This unit of study is designed to provide students with an understanding of the major disorders that occur across the lifespan. The concept of psychopathology and classification systems such as DSM-5, ICD 10 and alternative diagnostic frameworks such as the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) and transdiagnostic approaches are examined. Developmental pathways that lead to common symptom patterns and the meaning of these patterns are discussed in the context of developmental stages and sociocultural context. The limitations of the application of categorical taxonomies in diverse populations will be covered.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate the aetiology of the major disorders and identify case-specific aetiological factors in clients;  
  2. Critically evaluate diagnostic classification systems and their application;  
  3. Identify and justify appropriate diagnoses and case formulations that factor in cultural and social contexts and influences; and  
  4. Articulate an understanding of developmental factors and associated symptom patterns across the lifespan.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Written assignment (1500 words) 30%
Case Study Case-based assessment (1800 words) 40%
Test Test (Multiple choice and Short Answer) (2 hours) 30%

Required reading

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5-TR 5th ed.
American Psychiatric Association (2013)
Arlington, VA, USA. American Psychiatric Association

Psychodynamic diagnostic manual
PDM Task Force (2006)
Silver Spring, MD: Alliance of Psychoanalytic Organisations

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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