Theories and Approaches in Counselling


This module examines in more detail the skills, concepts and professional knowledge required to use a pluralistic framework for counselling practice. It covers the framework, and common interventions and approaches which are used in conjunction with it. Teaching also involves practice skills in goal collaboration, case-formulation and client process monitoring.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with an opportunity to consolidate their application of the pluralistic framework to integrate their counselling practice and work within a collaborative relationship with clients and supervisors.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate an ability to conceptualise and analyse the counselling relationship and process from the perspective of a collaborative pluralistic framework

2.  Apply ethical frameworks, professional standards, legal guidance, and evidence to inform work with clients.

3.  Critically evaluate the personal development issues associated with safe and effective practice as a counsellor.

4.  Apply theory and research evidence in practice

5.  Demonstrate an ability to implement a pluralistic counselling approach in work with clients

Indicative Content

1 Theory

Identifying the key dimensions of the Collaborative Pluralistic Framework in relation to its: underlying philosophy, assumptions, basic principles and elements, concepts, strategies and techniques. Critique of the Collaborative Pluralistic Framework and comparisons with other approaches. Relevance of pluralistic approach to counselling theory and schools.

2 Skills

An integrationist approach to goals, tasks and methods; creating a space; establishing and maintaining a collaborative counselling relationship; factors that affect the counselling relationship; using feedback tools and process monitoring documentation and feedback

3 Evidence, research awareness and knowledge

Research in counselling and psychotherapy. The role of quantitative and qualitative measures in client feedback and tracking, and evaluation.

4 Personal development

Participation and productive use of personal development groups, including openness to challenge and maintaining ethical boundaries; keeping a personal development journal; giving and receiving feedback

5 Professional practice

Personal responsibility and health. Working with clients and significant others, professional behaviour, boundaries and confidentiality in relation to clients and colleagues, health and safety in the workplace, dealing with concerns about clients or colleagues. Working with other professionals, agencies and multidisciplinary teams.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module will be run in term 1 of year 2 of the MSc Counselling. Delivery will be one day a week over 13 weeks. Teaching and learning activities will include lectures, skills workshops, professional practice group, personal and professional development group. Group work will emphasise the engagement of students in linking their academic learning to their client work on placement

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 21
Tutorial/Seminar 23
Supervised Practical Activity 21
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 40
Independent 95

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.