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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Psychiatry for Psychotherapists
Module Code NS512
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Mary Kirwan
Semester 2: Joanne Cleary-Holdforth
Autumn: Joanne Cleary-Holdforth
Module TeachersMary Kirwan
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the psychiatric treatment of mental illness and particularly to the medical model. Students will discuss and debate the value of a formal psychiatric assessment and/or ongoing psychiatric treatment. This module will explore the boundaries and overlaps between counselling/psychotherapy and psychiatry. By becoming familiar with the categories of psychiatric disorders identified in the DSM IV and ICD-10, students will learn to discern when and how it might be appropriate to refer for a psychiatric evaluation, particularly in an emergency situation such as when a suicide risk is apparent. In addition, students will learn about the biopsychosocial approach to psychiatry, and about how to liaise with professionals working within a variety of psychiatric service settings.

Learning Outcomes

1. Compare and contrast the psychiatric approach to mental health with psychotherapeutic approaches.
2. Critique the rationale for the classification of psychiatric disorders
3. Debate the principles and practice of patient assessment (including suitability for psychotherapy), classification, and treatment in psychiatry
4. Evaluate the categories of psychiatric disorders identified in the DSM-IV and ICD-10 including the symptoms, aetiology, course and outcome of the principal disorders
5. Employ the structures and systems of psychiatric services to make referrals and liaise with professionals working in a variety of psychiatric settings.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Seminars32Attending and fully participating fully in (no of) class seminars per academic year
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/seminars
Directed learning15Time to reflect o how the theories and approaches discussed in class resonate (or not) with one’s own personal experiences and belief systems
Assignment Completion30Writing of one 3,000 word essay that demonstrates both accomplishment of learning outcomes and appropriate level of academic writing skills.
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

The Psychiatric Approach to Mental Health:
Through readings and class discussions, this section examines the psychiatric approach to mental health . With it’s emphasis on diagnosis, psychiatric management is compared and critiqued with the psychotherapeutic approach to mental health.

DSM IV and ICD 10 Classification of Psychiatric Disorders
Through the study of the DSM lV and ICD 10, together with sample vignettes, students learn skills for recognising when individuals may be presenting with formal psychiatric disorders. Participants become practiced in recognising some of the common psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. They should also be aware of the need to refer clients for psychiatric assessment if there is deterioration in their mental health, such that they pose a risk to themselves or others. They should recognise that psychiatric treatment can be an adjunct to psychotherapy and vice versa.

Psychiatric Assessment
Through lectures and class discussion students will learn the process of psychiatric assessment of clients referred to the psychiatric service in a non emergency situation.

Psychiatric Services in Ireland
Through lectures and class discussion students will become familiar with the structure of the local psychiatric services and will learn how to access them. They will know the constituents of the mental health multidisciplinary team and the roles of each team member .

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayGuidelines and title of 3000 word essay will be given 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

  • American Psychiatric Association (Corporate Author): 2013, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,, 5th Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, New York, 978-0890425558
  • Bazire, S.: 2012, Psychotropic Drug Directory 2012: The Professionals' Pocket Handbook and Aid Memoire, Lloyd-Reinhold Communications LLP, Cheltenham, 978-0956915603
  • Katona, C., Cooper, C., Robertson, M.: 2012, Psychiatry at a Glance, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 978-0470658918
  • Wright, P., Stern, J., Phelan: 2012, Core Psychiatry, 3rd edition, Saunders, Philadelphia, 978-0702033971
  • Davies, T., Craig,T.: 2008, ABC of mental health, 2nd Edition, BMJ Books/Blackwell Pub., Malden, Mass., 978-0727916396
  • Goldberg, D., Murray, R.: 2006, Maudsley Handbook of Practical Psychiatry, 5th edition, OUP, Oxford, 978-0199299768
  • Hester, R. K., Miller, W.R.: 2003, Handbook of alcoholism treatment approaches, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, 9780205360642
  • Marshall, E.J., Humpreys, K., Ball, D.: 2010, The treatment of drinking problems, 5th Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 978-0521132374
  • Morris, J. (Editor): 2008, ABC of eating disorders, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 978-0727918437
  • Oyebode, F.: 2008, Sims' symptoms in the mind, 4th edition, Saunders Elsevier, Edinburgh, 978-0702028854
  • Schmidt, U., Treasure, J.: 1993, Getting better bit(e) by bit(e), Lawrence Erlbaum, Hove, 978-0863773228
Other Resources

0, http://www.dohc.ie, Department of health and Children,, 2006, A Vision for Change-Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy',, Dublin,
Programme or List of Programmes
GDPCGDip in Counselling & Psychotherapy
Date of Last Revision28-OCT-10

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