’ll be equipped for whichever career path you may choose after your degree. With research-informed teaching and research-active staff, you’ll receive scientific training and gain an in-depth understanding of the nature of the subject, at the same time as applying your knowledge and theory to real-life.
This joint honours programme focuses on a humanistic approach, specifically Carl Rogers person-centred therapy, and designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of counselling theories and techniques without the focus on becoming a practitioner. The programme offers an exploration of humanistic counselling approaches, personal growth, self-awareness and the development of therapeutic relationships.
Students in the Counselling half subject will study various humanistic counselling models, such as person-centred therapy, transactional analysis, and gestalt therapy. Students will develop essential counselling skills, including active listening, empathy, and effective communication. Opportunities will be provided for students to engage in role-plays and reflective exercises to enhance their practical abilities.
While this joint degree programme does not focus on training students to become a counselling practitioner, it does equip them with a strong foundation in humanistic counselling and skills, that will be transferrable into various career paths or to pursue further training in this field.
What you will study
As a student on this course, you may study some or all of the modules listed below.
This module will introduce you to core areas and methods integral to the discipline and study of psychology. It will provide a historical and contextual backdrop to psychology as a scientific discipline, as well as a focus on research methodologies. This module will introduce you to the wonderful world of numberland, where you will embark on a quantitative journey through research methods and statistical techniques. It will equip you with the tools necessary to investigate questions you may have about human psychology, and to do it in a robust and scientific manner. It will explore aspects of research design, underpinnings of statistical theory, as well as core statistical techniques such as t-tests and correlation. It will analyse data using statistical software and interpret related output appropriately. This module will also provide an introduction to qualitative research methods, where you will be introduced to a range of applied qualitative methods in psychology, the core philosophical underpinnings of such techniques, as well as its relation to quantitative methods.
The module will provide you with an understanding of developmental psychology across the lifespan, exploring physical development, cognitive development, social and emotional development throughout childhood and later into maturity. You will gain a deeper understanding of the theories, themes and concepts in developmental psychology and appreciate that development continues throughout the lifespan and is influenced by a range of factors including class, culture, gender, ethnicity and heredity. In addition, you will learn about the current issues and methods involved in lifespan research, together with specific empirical studies that address developmental research questions and contemporary and cross-cultural developments that have emerged in the field.
This module will immerse you in the origins of psychology, with respect to early understandings of what psychology is (Plato; Aristotle), as well as the development and establishment of Psychology as a discipline in its own right. You will be introduced to the history of science and the Scientific Revolution, as well as corresponding developments in metaphysics and epistemology as manifested in The Enlightenment, and how this contributed to the emergence and shaping of psychology as an experimental science from which behaviourism and the cognitive revolution later emerged. This context will enable you to understand debates within psychology that concern it’s standing as a science and the differences in psychological research methodologies that accompany those debates. Focus on the historicisation of psychology will prompt you to evaluate your perceptions of Psychology and how you, and society understand and identify with it in both professional and personal settings. Furthermore, “classic” studies in psychology will be explored in reference to recent research that demonstrates issues with their findings, especially in the context of the current replicability crisis in Psychology.
You will explore the main exponents in shaping the world of counselling today, against the backdrop of their historical contexts. The theoretical origins and core concepts of the three main approaches used in contemporary counselling will be introduced. These are the psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural and humanistic approaches. Issues pertaining to equality, power-structures and ethics will also be considered in the light of the socio-political history of the field.
The purpose of this module is for you to learn and practice core counselling skills. This is a key aspect of your professional development. Counselling involves the use of skills with clients in the context of the therapeutic relationship. Similarly, counselling skills can be used by helping professionals in many contexts. You will develop counselling skills through practice, peer observation, reflection and tutor feedback. You will be introduced to the concepts and processes of client assessment, engaging with arguments for and against formal assessment in both therapeutic and helping contexts. You will be encouraged to keep a reflective journal to chart your learning from practical work and to consider how this has fed into your development.
