Psychopathology and Diagnosis   [Archived Catalog]
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook

PSY 2050 - Psychopathology and Diagnosis

This course provides a critical overview of theory, research and processes that have evolved into modern Western thinking about psychopathology. Attention is initially given to current diagnostic criteria and the utility of the DSM, as well as the biological, behavioral, sociocultural and intra-psychic determinant patterns of functional and dysfunctional human behavior. Students are encouraged to think broadly and dialectically about optimal development and pathology, in systems of personality and systems of modern Western cultural institutions. This course then introduces students to humanistic critiques of the current dominant DSM-based model of psychological difficulty, and presents a critical evaluation of mainstream notions of psychopathology and its treatment. Positive, nonpathology-focused or strengths-based ways of viewing psychological problems and their remediation are considered, including evidence supporting the humanistic focus on a positive relationship as curative, even with disorders such as schizophrenia. The goals of the course for students are twofold: a) to provide them with a strong foundation in the current medical establishment's views of and communications about psychopathology, and b) to make them aware of alternatives which place primary emphasis on the healing power of relationships, on treating people as whole persons, and on focusing on the positive in humans. 3 credit(s)