Abnormal Psychology [CRN 77139]

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Gingerich
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1210
End: 1330
Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 22 November | Peru
Prerequisites: One (1) general psychology course Download Syllabus

The Abnormal Psychology course examines definitions of mental health and mental illness within cultural contexts.  This course provides an overview and critique of historical and contemporary diagnostic systems, emphasizing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).  Students will learn about how mental health professionals assess, diagnose, and treat psychological and behavioral disorders, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychosis, and many others.  We will examine research on biological, psychological, cultural, and social factors that relate to “abnormality.”  We will also explore the ways in which age, gender, socioeconomic status, personality, and intelligence relate to risk and resilience and to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment process.  Research will be presented on the prevalence and consequences of mental illness in many areas of the world by examining global data from the World Health Organization and other sources.

Field Work

Country: Peru
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 22 November

Before the field class, students will learn about a range of psychological diagnoses and the importance of cultural definitions of “abnormality” in the process of diagnosis and treatment.  In this Field Class, students will visit the Hermilio Valdizan Psychiatric Hospital where they will have the opportunity to interact with mental health professionals.  Through these interactions, students will learn about mental health treatment and substance dependence rehabilitation in a Peruvian psychiatric facility, including the day-to-day work of mental health service providers, types of treatments provided, challenges in diagnosis and treatment, the role of social, cultural, and economic factors, and the importance of advocacy on behalf of people with mental illnesses.  If possible and appropriate, students may have the opportunity to interact with patients and/or family members.  Learning objectives:

  1. Learn about the work of mental health service providers at a psychiatric facility in Lima, including challenges in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment
  2. Understand the role of social, cultural, and socio-economic factors as related to mental health services in Peru
  3. Understand the importance of advocacy on behalf of people with mental illnesses
  4. If possible and appropriate, interact with patients and/or their families in order to understand first-hand the impact of mental illness
  5. Understand factors that might contribute to coping and resilience in this context