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The University of Southampton

PODY2031 Healthy Discussions

Module Overview

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.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

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.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the key components of a helpful ‘therapeutic’ relationship.
  • Describe a range of communication skills derived from such methods as motivational interviewing and cognitive behaviour therapy.
  • Describe how the skills above may be integrated into clinical practice and the rationale for doing so with a focus on physical activity and exercise
  • Have practised a range of person-centred communication skills (e.g. empathic listening) which aim to promote engagement with healthcare and enhance patient motivation for sustained health behaviour change
  • Articulate fundamental language cues that provide immediate feedback from clients/patients during consultations and that allow continued learning in practice.
  • Reflect critically on approaches taken to promote engagement and motivation in your own practice.


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)

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

Resources & Reading list

Moyers TB (2014). The relationship in motivational interviewing. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.). ,51 , pp. 358-63.

Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Exercise and Sport. 

Vansteenkiste, M. (2006). There's nothing more practical than a good theory: integrating motivational interviewing and self-determination theory. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. ,45 , pp. 63-82..

Norcross JC and Lambert MJ (2011). Psychotherapy relationships that work II. Psychotherapy. ,48 , pp. 4- 8.

Apodaca, T. R., & Longabaugh, R. (2009). Mechanisms of change in motivational interviewing: a review and preliminary evaluation of the evidence. Addiction. ,104 , pp. 705-715.

Miller, W. R., & Moyers, T., B. (2007). Eight stages in learning motivational interviewing. Journal of Teaching in the Addictions. ,5 , pp. 3 to 17.

Is Low Therapist Empathy Toxic? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 

Lundahl BW, Kunz C, Brownell C, Tollefson D and Burke BL (2010). A meta-analysis of motivational interviewing: Twenty-five years of empirical studies. Research on Social Work Practice. ,20 , pp. 137-160.

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

Miller, W. R., & Rose, G. S. (2009). Toward a theory of motivational interviewing. American Psychologist. ,64 , pp. 527-537.

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2009). Ten things that motivational interviewing is not. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. ,37 , pp. 129-140.

Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. 

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



Experiential and skills building exercises


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:

Books and Stationery equipment

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. University Costs: The Simulated patient interaction sessions are charged @ £95 + reasonable travel expenses and depending on student numbers, usually a total of 8 sessions is required (i.e. £760 plus expenses.

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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