Clinical Applications 1

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 8
Friday 01 September 2023
Saturday 31 August 2024
25 July 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

CER C89F24 Applied Psychology,
DIP C89F24 Applied Psychology,
MSD C89F24 Applied Psychology,
DOCTC84036 Clinical Psychology (D Clin Psych)

Module description

This module is taken by trainees on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych) programme in the first year of training. It comprises three topic areas namely Adult Mental Health, Older Adult Mental Health and Neuropsychology and aims to provide trainees with the knowledge, understanding and competencies required to provide clinical psychological services to Adults, Older Adults and people who require neuropsychological assessment and related interventions.

Module aims

HS762 introduces the cycle of assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation and includes an analysis of the application of this process in work with adults of working age and older adults. Trainees will learn about common presentations and risk encountered in clinical practice across the lifespan, and will learn about the process of assessment and formulation using the different theoretical models. Additionally, HS762 provides trainees with a foundation in neuropsychological theory and practice, encompassing assessment, formulation and intervention.

The main aim of this topic is to provide trainees with clinical psychological perspectives and frameworks for assessing, formulating and providing interventions for a range of common psychological problems encountered in working within services for adults. The teaching can broadly be considered as falling into two sub-components of understanding psychotic experiences, and mood and anxiety problems (non-psychosis problems) respectively. Although some of the teaching in this topic area focuses on particular problem areas, links are made throughout to broader processes and practices relevant to thinking about adults and the psychological difficulties they may present with. Throughout this topic area, the focus is on helping trainees make theory-practice links when thinking about the application of general clinical psychological theories and approaches relevant to working with adults. Trainees are also provided with opportunities to reflect on attachment and broader developmental processes in their own lives and in the lives of clients, across the lifespan. Teaching includes clinical psychological approaches to problems in adulthood including affective disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, psychotic problems, addiction and so-called personality disorders. Additionally, trainees develop an understanding of psychological approaches instead of / alongside biomedical approaches.

The neuropsychology topic within the broader module of Clinical Applications (HS762) aims to provide trainees with knowledge and understanding of Person Centred Neuropsychology. This places the client’s experiences at the centre of any understanding of their brain function. Teaching on this includes, brain anatomy, neuro development, psychometric testing. The teaching on this topic will also link in to more specialist Neuropsychology teaching for older adults, people with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injury, eating disorders and children.

Older adults
This topic aims at developing trainees’ understanding of relevant psychological theories of ageing and an awareness of psychological problems presenting in older people. In the course of this topic, trainees will develop an understanding of the main therapeutic approaches as applied to problems of later life, including cognitive-behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic and other therapies. Additionally, the topic focuses on approaches to assessment in neuropsychology as applied to this client group. Trainees will also develop an understanding of approaches to challenging behaviour, including psychological interventions, as well as indirect work with carers and staff teams. In the course of this topic, trainees will develop increased capacity to reflect on the experience of older adults in health and social care settings, and the staff working with them. Trainees will also evidence a developing awareness of the importance of diverse ethnic, cultural and socio-economic factors when working with older people. Additionally, trainees will develop an understanding of the multi-professional network of health and social care for older adults and of the wider political and policy context of health and social care for older adults.

Module learning outcomes

Adult topic area
On successful completion of this module, trainees will:

Be able to understand the developmental context of adulthood and to be able describe the associated developmental tasks and roles and to appreciate the impact of transition through adolescence to later life.

Understand fundamental psychological theories and frameworks (such as attachment etc.) used in understanding the range of psychological problems experienced through the lifespan.

Have an understanding of the main psychological problems that can occur during adulthood, their clinical features and aetiological factors relevant to their development.

Engage critically with diagnostic classification systems of psychological problems and to provide psychologically informed formulations for such problems

Appreciate the role of clinical psychologists and the application of psychological theory in physical health settings.

Develop specific knowledge and skills in the application of psychological approaches to the assessment, formulation and treatment of pain

Understand how clinical psychologists can engage with the medical model; including developing ways of working psychologically alongside / as alternatives to medical treatments of psychological problems

By the end of this topic area, trainees will be able to:

Select and conduct neuropsychological and other specialist psychometric testing as appropriate to the client’s presentation and needs.

Critically interpret and appropriately communicate findings from neuropsychological assessment to clients, carers and systems relevant to the client’s care.

Understand how approaches and interventions need to be adapted in response to findings from neuropsychological investigations

Have a thorough grounding in the neurophysiological basis for the most common conditions relevant to the client groups trainees will encounter in the course of their training

Understand the basics of neuro development and brain function and interaction

Older Adults
By the end of this module, trainees will evidence:

Knowledge of different theoretical models for understanding the ageing process, including factors that support successful ageing, as well as those likely to impede development in later life.

Knowledge of some of the physical, psychological and social/economic factors that are relevant to the experience of ageing.

Knowledge of the range of clinical skills and approaches to working with older adults and those who care for them.

Knowledge of one’s own experiences of clinical work in settings serving older people.

Knowledge of the network of services for this client group and the roles of the different disciplines within them

Knowledge of organisational difficulties in older adult services, as well as approaches to intervening at system and team levels.

The ability to provide psychological help to older people, their families or carers presenting with complex and multiple problems, within a variety of settings, to improve their quality of life.

The ability to bring awareness of lifespan development and issues associated with ageing to psychological work in any setting which may, directly or indirectly, impact upon the lives of older people.

The ability to contribute to improvements in services for older people and to help reduce age discrimination.

Module information

This module is undertaken in all three terms of year one and comprises three topic areas namely:
- Adult mental health
- Working with older adults
- Neuropsychology
In line with the general approach to teaching on the DClinPsych, the module places the emphasis on the application of underlying psychological theory clinical practice. This first year module introduces trainees to the fundamental principles necessary to work with clients of working age as well as older adults. The module runs in parallel with the two clinical placements of the first year, namely a placement in a service for adults and a service for older adults (or equivalent lifespan placements). Such placements generally include neuropsychological and related assessments and some placements specifically focus on adults or older adults who have acquired brain injuries or other neuropsychological problems.

This module provides trainees with an understanding and related competencies required for working with adults, older adults and people who require neuropsychological assessment and intervention.

Learning and teaching methods

The three topic areas draw heavily on trainees' preparation prior to each teaching session in order to ensure that trainees are familiar with broad constructs relevant to each of the teaching sessions. Trainees are provided with suggestions for prior preparation and further reading following lectures and are encouraged to reflect on how the material covered in a lecture relates to their own clinical practice. Case discussion, experiential work and use of multi-media presentations in and outside the classroom ensure that trainees maximise the development of competencies relevant to working with adults, older adults and people who require neuropsychological assessment, formulation and treatment.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Clinical Activity Report 1 (CAR1)  14/08/2024  100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Christopher McCormack, email: cm18972@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Antonella Trotta, email: atrott@essex.ac.uk.
External contributors
E: dcpadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Magdalena Marczak
Coventry University
Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
Available via Moodle
Of 87 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
87 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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