The purpose of this module is to build on the essential skills which you developed in introduction to helping skills and to develop the higher skills needed in level 5 and 6 modules in counselling as well as to prepare you for your placements. You will be encouraged to keep a reflective journal to chart your learning from practical work and to consider how this has fed into your development.
Debates within the field of counselling have centred around the tension between a bio-medical model of psychological distress, and psychosocial models that consider the effects of culture, environment, power structures and associated social inequalities. In order to support your understanding of people and their experiences, this module will consider issues of difference and equality in counselling and the ways the culture and belief systems of both counselling clients and counsellors may influence how psychological distress is conceptualised and addressed. As part of your personal development, you will be encouraged to reflect on your own cultural background and belief systems and how these may influence both your personal life and future professional practice.
Personality and Individual Differences is a multifaceted module that covers the history, cornerstone theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches of personality research. The structure of human personality is examined using a trait-based approach, which is applied in a variety of sub-topics leading to a comprehensive understanding of how personality and individual differences influence thought and behaviour in different settings. The contributions of biological and environmental factors in the development of personality and individual differences, as well as associated controversies are also explored. You will consolidate your learning by utilising psychometric methods to design and run a quantitative study in an area of personality research of your choosing. Accordingly, this module helps to prepare you for your third-year dissertation module in providing experience of the research process, from design, gaining ethical approval, data collection and analysis to reporting and discussing findings.
This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of social psychology, one of the core areas of psychology introduced in Researching Psychology I. Social Psychology will engage you with the breadth and diversity of social psychology as a discipline from social constructionism and group processes through to social cognition, collective behaviour, and social interactions. The purpose is to help you gain a detailed understanding of how people think, feel and act in relation to others and the world around them. Key topics will engage you with the indexical nature of the discipline locating historical and contemporary research and theory within its broader socio-economic and cultural context.
This module will build and extend on core methods and statistical techniques acquired at level 4 in Researching Psychology I. You will develop knowledge and skills integral to advanced psychological research designs, including the use of quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques. Specifically, this module covers three research methods strands including experimental, psychometric, and qualitative methods. Statistical underpinnings and application of techniques relevant to experimental (e.g., One-way ANOVA, Factorial ANOVA) and psychometric-based research (e.g., Regression, Multiple Regression) are covered and directly extend methods learnt in Researching Psychology I. Additionally, you will develop applied methods skills by utilising specialist software such as SPSS for the analysis of quantitative data. A variety of qualitative approaches, methods and analyses will also be considered such as interviewing skills, diaries and photo elicitation, discourse analysis, polytextual thematic analysis and descriptive phenomenology.
To further your understanding of the professional role and responsibility of the therapist, as well as the social, professional and organisational context for therapy, in this module, you will consider the application of guidance and legislation to counselling practice. This will include the examination of issues such as safeguarding, record keeping, consent, confidentiality, boundaries, contracting, client assessment (including risk-assessment), and diversity and equality of opportunity. You will be encouraged to identify and critically reflect on the tensions between legal, ethical and professional responsibilities that can lead to challenges and dilemmas for practicing counsellors. Alongside an examination of government policies and recommendations, such as those in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, you will be supported in the critical consideration and application of the BACP ethical framework and current legislation on practice, the client and the counsellor. Themes to be considered will include working with clients prescribed common medications, ethical boundaries and managing dual relationships. You will be assisted in an exploration of your own values and belief systems in the light of these legal, ethical and professional Issues.
This module is designed to be an introduction to counselling children and young people. The module provides a theoretical and practical introduction to a range of research-informed therapeutic responses, strategies and interventions, which therapists may employ in their work with children and young people of a variety of ages and development levels. These may include the use of: story telling as a therapeutic tool; metaphor and puppets; arts and creative activities; and emotional literacy cards. You will also be encouraged to develop an awareness of specific ethical issues associated with working with children and young people, including an understanding of professional responsibilities in relation to safeguarding. You should note that completing this module alone does not provide you with the necessary skills to counsel children and young people. Rather, this is a ‘taster’ module to help you consider if this is an area you would like to investigate further post-graduation.
