Approaches to Psychological Distress and Wellness

Approaches to Psychological Distress and Wellness

Tutor Penny Hyams
Thursdays, For 11 Weeks 
21/05/2020 - 30/07/2020
Full Fee: £80 Conc: £35

It is estimated that about half a million people in the UK suffer from a major mental illness, with about 1 in 6 people reporting psychological distress at some time, young people being disproportionately affected. Over the twelve-week course we will explore ‘Abnormal Psychology’, examining the four major approaches to the aetiology (causes) of mental distress. We will consider how these approaches inform Psychological interventions and explore potential signposts and pathways to improved psychological wellness.

  1. Who is this course for?

For those seeking to pursue further study of Psychology, this brief course offers a theoretical introduction to one of the main sub-disciplines. It also provides an academic resumé for those who might be considering a career in Mental Health nursing or care, or current practitioners who require a knowledge of Mental Health issues applicable to their client population e.g. Youth Workers. Finally, it may be of interest to those who would like to expand their knowledge of Mental Illness and Wellness, possibly to support a family member or friend.

  1. What this course could lead to:

Completing this course might form part of a programme of Psychology studies at Mary Ward Centre, or preparation for studying Psychology or related disciplines in Higher Education. It can also enrich education and support professionals’ understanding of the theory underpinning some aspects of their practice. For many, it can contribute to lifelong learning, personal development and understanding of human diversity.

  1. What does this course cover

This course introduces a field of Psychological research and practice often rather pejoratively known as ‘Abnormal Psychology’. The field focuses on clinical diagnostic categories of what are variously described as ‘Mental Illness’ ‘Psychoses’ and ‘Neuroses’ and abnormal behaviours, such as the disabling symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It briefly outlines and compares four major approaches to aetiology (causes) and psychological intervention – the Medical model (as categorised in DSM-V & ICD-10), the Psychoanalytic model, the Behaviourist approach and Cognitive Approaches. These models underpin key therapeutic interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Integrative Counselling; which aim to alleviate individual distress and anxiety; and enhance opportunities for Psychological wellness.




  1. What will it be like?


This non-clinical introductory course offers participants an opportunity to explore the differential diagnosis of some key disorders, and join the debates around the treatment of Psychological illnesses and the impetus to Psychological wellness. Participants will have the opportunity to be involved in small group work and seminar-style debates around the efficacy of these approaches and interventions. It should be a thought provoking but rewarding experience!


  1. What else do you need to buy or do


You will only need to bring yourselves – and open minds! Active participation in class exercises and discussion is welcomed – it makes the experience richer for everyone!


You will enrich and expand your learning experience by reading some of the material referenced for the course. This may be especially useful if you intend to go on to further study or undertake related occupational training. Some of these sources will be available or discussed on accessible websites, others may be available from public libraries etc. Online booksellers can be a good source of academic books that are not always available in a general bookshop, and some stock second-hand copies.