Working with complex needs in contemporary social work practice (M45)

Learn flexibly by module accumulation on our specialist course that recognises the modern complexities in social work

This course offers professionals in the health and social care sectors the chance to develop core social work skills at an advanced level. It recognises the complexities of 21st century social work and its emotionally distressing and challenging nature.

This course is taught online in modules and you may take up to five years to complete the course.

Please note: you may see the M45 course also referred to as SCPDTP006 in communications from our application system.

About this course

This course is offered as a credit accumulation model to give you maximum flexibility so that you can enrol onto individual modules as standalone credit-bearing CPD.

The modules are all optional, meaning that you can pick those which interest you the most. However, you can only undertake the Best Interests Assessors (BIA) module if you are a social worker working in a relevant setting. To receive the postgraduate certificate or postgraduate diploma, you will need to enrol onto the award programme. 

To gain the full postgraduate diploma, you will need to successfully complete four taught modules from the list below. If you successfully complete two modules, you may finish your studies at this point and take a postgraduate certificate as an exit award.

Through a series of seminars, lectures, reflective group discussions and case study groups, the following modules will be taught:

  • ‘Strengths-based approaches in contemporary social work practice’
  • ‘Reflective supervision and leading on practice’
  • ‘Best Interests Assessor’ (this can only be undertaken if you are a social worker working in a relevant setting)
  • ‘Using observation in social work’
  • ‘Policy, power and activism’

Who is this course for?

This course is for you if you are a health care or social work/care professional, and wish to increase your CPD through a course that will provide theoretical frameworks and reflective, experiential learning that allows you to engage with the complexities of your role.

You will also develop your capacities to work effectively in often challenging environments.

Course details

To undertake this course, we ask that you:

  • hold a first degree classified at 2:2 or above, or equivalent
  • have at least two years postgraduate experience in the field of social care, or for social workers, post-qualifying social work experience
  • be a currently registered health or social care practitioner (social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology)
  • have at least two years’ post-registration experience
  • have relevant knowledge, experience and practice capability within a health or social care setting
  • are currently employed in a suitable setting for the duration of the programme


£4,510 per year


£9,020 per year

For more information about financing your studies and your fee status, please see our fees and funding area.

Please note that course fees are subject to an annual uplift of 3% or the Consumer Price Inflation as at 1 September, whichever is the greater. At its discretion, the Trust may determine a figure between these two rates.

We are happy to offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.

For 2023, the modules are scheduled for the following dates:

  • Reflective supervision and leading on practice: Six Monday’s from 23 January 2023
  • Using observation in social work: Six Monday’s from 5 June 2023
  • Strengths-based approaches in contemporary social work practice: Six days from Tuesday 30 June
  • Policy, power and activism: Summer 2023, dates TBC

The modular nature of this course means that the assessment and attendance requirements will vary depending on the modules selected.

Students are generally working in demanding environments with complex needs and undertake relevant modules as part of their continuing professional development.

The modules enable students to operate at a more advanced level in terms of practice in health and social care.

Why study with us?

Health, social work and social care at the Tavistock and Portman are among the most established and respected in the UK, and delivered within a working NHS clinic.

The primary aim of this course is to provide you as a social worker with validated, credit-bearing CPD to allow for your professional development. This course has been carefully developed to give social workers from adult, child and mental health disciplines the environment to study together and learn with practitioners from other fields.

Course facilitators

Validations and accreditations

University of Essex logo

This course is validated by the University of Essex.

Apply now

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