The University of Southampton

HLTH6144 Behaviour that Challenges

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Nurses working in the field of mental health commonly encounter behaviour that can challenge commonly held boundaries and that can also put self or others at risk. The aim of this module is to deepen your knowledge, understanding and preparation for working empathically with people who exhibit behaviour that falls into this category.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Utilise an in depth knowledge of theories of normal and abnormal personality development.
  • Critically analyse the significance of the nurse-service user therapeutic relationship and psychological interventions to improve the wellbeing of a person who portrays behaviour that challenges.
  • Critically discuss the role of reflection and supervision in providing effective care.
  • Debate and critically appraise the contribution of law, policy and ethics to providing person-centred values based practice.


• Theories of normal and abnormal personality development • Personality disorders, e.g. borderline personality disorder • Developmental psychopathology • Learning disability • Boredom and models of meaningful occupation • Therapeutic use of self in constructing enabling relationships that promote self-management and recovery • Ethical Issues of Restraint and Rapid Tranquilisation • Risk assessment and positive risk management • Managing challenging behaviour, e.g. verbal and physical • Environmental management and safety • Attempted suicide and suicide prevention and management • Self-harm • Substance misuse and Motivational Enhancement Therapy • Effects of abuse and managing those who abuse • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness and Chain Analysis • Legal and ethical aspects of care in forensic psychiatry • Group work • Reflection and supervision • Cognitive behavioural therapy (depression, anxiety) • Communication in Acute Psychosis

Special Features

Assessment is in two parts, poster and professional conversation; TLAs are varied in style to accommodate to individual differences in learning styles and learning difficulties. Additional time is allocated in the professional conversation when learning difficulties have been previously identified by the student and the University.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Key note lectures Practical skills teaching for prevention and management of aggression and violence Student presentations and case discussions Directed study Self-directed study Action Learning Groups

Wider reading or practice10
Completion of assessment task45
Project supervision4
Practical classes and workshops3
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Total study time125

Resources & Reading list

Walker S (Ed) (2014). Psychosocial Interventions in Mental Health Nursing. 

Lillyman S and Ghaye T (2007). Effective Clinical Supervision: the Role of Reflection. 

Murphy N and McVey D (2010). Treating Personality Disorder. 

Stickley T and Wright N (2014). Theories for Mental Health Nursing: A guide for practice.. 

Murphy R and Wales P (2013). Mental Health Law in Nursing.. 

National Forensic Nurses’ Research and Development Group (2011). Forensic Mental Health Nursing: Ethical and Legal Issues (Eds) Bryt R and Coffey M. 

Walker S (Ed) (2014). Engagement and Therapeutic Communication in Mental Health Nursing.. 

Woods P and Kettles A (2009). Risk assessment and management in Mental Health Nursing.. 

Grant A, Townend M, Mulhern R, and Short N (2010). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Mental Health Care. 

Tee S, Brown J and Carpenter D (2012). Handbook of Mental Health Nursing. 

Beer M, Pereira S and Paton C (2008). Psychiatric intensive care.. 


Assessment Strategy

Poster and supporting conversation Learning will be demonstrated in a 15 minute conversation with an academic, clinical or research member of staff with expertise in the area and a poster (submitted in electronic format). The poster and conversation will focus on the understanding and MH Nursing management of challenging behaviour expressed by people when experiencing an identified mental health problem. [The conversation will contribute 70% of the mark and the poster will contribute 30% of the marks awarded for this module. Both parts require a pass mark of 50% to complete the Module.] This assessment will be marked by academic staff based upon marking criteria which will be made available to you.


MethodPercentage contribution
Professional conversation  (15 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: 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:

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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