Abnormal Psychology [CRN 16127]

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Davis
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1410
End: 1530
Field Work: Day 1 | March 11, 2020 | Mauritius
Prerequisites: One (1) general psychology course Download Syllabus

Have you ever suspected that your friend has an eating disorder, wondered if that homeless person on the street is schizophrenic, or speculated that your aunt has OCD? Have you considered why a behavior that is normal in one culture might be considered a disorder in another culture? If so, you have thought about abnormal psychology.

Abnormal psychology examines the nature, causes, and treatment of different psychological disorders. This includes, but is not limited to: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, trauma-related problems, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, somatic symptom disorders, dissociative disorders, developmental disorders, and cultural syndromes.

This class will discuss mental health issues, including how culture and social institutions influence the definition and treatment of human distress. We will consider how mental health diagnoses are associated with social identities related to gender, race/ethnicity, social class and status, 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 take a critical look at the current diagnostic systems for conceptualizing problems around the world.

Field Work

Country: Mauritius
Day: 1
Date: March 11, 2020

Mindfulness and meditation is an effective approach to mental health treatment for anxiety and various other disorders. It is based on the principles of Buddhism, and these principles can be applied to developing and maintaining mental health. This field class will give insight into and the practice and experience of psychological practices in Mauritius. In this field class we may visit local centers for mindfulness/meditation, and/or meet with faculty and students and Mauritius University to learn about the cultural treatment of anxiety and depression. First, we will take a meditation class, in which we will have the opportunity to engage in guided meditation and also learn about mindfulness as a psychological practice. We will hopefully have an opportunity to talk to psychologists and experts in Mauritius about how people attain life satisfaction and daily contentment — from a spiritual and holistic perspective. Finally, there will be an opportunity at the end of the visit for student discussion and reflection, and the invitation to practice individual meditation and mindfulness.

Learning Objectives:
1. Learn the basic principles of mindfulness and meditation
2. Gain direct experience with psychological practices in Mauritius
3. Understand how these principles and practices can be applied to mental health and treatment of mental disorders