Psychology & Counselling - BPS102

Study Psychology for a foundation in Counselling

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Develop your ability to analyse psychological conditions, and apply that knowledge in real world situations such as counselling or advisory roles.

Comments from ACS student:
"The notes and study tools encourage me to conduct research to develop my knowledge of components in my course. It is very worthwhile. [My tutor] gives me good feedback and food for thought with her comments and sometimes elaborates on my answers - really value her input. Larissa Kalnins, Aust - Psychology & Counselling course.

There are seven lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Stress
    The mind to body connection
    How to recognise stress
    What happens to the body when you experience stress
    The physiological response
    Chronic and acute stress
    Erikson's psycho social stages
    Oral sensory stage
    Anal muscular stage
    Genital locomotor stage
    Latency stage
    Young adulthood
    Middle adulthood
    Late adulthood
    Social adjustment
    Relationship betreen stress and heart disease
    What are the basic sources of stress
    Why some people suffer more
    How to deal with stress
    Defence mechanisms
  2. Abnormal Behaviour
    Definition of abnormality
    Deviation from statistical norms
    Deviation from social norm
    Maladaptiveness in behaviour
    Personal distress
    Wakefield's harmful dysfunction concept
    Psychologically healthy individuals
    Deviation in character
    Classification of mental disorders
    Anxiety disordersMood disorders
    Prevalence of depression
    Treatment of depression
    Substance related disorder
    Disorders diagnosed in childhood
    Delerium, Dementia, Amnestic and Cognitive disorders
    Problems with classification
  3. Individual Behaviour
    Pro social or Altruistic behaviour
    When do children first exhibit pro social behaviour
    Family influence
    Disciplinary measures
    Sibling influence
    Influence of family structure
    Influence of school
    Influence of peers
    Heiders Balance theory
    Dissonance theory
    Cognitive dissonance
  4. Group Behaviour
    Social considerations
    Temporary group
    Organised group
    Organisational groups
    The influence of groups
    Industrial groups
  5. Methods of Dealing with Abnormalities
    Professionals in counselling and psychology
    Therapist techniques
    Directiveness and non directiveness
    Systematic Desensitisation
    Behaviour therapies
    Psychoanalytical approach
    Psychoanalytic techniques
    Humanistic therapy
    Eclectic approach
  6. Conflict Resolution
    Conflict handling techniques
    Joint problem solving
    Problems with negotiation
    Running a mediation process in a conflict situation
    Agreements or contracts
    Suggested timetable for a mediation session
  7. Interpersonal Communication Skills
    Communication channels
    Effective communication
    Communication skills
    Hearing verbal messages
    Perceiving non verbal messages
    Verbal and non verbal communication
    Body language
    Communication barriers
    Self awareness
    Self esteem
    Specific skills: listening, paraphrasing, reflective responses, etc
    Conversation development
    Professional relationship building


  • Identify the nature of conflict and stress and why this issue affects so many people today.
  • Identify and examine behaviours that are characterised as abnormal and compare and contrast these with behaviours characterised as healthy.
  • Explain social influence on individual behaviour.
  • Explain social influence on group behaviour.
  • Describe alternative methods of dealing with psychological problems
  • Develop skills for resolving conflict.
  • Develop communication skills for counselling individuals. 


Here are some examples of what you may do:

  • Find someone you know who you suspect has a type A personality. Talk to them to try to confirm if your suspicion is correct. Note (write down) the ways in which they appear to be a type A personality.
  • Talk with someone who is suffering, or has suffered stress. This might be a friend, relative, work mate, or anyone else you are able to find. Discuss their stress with them (current or past). Don’t push them, but try to discern from what they are happy to tell you, whether their stress was (or is) chronic or acute.
  • Consider conflict which occurs in either a workplace or recreation situation you are familiar with. This might be a place where you work, or a workplace you visit frequently (eg. A shop or office);or perhaps a sporting club, gymnasium or social group which you regularly attend. Make up a list of disputes or conflicts which you remember to have occurred in the past.
  • Consider an individual in your life, or else a character in a film or book, who you regard as abnormal. Consider why they are abnormal. Write down a list of reasons you are able to identify. Which method or defining abnormality was influencing your judgement of this character
  • Find a teenager who you can interview. This might be a person you know (a relative, work colleague, member of an organisation you belong to etc), or perhaps you might contact and visit a youth club or organisation that deals with teenagers and arrange to interview someone. The person needs to be someone who exhibits some type of deviant behaviour, even if not extreme. Most teenagers will at some stage exhibit behaviour that is a deviance from social norms (even if the behaviour is not a deviance from age or peer group norms). Interview this teenager for at least 15 minutes. Make notes of your conversation, their responses (verbal and non-verbal).

Duration:   100 hours 

This course helps you Understand Some People are "more different" than others!


What is commonly known as mental disorder, or psychopathology, occurs when an individual's ability to cope, realistically and effectively with the challenges and tasks of daily life, is no longer adequate. One view of such problems is that this indicates a failure of the person’s psychological defences to do their job, protecting them from the crippling anxiety arising from psychological conflict. Alternatively, it may be that defences have worked too well, and a particular defence mechanism now dominates the person’s behaviour in such a way, that it persistently distorts their every day perceptions. Defensive mechanisms can be either positive or negative depending on the developmental stage, environment/context and strength that they are enacted in and/or with.

The forms of mental disorder are varied and likely to differ to the extent with which they are caused purely by psychological factors. Whatever their origins, many can be successfully prevented, managed and treated.

Many clinical psychologists and psychiatrists assume that aberrant behaviour is primarily related to psychological disturbances in the individual, rather than being ascribed to physical disorders.

Although mental disorder is largely identified as deviant behaviour, the term itself implies that there is a lack of health in internal psychological states. Because of this, the term may seem to be inappropriate if the individual is also chronically miserable, anxious, unpleasantly moody, or depressed. If they worry about inadequacies (e.g. in sex life), they may be suffering neurosis, which is a milder form of 'mental disorder`

If a person hears voices, which no one else hears, or believes he is being systematically persecuted, or suffers radical swings in despair to euphoria; then they may be suffering from a severe form of mental disturbance called "psychosis".

The above are more likely to be seen as symptoms of mental disturbance when they violate current socially approved behaviour.

Whether mildly or severely mentally disturbed, a person can still often function quite acceptably in terms of the general criteria for a "solid citizen"; holding down a job, providing for dependants, and not violating the law. Otherwise deviant behaviour may largely go unnoticed, and the person might not be considered by either themselves or others to have a mental disorder.

If some aspect of the behaviour begins to violate social norms though, the person could be labelled "deviant" and considered to have a mental illness.

Extreme deviations can occur in connection with the process of development in any factors concerning the individual’s personality at any stage during the process of development. People are all subject to changes in mood, but some alternate between two extremes. These are known as "cycloid types". It is common for such people to have a regular 48 hour cycle: 24 hours of elation followed by 24 hours of depression. Others may have cycles as long as 18 months.



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