Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University

Counselling: exploring fear and sadness

On this page

Fear and sadness are the most common problems that people seek counselling for. This course introduces you to the ways in which they have been understood: as 'mental health problems'; by different forms of individual therapy; and by approaches that focus on the family, the social group, or society. While the course is primarily academic, you’ll develop awareness of counselling skills, processes and techniques. The main sections of the course cover: historical developments in understanding fear and sadness; key individual counselling approaches; approaches that consider relationships and cultural aspects of human suffering; and the practice and evaluation of counselling.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
See description
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

There has been tremendous growth in counselling since the late 1980s, with huge numbers of people seeking help in individual counselling, in group therapy and through related 'self-help' books. Fear and sadness (often classed as 'anxiety' and ‘depression’ if they are diagnosed) are the most common 'mental disorders' in Britain, with a combined prevalence of fifteen per cent diagnosed each year. In recent years, many celebrities and authors have documented their own struggles with these difficulties, decreasing some of the stigma that has surrounded them. Related to this, there has been a significant growth in counselling over the last twenty years; this is likely to continue with further recognition of the need for counselling across a number of arenas (NHS, voluntary sector, education, business) and the current economic state of the nation.

Counselling: exploring fear and sadness is designed to chart the relationship between the counselling profession and the emotions of fear and sadness. It covers the ways in which these types of human distress have been understood and treated in the past and how they are currently conceptualised and worked with in the counselling profession. The course traces the history of counselling and therapy from their origins in industrialisation and secularisation, through the development of psychoanalysis, the medical diagnosis and treatment of emotional difficulties, and the recent expansion of the counselling profession and proliferation of approaches. A story is woven through the main branches of individual therapy (psychodynamic, humanistic/existential and cognitive-behavioural) to illustrate how fear and sadness have largely been located in people's ways of viewing and thinking about the world. You will be encouraged to build your own understanding of how these issues may be best understood and worked with through comparing differing key approaches and attempts that have been made to synthesise them. In addition, a critical stance towards the 'individualisation' of problems in counselling is presented through consideration of fear and sadness at the level of the relationship (such as the couple or family), the group, and the society we live in. Key threads are drawn out such as explaining fear and sadness as located in individual perceptions or in real-world social problems, and understanding them at a psychosocial and/or biological level.

While this Level 2 course is primarily academic, you will be encouraged to apply what you are reading to your own life, the lives of others and your own practice (if appropriate) through the inclusion of reflective exercises and case studies to demonstrate the similarities and differences between different approaches. You will be taken through the process of counselling, the ways in which the relationship is used within therapy, the balance between listening and offering interpretations in various approaches, and the use of specific techniques. Through this material, and related exercises, skills in counselling practice are further developed. Research evidence on the outcomes and process of therapy is also introduced and discussed, along with skills in understanding and interpreting research findings, encouraging you to consider how counselling, and other common ways of treating fear and sadness, might usefully be evaluated.

The course is taught primarily through a textbook and online via the course Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Counselling skills are also introduced through specially produced audio-visual materials and by practising self-directed activities. Tutorials are offered to further support you in your learning.

Vocational relevance

This course does not qualify students to practise counselling, but it is a compulsory module in the Foundation Degree in Counselling. It provides key knowledge and skills for those seeking careers in all areas of applied psychology, and provides academic and practical learning of relevance to many others – for instance, those in business or other professions where ‘people skills’ are particularly important – who are seeking further knowledge and training in counselling theory and skills.

Entry

D240 is a Level 2 course that provides core subject knowledge and study skills. It builds on the themes covered in the Level 1 course Introduction to counselling (D171), but it is not a requirement to study this Level 1 course first. If you are new to study at university level, or haven't studied for some time, we strongly recommend that you study a Level 1 course first before Level 2.

As this course can lead to a professionally recognised qualification in counselling, and some aspects of the course content and activities are unsuitable for students under the age of eighteen years, entry is only open to students over the age of eighteen at course start date.

Although we support students in the learning of this subject, please note that your tutor is not there to help with your own life or personal difficulties. This is not a function that this course can fulfil.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio-visual components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader though most should be suitable. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Textbook and VLE, and additional learning resources provided by the website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course. You will also have access to the website and the online forum.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in May 2014. We expect it to be available again in October 2014. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“I enjoyed the tutorials and interaction with other students. This was a totally new subject to me and I was ...”
Read more
“This was definitely the best course I have done with the OU. The content was really interesting, I loved learning ...”
Read more

Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code D240
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or
order