Students are introduced to basic issues in the study of abnormal psychology and to a selection of psychological disorders. Topics include the history of psychopathology, paradigms, classification, assessment, research methods, theories of etiology, and approaches to treatment.
- Historical and Scientific Considerations
- The nature of abnormality.
- The mental health professions.
- History of psychopathology.
- Current Paradigms in Psychopathology and Treatment
- Biological paradigm.
- Psychodynamic paradigm.
- Learning paradigm.
- Cognitive paradigm.
- Humanistic/Existential paradigms.
- Consequences of adopting a paradigm.
- Classification and Diagnosis
- Diagnostic system of the American Psychiatric Association.
- Issues in classification.
- Criticisms of diagnosis.
- Clinical Assessment Procedures
- Reliability and validity.
- Biological assessment.
- Psychological assessment.
- Cultural diversity and assessment.
- Research Methods in the Study of Abnormal Psychology
- Science and scientific methods.
- Research methods of abnormal psychology.
- Diagnostic features, epidemiology, theories of aetiology, evidence-based treatments for:
- Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive and Trauma-related Disorders
- Somatic Symptom and related Disorders
- Dissociative Disorders
- Mood Disorders and Suicide
- Personality Disorders
- Substance-related and addictive disorders
- Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
- Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence
- Disorders associated with Aging
- Psychological Disorder Prevention strategies and promotion of mental health
- Legal and Ethical Issues
- Civil commitment.
- Criminal responsibility.
- Ethical issues.
Methods Of Instruction
This course will employ a number of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives which will include some of the following:
- Seminar presentations.
- Audio-visual materials.
- Small group discussion.
- Research papers.
- Volunteer projects.
Means of Assessment
Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. Evaluation will be based on the course objectives. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on some of the following:
- Multiple-choice tests.
- Written-answer tests.
- Final exam.
- Oral presentation.
- Research project/term paper.
- Volunteer project.
An example of an evaluation scheme:
4 tests -- 40%
Mid-term exam -- 15%
Term paper -- 15%
Oral presentation -- 10%
Final exam -- 20%
Total -- 100%
- Define psychological disorder (abnormality).
- Describe the perceived causes and treatments of psychological disorder prior to the twentieth century.
- Describe the biological, psychodynamic, behavioural, cognitive,humanistic/existential and diathesis-stress paradigms of psychopathology.
- Describe the therapies associated with each paradigm.
- Evaluate each paradigm with regard to its strengths and weaknesses.
- Describe the current DSM system of classifying psychological disorders, the reason for using a classification system, and the validity and reliability of this system.
- Describe clinical assessment techniques including unstructured and structured interviews, psychological inventories, projective tests, intelligence tests, neuropsychological assessments, psychophysiological assessments, behavioural assessments, and brain imaging techniques.
- Describe research evidence for each assessment technique in terms of its reliability and validity.
- Describe the case study, correlation, and experimental methods of scientific investigation.
- Describe and evaluate each method of investigation with regard to its strengths and weaknesses.
- Describe the epidemiology, symptoms and associated features of: Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Gender Dysphoria, Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, Paraphilic Disorders, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders, Sexual Dysfunctions, Somatic-Symptom and Related Disorders, and Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.
- Describe and evaluate the theories of etiology for each disorder.
- Describe and evaluate the psychological and biological therapies for each disorder.
- Describe strategies for prevention of psychological disorder and promotion of mental health.
- Describe and discuss issues relating to civil commitment and criminal responsibility.
- Describe and discuss ethical dilemmas in therapy and research.
- Describe and think critically about the impact of culture and diversity issues and variables on mental health functioning.
Textbook(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:
Dozois, David J.A. (2019) Abnormal Psychology: Perspectives (6th edition). Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada