Evidence Based Low Intensity Treatment for Common Mental Health Problems

Module titleEvidence Based Low Intensity Treatment for Common Mental Health Problems
Module codePSY2302
Academic year2016/7
Module staff

Dr Robert Kidney (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

A range of low intensity cognitive behavioural interventions are recommended by NICE for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate common mental health problems. In this module you will gain an appreciation of, and competency in mental health assessments, and in the knowledge and competencies required to support medication concordance. A heavy focus upon clinical skills teaching will enhance your general and disorder-defined ‘specific factors’ competencies in support for these interventions.

The module consists of 10 days scheduled teaching and learning activities, where you will undertake timetabled clinical activities, complete online reflective blogs and undertake skills practice with peers in the clinical method. Your reflections will be themed and form the agenda for clinical supervision which you will undertake within a subsequent session. The taught days contain 30% theory and 70% skills practice in line with the national curriculum. In clinical skills sessions the tutor/student ratio is 1:10 in line with the national curriculum and accreditation requirements for PWP training. The module is further supported with guided self-directed and skills practice that you will undertake in your own time.

This module is non-condonable and all individual components of assessment must be passed. In line with PWP course accreditation requirements, this module has a 100% attendance policy. Should your attendance fall below that level an action plan will be put into place. Should your attendance drop below 80% then the module cannot be passed and you will be required to repeat the module, or, at your request, you may be considered for a transfer to the BSc Psychology. Additionally, professional conduct must be adhered to at all times. Any behaviour deemed to fall outside of these guidelines will result in a verbal then written action plan. This module, PSY2302 and the five day placement component must all be passed to progress to PSY3304 in the third year.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide you with a good understanding of the process of therapeutic support for a range of evidence-based, low intensity cognitive behavioural interventions and to facilitate the management of individuals and groups of patients including families, friends and carers.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Plan a collaborative low-intensity psychological and/or pharmacological treatment programme for common mental health problems, including managing the ending of contact
  • 2. Evaluate, and demonstrate competence in, low-intensity basic, intervention-specific, problem-specific and meta-CBT competencies such as behavioural activation, exposure, CBT-based guided self-help, problem solving and individualisation of CBT approaches
  • 3. Evaluate the role of stepped-care approaches to managing common mental health problems in primary care, including ongoing risk management appropriate to service protocols
  • 4. Plan low intensity interventions using a range of methods including face-to-face, telephone, and electronic communication
  • 5. Evaluate a therapeutic alliance with patients during their treatment programme, including dealing with issues and events that threaten the alliance
  • 6. Know how to support people with medication, in particular antidepressant medication, to help them optimise their use of pharmacological treatment and minimise any adverse effects
  • 7. Apply theoretical ideas and research evidence to the treatment and support of individual patients
  • 8. Reflect upon the processes and outcome of clinical work in relation to theory and research evidence

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 9. Summarise basic and essential factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject, and to demonstrate a critical understanding of this knowledge
  • 10. Evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and to assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 11. Describe a range of key professional and ethical issues related to professional practice within mental health settings and personal development
  • 12. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion and develop your own criteria and judgement, and to seek and make use of feedback

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The course content, module specific learning objectives, style of delivery and assessment for this module are as dictated by the national low intensity Improving Access to Psychological Therapies curriculum. Teaching content will include:

Evidence-based interventions and strategies

  • Developing and maintaining a therapeutic alliance
  • Dealing with issues and events that disrupt the alliance
  • Planning a low intensity or pharmacological treatment
  • Low intensity interventions (intervention specific and problem specific)
  • Behavioural activation
  • Guided self-help
  • Problem solving
  • Exposure
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Behavioural Experiments
  • Worry Management
  • Exposure Response Prevention
  • Pharmacological treatments and side effects
  • Lifestyle Management

Context of delivery

  • Lectures
  • Role Play participation
  • On-line resources
  • Clinical Skills Supervision
  • Pre-placement induction

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 Teaching75Practical classes will be used to develop clinical competencies in assessment and engagement through tutor supervised small group role-play. Lectures and tutorials.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching37.5Problem-based learning – undertaking PBL as part of a group within the classroom supported by the tutor Supervision and self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR)
Guided independent study20Reading and preparation for tutorials
Guided independent study17.5Reading and preparation for problem-based learning


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class practical clinical skills competency simulation35 minutes2-7Written and oral

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
Examination (failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)5090 minutesAllWritten
Reflective commentary (failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)501500 wordsAllWritten
Clinical skills competency assessment (this is an assessment of clinical competency and is Pass/Fail only; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)035 minutesAllOral
Professional issues and development portfolio (five outcomes) (this assessment builds across the three years of the programme and is submitted each year to measure progress; this assessment is pass/fail only and must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme) 05 outcomes of 400 words each (2000 words in total)All programme outcomesWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExaminationAllAugust ref/def
Reflective commentaryReflective commentaryAllProgramme Lead will advise
Clinical skills competency assessment (Pass/Fail)Clinical skills competency assessmentAllProgramme Lead will advise
Professional issues and development portfolioProfessional issues and development portfolioAllFour weeks from the date that feedback was provided

Re-assessment notes

Four assessments are required for this module and the re-assessment will be the same format as the original. 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 are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.

Clinical competency assessments are pass/fail and outside of academic achievement. These must be passed with a 50% competency score or above with the information gathering and interpersonal skills passed independently with a 5 or more on the competency scale. Failure to pass the clinical competencies within the maximum permissible attempts means that the module cannot be passed and you cannot progress to PSY3304 and will not be able to achieve the PWP training status. Upon request, subject to grades achieved, you may be considered for transfer to the BSc Psychology.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core reading:

  • Bennett-Levy, J., Richards, D., Farrand, P. et al (2010). Oxford Guide to Low Intensity CBT Interventions.  Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Goldberg, D. and Huxley, P. (1992). Common Mental Health Disorders: A Biosocial Model. London: Routledge.
  • Silverman, J., Kurtz, S. and Draper, J. (2005). Skills for Communicating with Patients. Oxford: Radcliffe.

Wider reading:

  • Bazire, S. (2003). Psychotropic Drug Directory 2003/2004: The Professionals Pocket Handbook and Aide Memoire. Salisbury: Fivepin Publishing.
  • Lovell, K. and Richards, D. (2008). A Recovery Programme for Depression. London: Rethink.
  • Myles, P. and Rushforth, D. (2007). A Complete Guide to Primary Care Mental Health. London: Robinson.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, low intensity, cognitive behavioural therapy, common mental health problems, primary care, evidence based psychological therapies, clinical competency

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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