Module Descriptions

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Counselling

Below is all the Module Descriptions for BA in Psychology & Counselling 2024.

Study Year 1 of 3 (basic level; NQF 5)

This module develops the skills needed for successful tertiary study, particularly listening and reading for comprehension, critical thinking in sourcing and evaluating academic material, structuring academic papers, writing clearly and logically, and referencing sources used. Students develop these essential skills through readings and talks and practise them in a supportive environment with detailed feedback.

Through this module, students will learn to use a computer for emails, internet, word processing, spreadsheet development and electronic presentation suites. This will enable students to access the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) known as Funda, which is used by Cornerstone for communication with lecturers and administrative purposes, as well as research and submission of assignments.

This module provides students with an overview of the major theories of Developmental Psychology. Furthermore, the module aims to help the student understand the course of human development from conception to late adulthood. The module also seeks to address contemporary concerns in lifespan development from conception to late adulthood.

This module provides students with training in how to develop and design life skills programmes, psycho-educational training and individual counselling interventions. This module provides an understanding of persons, ideas and principles in the sphere of human behaviour and examines how to manage structured psycho-educational activities in personal and group interventions and how to evaluate their success.

The module introduces students to the principles, concepts, history, and major approaches to the study of society. It provides an overview of what sociologists' study, the methods they use, the different ways of thinking (paradigms) within sociology as well as the key terminology (concepts) that serve as analytical tools to understand social systems and the social construction of human life.

This module is designed to introduce students to the concept of integration and its implications both for Christian faith and praxis, and for the relationship between the disciplines of theology, psychology, and community development. The module frames these disciplines within their respective branches of knowledge, inviting students to consider how each discipline operates within a particular worldview. Students explore the necessity of moving from a compartmentalised understanding of their faith and vocation to thinking and living in ways that reflect integration between their faith life and their work life.

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to a foundation for conflict management that will guide community leaders in responding to interpersonal conflict. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of conflict mediation, equipping them with specific communication skills to enhance their relationships (interpersonal and intrapersonal). Students explore personal attitudes and approaches to conflict. This module makes use of case studies to assist students to reflect on the strategies, tactics and approaches used during conflict situations and emphasises the link between foundational beliefs, communication, behaviour and conflict.

Media and Society introduces students to a theoretical framework for analysing mass media in its historical and contemporary contexts. The role of the media in society will be interrogated in terms of media ethics and ideological influence. Students will develop a critical lens through which to examine how meaning is constructed and communicated across various platforms in a media-saturated world. The module will also give students the opportunity to practise basic writing and editing skills that complement those acquired in other first semester modules.

This module seeks to introduce the student to the fundamentals of intergroup dynamics and communication in the global context of cross-cultural engagement. The themes of group formation and behaviours, social structure and societal hierarchies will be introduced alongside the themes of intergroup relations and the practice of communication with and between groups with diverse values, belief systems and societal standing. The module will reflect on the demands and required skills for social change interventions when working with diverse cultural, religious, language, socio-economic, and citizen communities, among others, including also the local and global realities of migration and immigrant communities.

This module offers a comprehensive understanding of leadership from various theoretical perspectives, aiming to empower individuals for effective leadership in various contexts, particularly within South African and African settings. It delves into transformative leadership theory and practice, fostering personal and character growth. Additionally, the module introduces students to conflict resolution theory and practice, imparting essential communication skills to enrich inter-group and interpersonal relationships. Students gain insights into their conflict attitudes, self-reflect on approaches, and explore diverse conflict types through case studies. The module underscores the interconnectedness of communication, behaviour, and conflict, with a focal point on reconciliation strategies, enriching the learning experience.

This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of persons, ideas, and principles in the sphere of human behaviour, which we understand as the social sciences. The historical development and current status of psychology, investigative activities, and significant findings are reviewed. Psychology: An Introduction will also engage with psychological thought in relation to the South African context.

This module surveys the themes of marriage development and family issues. The student will be introduced to the dynamics of change within marriage and the family as part of a developmental psychology framework.

This module explores the ways identity shapes and is shaped by diversity in terms of race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability, and how the social construction of difference can have a significant impact on people’s life opportunities. A fundamental objective of the module will be to develop critical diversity literacy and identify ways to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and cooperation among communities.

This module is designed to introduce the student to the methodology and discourse of both systematic and practical theology and provide a framework within which to make sense of these disciplines, how they overlap and intersect, what specific angles of vision they offer the church in its engagement, theologically and practically, with the world. Special attention is given to the relationship between theology and its cultural contexts, particularly within a South African context.

The module offers students a critical introduction to different media forms and genres with a particular focus on digital and visual media. Provided with the basic vocabulary for the production and critique of film, television and photography, students will analyse content from various critical perspectives, including genre, spectatorship, framing and narrative theory. Digital media will be approached with an emphasis on evolving technology, user interactivity, problems of intellectual property, and the role of social media.

  • (Sociology) Sociology: An Introduction OR
  • (Theology) Theological Integration & Public Theology OR
  • (Media) Media and Society
  • (Sociology) Diversity Studies OR
  • (Theology) Theology: An Introduction OR
  • (Media) Digital and Visual Media

Study Year 2 of 3 (intermediate level; NQF 6)

This foundational module is designed to introduce students to basic concepts in research methodology and quantitative statistics. Students will be able to select appropriate statistical techniques for various research situations, execute these techniques and interpret these results making appropriate inferences.

This module provides a theoretical and practical overview of Family Systems Theory and Family Counselling. Dynamics and dimensions of healthy and unhealthy family functioning, with special emphasis on the South African context will be explored. We will also explore various dysfunctional family situations and see how to practically provide support and assistance through family systems theory and family counselling, utilising systemic integration of family dynamics.