Engagement with a range of theoretical perspectives is key to understanding people and their experiences. To this end, this module will explore a range of theories of human development. You will engage critically with these theories, in the light of an awareness of their philosophical origins. Influential theorists such as Bowlby and Erikson will be considered alongside perspectives on human development within wider frameworks informing humanistic counselling (person-centred theory, Gestalt theory, transactional analysis and existential theory). You will consider how theories of human development theories may apply to yourself and your clients, and subsequently reflect on implications you may have within humanistic counselling practice.
This module comprises an introduction to three humanistic approaches: existential therapy, transactional analysis, and Gestalt therapy. The work of key exponents of each approach will be examined, alongside associated theory and research evidence. There will be an examination of how ideas such as the therapeutic relationship, psychological distress and models of change are conceptualised in each approach. You will also consider potential limitations of these three approaches.
This module focuses upon the BPS Core domain Biopsychology, covering aspects of the biological basis of behaviours, emotions and mental health. The module aims to provide an overview of how the sub-disciplines within biopsychology (e.g., neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience) approach psychological research questions. The module will support development of an in-depth understanding of neural conductance and major brain structures/systems to particular neurotransmitter systems as explanations of how the brain affects behaviour. The module aims to develop your understanding of the anatomical and physiological processes that underpin psychological experience whilst exploring the methodologies used to examine contemporary issues in biopsychology. To achieve these aims, the module will enable you to critically examine how contemporary biopsychological models are developed and evaluate these as explanations for behaviour using key examples (e.g., emotions, memory and learning, drugs and addiction and mental health disorders). This module promotes the application of multiple perspectives (including knowledge gained of other domains in previous years) to critique biopsychological theory and to critically appraise information, using evidenced based reasoning.
This module develops knowledge and understanding of the BPS core domain of Cognitive Psychology which you will have been introduced to at level 4 in Researching Psychology I. Throughout this module, there will be discussion and critical evaluation of a range of different cognitive psychological constructs (e.g., processing resources, attention, memory, language) as a toolkit for theorising mental functioning. You will critically engage with core constructs in cognitive psychology, associated methodologies and key perspectives (for example cognitive neuropsychology, neuroscience, fundamentals of the experimental method). Throughout the module, the use of computerised experimental paradigms will be explored, which underpin theories. For example, you will have the opportunity to engage with classical experimental paradigms or paradigms with a cognitive basis such learning, memory and problem-solving computerised tasks, within workshop sessions. The module aims to showcase the breadth of approaches to understand cognitive processes whilst critically engaging you with relevant associated methodologies. You will have opportunities to engage in a variety of cognitive experiments to facilitate your understanding of key topics and experimental approaches.
The module provides an opportunity for you to build upon and apply the key intellectual, transferable and practical skills gained at Levels 4 and 5 of the programme in order to design an appropriate research project for your Psychology dissertation. Throughout the module a series of lectures, seminars and workshops will further develop your research design skills in experimental, quasi-experimental, surveys and/or qualitative research methods. In addition, you will develop a critical understanding of ethical challenges associated with carrying out psychological research leading to the development of a research project that adheres to the British Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics and Conduct (2018) and BGU's Research Ethics Committee standards.
The Dissertation requires you to work independently in producing a substantial piece of research that demonstrates mastery of academic knowledge and research skills commensurate with Level 6. You will draw on your existing repertoire of experience garnered over the course of the degree in the development of a report akin to a journal style article, representative of the discipline. You will initiate your research protocol as defined in the first semester module, Research Project Design, and subsequently manage participant recruitment, data collection, and data analysis in accordance with the BPS Code of Ethics and Conduct. The Dissertation should aspire to produce published articles in the discipline (corresponding to the subject topic). The design of the study should successfully address the research question such that data collection and data analysis provide meaningful insight into the identified gap in the literature. You are expected to thoroughly scrutinise the findings in relation to relevant theoretical and methodological issues and in doing so, produce a meaningful contribution to the literature.
