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The University of Southampton

HSGM2002 Healthy Discussions

Module Overview

The module aims to develop knowledge and skills that serve to promote and maintain health by: promoting patient engagement with healthcare; encouraging patients to take more responsibility for their own health; and enhancing motivation for sustained health behaviour change. The Department of Health has recognised that health professionals have many opportunities to engage with individuals and propose that health should be promoted at every patient contact. The focus of the module therefore will be on developing skills that can be used both opportunistically as well as with help seeking patients. The module takes an interpersonal perspective on patient engagement and motivation and explores how a health professional’s behaviour influences outcome. You will have the opportunity to explore your attitudes and beliefs and evaluate how your behaviour can assist or undermine engagement and change. The module also provides opportunities to practice some of the skills involved in evidence–based approaches such as motivational interviewing. Podiatry and physiotherapy students are taught Healthy Discussions separately. This keeps cohort sizes manageable (and as such provides a safe and supportive learning environment for students to explore their attitudes and beliefs about their role in the behaviour change process and experiment with novel skills). It also means that learning can be context-bound, directly addressing the different challenges each profession experiences in clinical practice, which serves to maximise the acquisition and refinement of skills.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Describe the key components of a person centred ‘therapeutic’ relationship
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on your communication skills for promoting engagement and motivation in clinical practice.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • As a self-motivated learner, you will appraise your own learning and recognise when these skills are appropriate to use in clinical practice.
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Rehearse a range of skills, derived from motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy to promote engagement and enhance motivation for health behaviour change.


Indicative content • Humanistic psychology – skills from client-centred counselling, self-determination theory • Motivational interviewing – theory, research, skills and integration within routine practice • Cognitive-behavioural informed strategies • Working with small groups and/or families to promote health and encourage health behaviour change • Self-reflection on practice, values and attitudes • Health benefits of physical activity including structured exercise

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Short lectures • Video analysis • Experiential and skills building exercises with opportunities for feedback and coaching • Discussion • Simulated clinical interview: During the module, students will be encouraged to record a simulated clinical interview lasting approximately 15 minutes with an actor from the Patient Simulation Programme (organised and managed by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust). This will provide an opportunity to try out some of the skills that they learn through the module. Students will then systematically analyse the skills used and the strength of the relationship they form with their ‘patient’. The reflection serves to highlight strengths and serves to inform on-going development needs. • Blackboard based directed study tasks (skills exercises, quizzes and reflections on video clips) that students undertake prior to and after teaching sessions to prepare, consolidate and develop understanding/skills. • Assessment briefing (academic level specific)

Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Wider reading or practice57.5
Follow-up work60
Completion of assessment task10
Practical classes and workshops20
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Truax, C. B., & Carkhuff, R. R. (2008). Toward Effective Counseling and Psychotherapy: Training and Practice. 

Moyers, T.B. & Miller, W.R. (2012). Is Low Therapist Empathy Toxic?. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. ,27 , pp. 878-84.

Rollnick, S., Miller, W. R. & Butler, C.C (2008). Motivational Interviewing in Health Care: Helping Patients Change Behaviour. 

Miller, W. R., Rollnick, S (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. 

Moyers, T. B. (2014). The relationship in motivational interviewing. Psychotherapy (Chic). ,51 , pp. 358-63.

Miller, W. R. & Moyers, T. B. (2017). Motivational interviewing and the clinical science of Carl Rogers. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. ,85 , pp. 757-766.



Experiential and skills building exercises


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 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:


The activities and resources involved in the module are covered by the programme/module costs. The key texts and articles are available through the library, and video material is provided via Blackboard. Students may wish to purchase their own copies of books and video material, but this is not a requirement.

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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