DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The aim of this module is to enable students to critically discuss issues pertinent to mental health and illness, including identifying factors which promote psychological well-being and the conceptualisation, assessment and treatment of a range of psychological difficulties and disorders. Consideration will be given to alternative means of conceptualising and addressing these issues. Students will also consider ethical and legal issues related to psychological health and well-being, disorder and difficulties.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically consider and evaluate historical and contemporary conceptualisations of mental health and illness
2. Engage in advanced consideration and evaluation of ethical and legal issues surrounding research and practice in psychological distress and disorder.
3. Recognise and critically understand how stigma may result from psychological diagnosis and the impact that this may have.
4. Critically appraise the diagnostic systems and assessment methods used by psychologists to identify psychological difficulties and disorders
5. Critically evaluate current knowledge of the epidemiology, clinical features, etiology and treatment approaches for common psychological disorders
6. Critically consider and evaluate evidence on factors which promote psychological health and well-being.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture30No Description
Seminars6Specialist Seminars - on specific topics / methodologies to support the lectures and coursework
Independent Study48Group work and independent assessment preparation
Independent Study41Lecture review and preparation/ independent learning
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

Students will engage in a series of interactive lectures and seminars to cover the topics listed below:

Introduction to ‘abnormality’, psychological health and distress

Consideration of the debates regarding terminology in relation to mental health and illness.

Historical and contemporary conceptualisations of mental health and illness.

Ethical, and legal issues related to mental health (including research and practice)

Stakeholder involvement in treatment and research

Models of the etiology and treatment of psychological disorders in Clinical and Counselling Psychology.

Assessment and diagnosis of psychological disorders in Clinical and Counselling Psychology.

Alternative approaches to understanding psychological difficulties and disorders.

Clinical features, etiology and treatment of a range of common psychological difficulties and disorders:
may include anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders, depressive and bipolar disorders, suicidal behavior, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, developmental difficulties and disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, sexual disorders, substance use and addictive disorders and neurocognitive disorders

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • Kring, A., Davison, G. C., Neale, J. M., Johnson, S.: 2014, Abnormal Psychology, 12th, Wiley, Chichester, UK,
  • Allen, F: 2013, Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life., Harper Collins, New York, US,
  • Burstow, B: 2015, Psychiatry and the Business of Madness. An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting., Palgrave Mc Millan, New York, US,
  • Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J. M.: 2009, Abnormal psychology, 14th, Allyn & Bacon., Boston, US,
  • Carr, A.: 2016, The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach, 3rd, Routledge, London, UK,
  • Carr, A., & McNulty, M.: 2016, The Handbook of Adult Clinical Psychology: An Evidence Based Practice Approach., Routledge, London, UK,
  • Comer, R.J.: 2016, Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology., Worth Publishers, New York, US,
  • Howlin, P.A., Charman, T., Ghaziuddin, M.: 2009, The Sage Handbook of Developmental Disorders., SAGE, London, UK,
  • Kelly, B.: 2016, Hearing Voices: The History of Psychiatry in Ireland., Irish Academic Press, Dublin, Ireland,
  • Nathan, P. E., & Gorman, J. M. (Eds.).: 2015, A Guide to Treatments that Work, 4th, Oxford University Press, New York, US,
  • Oltmanns, T.F. & Emery, R.E.: 2015, Abnormal Psychology, 8th, Pearson, London, UK,
  • Oltmanns, T. F., Martin, M. T., Neale, J. M., & Davison, G. C.: 2009, Case studies in abnormal psychology, 8th, Wiley, Chichester, UK,
  • Smith, A.K., Parets, S.E. & Kim, A.W.: 2014, Epigenetics of Psychopathology., Springer, New York, US,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes