Overview of Course
Have you ever wondered, ‘what is wrong with this person’? Or even, sometimes, with yourself? Have you ever suffered paralyzing anxiety in front of unexpected circumstances, or felt blue for no reason? Have you ever speculated what’s the difference between what is considered normal and what is not? And who gets to decide?
These questions point to a basic interest in abnormal psychology. This is the area of psychology that studies different psychological disorders. This includes, but is not limited to, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, addictions, trauma-related problems, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, somatic symptom disorders, dissociative disorders, developmental disorders, and cultural syndromes.
This class will talk about mental health issues, including how culture and social institutions affect how people view and treat human suffering. We will explore how mental health diagnoses are associated with social identities related to gender, race/ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation, and how mental health problems are related to discrimination, violence, and social injustice. Students will be encouraged to consider the role of stigma in mental illness. We will also explore current diagnostic systems and seek to understand how mental disorders are addressed around the world.