University of Chester

Programme Specification
Multi-Method Therapy MA
2014 - 2015

Master of Arts

Multi-Method Therapy

Multi-Method Therapy

University of Chester

University of Chester

Riverside campus, Chester

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

Minimum 2 years, maximum 6 years

6 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (2004).

QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (2008).

Health Professions Council's Standards of Education and Training (2009).

University of Chester

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Postgraduate Assessment Board

Tuesday 1st November 2011

The overarching aim of the programme is to enable practitioners who work with individuals experiencing mental health problems to draw on the principles and practice of a number of psychotherapeutic modalities to deliver a multi-method clinical approach. 

It aims to do so by providing an innovative, dynamic and quality postgraduate experience that will enhance the practitioners' therapeutic skills within their existing position, thus making it highly applicable to both clinical practice and to the students' professional role.

It aims specifically to:

  • Provide students with a critical understanding of a range of psychotherapeutic practices, both traditional and contemporary.
  • Enable students to critically understand and appraise the multi-method approach to psychotherapeutic practice, giving consideration to its applicability to the range of service user presentations and mental health care settings.
  • Provide opportunities for students to be exposed to and experience the principles and practice of a number of modalities and associated interventions, developing their ability to critically apply these in their practice.
  • Facilitate the development of a multi-method approach which can be offered in a variety of contexts to meet a variety of service user needs.
  • Prepare students to work with the needs of the service user and afford them the opportunity to meet some of those needs which are currently unmet.
  • Facilitate the development of competent, effective and safe practitioners through exposure to and experience of a number of supervisory practices.
  • Enable students to develop insight into their own limitations and boundaries in relation to psychotherapeutic care.
  • Develop practitioners who are able to deliver ethically based practice in accordance with their own professional conduct and standards. 
  • Enable students to integrate theory and practice, drawing on existing evidence to support this and contributing to the advancement of the evidence base for multi-method therapy.

Finally, through the development of higher level knowledge, skills and behaviours, the programme aims to establish students at the forefront of mental health practice, affording them the opportunity to lead the enhancement of current service provision.

Knowledge and Understanding

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to construct and deconstruct key concepts, principles, theories and policies that underpin psychotherapeutic practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice ofa range of psychotherapeutic approaches, justifying the choice and application of these within their clinical role.
  • Understand the principles and practice of integrating psychotherapeutic approaches and interventions.
  • Critically appraise their own psychotherapeutic role within a care setting.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of their own professional limitations and boundaries.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the effective dissemination of information pertaining to multi-method working.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the impact of social, political, cultural and economic factors in relation to contemporary health care.
  • Demonstrate originality, creativity and innovation in their approach to service user care.
  • Utilise higher level analytical skills when evaluating psychotherapeutic practice from both professional and service user perspectives.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work reflectively and autonomously.
  • Demonstrate self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Access, analyse and process information applicable to their own advanced scholarship.

Practical Skills

Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to establish a therapeutic relationship with service users.
  • Exercise innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of psychotherapeutic approaches and interventions with their client groups.
  • Communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals and groups across a range of care settings.
  • Utilise presentation skills in relation to the discussion of service user problems with peers.
  • Effectively engage and participate in reflective practice and clinical supervision.

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of number
  • Information literacy and technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Students will be able to:
  • Communicate effectively with a wide range of people, using different media such as art materials.
  • Demonstrate effective written communication skills.
  • Demonstrate effective presentation skills.
  • Show competence in accessing, retrieving and analysing data froma number oflearning resources including electronic books and journals.
  • Show competency in applying numeracy skills.
  • Exercise self direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively and demonstrate leadership in the development of multi-method therapy.
  • Be creative and innovative in their responses to problems
  • Apply an evidence-based approach and critical appraisal skills to the ongoing development of multi-method therapy.

Transferable Professional Skills

Students will be able to:
  • Exercise initiative and innovation in relation to service user care
  • Make effective use of clinical supervision and reflective practice
  • Apply researched and evidence based practice, disseminating same to colleagues.
  • Demonstrate good presentation skills
  • Work collaboratively across a range of service user groups and inter-professional colleagues.
  • Manage time, prioritise workloads and take responsibility for own learning and development.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively.
  • Demonstrate insight into their own limitations and boundaries in relation to psychotherapeutic care.
  • Deliver ethically based practice in accordance with their own professional standards.
  • Be competent in the use of information technology.
  • Demonstrate higher level literacy, numeracy and creativity skills.
  • Work across a variety of settings including in-patient care, community care and psychological therapies
  • Work in the NHS, Third sector or independent sector
  • Take a leadership role in relation to the development of mental health care.

