Abnormal Psychology: The Science and Treatment of Psychological Disorders
Abnormal Psychology: The Science and Treatment of Psychological Disorders consists of a balance and blending of research and clinical application, the use of paradigms as an organizing principle, and involving the learner in the kinds of real-world problem solving engaged in by clinicians and scientists. Students learn that psychopathology is best understood by considering multiple perspectives and that these varying perspectives provide the clearest accounting of the causes of these disorders as well as the best possible treatments.
- Context, Paradigms, and the DSM-5: Course sections 1-4 place the field in historical context, present the concept of paradigms in science, describe the major paradigms in psychopathology, describe the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), critically discuss its validity and reliability, provide an overview of major approaches and techniques in clinical assessment, and then describe the major research methods of the field. These sections are the foundation on which the later course sections can be interpreted and understood.
- Disorders and Their Treatment: Specific psychological disorders and their treatment are discussed in course sections 5-15. Throughout the course, three major perspectives or paradigms are discussed: genetic, neuroscience, and cognitive behavioral. The course also emphasizes the importance of factors that are important to all paradigms: emotion, gender, culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. A related issue is the use of more than one paradigm in studying psychological disorders. Rather than force an entire field into, for example, a cognitive behavioural paradigm, this course argues from the available information that different problems in psychopathology are amenable to analyses within different frameworks.
- Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: The course includes considerable material on culture, race, and ethnicity in the study of causes and treatment of psychological disorders. Section 2 includes a separate module that emphasizes the importance of culture, race, and ethnicity in all paradigms. The course points to the important role of culture and ethnicity in the other sections as well. For example, in the Diagnosis and Assessment section (3), cultural bias in assessment and ways to guard against this selectivity in perception is discussed. The course also provides information on culture in anxiety and depression in sections 5-7.
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