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An Introduction to Therapeutic Skills for Health Psychologists

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Led by: Dr Claire Hallas, C.Psychol. AFBPsS, Consultant Health Psychologist

Who is this course for?

 Suitable for trainee and qualified Health Psychologists, wishing to develop their applied health psychology research/practice with individual clients.

What will be covered by the course?

Three main areas;

  1.  Personal and Interpersonal Issues in Health Psychology Therapeutic Practice:

  • Working as a Health Psychologist with individual clients: What do you need to know?

  • Differentiating therapeutic practice from research practice: How are they different? Accountability, roles, intervention delivery, outcomes measurement

  • Therapeutic roles: personal versus professional schemas and their impact on practice


  • Developing & maintaining the HP-client therapeutic alliance (TA):

  • How to develop a therapeutic alliance between health psychologist & patient/client?  What are the components of a positive relationship and the professional boundaries of the TA? The client as expert in their health problem, therapist as expert in interventions and guiding therapy.


  • Professional behaviours and Interpersonal communication skills required for Health Psychology therapeutic practice: e.g. interpersonal perceptual and relational skills, therapist attitude and interpersonal knowledge.


  2.  Applying Technical Therapeutic Skills in Health Psychology Practice:

  • What foundation therapeutic skills do I need to help a client with physical health problems?

  • How do I ensure that I am client centred in my approach rather than ‘expert’ focused –ensuring I am not just gathering information on health outcomes but facilitating better health outcomes.

  • Applying technical therapeutic skills in practice:

  • How to change health related cognitions & behaviour within individual therapeutic practice? Using key technical skills such as:

  • Socratic Questioning

  • Guided Discovery

  • Collaboration

  • Negotiation

  • Technical therapeutic skills applied to Health Psychology contexts and case studies


  3.  Building your confidence and skills in therapeutic practice  

  • Pre and post course self-assessment of skills and knowledge in individual client HP practice

  • Goals to achieve in your everyday practice following the course

  • First actions and challenges to implementing your goals

  • Review and development process for maintaining skills

Followed by course evaluation and feedback

How will this course help me?

We aim for attendees to gain a comprehensive understanding of the personal, professional and interpersonal skills required to deliver HP therapeutic practice (and/or applied intervention research) with individuals. Specifically to be able;

  • To describe the basic clinical framework for working in therapeutic practice with individual Health Psychology patients/clients.

  • To be self-aware of personal factors and schema that can impact upon therapy outcomes.

  • To identify the range of communication skills required for effective practice with individual patients/clients and their purpose within the therapeutic process.

  • To understand the key technical therapeutic skills (e.g. Socratic questioning and guided discovery, collaboration, negotiation) required to develop and maintain the health psychologist-patient/client therapeutic alliance and its impact on clinical outcomes.

  • To identify key changes in therapeutic working style that can be implemented within their current role.


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We have included some additional Information which hopefully will be helpful to read before you arrive, and to prepare for attending the course. 

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