Personality Disorders: A Class of Their Own

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Counseling and Mental Health

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (1) The students apply mathematics, science, English language arts and social studies in health science. The student is expected to:
      • (C) identify societal perspectives related to mental health;
      • (H) differentiate maladaptive conditions such as paranoia, schizophrenia and aggression.
    • (3) The student researches career options and the preparation necessary for employment in mental health. The student is expected to:
      • (E) interpret, transcribe, and communicate mental health vocabulary
      • (F) investigate treatment options
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • evaluate how society perceives people with personality disorders
    • distinguish the differences between various personality disorders
    • outline causes, symptoms, signs, treatment, and complications from personality disorders
    • illustrate multimedia presentations of information
  • Rationale


    Society places a great deal of emphasis on how people act and behave. Are people born with personality disorders or are they manifested as we get older? Does the stress of school, jobs and responsibilities contribute to the development of personality disorders? The information covered in this lesson is beneficial for all counseling and mental health professionals.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Six 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    Antisocial personality disorder: a disregard for and violation of rights of others

    Avoidant personality disorder: demonstrates pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative situations

    Borderline personality disorder: demonstrates unpredictability of self-image, in relationships, and emotions

    Dependent personality disorder: excessive need to be taken care of that leads
    to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation

    Histrionic personality disorder: excessive emotions and attention seeking

    Maladaptive: not providing adequate or appropriate adjustment to the environment or situation

    Narcissistic personality disorder: attitude that the world exists to meet his/her needs

    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: preoccupation with orderliness and perfectionism

    Paranoid personality disorder: pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others

    Personality disorder: is an enduring pattern of maladaptive behavior and should not be confused with a personality type

    Personality type: an individual quality or trait that makes one person different from another, but does not constitute “abnormal” or dysfunctional behavior and never reaches the threshold for a personality disorder

    Schizoid personality disorder: pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expressions of emotions (cool, aloof, doesn’t react)

    Schizotypal personality disorder: demonstrates many symptoms related to those of schizophrenia but of a less severe nature

    Note: Many other terms on the slide presentation can be identified. Encourage students to include these definitions in the assignment.

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for multimedia presentations
    • computer lab with internet access for research


    • flashcards
    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
  • Anticipatory Set

    Before class begins:

    Note: Be familiar with multimedia presentations such as Prezi™ and Glogster EDU. You may need to register and allow students to use student accounts.

    Print the handout Flashcards of Famous People with Mental Illnesses (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Cut along lines to separate.

    As students enter the classroom, hand them a flashcard with a celebrity’s name on it. Pair students and have them discuss the type of personality traits the individual may possesses. Is it possible that he/she had a personality disorder? Why or why not?

    After students share their thoughts, read each celebrity description located on Famous People with Mental Illnesses (see All Lesson Attachments tab), one at a time. See if students can identify the person you are describing, discuss their reasoning.

    View videos of some of the famous people with mental illnesses on the Online Degree Blog:

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Introduce lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Introduce PowerPoint™ Personality Disorders – A Class of Their Own (see All Lessons Attachment tab).
    Distribute graphic organizer, Personality Disorders Student Notes, (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Students should fill in the blanks as you review slide presentation. Allow for questions and discussion.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • checking for understanding
    • providing assistance with note-taking

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Divide class into subgroups of 3 or 4 students.
    Scenario: A million dollar grant for research on a specific personality disorder will be awarded to a counseling and mental health professional team. Distribute handout Personality Disorders Research Assignment. Explain to students that this project will require their team to thoroughly investigate a personality disorder of their choice. They must outline its causes, symptoms, signs, treatment and complications. The team may select to present the information in a PowerPoint™, Prezi™, Glogster™EDU, written report, or a visual display.

    Allow teams a few minutes to select the topic and format of their research project presentation.

    Distribute appropriate rubric to each team. Thoroughly review all rubric components for each presentation so that students understand how their assignment will be assessed.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • extra time for assignments
    • provide positive feedback

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Guide students in the use of the Prezi™ or Glogster™EDU if they are not familiar with the electronic presentations.
    Research project presentations not completed within three days should be assigned for homework.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • extended “wait time”
    • providing praise and encouragement

  • Lesson Closure

    Review terms, definitions, and lesson objectives.

    Personality disorders research project presentations will be made to the class by each team.

