Cay Anderson-Hanley | (518) 388-6355 | andersoc@union.edu

PSY250 Abnormal Psychology

Course Description:

Models and theories of psychology, with description and analyses of forms of abnormality and its modification. Prequisite: PSY-100.

Additional Course Description from Prof H:

We will consider definitions of abnormality and review ways of assessing and classifying abnormal behaviors. We will examine a range of disorders from Major Depression to Schizophrenia, and ADHD to Dementia. We will explore the paradigms for understanding and treating disorders as well as research on their efficacy. We will review the professions that attempt to offer solutions and grapple with ethical issues raised in choosing to hospitalize or use other modalities of therapy for treating mental illness.

Text. Please note that there is a great deal of information to be covered in this course. Your text is an excellent source of information about abnormal psychology and I will trust that you will make thorough use of it. I recommend that most students read each chapter three times, in order to glean sufficient understanding (read once “lightly” to get a feel for the material and organization of the chapter, read a second time “thoroughly” - outlining/highlighting/making notes, and read a third time “for review” to see what questions you still have and to gain a better understanding of difficult concepts).

Case Material. I view class time primarily as an opportunity us to try to grasp the realities of the personal struggles facing those with abnormal disorders by reviewing real cases and discussing them. This is accomplished through use of biographic material in assigned books, films, and video clips introduced in class. Sometimes, seeing a few minutes of a symptom of a disorder is worth much more than a thousand words trying to describe it.

Critical Thinking Discussions. I also view class time as an important venue for wrestling with difficult questions and issues in abnormal psychology. Rather than trying to repeat all of the information in the field or covered in the text (which would be impossible anyway given only 3½ hrs per week!), I will frequently review a topic briefly so that we are all on the same page, and then ask the class to think critically about various issues related to the topic. I feel that being able to engage in informed critical thinking and discourse is a unique value of a liberal arts education, and in fact the reason Union maintains smaller class sizes. Thus, your advance preparation and active participation in class will yield greater success for you personally as well as for the class overall.

Course syllabus
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