Health psychologists apply their knowledge of psychology and health to understand illness and promote health and wellbeing. They aim to enhance psychological and emotional outcomes for individuals who are ill or who have a disability.
They develop healthcare policy and work to improve the healthcare system.There is an urgent need to produce graduates who have experience of an interdisciplinary approach and who can apply both their academic knowledge to understand and contribute to the development of topics in health psychology as well as their practical skills to enhance practices such as stress and pain management in clinical health contexts. Furthermore, skills acquired by postgraduate psychological researchers are needed to promote evidence-based practice in healthcare.
The health psychology programme at Teesside presents a coherent programme of study which, at the same time, reflects the major debates and produces graduates who can creatively and innovatively contribute to the development of their field. The programme encourages you to develop your own interests within health psychology and to explore how health psychologists can work within these specialist areas. Health psychologists work in a variety of settings including the NHS, universities, private practice, health-related organisations, within communities and schools.
The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society and provides Stage 1 practitioner training, a pre-requisite for Stage II training in Health Psychology and Chartered Psychologist status.
The course comprises six core modules that aim to develop your knowledge of how psychology can be employed to facilitate and protect health, and develop your ability to effect change and suggest alternatives in healthcare provision.
You will explore current issues in health psychology, and gain transferable and practical skills to facilitate progression in the field of health psychology. Supported by a research methods team with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods, you will critically evaluate the nature and practice of research in health psychology, study research ethics and integrity and systematic reviewing, and develop skills in advanced research design and analysis.
The programme aims to develop writing and presentation skills that are transferable to practice, including conference presenting and writing for publication. Throughout the programme, you will be encouraged to think critically and reflect upon your skills development. Emphasis is given to the study of clinical and professional skills and you will be equipped with theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enable effective communication with patients and health professionals. You will explore our range of physiological measures, have an opportunity to practice assessment techniques and will gain knowledge of interventions including mindfulness, guided imagery and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Opportunities are provided for you to gain work experience in healthcare practice as well as to work alongside academic staff to conduct health psychology research and evaluation. The programme has strong links to organisations providing a range of volunteering opportunities as well as external agencies, including the NHS and within the public health sector.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
You learn by knowledge and skills acquisition through directive teaching, group discussions, independent exploration and examination of academic resources. You will work with project data, review professional practice scenarios, and will have an opportunity to present a poster at our annual Teesside University Psychology Conference.
The course is delivered by a team of experts with wide-ranging research, consulting and practice expertise. There are also contributions from practitioners working in the fields of research, consultancy, and NHS practice.
Staff areas of specialism include: breast cancer, complementary and alternative therapies, neurological conditions, doctor-patient communications, psychosocial interventions and sexual health. The team has close links with the Psychology Research Unit within the Social Futures Institute (SoFI) and with AskFuse, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health.
How you are assessed
A range of assessment methods is used, from traditional essays and examinations to a critical review, poster presentation, and a video of you conducting a stress management intervention. You will develop a research proposal including a mini systematic review and will reflect on your skills and development. Your final research project is written in the style of a research article.
Previous students have conducted their final project research on topics including:
• The male pill
• Quality of life and the utility of a guided imagery intervention for individuals with motor neurone disease
• Subject and neural indicators of health-related anxiety as a consequence of using the internet
• Experiences of being a mother with epilepsy
• The effectiveness of weight loss management groups
• Stress management
• Chronic disease
After Stage 1, you can become a Chartered Psychologist by successfully completing Stage 2 training in Health Psychology. This will confer eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC and use the protected title of ‘Health Psychologist’.
The course team includes experienced supervisors of the British Psychological Society Qualification in Health Psychology (QHP Stage 2). The MSc programme additionally provides you with the skills to pursue a PhD and the course team have the expertise to supervise a broad range of health psychology topics.
Following the MSc, our students frequently progress to a PhD, undertake the QHP Stage 2 and obtain posts within academia, the NHS, and public health services.