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The University of Southampton

PSYC8031 Professional Development and Leadership

Module Overview

This module focuses on the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that underpin the professional practice of clinical psychology post-qualification and builds on professional practice issues that were first introduced in the Foundations of Clinical Psychology Practice module in the first year, and runs alongside specialist practice skills being taught in the third year. The module will revisit the responsibilities of professional practice, building on these within three, related topic areas: 1) the wider context; 2) organisational complexity and 3) Level 5 leadership. 1. The wider context. This strand will enable trainees to engage with the wider political and social context within which they will operate. It will involve teaching on governmental and policy processes and consultation procedures, as well as engagement with relevant policy literature. 2. Organisational complexity. Clinical psychologists work in an increasingly complex environment, in which the will need to engage with the consequences of limited resources. This poses questions around ethical and effective working, requiring new thinking about delivery of services. These issues will be tackled in teaching and experiential learning. 3. Level 5 Leadership. The literature on L5 leadership (e.g. Collins, 2008) is an inherently psychological one, requiring reflection on internal experiences to enhance leadership behaviours such as decision-making and personel management. This framework will be taught and participants will be encouraged to engage with it making use of personal experience.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe and critique key issues and ways of working in complex environments and / or with people with complex needs.
  • formulate complex organisational ethics issues and articulate appropriate ways of responding to these
  • critically appraise and make use of models of leadership (and specifically Collins’ Level 5 leadership model) and how these can be used to inform leadership behaviours in applied healthcare settings.
  • describe the development and implementation of governmental policy in health and social care.


The syllabus is organised around the following areas: • Re-visiting professional roles and responsibilities • The national context including policy generation, consultation and dissemination, and translation to practice • Complex, ethical issues: moving beyond the personal to ethical questions around setting up and delivering fair and equitable services • Models of leadership and how they are applied in applied healthcare settings (making specific reference to the Level 5 Leadership model) • Career trajectories and opportunities • Accreditation with professional bodies

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will comprise a number of different methods including lectures, seminars, problem-based learning, e-learning, directed reading, and independent study. Skills-based competencies will be taught through demonstrations, experiential learning, simulated role plays, and using multi-media resources. Some field-work (in the form of visits) will be involved.

Independent Study20
Total study time50

Resources & Reading list

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great. 

Collins, J. (2006). Good to great and the social sectors. 

Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve. Best of Harvard Business Review,1 – 12..


Assessment Strategy

A field trip to the Houses of Parliament is a component of the module. The trainees will visit the outreach team for a session on accessing and influencing policy, together with attendance at a health select committee to see policy formation in action (depending on availability). The cost of this will be around £500 for train tickets, which will be borne by the employer.




MethodPercentage contribution
Report  (1000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s)  (1000 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:

Travel Costs for placements

Travel to and from internships / visits will need to be considered. Some texts will need to be purchased.

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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