Psychological Disorders Syllabus

Certificate in Psychological Disorders

Module 1: Mental Health and Mental Illness

Topics Studied

• The key components of abnormal behaviour
• The role of paradigms
• An integrationist perspective
• What role does culture play?
• Diagnosis and classification
• Criticisms of classification
• Exploring the therapeutic relationship

Learning Outcomes and Summary of Objectives

Upon successful completion of this learning module, the student should be able to:

• Outline the value and use of paradigms when categorising normal and abnormal behaviour.
• Summarise the diathesis-stress and biopsychosocial paradigms.
• Describe the diagnosis and classification process.

Module 2: Stress Disorders and Health Psychology

Topics Studied

• Understanding stress
• The biology of stress
• Seven major sources of stress
• The relationship between stress, control and choice
• The relationship between stress and illness
• Stress management and health
• Reducing stress levels by challenging our thinking
• Reviewing basic counselling skills

Learning Outcomes and Summary of Objectives

Upon successful completion of this learning module, the student should be able to:

• List seven major sources of stress.
• Describe the biology of stress.
• Critique the relationship between stress and illness.

Module 3: Anxiety Disorders

Topics Studied

• Phobias
• Panic disorder
• Generalised anxiety disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Post traumatic stress disorder
• Acute stress disorder

Learning Outcomes and Summary of Objectives

Upon successful completion of this learning module, the student should be able to:

• Discuss generalised anxiety disorder.
• Describe obsessive-compulsive disorder.
• Distinguish between post traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder.

Module 4: Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders

Topics Studied

• Mood disorders
• Major depressive disorder
• Bipolar depression
• Depression and cognitive behaviour therapy
• Schizophrenia
• Somatoform disorders
• Dissociative disorders

Learning Outcomes and Summary of Objectives

Upon successful completion of this learning module, the student should be able to:

• Describe mood disorders.
• Discuss schizophrenia.
• Compare and contrast somatoform disorders and dissociative disorders

Module 5: Personality Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Topics Studied

• Paranoid personality disorder
• Schizoid personality disorder
• Schizotypal personality disorder
• Antisocial personality disorder
• Borderline personality disorder
• Histrionic personality disorder
• Narcissistic personality disorder
• Avoidant personality disorder
• Dependent personality disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
• Autism spectrum disorders

Learning Outcomes and Summary of Objectives

Upon successful completion of this learning module, the student should be able to:

• Identify the different personality disorders.
• Discuss the characteristics and traits associated with the different personality disorders.
• Appraise autism spectrum disorders.

Module 6: Eating Disorders and Substance Related Disorders

Topics Studied

• What is a food addiction?
• Anorexia nervosa
• Bulimia nervosa
• Binge eating disorder
• Alcohol and alcoholism
• The Addict, the family, and co-dependency
• Diagnosing an addiction
• Drug addiction
• Prescription drug addiction and abuse

Learning Outcomes and Summary of Objectives

Upon successful completion of this learning module, the student should be able to:

• Discuss anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
• Connect alcohol and drug addiction.
• Clarify the defining features of addictions.

Required reading for the course

Davidson, G.C., Blankstein, K.R., Flett, G.L., & Neale, J.M. (2008). Abnormal psychology. Mississauga, ON: John Wiley & Sons.
Duration of the Course

Successful completion of this course is estimated to be approximately 200 hours. Students should allocate approximately eight hours a week for reading, personal study, completion of reflection activities and submission of assignments. There is one marked assignment per module. Courses are offered on a part-time basis and are designed to be completed within six months.