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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Personality and Developmental Psychology
Module Code NS511
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Mary Kirwan
Semester 2: Joanne Cleary-Holdforth
Autumn: Mary Kirwan
Module TeachersJoanne Cleary-Holdforth
Mary Kirwan
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
resit of course work

Drawing on the body of research from the field of Developmental Psychology, this module studies various theories about how the personality develops over time. The model reviews and compares basic models of Personality from the five main schools of Psychology. It then studies the development of different aspects of the Personality, such as cognitive development (Piaget), moral development (Kohlberg and Gilligan) and relational (Bowlby and Ainsworth). The module translates theory into practical application by demonstrating how the learning from these theories can be applied in a therapeutic setting. Finally, the module incorporates emerging developments in the field of Psychology such as Social Constructionism and Critical Psychology.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critique and compare five basic models of Personality: Psychodynamic, Behaviourists, Cognitive, Learning and Humanistic
2. Apply the developmental perspectives of Piaget, Kohlberg, Bowlby, Ainsworth, Erikson and Gilligan to the development of individuals over their life-span.
3. Compare and integrate insights from these different developmental models in specific domains such as intellectual and moral development
4. Leverage their theoretical understanding of personality and developmental psychology in practical application and case studies
5. Explain the role of the discipline of psychology in psychotherapy and counselling

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture32Students will attend a series of lectures/seminars, where they will be expected to attend to didactic presentations and participate in class discussions based on the readings assigned.
Independent Study42Sourcing books and articles from reading list, reading in-depth (including note-taking where appropriate) in preparation for participation in class dialogue.
Group work6Students gather in groups of four to discuss material arising out of class lectures
Directed learning15self-reflecting / Journal: Time to reflect on how the theories and approaches discussed in class resonate (or not) with one’s own personal experiences and belief systems
Directed learning30Details of essay provided in class.
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Basic Models of Personality:
This section reviews basic models of Personality from the five main schools of Psychology. Through readings and class discussions, students learn to critique and compare the different models and to gain an appreciation for utilizing the framework within a therapeutic setting.

Developmental Psychology:
This section reviews research and theory from the field of Developmental Psychology. Students learn how to view individuals in the context of their overall life-cycle and stages of development. By learning about the different stages of development proposed by various developmental theorists, students are able to appreciate how individuals experience different developmental stages and what needs to happen for optimal development in different domains such as cognitive, moral, and relational.

Social Constructionism and Critical Psychology:
This section reviews Social Constructionist theory as an alternative critical perspective to psychological “knowledge” (particularly in relation to mental health and self identity) and psychotherapeutic practice.

Applications to Psychotherapy:
This section looks at the application in psychotherapy.of personality and developmental perspectives.Through practical examples and reflective exercises the students are encouraged to critically consider the contribution of different theorists to therapy practice.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Essay3000 word essay -details provided in class100%
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Glassman, W.E., Hadad, M.: 2009, Approaches to psychology, 5th, Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education, Maidenhead, 978-0335228850
  • Nelson-Jones, R.: 2010, Theory and Practice of Counselling and Therapy, 5th Edition, Sage, London, 978-1849204033
  • Santrock, J.W.: 2010, Life-Span Development. John W. Santrock, 13th Edition, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Maidenhead, 0071221697
  • Bateman, A., Brown, D., Pedder, J.: 2010, Introduction to Psychotherapy, 4th edition, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, 0415476127
  • Fox, D., Prilleltensky, I.: 2009, Critical psychology, Developmental Psychology and its discontents, Sage, London, 978-0761952114
  • Burr, V.: 1995, An introduction to social constructionism, Routledge, London, 978-0415104050
  • Fox , D., Prilleltensky, I.: 2009, Critical psychology, 2nd, Abnormal and Clinical Psychology; The politics of Madness, Sage, London, ISBN:978-0761952114
  • Edward E. Smith... [et al.]: 2003, Atkinson & Hilgard's introduction to psychology, 14th, Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc, London, 978-0155050693
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
GDPCGDip in Counselling & Psychotherapy
Date of Last Revision28-OCT-10

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