This module reviews several perspectives on community development and social transformation processes. The overall objective is to acquire an understanding of social transformation as it relates to community development and the ability to apply this understanding in working with diverse communities.

This module is designed to explore how people make meaning out of life's experiences. Consideration is also given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. Additionally, students explore meaningful ways in which to bring together the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation. This module also includes a compulsory tutorial for spiritual formation.

Students in this module will explore the complex role of media as it relates to both power structures and the entertainment industry. The media’s interaction with social, economic and political power will be discussed with a view to understanding the media’s responsibility and the mutual pressures exerted. The notion of media producers as watchdogs or moral guardians will be contrasted with entertainment media, as well as the balancing act of satire.

The purpose of this module is to lay the foundation for contemporary theoretical approaches to reconciliation and peace-making. While this module introduces students to the various models of peace-making at interpersonal levels, it is more specifically aimed at exploring reconciliation in social and political settings. The module is located in the concrete realities of South Africa, paying specific attention to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It will also explore themes such as forgiveness, restitution and human dignity.

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to a foundation for conflict management that will guide community leaders in responding to interpersonal conflict. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of conflict mediation, equipping them with specific communication skills to enhance their relationships (interpersonal and intrapersonal). Students explore personal attitudes and approaches to conflict. This module makes use of case studies to assist students to reflect on the strategies, tactics and approaches used during conflict situations and emphasises the link between foundational beliefs, communication, behaviour and conflict.

This module provides students with an introduction to the theories and principles of various current approaches to psychotherapy and brief therapy.

In this module students will gain a theoretical understanding of the dynamics of crisis intervention, crisis and trauma counselling. As a result of this module students should be able to understand counselling principles and have knowledge of practical skills in crisis intervention and trauma debriefing.

Sociological theory is applied to important institutions in society such as the family, media institutions, religion, education and political institutions

This module is designed to introduce the student to the study of the communication process in various contexts, including cross-cultural contexts. The dynamics of interpersonal, intercultural, group and mass communication are explored, with special focus on communication in teaching and learning. This includes the study of public speaking, audience analysis, listening, speaking, and conflict management. With the basic theoretical framework in place, students are equipped with the necessary skills for effective sermon preparation and delivery. Attention is given to increasing the student’s ability to express ideas clearly and competently, in both written and oral forms of communication, giving the student a comprehensive understanding of the theory and praxis of expository preaching. Students are also exposed to a variety of topical and evangelistic preaching models in order to increase their awareness of the importance of these homiletical methods in the preaching process.

The role of the media has been crucial in shaping global history over the past century, and the history of South Africa is no exception. This module will trace media influence through the apartheid era from propaganda to instrument of socio-political change, and how it continues to shape our political, social, and economic story as a nation. Practical constraints on media practitioners will also be examined in a particularly South African context, including media ethics, invasions of privacy, betrayal of sources, hate speech, obscenity, incitement, blasphemy, defamation, ‘political correctness’, and codes of conduct, as well as the intersection between government laws and rights to freedom of speech.

In this module students engage in the application of leadership theory as it relates to the three majors, namely Theology, Psychology and Community Development. Here students explore the practice of leadership in the context of the church, faith-based organisations and the public sector. Attention is given to issues such as the process of effectively utilising and developing human resources, sharing control and responsibility, teamwork, conflict management, strategic planning and managing diverse communication styles in the three areas of Theology, Psychology and Community Development.

  • (Sociology) Social Change and Transformation OR
  • (Theology) Christian Spirituality Foundation OR
  • (Media) Media, Power and Popular Culture.
  • (Sociology) Sociology of Institutions OR
  • (Theology) Human Identity and Christology OR
  • (Media) Media in South Africa

Study Year 3 of 3 (advanced level; NQF 7)

This module focuses on the most frequently encountered types of abnormal behaviour, with an overview of the symptoms, the diagnostic process, and the generally accepted treatment methods of various psychological disorders. The emphasis is on development of recognition and management/referral skills within the framework of counselling. 

This module aims to provide an overview of theories concerning the shaping of personality. It will examine the influences – both personal and environmental – that impact on personality development. The module will examine personality traits, and theories behind personality traits.

This module will provide an introduction to the field of community psychology. This module focuses on social issues that influence individuals, groups, and organisations. Community psychology as a science seeks to understand the relationships between psycho-social and environmental conditions.

The aim of this module is to equip students with a theoretical understanding of counselling and psychological interventions, directed towards an integrated, relevant and appropriate praxis within the South African context. Appropriate intervention strategies for issues such as HIV/AIDS, Crisis Pregnancy, Trauma and Substance Abuse are addressed.

This module is designed to introduce students to mainstream theories of counselling and psychology that inform the planning and management of therapeutic interventions. This module aims to enhance the student’s; academic understanding of what counselling is through careful reflection on the theory. 

This module aims to assist students gain practical community and psycho-educational experience within various community settings. It further exposes students to a range of mental health needs and issues in the community. Students will have an opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge with practical intervention skills. Subsequently, students will become adept in the referral process and broaden their knowledge of sources of help within communities.

This module will provide students with an overview of the basic concepts and processes in research methodology and statistics in the social sciences. The module aims to equip students with the theoretical understanding and knowledge of various social science research methodologies. The module additionally seeks to provide students with the knowledge and practical application of various statistical techniques.

This module aims to provide the student with a basic theoretical understanding of groups, group processes, group dynamics and the stages of in-group development. Theoretical application to group counselling will be examined and students will have a chance to reflect on this theoretical understanding.

This module provides students with an opportunity to engage in the research proposal writing process. Students are guided on their writing of a research proposal throughout the module with allocated supervision sessions. The student will need to demonstrate the mastery of compiling a research proposal guided by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) or Harvard style and writing and formatting.

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