The programme provides students with the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills in Multi-Method Therapy, a developing and innovative approach that will place the students at the forefront of mental health practice. In order to enable students to use their learning to lead advancements in practice, the curriculum has been designed to produce the characteristics expected of masters degree graduates, as specified in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (QAA 2008).

The programme also adheres to the QAA's (2010) masters degree characteristics in terms of design, in that it is a modular programme which meets the criteria of specialised/advanced studies masters. It also incorporates progression through postgraduate certificate and diploma, and demonstrates integration and synthesis across the programme.

The programme is offered on a part time basis and will run over three trimesters. There are seven modules for the full MA: 6 x 20 credit modules and 1 x 60 credit module. These comprise two core modules focused on the integration of psychotherapeutic models and interventions (a module providing an overview of MMT and one providing consolidation of learning), four modules dedicated to different therapeutic modalities, and the dissertation module. There is also the option of taking an independent study module in place of one of the taught therapeutic modules for those students wishing to explore an area of therapy not covered on the programme.

Students who wish to exit with a postgraduate certificate must successfully complete the introductory core module on integrating practice plus two of the optional modules, which will provide them with 60 credits at level 7. They will exit with a postgraduate certificate in Multi-Method Studies.

Students who wish to exit with a postgraduate diploma must successfully complete both core integrating practice modules and all four therapeutic modules. This will provide them with 120 credits at level 7 and a postgraduate diploma in Multi-Method Therapy.

Students who wish to exit with a masters degree must have completed the requirements for the postgraduate diploma and then successfully complete the dissertation module, giving them 180 credits at level 7 and a masters degree in Multi-Method Therapy.

All modules have been designed and structured to meet the level 7 descriptors set out in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (2008). The programme also takes account of the FHEQ's accreditation system and has included mechanisms to award credit for appropriate prior learning.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7084 7 Independent Study 20 Optional
NM7090 7 Overview of Multi-method Therapy 20 Comp
NM7091 7 Brief Therapy Interventions in Mental Health 20 Optional
NM7092 7 Family Approaches in Mental Health 20 Optional
NM7093 7 Alternative Developments in CBT 20 Optional
NM7094 7 Creative Interventions in Mental Health 20 Optional
NM7095 7 Multi-Method Therapy in Practice 20 Comp
NM7096 7 Practice Based Portfolio (Dissertation) 60 Comp

The award of Postgraduate Certificate will be achieved on attaining 60 credits at level 7.
The award of Postgraduate Diploma will be achieved on attaining 120 credits at level 7.
The award of Masters Degree will be achieved on attaining 180 credits at level 7.

Students wishing to undertake the programme must:

  • Hold a professional qualification in the field of health/social care (e.g. occupational therapy, counselling, nursing or social work).
  • *Be working in a clinical setting with access to a client group experiencing mental health conditions.
  • Have access to a clinical supervisor in practice.
  • Have the support of their line manager (as appropriate).
  • Provide evidence of their ability to study at level 7.

*Any students not currently in employment would need to arrange a work placement in order to carry out the practical elements of the programme.

All students require CRB clearance and this will normally be carried out by the university.

Students will be accepted onto the programme only following an interview.

The programme is benchmarked against 3 key frameworks: the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (2004), the Health Professions Council's Standards of Education and Training (2009), and the Quality Assurance Agency's Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England (2008).

It is envisaged that many of the students will be employed by the NHS, if not at the time of the course then at a later date; thus, the curriculum has taken into account the knowledge and skills identified by the NHS as being central to the delivery of quality service provision. The programme aims to develop the students' ability across five of the six core skills (with the exception of health and safety) as can be seen below:

  • Communication: this programme will be aimed at the higher levels of 3 and 4; developing and maintaining communication with people about difficult/complex matters in difficult/complex situations.
  • Personal and people development: aimed at levels 2 and 3: development of own skills and knowledge; contributing to the development of others.
  • Service improvement: could meet all levels, depending on role in organisation. Levels 1 and 2 refer to changes to own practice and contributing to service improvement, which all students on the programme should achieve. Levels 3 and 4 refer to more directive action regarding service development, which the programme will assist with but which will be dependent on role.
  • Quality: aimed at levels 2 and 3; maintaining own quality and contributing to improving quality in others/service provision.
  • Equality and diversity: the central focus on the needs of the service user means that the programme will facilitate both the support and promotion of equality and diversity (levels 2 and 3).

In addition, the programme meets the specific health and wellbeing dimensions 6 and 7 at an advanced level, with the development of skills in assessment, intervention and evaluation.

