OU students encounter modules as finished products and (hopefully!) there is a nice and containing finality about them. Yet the course of making them is often a very open process – and as such, it brings with interesting dilemmas and arguments. With D241 it actually started with the very question of what the module is about.
As the code of the module suggests, there is a continuity with D240,” Counselling: Exploring sadness and fear”. This continuity has always been taken for granted by the module team. At the same time, D241 is worth 60 credits whereas D240 is 30 credits. This created the dilemma of what this enhanced module should be. Simply D240 times two? Or D240 plus something else? As for this “something else”, an obvious candidate was of course mental health. A Qualification (i.e., Q84) level argument was that mental health should be covered in the psychology curriculum and that the extended D241 module, partly due to the overlap between counselling and mental health, would be a good place to do this.
What makes this question it especially intriguing is that it is also an interesting intellectual issue. Are issues of counselling/psychotherapy and those of mental health the same or different? As you know from the previous post, the decision that was made was that the module would cover both areas. Yet this has not been the settling of a problem but the opening up others. For instance, does counselling/psychotherapy constitute a separate and autonomous area from mental health or is it encompassed by it? Or, reversely, is mental health an autonomous area – or simply counselling writ large?
We continue grappling with these issues – it will be interesting for you to see how they have been settled (or not!) for the final product that will be the module you study.
David Kaposi, Module Team Member