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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Attachment, Wellbeing and Mental Health (CLPS11079)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is an option course on the MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches programme in the department of Clinical Psychology. The aim of the course is to support students with previous knowledge of child development or psychology in developing a critical, contemporary and evidence-based understanding of attachment theory and its relationship to individual differences in well-being and mental health across the life. It explores mechanisms by which attachment patterns exert an effect, including self-regulation of cognitive processes, relationships and affect.
Non-programme students who wish to take this course must meet the programme-level entry requirements, namely an honours degree in Psychology or equivalent.
Course description Increasingly, attachment theory has been used a framework for understanding why individuals differ in their levels of well-being or mental health issues. The aim of the course is to support students in developing a critical, contemporary and evidence-based understanding of attachment theory and its relation to well-being and mental health across the life span. It particularly focuses on attachment as a model for adaptive self-regulatory behaviour across a range of areas including; regulation of relationships, affect and thoughts. Attachment will be considered through the lens of risk and resilience, drawing on theoretical knowledge that promotes the idea that attachment patterns can buffer against or incrementally increase risk from existing psychosocial and contextual factors.

Outline content
* Attachment in early infancy
* Measurement of attachment
* Attachment as a framework for understanding optimal/sub-optimal outcomes in children and young people
* Mediators of the relationship between attachment and outcomes
* Attachment-based interventions
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Programme-level entrance qualifications apply.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesProgramme-level entrance qualifications apply.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 16/01/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Online Activities 10, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment for this course is -
Assignment 1 - Group assignment, 2000 words - 30% weighting
Assignment 2 - Individual assignment, 2000 words - 70% weighting
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided by peers and course organiser during classroom work.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical, contemporary and evidence-based understanding of attachment theory.
  2. Demonstrate a critical and detailed understanding of the direct and indirect relationship between attachment patterns and well-being/mental health.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to synthesise complex and competing information from range of sources and present that information in oral and written formats.
  4. Demonstrate a critical perspective on attachment-based interventions.
  5. Exercise autonomy and initiative in group working
Reading List
Recommended Course Text:
Cassidy J & Shaver PR (2008). Handbook of Attachment (2nd edn). New York: Guildford Press
Gerhardt S (2004). Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain. East Sussex: Routledge
Howe D (2005). Child Abuse and Neglect: Attachment, Development and Intervention. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan
Prior V & Glaser D (2006). Understanding Attachment and Attachment Disorders: Theory, Evidence and Practice (Child and Adolescent Mental Health). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Ungerer J & McMahon C (2005). Attachment and Psychopathology. In JL Hudson and RM Rapee (Eds.) Psychopathology and the Family. Oxford: Elsevier

The following journals are particularly relevant for this module:
Attachment and Human Development
Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Development and Psychopathology
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Personality and Individual Differences
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Enquiry- critically evaluate and synthesise published research.
Personal and Intellectual Autonomy - independently search for relevant literature and determine its suitability in relation to a specific aim; use the literature base to be reflective concerning one's own experiences of working with children and young people; lead on specified tasks in collaboration with others.
Communication - summarise and communicate complex concepts of mental health and wellbeing in oral and written reports; communicate with group members in an effective and positive manner.
Personal Effectiveness - work co-operatively with others to achieve a common goal; organise time to complete a range of tasks with competing deadlines; use person reflection to identify barriers and facilitators of effective working, with children and young people, peers and those in positions of authority.
Keywordsattachment,development,psychology,mental health,children,adolescents
Course organiserDr Karen Goodall
Tel: (0131 6)51 3947
Course secretaryMrs Chelsea Kennedy
Tel: (0131 6)51 3969
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