PSYCH556-21A (HAM)

Advanced Topics in Adult Mental Health and Well Being

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Psychology


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Paper Description

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Welcome to PSYC 556 (a 15-point paper = 10 hours per week). This course builds on PSYC 338 (Abnormal Psychology) and is required of students entering the Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology (Clinical) Programme. Presentations of case studies and issues-based class exercises will give students an opportunity to be actively involved in reading, examining, and critically discussing psychological theories and treatment approaches across a range of human mental disorders/dysfunctions. By the end of the course students should have a good understanding of the many forms of mental illness in Western societies and some concept of how these may be assessed and treated.

While there is a focus on various disorders, this paper also looks at a number of broader issues, such as the utility of specific diagnoses and the borderline between normal behaviour and pathological behaviour.

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Paper Structure

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Classes will involve a combination of student presentations, readings, class exercises and discussion. Readings will be made available on Moodle several days before each session. It is important that you read the required chapters and articles prior to class so that you can participate in the discussion.
Classes will be structured as follows:
Presentation of case (in groups) – 11.00 – 11.50

Discussion of case-related questions – 11.50 – 12.10

Break – 12.10 – 12.15

Worksheet (in groups) – 11.15 – 11.35

Discussion of worksheet answers – 12.35 – 12.50

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • have knowledge of the various presentations of psychopathology
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  • have an understanding of the key theories of psychopathology
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  • have knowledge of empirically supported treatment approaches
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  • be developing an awareness and understanding of some of the important issues in the explanation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders
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  • have some experience in communicating clearly with others about 1) mental disorders and the associated issues, and 2) individual cases.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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PowerPoint of student presentations will be posted on Moodle prior to the class. Obviously their availability will depend on when they are sent to the lecturer. It is expected that students will send their slides at least 24 hours before the class in which they will be doing their presentation.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 30% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 30% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Class presentation
  • In Class: In Lecture
2. Case study assignments
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Review of treatment
21 May 2021
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Brown, T.A. & Barlow, D.H. (2016). Case book in abnormal psychology (5th Ed). California: Thomson and Wadsworth.

You will need this book as we will be working through the case examples in class.

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Recommended Readings

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Sadock, B. J. & Sadock, V. A. & Ruiz (2015). Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of psychiatry (11th edition). Baltimore: Wolters Kluwer.
Bennett, P. (2011). Abnormal and clinical psychology: An introductory textbook (Third edition). New York: Open University Press.

Useful reference if you do not acquire the Synopsis of Psychiatry
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (Fifth Edition). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

Articles related to discussion topics
Articles that relate to the various discussion topics will be posted on Moodle about a week before they will be used in class.

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Online Support

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A communication space for students studying psychology, available via Moodle.

Graduate Virtual Common Room

The Graduate Virtual Common Room has been designed to help you locate the resources you are likely to need as a graduate student, to find out what is happening in the School and to network with other graduate students.

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For a typical student, the workload for a 30 point graduate paper (offered over one semester) is approximately 20 hours per week, including class contact time; 10 hours per week for a 15 point paper.
These figures are only approximations, as papers vary in their requirements and students vary in both the amount of effort required and the level of grades they wish to achieve.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: PSYC307 or PSYCH307 and PSYC338 or PSYCH338




Restricted Papers: PSYC556

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