Special Topics in Clinical/Counselling Psychology

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
PSYC 3903
Special Topics in Clinical/Counselling Psychology
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Weekly Distribution:

  • Lecture/Seminar: 4 hrs. per week / semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Small group discussion
  • Problem-based learning
Course Description
This course examines a controversial topics or emerging questions in the field of clinical/counselling psychology. Readings and topical content will include theory, research, critical debate, and applications relevant to the specific topic.
Course Content

The general framework of an upper-level special topics course in psychology can be represented as below:

  1. Historical Context
  2. Theories
  3. Mechanisms and Processes
  4. Critical Analysis and Remaining Questions

A specific example of topics for a course on Self-management in Health Care as it relates to Mental Health Recovery:

  1. Self-management in theory and practice
  2. Application to chronic clinical domains such as diabetes, cancer, pain, mental health, substance use
  3. Technology, goal setting and self-management
  4. Failures and best practices

A specific example of topics for a course on Controversies in Clinical and Counselling Psychology:

  1. Evidence-based versus eminence-based approaches to clinical/counselling psychology
  2. Clinical/counselling psychologists and Medicare coverage
  3. Clinical/counselling psychologists and prescription privileges
  4. Psychologists, the CIA, and “enhanced interrogations”
  5. Ethics and the Goldwater Rule
  6. Accreditation of clinical programs, internships, and CE programs: Has APA lost its credibility?
  7. For-profit professional schools versus university training programs
  8. Problems with DSM
  9. DSM and Big Pharma
  10. Alternatives to DSM
  11. What is wrong with the Rorschach?
  12. Meta-analysis in outcome research - A promise unfulfilled?
  13. Pseudoscience in clinical psychology
  14. Mindless neuroscience
  15. Transdiagnostic assessment and treatment of emotional disorders
  16. The biomedical model in clinical psychology
  17. The role for cannabis and psychedelic drugs in the treatment of anxiety and depression
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe relevant theoretical influences on current scholarship relating to select areas of controversy or innovation in clinical/counselling psychology.
  2. Define and apply key terms and concepts relating to the specific topic of the course.
  3. Analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate scholarly research relating to the specific topic of the course.
Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department policies. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

  • Small group assignments 10%
  • Term project paper 20%
  • Term project presentation 10%
  • Midterm exams 40%
  • Final exam 20%
Textbook Materials

Example text (for topic Self-management in Health Care as it relates to Mental Health Recovery):

Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications. Guilford Publications.

Whitehead, L., & Seaton, P. (2016). The effectiveness of self-management mobile phone and tablet apps in long-term condition management: a systematic review. Journal of medical Internet research18(5).

Dwarswaard, J., Bakker, E. J., van Staa, A., & Boeije, H. R. (2016). Self-management support from the perspective of patients with a chronic condition: a thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Health Expectations19(2), 194-208.

Additional readings may also be curated by the instructor and students.


Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses

Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses