Featured Course: Abnormal Psychology

PSYC 285


Throughout history, mental illness has been conceptualized in a wide variety of ways, often strange or humorous in retrospect – divine retribution, demonic possession, witchcraft, astrological influences, and imbalanced humors.  Patients were feared, shunned, banished and subjected to bizarre, often abusive treatments which nonetheless stemmed from accepted conceptualizations of the time – like exorcism, cold baths, centrifugal devices, and medical purges.

Most of these archaic treatments have been abandoned by now, as better theories and newer treatments have been informed by science and clinical developments in the field.  We understand psychopathology in very different ways: i.e. stemming from multifactorial interactions of nature, nurture, individual differences, and context.

PSYC 285 – Abnormal Psychology provides a fascinating overview of abnormal behavior, thinking, emotion, and personality in clinical and everyday contexts.  Develop your sensitivity to the complexities and controversies of conceptualizing deviance, while learning to distinguish between normal and abnormal.  The course presents history, theory, causes, diagnostic criteria, and scientific and therapeutic approaches to psychopathology.  Class discussion is vibrant, focusing on personal understanding, dispelling popular misconceptions, and real-life applications.  

PSYC 285 is a 4-week course offered during Winter Session 2018, with a required prerequisite of PSYC 100. Effective time-management, commitment to a collaborative learning process, and attendance are essential.  Students should bring to class a full measure of curiosity about complexities of the human condition, philosophical underpinnings of mental illness theory and treatments, and practical aspects of mental health education, prevention, and care.  

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