The University of Southampton

HLTH6122 Interpersonal Therapy: Working with Trauma and Relational Difficulties

Module Overview

This module can be studied either: - Face to Face (when the student numbers are quorate i.e. 10 or more) or - Through Academic Coaching and Action Learning Groups (ALGs) 6-9 students) - Through Academic Coaching alone (5 or fewer students

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To enable students to advance their knowledge and understanding of psychological therapies by focusing on relational therapies, which are different in theory and practice from cognitive behaviour therapies. In particular this module will focus on psychodynamic therapy. CBT and psychodynamic therapy represent two major schools of psychology which have different philosophical and historical roots. This module aims to critically evaluate current research and techniques in psychodynamic therapy and analyse how it differs from cognitive therapies. Students will need to have a working knowledge of CBT in order to complete this module. They will develop an understanding of how the alleviation of mental health problems can be understood by critically comparing two major schools of psychological therapy. Debates about different therapeutic approaches and ‘therapy culture’ are not confined to the UK, but have international significance. This module aims to enable students to think creatively and flexibly about the genesis of and recovery from mental health problems by introducing them to a relational model of therapy which they can compare and contrast with CBT models. This module also aims to develop students’ ability to situate their understanding about therapeutic interventions in a psychosocial context by specifically highlighting the historically situated roots of both types of therapy and by contextualising them in national and international debates about recovery and well-being.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate current initiatives and ideological debates about contemporary therapies and service user outcomes
  • Critically discuss a psychosocial critique of the promotion of well-being and recovery by psychological therapy
  • Develop a critical awareness of a relational model of therapy and its core features and strategies
  • Critically analyse the difference and similarities in understanding the roots of common mental health problems offered by cognitive and relational therapies
  • Critically evaluate service user views of therapeutic efficacy
  • Critically reflect on your own experience of working therapeutically and on your preferred choice of therapy

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Face to Face taught option: Description • For and Against Debates (working with emotion and mind and/or behaviour and thought) • Case histories and competency frameworks • Genograms • Attachment style questionnaire • Assessment and formulation templates • Interpersonal maps • Drama (‘In Treatment’ TV drama series, for example) • Narrative accounts of mental health difficulties and recovery (poetry, biographies, service user organisations and networks) • Service user Involvement: Service user led sessions and/or accounts of psychological therapies • Research led teaching: Professorial staff and staff who have published and undertaken research in this area will lead these sessions • Clinical expertise: Staff who have clinical expertise in relational therapy will lead these sessions. Academic Coaching option (with or without Action Learning Groups): This option will be delivered using an Independent Learning model. You will be supported in your learning by an academic coach, and where the number of students enrolled on the module allows (6-9 students) there will be 3 Action Learning Groups offered during the study period. Where there is more than one student undertaking the academic coaching mode of delivery a discussion group will be set up on the BlackBoard site so that students can have a sense of a community of practice. Where student numbers allow (6-9) 3 action learning groups will be facilitated which may result in some students requiring fewer individual coaching sessions. It is anticipated that for this group of students group coaching may be an option. Using a comprehensive, detailed and clearly defined learning contract, you will identify a strategy to address the module’s aims and objectives. The contract will be agreed with your academic coach

Independent Study220
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Brown, J. (2012). The therapeutic use of self in Tee, S., Brown, J. and Carpenter, D. (eds) Handbook of Mental Health Nursing,. 

Styron, W. (1990). Darkness Visible: A memoir of madness. 

Binder, E-R, Holgerson, H., & Hostmark Nielson, G. (2009). Why did I change when I went to therapy? A qualitative analysis of former patients’ conceptions of successful psychotherapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 

Rippere, V. & Williams, R. (1985). Wounded Healer: Mental health workers’ experience of depression. 

Roberts, G.A. (2000). Narrative and severe mental illness: What places do stories have in an evidence based world?, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment: CPD, 6:432-44. 

Implementing NICE guidelines for the psychological treatment of depression and anxiety disorders: The IAPT experience. ,23 , pp. 375-384.

House, R. and Lowenthal, D. (2008). Against and For CBT: Towards a constructive dialogue. 

What are mental health service user’s priorities for research in the UK?. ,17 , pp. 520-530.

Grosz, S. (2013). The Examined Life: How we lose and find ourselves. 

Furedi, F. (2004). Therapy Culture: Cultivating vulnerability in an uncertain age. 

Lemma, A., Target, M. and Fonagy, P. (2011). Brief Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy. 



Face to face option


MethodPercentage contribution
  (3500 words) 100%
Face to face option  (3500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Texts are accessible from the library and /or good academic book shops such as John Smith’s and Blackwells.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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