The University of Southampton

HLTH6061 Psychosocial Relationships in Health and Social Care

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide students from a range of multidisciplinary backgrounds, such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses and Midwives with the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of psychosocial issues related to patient care within a patient-centred framework. The module is designed to enable students to explore these issues in relation to their own clinical practice or area of professional interest. All sessions are designed to facilitate discussion, encourage debate and explore and challenge psychosocial issues within a safe and enriching environment.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The key aim of is for students to gain an appreciation and understanding of the psychological and social life-world of people who are experiencing illness, disability and or are engaging in health and rehabilitation services. This is completed through exploring and reflecting on their own clinical practice and exploring key theory and literature. The module takes a research-led teaching approach where aspects of the module are developed based on the special research interests of staff within the Faculty of Health Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Display a comprehensive understanding of the life-world of the person experiencing illness, disability and or are engaging in health and rehabilitation services
  • Critically evaluate current psychosocial concepts, theory and current literature
  • Contrast and critically appraise current psychosocial literature
  • Describe their own practice in terms of a critical evaluation of psychosocial relationships
  • Apply current psychosocial theories to their current practice and illustrate a comprehensive understanding of the key issues and research
  • Develop strategies to enhance psychosocial relationships in their practice or area of professional practice that are based on a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems


The module is designed to explore one key psychosocial issue each week. The sessions are designed to be interactive and allow students time for discussion and opportunities to apply the issues to their own clinical practice or area of professional interest. The key theories and literature underpinning each psychosocial issue is explored and critically appraised within the session. To advance their knowledge and insight of the psychosocial issues, students are encouraged to engage in meaningful discussion and debate throughout the module. The module takes a research-led approach where several members of staff are involved in delivering sessions that are related to their own area of research and specialist interest. The key topics included in the module are likely to include: Cultural differences affecting rehabilitation journeys, heath care systems and life-worlds: This session will provide students with the opportunity to discuss the healthcare system that they work or have worked within. The key issues relating to cultural differences, positive and negative aspects of the different healthcare systems are explored in detail. Factors relating to engagement and self-management: This session explores a wide range of important issues relating to patient engagement and self-management. The types of topics that are explored are: a) How has the terminology relating to adherence behaviour changed and what are the key issues relating to the connotations underpinning these labels? b) What are the key models of adherence behaviour? c) How can we promote patient adherence and engagement? The experience of being in a caregiving situation: This session explores a wide range of issues and literature relating to being a care provision and social support issues. The topics are explored from the perspective of the carer, patient being cared for and the clinician. The types of topics that are explored are: a) What is the role of family members/friends in health care? b) What are the opportunities and limitations within this role? c) How could this role be developed? Motivation for Change: An inter-personal perspective: This is a dynamic training session that is a first introduction to the concept of motivational interviewing and an inter-personal perspective. The types of topics that are explored are: a) The session will address the following issues: What is meant by the terms readiness, motivation, ambivalence and resistance in the context to health behaviour change? b) How is patient motivation influenced by the act of talking and how this is related to therapist behaviour? The importance of communication and personhood: This session moves on from the previous session looking at issues related to behaviour change to a more general overview of key psychosocial issues relating to communication and personhood. The types of topics that are explored are: a) What is meant by the term ‘personhood’ and why is this so importance in patient communication? b) What are the key issues when communication with people with cognitive impairment and challenging behaviour? Coping, adjustment and expectations: This session provides a comprehensive overview of key issues relating to coping, adjustment and patient expectations. The types of topics that are explored are: a) Explore psychosocial issues related to patient adjustment and coping b) Critically appraise models of adjustment and coping c) Explore ways that can help promote coping, adjustment and realistic expectations. Summary and reflection on key messages in module This session allows the students to reflect on their learning experience over the course, and consolidate the key messages for their own practice

Special Features

This module was originally developed and run for the first time in the 2005/2006 academic year. Although modification and changes have been made over the years, the main aim and learning approach has remained the same. It is exciting to see that this module has attracted a relatively large number of stand-alone students who often use the module as gentle stepping stone into academic studies. Furthermore, it is a very popular ‘option’ choice and selected by students on a wide range of different programmes at both levels 7 & 8 (e.g. MRES and Audiology students at level 7, DClinP students at level 8).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module embraces a reflective and deep learning approach where students are encouraged to engage in a wide range of creative tasks that encourage meaningful discussion, debate and application to clinical practice. The module is also constructed in a way that enables students to learn from their peers and gain a wide variety of rich multidisciplinary perspectives and views. This peer directed learning approach works particularly well as the module often contains a nice mix of UK and International students and therefore there are plenty of opportunities to learn and connect with different cultures and clinical/professional settings. There is a variety of different teaching and learning methods utilised within this module. However, most of the sessions will involve a key lecture that is followed by class discussion and group work. For example, the session exploring issues relating to coping, adjustment and expectations, will take the following format: • Initial key lecture and class discussions to explore the psychosocial literature and theories coping, adjustment and patient expectations • Questions and group discussion • Small group work: students will be asked to apply the key issues discussed in the lecture and develop a case study that is based on their own clinical experiences • Each group presents their case study to the rest of the class

Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Follow-up work24
Wider reading or practice72
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Marks D (2001). Disability: Controversial debates and psychosocial perspectives. 

Bury M (2005). Health and illness. 

Nettleton S (2006). The Sociology of Helath and Illness. 

Miller WR and Rollnick S (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. 

French D, Vedhara K, Kaptein ADA and Weinmand J (2010). Health Psychology. 

Ogden J (2004). Health Psychology: a textbook. 

Kaptein A and Weinman J (eds) (2004). Health Psychology Oxford. 

Hamilton IS (2012). The Psychology of Ageing: an introduction. 

Rogers A and Pilgrim D (2010). A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness. 

Horrocks C (2012). Advances in health Psychology: critical approaches. 

Frank AW (1995). The wounded story-teller: Body illness and ethics. 

Sheaff M (2005). Sociology and Health Care: an introduction for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals. 


Assessment Strategy

The Faculty and University referral regulations for Masters assessments will followed.


Small Group Discussion


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assignment  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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