Understanding Psychological Disorders

Ref: C3531004

This live video learning course using zoom, (for more information see http://bit.ly/WEAonline), provides a critical examination of different types of mental illness. We shall be asking fundamental questions about the nature of health and illness; the reliability of diagnosis; the classification of disorders; the evidence for popular and alternative explanations and the effectiveness of treatments available. We will explore issues regarding definitions of normality, the boundaries of sanity and the power of medical professionals. The course will examine the diagnosis, some explanations and treatments for Schizophrenia, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Phobias, Eating disorders and Autism. Expect challenging ideas and lively discussion with a wealth of follow up materials and activities online. The course aims to help you think for yourself rather than offer help or advice. It is educational rather than therapeutic.

Course aim

To explore what it means to be mentally ill and the implications of a diagnosis of abnormality in our society. To be able to understand and critique the classifications, explanations and treatments for a range of psychological disorders.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is open to all and requires no prior learning or experience. If you are unsure if it is suitable for you then you can request that the tutor contact you by phone for a preliminary chat. The tutor is a fully qualified and experienced teacher but not a mental health practitioner.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • outline different definitions of abnormality and apply these to different diagnosis of common psychiatric conditions.
  • discuss the value and limitations of diagnostic labels and reflect on how these influence our own behaviour and that of others.
  • understand some of the different types of explanation and treatment provided for certain types of Psychological disorders.
  • be more prepared take part in action for positive change regarding your own or others perceptions of abnormality in society.
  • feel more confident in using digital media such as online leaning communities and educational software such as PowerPiont, Zoom and Canvas.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Face to face sessions will include a presentation of key ideas and plenty of opportunity to discuss these during and between live sessions. Support will be provided with the technical aspects.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be able to keep a record of your progress and achievement using photos, audio, text or documents uploaded into the WEA’s digital learning platform, WEA Canvas.
  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • Online activities such as quizzes and discussions will be available. These are all optional and support will be provided.

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Use of the online opportunities are completely optional and not a course requirement.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • No pre-course reading is required but some background information will be made available prior to the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • There will be a follow up course available online.

Download full course information sheet

Understanding Psychological Disorders


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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