This module will focus on ways in which counsellors enable clients to find their voice by articulating their views, issues and experiences within the therapeutic relationship. You will examine the limitations of talking therapy and will explore potential mitigation of such limitations via a range of techniques and creative therapeutic approaches for example creative artwork, sand tray, clay, expressive writing, empty chair techniques and music therapy. You will engage with both the theoretical and practical aspects of creative approaches in counselling. With reference to relevant ethical codes of practice, you will be encouraged to consider how to use the techniques in a sensitive and ethical way maintaining the client's autonomy and safeguarding their wellbeing.
This module examines ways of working with clients who present with a range of issues that affect their everyday living to such an extent that help is sought to address them. You will learn to recognise the signs and symptoms associated with mental distress. You will engage with a range of research-informed therapeutic responses to work with clients who present with challenges such as anxiety; depression; bereavement; loss; and suicidal ideation or intent. Particular consideration will be given to the use of supervision when working with this latter population, as well as legal and ethical implications; when to refer on to more specialist services; and local and national support services that are available. More generally, you will think about referral and the compatibility of counselling/psychotherapy and psychopharmacological interventions in conjunction with other professionals. you will consider client assessment (in relation to a range of presentations) against a backdrop of critical awareness of different perspectives on assessment, diagnosis and case conceptualisation. You will reflect on client assessment as it pertains to risk management, especially where there may be additional considerations concerning client competence, capacity, understanding, awareness and decision making. You will also critically engage with the concept of measuring outcomes and how we conceptualise progress and success in therapy.
In this module, you will consider the theory and practice of contemporary and emerging counselling approaches in the world of therapy. For example, these may include, feminist approaches, ecotherapy, holistic and social prescribing and the influence of neuroscience in counselling practice. You will critically consider online delivery of therapy, with an emphasis on the development of a strong therapeutic alliance and the creation of a safe space for clients’ discussion of your experience. Ethics, boundaries and contracting in relation to online working will also be considered. You should note that the content of this module alone will not equip you to deliver therapy online, and that if you should wish to offer this service to clients further training will be required post-graduation.
How you will be taught
There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.
You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.
Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.
Assessments in Psychology take place at the end of each module in order for you to demonstrate your understanding of the objectives covered. A wide range of assessment methods is used to support your learning, including portfolios, presentations, displays and examinations and laboratory projects. The Psychology course includes assessments that are designed to develop and refine specific skills that you may well need to draw on as a psychologist, whether that is as specific as demonstrating your practical counselling skills in the Introduction to Psychological Therapies module, or openly argumentative as in the group debate in the Personality and Individual Differences module! Assessments are also designed to enhance your critical thinking and analysis skills – something that psychologists are well known for.
In Counselling, assessment is carried out using wide-range of approaches, including written assignments, coursework, essays and reports. You will carry out a small number of oral presentations, produce portfolios of research material, and undertake some practical assessments.
Careers & Further study
In Psychology we allow you to develop the knowledge and skills which will make you attractive to an employer. Psychology graduates go on to work in a range of sectors including teaching, education or training, local government, health and social work and in areas of industry including human resources management. By the end of this course, you will be ready to apply your knowledge of psychology to the world in which you live, with the necessary workplace skills for a variety of future careers. Future careers for Psychology graduates may include work within Clinical settings, Counselling, Mental Health services, Education and Research.
By the end of a Counselling course at BGU you will be ready to successfully complete further study to become a professional counsellor. You will also be equipped for a range of graduate employment in other career areas, including Psychology, Sociology and Health and Social Care.
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