Counselling, Psychology, Winter postcards from our modules

A winter postcard from module D240 Exploring fear and sadness

We continue our series of winter postcards from Psychology and Counselling modules. Anastasia Economou, the Chair and Staff Tutor for D240 Exploring fear and sadness, writes about what’s happening on this module, then looks ahead to its replacement, D241 Exploring mental health and counselling.

Hello, I’m Anastasia Economou and I joined the School of Counselling and Psychology as a Staff Tutor in 2011. I’ve been working for the Open University in different roles since 2001, as a Research Fellow, an Associate Lecturer, and a Student Services Manager in student support.

What’s happening at the moment on D240?

D240 Exploring fear and sadnessis a 30 point Level 2 module for students who are studying towards a psychology and counselling qualification. D240 may also be a choice for students who are taking other OU qualifications, including the Open Degree. The main sections of D240 cover historical developments in understanding fear and sadness, the key individual counselling approaches, approaches that consider relationships and cultural aspects of human suffering, and the practice and evaluation of counselling. There are three TMAs and an EMA in the module.

Currently, D240 students are about to complete their reading of Block 2 where they have been looking on individual therapeutic approaches in counselling and in particular, humanistic, cognitive behavioural, existential and mindfulness approaches. At this point in the academic year, students are working towards TMA02, which is due in a couple of weeks. In TMA02 they are asked to compare and contrast the existential and mindfulness approaches to understanding and working with fear and sadness, and to discuss which of these two approaches they feel more drawn to and why. I’d like to remind D240 students that it’s important not to leave preparation for the EMA for the month before the cut off date; it is advisable to start to prepare for it much earlier.  I’d also like to take the opportunity to wish the current students well with their studies.

What do you find interesting about D240, and what do the students like?

Counselling and psychotherapy are fascinating areas of study for those of us who are interested in understanding human emotions. Students on D240 are enjoying finding out about the different approaches to counselling, and developing their own awareness of counselling skills, processes and techniques.

What advice do you have for future counselling students?

D240 is in its last presentation. However, the School of Counselling and Psychology will offer a brand new module in counselling and mental health from October 2020.

The new module D241 Exploring mental health and counsellingwill be longer than D240 (60 points instead of 30). It will focus on counselling theory and practice, taking a critical approach to situating and (de)constructing mental health/illness. The main sections in the new module will cover mental health, the emergence of the talking cure, and ways that mental health problems can present: sadness and worry, trauma and crisis, relationships and intimacy, and formulation. D241 will introduce four different models for working with patients: psychodynamic, humanistic, CBT and integrative/pluralistic.

The new module will also look at counselling in practice, covering the therapeutic relationship, reasons for looking beyond the individual, ethics and professional issues. It will introduce technology based counselling. Finally, D241 will address contemporary issues relevant to mental health and society, including the politics of research and evidence; mental disorder and criminal justice, and living in a therapeutic culture.

If you’re interested in counselling, you can find out more about it in the OU’s counselling blog:

 This link also provides information about the production of the new module D241.



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