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This course facilitates understanding of human development across the lifespan and social and psychological responses to transition.


This course draws upon a range of developmental and transitional psychological theory and seeks to relate it to personal learning and the counselling process. Theoretical learning and practical applications will be facilitated through a combination of lectures, participant-led seminars and presentations focusing on personal experience.

This course can be taken individually or combined over a period of time towards a Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development.

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About this course

In this section


Major life changes are explored in the context of the counselling process. Insights from psychodynamic, cognitive and behavioural theorists are applied in order that participants can intellectually and experientially engage with those psychological processes integral to human growth and transition.

The course focuses on the following areas:

Theories of lifespan development:exploring change and continuity across the entire age range; how the impact of trauma can interrupt maturational continuity; exploring human behaviour by comprehending underlying psychodynamic influences and processes; transition and coping strategies; physical, motor, cognitive, moral and sociological development in early childhood; the development of self and personality; constructivist processes in the psyche; attachment theory; social support.

Adolescence: physical, emotional and personality development in adolescence; forming adult identity.

Early adulthood: identification; conflicts; relationships and attachments.

Middle adulthood:mid-life crisis; the multi-dimensionality of health; changes in health status and self image; gender differences in roles/societal expectations.

Late Adulthood:integrity; disengagement; reminiscence and the concept of loss.

Death and dying:response to bereavement; suicide and suicidal behaviour; loss of function; adaptive and mal-adaptive responses to loss; the meaning attached to death; spirituality; facing major life transitions.

Linked programmes

PgDip/MSc Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice, PgDip/MSc Counselling Studies and Therapeutic Communication, PgDip/MSc Health Communciation , PgCertPD Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development, PgCertPD Postg


100% Coursework - (1) Presentation - participants will be asked to choose a personal life experience and make a presentation of this to others. With reference to their chosen life experience, participants will be required to explain their experience, suggest why it was significant and, where appropriate, how they coped with it. Participants will be expected to apply theory to personal experience and discuss how this may influence their approach to clients in professional practice (25%) and (2) Written assignment - building on the presentation, participants will be required to produce a written assignment which provides a critical reflection and appraisal of their experience, suggests why it was significant and, where appropriate, considers how they coped with it. Participants will be asked to explore if they can develop a greater understanding of the experience by applying theory and insight to personal experience and discuss how the life experience may influence the way they view clients in their practice (75%).


This course requires attendance for six afternoon sessions on Mondays or Tuesdays (dates to be confirmed). Please contact us if you are interested in this course and would like information on dates as soon as they become available.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Entry requirements

Any undergraduate degree.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the minimum English entrance requirements of the University and will need to provide recent evidence of this (certified within the last two years).

Most of our courses require a minimum English level of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with no band score under 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Please see details of the English language qualifications and certificates we can accept -

International applicants will also require a short-term study visa. Further information is available at

Start dates

  • 3 February 2020
How to apply


How to apply

The following page explains the postgraduate short course application procedure: (choose postgraduate short courses)

Start dates

  • 3 February 2020

Fees and funding

In this section


Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland, Wales
and the Islands:


Fees information

Information about how to pay for a course including different payment options is available at

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Fee waivers may be available to those who meet the eligibility criteria. More information is available from



Telephone: (+44) 028 9036 6680

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Communication and Media


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