It is also expected that the programme will attract a range of professions, and as the Health Professions Council is the main accrediting body for health care professionals (outside of nursing), the programme has drawn on their guidance for curriculum development. Whilst it is not intended that professional accreditation be sought for the programme, adhering to professional standards is a means of ensuring best practice. The programme conforms in particular to the following:

  • Curriculum must be relevant to current practice.
  • Integration of theory and practice must be central.
  • Subject areas must be taught by staff with relevant experience and knowledge.
  • Delivery of the programme must support and develop autonomous and reflective thinking, and must encourage evidence based practice.
  • The range of learning and teaching approaches must reflect and support the subjects and ethos of the curriculum.
  • The measurement of student performance must consider ability in practice.
  • Use of interprofessional learning (IPL) to share professional skills and knowledge.

Finally, the programme has been mapped against the Quality Assurance Agency Framework for Higher Education Qualifications which states that postgraduate awards are given to students who have demonstrated:

  1. A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice.
  2. A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own area of study or advanced scholarship.
  3. Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.

Typically, holders of the qualification will have the qualities and skills necessary for their existing or future employment, including:

  1. The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
  2. Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
  3. The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 7 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development.

There will be an emphasis on experiential learning, where students will critically reflect on their experiences and receive the views of others in the context of supervision, group discussion, tutorial support and peer review. Reflection will also be utilised to facilitate the application of theory to practice.  

Further opportunities to practise and develop skills will be provided during interactive lectures, practice-related activities, seminar presentations, tutorials, discussion groups, problem-based learning, and peer and self-directed learning.

To assist with the transfer of knowledge from the classroom to real life clinical practice the programme will utilise both group and individual supervision as a learning strategy. It will be a requirement of the course that students have a clinical supervisor in practice and in preparation for this role the programme team will provide workshops for identified supervisors.

More traditional strategies, including lectures, seminars and tutorials, will also form the essential framework. This will ensure that learning is a dynamic two-way process, in which lecturers and students will teach and learn together. Methods such as presentations and debates, individual and group supervision, e-learning, directed study, private study sessions and problem-based learning will be selected for their appropriateness. This will aim to meet the needs of students as learners, and the particular demands of the learning outcomes and content of each module of study.

The programme aims to make use of the university VLE to enhance the learning and teaching experience. Blended learning will be utilised where appropriate, with students having access to a wide range of learning materials online. These will vary depending on the module, with those requiring more face to face teaching drawing on electronic materials largely as supplementary sources, and those requiring much less taught content making fuller use of electronic materials. As well as promoting independent study skills in the students e-learning also provides flexibility, which is paramount given that the majority will be in employment and attendance may at times be problematic.

As methods of learning and teaching will emphasise student-centred techniques, these will facilitate the student to become an increasingly autonomous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes.

Information and communications technology, through the University intranet and other online resources, will be used in the delivery of most aspects of the programme, providing a framework for the provision of the course materials.

Finally, inter-professional learning will be utilised fully, facilitated by both the different backgrounds of lecturing staff and the experiences of the diverse student group.

Overview of Multi-method therapy (NM7090)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a self assessment of beliefs and values, and an assignment critically analysing psychotherapy approaches and their application to practice.

Brief therapy interventions in mental health (NM7091)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: an audio taped therapy session, and a case study critically exploring brief therapy in practice.

Family approaches in mental health (NM7092)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a role play measuring practice skills, and an assignment critically analysing a range of interventions as applied to a family.

Alternative developments in CBT (NM7093)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a seminar presentation critically reviewing an alternative CBT therapy, and an assignment critically evaluating an alternative therapy as applied to a client.

Creative interventions in mental health (NM7094)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a seminar presentation utilising creative approaches, and a reflective summary of learning drawing from a learning log.

Multi-method therapy in practice (NM7095)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: an oral exam based on a seen case scenario, and a reflective evaluation of learning drawing on the use of supervision.

Dissertation (NM7096)

  • Summative assessment taking the form of an extended case study which will demonstrate a critical approach to the application of Multi-method therapy.

Formative assessment will be achieved via both the summative assessment methods chosen (e.g. after the presentations) and the teaching strategies used, such as case discussion, scenarios, problem-based learning and skills practice. Peers will also have an active role in formative assessment.

Postgraduates are expected to be at the forefront of contemporary practice, and to offer leadership and direction to their profession. The MA Multi-Method Therapy offers the students the opportunity to achieve this, as well as the other characteristics of a postgraduate as determined by both the QAA and the University of Chester's assessment criteria:

  • Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
  • Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.
  • Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
  • Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.
  • Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
  • Excellent communication skills which can reach a wide audience.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

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