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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Learn more about Teenagers and how they develop.

This course is suitable for teachers, parents, carers, foster carers, social workers, teaching assistants and anyone working with teenagers.

The Teenage years are a time of massive changes.  How a teenager thinks and develops during the adolescent period is an interesting area to learn about.  This certificate level course helps you to understand more about teenagers and how they change.

There are three Core Modules (compulsory):-

  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Conditions in Children and Adolescents
  • Plus three Elective Modules which you select from a list of options.

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Study the psychology and behaviour of adolescents

  • Learn about how teenagers grow and develop during the adolescent period.

  • A course for anyone interested in the psychology of adolescents, such as teachers, parents, fosters carers, carers, teaching assistants, coaches and so on.

Course Duration: 600 hours of self paced study.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

The Certificate In Adolescent Studies requires successful completion of three Core Modules plus three Elective Modules.  Within each module are a number of lessons.  Each of these culminates in an assignment for submission to the school. The assignment is marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments and, where appropriate, extra reading.

The content of the Core and Elective Modules is summarised below.  Please follow the links in the Module titles to access further information on each.


Adolescent Psychology BPS211
This 10 lesson module looks at the theories of human development, taking in all aspects of an adolescents development - including physical, intellectual, emotional, social and moral development.  It considers issues that arise during adolescence such as sexuality, dealing with crises that arise and juvenile delinquency.

Child And Adolescent Mental Health BPS214
This 10 lesson module aims to provide students with the knowledge to identify mental health conditions in children and adolescents.  Students are guided through a wide range of conditions and disorders, including depression, anxiety, motor disorders, elimination disorders, reactive attachment disorder, the impact of environmental problems, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  As well as understanding types of treatment and support available, the module also considers alternative approaches to treatment, such as homeopathy, aromatherapy, behavioural optometry, and diet.  The module is completed with a special project in an area of interest to the student and which they will complete under the expert guidance of their tutor.

Developmental, Learning And Behavioural Conditions In Adolescents And Children BPS215
Through 9 lessons, learn about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of learning and behavioural conditions exhibited by children and adolescents.  The module looks at genetic, physical, and environmental causes of disorders, with lessons including developmental disorders, specific conditions such as Autism and Asperger’s Disorder, ADHD, learning disorders, and motor skills disorders.  A special project concludes the module, where the student selects a particular area of interest and researches and explains the signs, symptoms, treatment and support for a particular condition or disorder.

Students are to select three Modules from the following:

Developmental Psychology BPS210
This 10 lesson module looks at the psychological development of individuals throughout their lives.  Different stages in an individual’s life bring about different influences and different challenges.  This module seeks to help the student to better understand how people develop, through all ages of life with lessons on each of the key life stages: Early childhood, Middle childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, Late Adulthood.  Students will look at cognitive, social, and moral development as relevant through each of these stages before then considering the potential challenges faced through each stage of a person’s life.  Having a heightened awareness of developmental psychology is a big advantage when dealing with people in any capacity. It helps you understand work colleagues, clients, friends and family members and is a very valuable tool for teachers, managers, counsellors and welfare workers amongst many other professions.

Child Psychology BPS104
This 12 lesson module is concerned with the developmental stages of children from newborn and infants through school age years.  The module considers all of the significant areas such as senses, emotions, socialism, cognitive development, learning, and language.  Notable psychological research and theories are explored within the module providing students with a balanced approach to ideas and concepts.  The module also includes sections which look at influences both within the family structure and externally, such as influences from school and peers.

Life Coaching BPS305
This 10 lesson module will enable the student to determine what life coaching is and what distinguishes it from other professions such as psychotherapists, counsellors and so on.  Students will understand the balance and relationship of elements required for a well-balanced life and the relationships between these.  The module highlights key coaching processes and the skills that a life coach needs to develop in order to effectively communicate with their client.  It covers such key areas as psychology, physiology, stress, and nutrition, with the concluding lesson of the module looking at the review procedure and determining whether or not and how a programme may be reassessed.

Counselling Skills I BPS109
There are a number of different aspects which a counsellor needs to consider – they need to know what sort of questions to ask, they need to listen to the responses, but they also need to form some bond with those who they are counselling.  This 8 lesson module looks at different types of counselling, considering the different theories and approaches that a counsellor may consider.  The module considers how the counsellor may bond with their client, how the client should be made to feel at ease and the combination of elements which will contribute to this.  Students will consider how to approach questioning – the types of question to ask and those that should be avoided, and whether they wish to develop discussion with open questions or use closed questions to determine a direction.  With lessons that include interview techniques, therapies and how to conclude a counselling session, and case studies to provide context and practical examples, this is a useful module which will benefit people in many areas ranging from parenting, to the work place, to teaching, to volunteer work, and training.

Educational Psychology BPS105
By understanding how people learn, you can become more effective in your approach to helping them to learn.  This 7 lesson module looks at the theories of development and learning.  Students will consider how people learn, how information is processed and how it is retained.  As student’s progress through the module, they will look at how to determine the needs of individuals, which coupled with their studies on how people learn will provide them with the necessary tools to be able to effectively tailor their methods for the benefit of the individual.  The right approach of course is important, and the module is concluded with a lesson on motivation which looks at different motivational theories and factors which may affect an individual’s motivation.

Theories of Moral Development
There are a number of important theories of moral development. Two of the important theories are Piaget's and Erikson's.

Erikson’s Psycho-Social Stages
Erik Erikson was born in Germany in 1902. He is a post-Freudian or Freudian ego-psychologist. This means that he accepts Freud’s ideas as basically correct and other ideas on the ego added by other Freudians e.g. Anna Freud and Heinz Hartmann.  However, Erikson is more culture and society oriented than most Freudians.  He based his theory on the recognition that we are social beings, so our psychological attributes cannot be treated as isolated phenomena.  Erikson is most famous for refining and expanding Freud’s theory of stages.  He argued that development functioned by the epigenetic principle.  This principle is that we developed through a predetermined unfolding of our personalities in eight stages.  We progress from each stage depending on our success or lack of it in previous stages.  We develop at a certain time in a certain order which is determined through genetics. If we interfere with this natural order of development, we will ruin our development.  Imagine our development as a flower – genetically, the flower will develop at a certain time in a certain order. But imagine that we try to make the flower grow a petal before it is ready, the flower may be ruined. The same can be said of our personalities and development.  Try and make a baby walk before they are ready and we could cause physical harm.

In his view, therefore, each stage of a person’s psychological development involves an aspect of relating to others, and the way in which we cope with each theme has a profound effect on our general social being for the rest of our lives. Unlike Piaget’s and Freud’s stages, Erikson’s eight stages extend from the cradle to the grave. For each of Erikson’s stages, there is a dominant social theme or psycho-social crisis which the individual is challenged to resolve, before continuing a healthy pattern of development.

Each stage involves developmental tasks that are psychosocial in nature.  Erikson calls these tasks crises.  For example, a child at senior school has to learn to be industrious and this industriousness is learned through the social interactions of the family and school.   The tasks are usually referred to by two terms. For example, infants have a task called “trust-mistrust”. They must learn trust and not trust.  This is a balance we must learn.

At each stage there is an optimal time.  It is useless to try to rush children towards adulthood, which can happen.  Also, it is not advisable to slow down their progress to protect them from the demands of life. There is a time when each task is optimal.  If a stage is well managed, we will carry away from that stage a virtue or social strength.  If we do not do so well, we may develop malignancies or maladaptations, which can endanger our future development.  A malignancy is the worst of the two and involves too little positive and more of the negative of the task, for example, a person who can’t trust others.  A maladaptation involves too much positive and too little negative, for example a person who trusts too much.

Freud argued that a child’s parents influence his/her development dramatically.  Erikson also felt that there was an interaction between generations, which he called mutuality.   Erikson argued that children can influence their parents’ development as well.  When children arrive, this will change a couple/person’s life quite considerable and moves the parent(s) along their developmental path.  Also, we may be influenced by grandparents and great-grandparents and they can be influenced by new additions to the family also.

You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

The Certificate requires around 600 hours of study. This is made up of six 100 hour modules.

To pass the course –

1.    Pass all assignments on the six 100 hour modules. There will be an assignment at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.
2.    Pass six examinations – one on each module. These are usually taken at the end of the module and can be arranged at a time and location to suit you.

If you are not ready to study the full Certificate In Adolescent Studies then you can study each of the Modules as a standalone course.  Course fees are provided on the pages for each of the courses.


  • You can start the course at any time and study at your own pace.
  • Fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - we provide full tutor support for all the time you are studying.
  • Study where you want to - online studies offer the flexibility for you to determine where and when you study.


  • This detailed and essential course will be of benefit to a wide range of people who want to learn about the development of children and adolescents - how they think and what difficulties they have to contend with through their development.
  • Understand theories of psychology and mental health in adolescents - learn how to approach issues and offer resolutions.
  • A course that will benefit parents, teachers, carers, foster parents and more.
  • Choose from elective modules which allow you to tailor and increase the revelence of the course to you in areas including counselling or education.



Do you have any questions?

Our psychology tutors are more than happy to help with any questions about the Adolescent Psychology course.

Click here to contact a psychology tutor.





Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Towergate Insurance welcomes Professional Liability insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines. Click here for more details.

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Lyn Quirk M.Ed.,Dip.Med.,Dip.SportsOver 35 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Kate Gibson B.Soc.Sc.15+ years experience in HR, marketing, education & project management. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia.

Check out our eBooks

Working With PeopleAre you a "people person" looking for a job; or a better understanding of careers that might suit you? If so, this book was written for YOU!
Family & Relationships CounsellingThe Family and Relationships Counselling ebook is an informative and helpful read for anyone who wants to improve their relationships or even help other people improve or nurture their own relationships.
Coping Better with Negative EmotionsThis book is designed to help you understand the things that cause stress, the problems that can arise, and the broad range of ways people might manage their stress.
The Psychology of HealthThe Psychology and Health ebook is a delightfully interesting read that helps you understand the link between physical and psychological health. This ebook is ideal for anyone who has a personal interest in the area, as well as psychology and health students.