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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Professional Practice Portfolio 1
Module Code NS589
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Gemma Kiernan
Semester 2: Gemma Kiernan
Autumn: Gemma Kiernan
Module TeachersGemma Kiernan
Alice McEleney
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The PPP aspect of training incorporates two key course components that run through the entire 4 year MSc. Programme: professional and personal development; and clinical practice and supervision. The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the ideas and practices that facilitate integration of their personal and professional selves. The module provides guidance on the common factors that enhance therapy outcomes, enhances ethical sensitivity, promotes personal / professional reflection, and introduces students to the social, professional and legal context of psychotherapy practice. Students are expected to: attend personal therapy and group awareness sessions; observe, discuss and critique clinical practice; prepare for supervision; and participate in class based discussion and on line self directed learning activities. This work will recorded in their professional practice portfolio which provides evidence and a record of their personal and professional development and clinical competencies over the duration of year 1.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explore personal biases and values and how these influence views about psychotherapy practice.
2. Describe a model of personal / professional reflection and demonstrate its use as a practitioner.
3. Explore the social, professional and legal contexts within which contemporary psychotherapy is situated.
4. Develop a beginning appreciation of the ethical dimensions of therapy practice.
5. Demonstrate awareness of discriminatory practices.
6. Examine the common factors associated with positive outcomes in psychotherapy.
7. Demonstrate competence in essential (core) psychotherapy skills and processes.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture15Didactic Teaching
Lecture30Role Play and Skills Development
Group work20Personal and Professional Development Groups
Independent Study180Self-directed learning – preparation for and review of clinical issues, maintaining personal / professional reflection journal, updating logs, reading, assignments.
Directed learning5Tutor led formative engagement
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Professional & Personal Development
Through personal and interpersonal experiential inquiry the student will develop an understanding of reflexive awareness of self-other relationships, begin to identify their personal biases and blind-spots, and appreciate the influence of the self of the therapist on the psychotherapeutic endeavour. The student will also begin to develop an understanding of the need for self care.

Preparation for Psychotherapy Practice
The student will observe and critically examine work with clients. Through a range of experiential exercises the student will demonstrate competence in essential (core) psychotherapy skills and processes (active listening, communicating empathy, rapport building, reflecting, summarizing, explorative questioning). This work will be carried out under the guidance of experienced practitioners.

Preparation for Supervision
The student will engage in discussion and reflection on clinical work that they observe. This will involve awareness of non-verbal communication, understanding therapeutic boundary issues, and integration of theory and practice.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Practical/skills evaluationRecorded Real play counselling session with subsequent written critical reflection. Students must attain a minimum mark of 40% in this component of assessment in order to pass the module and progress.60%n/a
EssayReflective Learning Report of key learning in year 1 of M.S.c. Programme30%n/a
PortfolioPractice Portfolio Documentation10%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Adams, M.: 2013, The Myth of the Untroubled Therapist, Taylor and Francis, London, United Kingdom,
  • Bolton, G.: 2014, Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development., 4th, Sage, London,
  • Bond, T: 2015, Standards and Ethics for Counselling in Action, 4th, Sage, London,
  • Creaner, M.: 2014, Getting the Best Out of Supervision in Counselling and Psychotherapy- Guide for the Supervisee., Sage, London,
  • Dryden, W. & Spurling, L.: 2014, On Becoming A Pschotherapist, Taylor & Francis, London, United Kingdom,
  • Hawkins, P. & Ryde, J.: 2019, Integrative Psychotherapy in Theory and Practice: A Relational, Systemic and Ecological Approach, 1st, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London United Kingdom, 1785924222
  • Hawkins, P. Shohet, R: 2000, Supervisioin in the Helping Professions, Buckingham Open University Press,
  • McLeod, J: 2019, An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy, 6th, McGraw-Hill Education, UK, 9780335243
  • Norcross, J. C., & Lambert, M. J.: 2019, Psychotherapy relationships that work. Volume 1: Evidence-based therapist contributions, 3rd ed, Oxford University Press., New York,
  • Norcross, J. & VandenBos, G.R.: 2018, Leaving it at the Office: A Guide to Psychotherapist Self-Care, The Guilford Press, USA,
  • Norcross, J. C., & Wampold, B. E.: 2019, Psychotherapy relationships that work. Volume 2: Evidence-based responsiveness, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, New York,
  • Reeves, A.: 2018, An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy: From Theory to Practice, 2nd Ed, SAGE, Los Angeles,
  • Rose, C: 2012, Self -Awareness and Personal Development: Resources for Psychotherapists and Counsellors, Palgrave MacMillan,
  • Wosket, V: 2016, The Therapeutic use of Self: Counselling Practice, Research and Supervision, Routledge, London,
  • Wright, J. & Bolton, G.: 2012, Reflective Writing in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Sage, London,
Other Resources

59690, Journal, 0, Psychotherapy Research, 59691, Professional Publication, 0, Irish Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), 59692, Professional Competencies, (http://www.europsyche.org/download/cms/100510/Final-Core-Competencies-v-3-3_July2013.pdf), 0, European Association of Psychotherapy’s (EAP: 2013) framework of core competencies in practising psychotherapy., 59693, Ethical Framework, Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy,, IACP, 0, Ethical Framework, Dublin, Ireland,
Programme or List of Programmes
GDCOUGraduate Diploma in Psychotherapy
MCOUMasters in Psychotherapy

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