    At the end of the presentations, students will vote to determine which team would be awarded the million dollar grant. Provide an incentive to the winning team such as bonus points and/or teacher made certificates.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Student Personality Disorders Research /projects PowerPoint™, Prezi™, Glogster™EDU, written assignment, or visual display, provided during Guided Practice will be assessed with appropriate rubric.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • grading according to work done
    • shortened, simplified instructions

  • References/Resources


    • 15 Famous People With Personality Disorders
      Famous people no better or worse than anyone else, and no less susceptible to things like personality disorders or emotional or mental instability. Unfortunately, problems like that tend to be pretty heavily stigmatized in Hollywood, which drives those who suffer from them to ignore or hide their problems, which only makes them worse. If there’s anything to be gleaned from the collective stories of these famous people who’ve suffered from personality disorders — some of whom are famous because of those disorders — it’s that it’s never too late to get help, and it’s always OK to be honest with people about what you’re going through.


  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • Four Corner Word Wall/Vocabulary Activity (see all Lesson Attachments tab)
    • word wall
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Recommended Strategies

    Reading Strategies

    Print various articles from the American Psychological Association (APA) on personality disorders. Distribute the articles to students. Have them use the reading strategy “prediction” prior to reading the article. Students will then read and summarize their findings.

    The mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

  • Quotes

    Human beings, like plants, grow in the soil of acceptance, not in the atmosphere of rejection.
    -John Powell

    It’s easy to cry when you realize that everyone you love will reject you or die.
    -Chuck Palahniuk

    A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
    -Walter Winchell

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Personality Disorders: A Class of Their Own
    • Presentation Notes – Personality Disorders: A Class of Their Own

    Online databases:

    • Encyclopedia Britannica
    • World Book Encyclopedia
    • Merck Manual of Medical Information
    • Medline Plus
    • U.S. National Library of Medicine



    Time to talk – a parent’s perspective on children’s mental illness: Liza Long at TEDxSanAntonio 2013
    On December 14, 2012, the day Adam Lanza killed his mother, then walked into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and shot 20 first graders and 6 brave educators, I shared my struggles as a parent of a child with mental illness on my anonymous blog, the Anarchist Soccer Mom.

    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizer:

    • Four Corner Word Wall/Vocabulary Activity
    • Personality Disorders Student Notes


    • Famous People with Mental Illnesses
    • Flashcards of Famous People with Mental Illnesses
    • Personality Disorders Research Assignment
    • Rubric for Electronic Display – Glogster™EDU Poster
    • Rubric for Multimedia Presentation – Prezi™
    • Rubric for PowerPoint™ Presentation
    • Rubric for Written Report
    • Rubric for Visual Display

    Files for downloading:

  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • A personality disorder is…
    • People with personality disorders are…
    • People treat other people with personality disorders like…

    Writing Strategy:

    RAFT letter: Write to a Psychologist asking for information about his/her career.

    • Role: Student
    • Audience: Psychologist
    • Format: Letter
    • Topic: Career information
  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    • Select a famous person with a mental illness. Describe their disorder and how it affected their life.
    • What is a personality disorder?
  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    Students can create a phone list of agencies and organizations that deal with personality disorders. Copies of the list may be placed in the health center, counseling office or distributed to the local community.

    TED Talk:
    TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer). The video below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the video and lead a discussion concerning the TED Talk.

    Time to talk – a parent’s perspective on children’s mental illness: Liza Long at TEDxSanAntonio 2013
    On December 14, 2012, the day Adam Lanza killed his mother, then walked into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and shot 20 first graders and 6 brave educators, I shared my struggles as a parent of a child with mental illness on my anonymous blog, the Anarchist Soccer Mom.

  • Family/Community Connection

    Guest Speaker – invite the school psychologist (or local doctor) to speak to the class about personality disorders.

  • CTSO connection

    Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

    STAR Events:

    • Applied Technology – An individual or team event: Recognizes participants who develop a project using technology that addresses a concern related to Family and Consumer Sciences and/or related occupations. The project integrates and applies content from academic subjects.
    • Chapter Service Project (Display and Manual): A team event – recognizes chapters that develop and implement an in-depth service project that makes a worthwhile contribution to families, schools, and communities. Students must use Family and Consumer Sciences content and skills to address and take action on a community need.
    • Families First- Students display research posters, mobiles, tri-fold boards on personality disorders at a school open house or community fair.
  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to lesson. For additional information on service learning see:

    Refer to Enrichment Activity tab for an example.