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COURSE NUMBER: PSYC 395
COURSE TITLE: Abnormal Psychology
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Danielle Brosseau
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A survey of the various psychological disorders, their clinical description, developmental background and treatment approaches. Included are the anxiety and mood disorders, psychosomatic, dissociative, eating and sleep disorders, sexual, substance use and personality disorders, schizophrenia developmental and cognitive disorders. Mental health policy and social issues will also be discussed.

Prerequisites: PSYC 250 or 251; PSYC 390 recommended

Abnormal behaviour is naturally intriguing and is commonly portrayed in film, media and literature. Unfortunately, some of these portrayals are riddled with misconceptions and stigma about mental illnesses and the people that suffer from them. This course will improve your ability to critically evaluate these misconceptions and stigma through our study of foundational theory and current empiricism related to abnormal psychology. A major emphasis of this course is the study of the etiology, diagnostic criteria and treatment for many of the most common psychological disorders described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Namely, mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, substance-related disorders, sexual dysfunctions and personality disorders.
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Barlow, D. H., Durand, V. M., Hofmann, S. G., & Lalumière, M. L. (2018). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach (5th CDN ed). Toronto, ON, Canada: Nelson.
  • Karp, D. A., & Sisson, G. E. (2010). Voices from the inside: Readings on the experiences of mental illness. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Selected articles will be posted to Moodle and specified in your course outline.
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
In-class activities5%
Debate (group)20%
Midterm exams20%
Illness experience paper25%
Final Exam30%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:By the end of the course you will be able to:
  • Describe several major theoretical approaches to explaining abnormal behaviour
  • Summarize the diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for the psychological disorders covered in this course
  • Cite several examples of how biological, psychological, and social factors can interact to influence the etiology, expression and course of a psychological disorder
  • Discuss some of the primary weaknesses of our current diagnostic classification system for describing abnormal behaviour
  • Discuss the role(s) of spiritual and cultural context when evaluating abnormal behaviour
  • Describe several evidence-based treatment approaches for the most prevalent psychological disorders
  • Reflect on the experience of a psychological disorder from the perspective of the individual diagnosed
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Introduction to course
  • Historical context
  • Etiology of psychopathology
  • Assessment & Diagnosis
  • Stigma
  • Research methods
  • Anxiety disorders, Trauma-related disorders & OCD
  • Mood disorders
  • Suicidality
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep-wake disorders
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Schizophrenia spectrum & other psychotic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • The experience of mental illness
  • Legal & Ethical issues
  • Review & Debrief


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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