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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Start Your Journey into the fascinating study of the human mind with this course from ACS.

  • Learn more about the study of human and animal behaviour.
  • Understand what motivates people to do the things they do.
  • A great course to take simply for interest or to improve your knowledge of psychology for your job or career.
  • Study online and start at any time.

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Learn more about the fascinating field of psychology.

Study the basics of human psychology.

  • With this course you have a foundation for further study or for applying a better understanding of human behaviour at work, or in your day to day life.
  • Options to build on this course for certificates or diplomas in psychology, counselling, management, etc.
  • The course is written by highly qualified psychologists with years of industry experience - they are available to you with personal guidance throughout the course.
  • Duration: 100 hours of self paced study.
  • Start Date: Our courses can be started at any time to suit you.



This course is suitable for -

  • Volunteers
  • Volunteer counsellors
  • Trainee counsellors
  • Anyone wishing to start counselling
  • Police officers
  • Law enforcement
  • Teachers
  • Social workers
  • Parents
  • Foster carers
  • Carers
  • Support workers
  • Welfare workers
  • Counsellors wishing to update their knowledge
  • Retail staff
  • Hairdressers
  • In fact, anyone who works with people would benefit from more knowledge of the human mind.



The course comprises 7 lessons, as follows:

Lesson 1. The Nature and Scope of Psychology

  • Different approaches to psychology.
  • It's all common sense isn't it?
  • Key issues in psychology.
  • Free will and determinism.
  • Applying psychology.
  • Developing questionnaires.

Lesson 2. Neurological Basis of Behaviour

  • Structures of the nervous system.
  • Central nervous system.
  • Peripheral nervous system.
  • How nerves transmit messages.
  • The brain and method.
  • Methods of investigating the brain.
  • Brain damage.
  • The strange case of Phineas Gage.
  • Split brain operations.
  • Localisation of function.

Lesson 3. Environmental Effects on Behaviour

  • Learning and behaviour.
  • Modelling.
  • Conditioning.
  • Extinction.
  • Punishment.
  • Learning and memory.
  • Memory improvement strategies.

Lesson 4. Consciousness and Perception

  • Status of consciousness in psychology.
  • Nature of consciousness.
  • Relationship between consciousness and perception.
  • Unconscious and subconscious.
  • Altered state of consciousness.
  • Day dreams.
  • Sleeping and dreaming.
  • Chemically altered perception.
  • Perception.
  • Selective attention.
  • Factors affecting perception.
  • Perceptual biases.

Lesson 5. Personality

  • Theories of personality.
  • Personality traits.
  • Theoretical approaches to human personality.
  • Id, ego and superego.
  • Oedipus Complex.
  • Electra Complex.
  • Psychological defence mechanisms.
  • Genes and personality.
  • Personality disorders.
  • Multi-trait theories.

Lesson 6. Psychological Development

  • Nature vs nurture.
  • Environment and development.
  • Stages of development.
  • Moral development.
  • Psychosexual development.
  • Psychosocial development.
  • Adolescence.
  • Adult psychological development.
  • Criticisms of stage theories.

Lesson 7. Needs, Drives and Motivation

  • Motivation.
  • Behaviourist theories of human motivation.
  • Drives.
  • Maslow's theory of human motivation.
  • Complementary and conflicting motives.



This course aims to teach the student how to:

  • Explain the nature and scope of psychology.
  • Explain characteristics of the neurological basis of behaviour.
  • Explain environmental effects on behaviour.
  • Explain the differences between consciousness and perception.
  • Explain the effect of personality on behaviour.
  • Explain psychological development.
  • Apply different techniques to motivate people.



Students may carry out the following tasks in this course:

  • Define different psychological terms such as ambivalence, apathy, behaviour, catalyst, cognition, empirical, fixation, homeostasis, obsession, perception, performance, psychosomatic, socialisation, stereotype, temperament, trait.
  • Explain how a knowledge of psychology can be applied in different types of jobs.
  • Explain risks involved in applying psychology in two different specified situations.
  • Differentiate between developmental and interactive explanations of behaviour, in a case study.
  • Describe how the nervous system functions to transmit messages throughout the body.
  • Explain how the dysfunctioning of different parts of the nervous system, can influence behaviour.
  • Compare the function of the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
  • Explain two examples of conditioning, which you observe.
  • Explain an example of behaviour affected by modelling, observed by yourself.
  • Compare the likely affects of positive and negative reinforcement in a case study.
  • Distinguish between consciousness and perception, in the attitude of an observed individual.
  • Explain selective attention, in a case study.
  • Explain in summaries, different states of consciousness including daydreams, sleeping and dreaming, meditation.
  • Explain the relationship between consciousness and behaviour in a case study.
  • Explain three different theories of personality.
  • Distinguish between the "id" and "superego" in a person you are familiar with.
  • Compare the application of humanistic approaches with the social learning approach with the psychoanalytic approach, in educating children.
  • Explain through examples, different defence mechanisms, including repression, displacement, rationalisation, projection, denial, evaluation, sublimation, reaction/formation, intellectualisation
  • Explain the factors which may have influenced the psychological development of a teenager who you know.
  • Compare cognitive development with physical development, in a case study.
  • Explain through a summary, the four main stages of development including sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, formal operational.
  • Explain moral development in two different case studies.
  • Explain psychosexual stages of development in a case study.
  • Explain psychosocial stages of development in a case study.
  • Distinguish between needs, drives and instincts in a specific workplace.
  • Explain the cyclical nature of primary drives, in a case study.
  • List examples of secondary drives.
  • Explain how to motivate a worker in a specified situation using the psychoanalytical approach.
  • Summarise Maslow's theory of human motivation.
  • Demonstrate the application of three different motivation techniques, in three different specified situations, through role playing.



As you study psychology, you will begin to understand that there are both similarities and differences to be found in every individual; and a great deal of complexity is to be found in the study of psychology. In some respects, we all aspire to be "normal", sharing common ground with every one else, because that gives us a sense of belonging. At the same time though, we all want to be unique, because that makes us feel important and gives us a sense of value.

There is no such thing as “normal.”  We all have different ideas regarding relationships. In some cultures, the nuclear family (two parents, two children) is often held up as the norm, whilst in other countries the extended family is more regular. But very few people will actually have the “normal” family.  

When we look at normality in terms of mental health, one of the ideas of what is normal is that it is statistically frequent. If we look at families and statistical frequency, we see differences within families. For example, these are statistics from research in 2013 by the Office for National Statistics in the UK. They found that in 2013 -

There were 18.2 million families in the UK 

  • 12.3 million of those were a married couple with/without children
  • 2.9 million families were opposite sex cohabiting couples
  • 1.9 million children lived with opposite sex cohabiting couples
  • 1.9 million lone parents had dependent children
  • 26.4 million households in the UK
  • 29% of these had only one person
  • 20% had four or more people

The fastest growing type of household was that with two or more families. But this only represented 1% of all households.

Relationships in our families are not the only types of relationships we have though. We may have lots of friends, work colleagues or partners and social media friends, so what is “normal” within those relationships?  Again, there is no normal. People may have a number of sexual partners and never settle down with one person. They may met a person, settle down with them and stay with them. They may be married several times. We may change our friendship groups many times with our lives. The friendships and relationships we have with different people will vary over time and the type of relationship we have with people will vary.


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.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.
  • Depending upon your course, your studies may involve independent research, interviews, practical exercises, assessments, Problem Based Learning projects, and more.



" The online courses are very easy to use and follow. Prompt friendly replies from my tutor to any queries. Course structure flows freely. Very satisfied with course and results."
Diana - Introduction to Psychology, and Psychology And Counselling


Are you considering a career in psychology, as a social worker, as a carer or a counsellor?  Then start here!

  • This course lays the foundation for life long learning about human psychology and behaviour.
  • You will better observe and interpret the people you encounter.
  • You will gain a heightened and growing understanding of human behaviour.



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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.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyExplore how animals think and comare how this differs between different animals (and humans)
Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
Psychology DictionaryThis book provides explanations for common terms used in Psychology.
How Children ThinkAnyone who has ever tried to make a child do anything (clean up their mess, desist from throwing mud, stop drawing on the walls) knows that children think differently to adults. This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater understanding of children.