Special Topics in Clinical Psychology

SYLLABUS

Objectives

In this class you値l learn about one subspecialty within psychology, that of clinical psychology. You値l learn about how clinical psychology emerged as a field of mental health research and practice. You値l also learn about what clinical psychologists do and the theory behind those activities. We will pay special attention to psychological assessment and psychotherapy, two of the main activities that clinical psychologists undertake. You will learn about the purpose of psychological assessment, some examples of the more commonly used psychological assessment instruments, and how psychological assessment guides service provision. You値l also learn about different theoretical orientations in the practice of psychotherapy. Additional topics we will cover include ethics in this clinical science, contemporary issues in clinical practice (e.g., innovative treatments for mental illness, the impact of managed care, working with special populations), and career opportunities in the field.

This course is designated as a Writing-Intensive seminar, a new type of class that is offered by Washington University. The purpose of the writing-intensive seminar is to provide you with a more rigorous opportunity to sharpen your writing skills while learning more about an academic topic of interest to you. In this class you will be learning about clinical psychology, and in the process you will have ample opportunity to practice your writing. To that end, the class includes three formal writing assignments, each of which involves multiple revisions. The three papers are brief (approximately 4-6 pages each), but we will spend a fair amount of time working and reworking each one to give you practice at putting together coherent papers and revising them to be even better.

 

Reading assignments

Readings will come from two sources, your textbooks and articles that will be on reserve or that I pass out in class. Consult the class web page for reading assignments and dates they are due. All readings should be completed BEFORE the class to which they apply. In class I値l assume you are familiar with material from the readings. I値l highlight important concepts from the readings and expand on the material, and in order to follow the discussion it will be important for you to be familiar with the readings that have been assigned.

 

Class participation and attendance
 

Because this class is small in size we値l have ample opportunity to raise questions, pursue discussions, and be flexible with our time, following up on topics we find interesting. Your active participation is something I encourage. Raise questions, debate (constructively and respectfully) with me and your classmates, and propose new ways of thinking about the information you are learning. Also, feel free to bring in personal stories and experiences, as long as they are relevant to the topic under discussion. We will use some of our class time to talk about our writing, sharing writing samples with each other and offering suggestions about how to improve our work. Throughout the class it is important for you to treat your classmates with respect, offer suggestions that are productive and not merely critical, and be prepared to listen to the comments of others with an open mind. We can learn a lot from each other, but only if we all agree to create a class environment that encourages respectful contribution and debate. Class attendance also is your responsibility and will be counted in your final grade, along with participation.

 

Quizzes

During the semester we will have 11 quizzes. They will always occur at the beginning of class, and they will happen at random throughout the semester. Each quiz will cover cumulative lecture and reading material, although most questions will cover material since the previous quiz. The format of the quizzes will vary, but most will contain multiple choice questions and an occasional short-answer question. At the end of the semester you can drop your lowest quiz score, so only 10 quizzes will count in your final grade. There will be no make-up quizzes, so if you miss a quiz you can drop that score.

 

Writing assignments

Writing is a major focus of this class, and you will be responsible for three writing assignments during the semester. Each of those assignments will involve at least one full revision. The assignments are described briefly here. I値l give you additional information on each assignment later in the semester.

 

Paper #1: Research paper

In this assignment you will get to learn about an assessment instrument that is often used in clinical practice and research. This brief research paper will include a description of the instrument, a review of its history, examples of its use, and a critique of its advantages and disadvantages.

 

Paper #2: Case report

Here you will be presented with a hypothetical patient who arrives at your office for clinical services. In your writing you will provide a history of your patient, describe your diagnosis of the patient, and narrate the approach you would take in treating that individual in psychotherapy.

 

Paper #3: Ethical analysis

Moral questions abound in the science and practice of clinical psychology. In this assignment you will be given a clinical scenario with an ethical problem at its heart. In your writing you will be asked to present all sides of the ethical argument and build a case in favor of one position.

 

In addition to these formal assignments, you will have a variety of short writing exercises, some of which we値l do in class. Although you won稚 be graded on these assignments in a formal way, your effort in these exercises will contribute to your class participation grade.

 

Missed classes and assignments

If you know in advance that you will miss a class, please let me know the week before. I値l take that into account when figuring attendance into your grade. In the case of unexpected absences, please bring documentation from the appropriate professional. If you miss an assignment deadline without speaking to me you will lose 10 points on the assignment for each day that passes without something turned in.

 

Grading For each writing assignment you will receive a tentative grade when you turn in your first draft. That tentative grade will be based on your work in preliminary writing exercises and class workshops. The grade you receive on your second draft will reflect the effort you put into revising your first draft. Your final grade on the paper might go up, might stay the same, or might go down. We値l talk about paper grades in more detail in class.

Grades are assigned based on the number of points you accumulate during the semester. There will be no opportunities for extra credit, so it is important that you concentrate on the assignments throughout the semester. If you have questions about your progress in class please speak to me BEFORE they become dire. The maximum points for each assignment are as follows:

 

 

Assignment

Quizzes (10 of them, 10 points each)

Research paper

Case report

Ethics paper

Class attendance & participation


Total

Maximum

100

100

100

100

100


500

% of total grade

20%

20%

20%

20%

20%


100%

 

Your

score range

488-500

463-487

448-462

433-447

413-432

398-412

383-397

363-382

348-362

333-347

313-332

298-312

< 298

Percentage

equivalent

98-100

93-97

90-92

87-89

83-86

80-82

77-79

73-76

70-72

67-69

63-66

60-62

< 60

Letter

grade

A+

A

A-

B+

B

B-

C+

C

C-

D+

D

D-

F

Grade point equivalent

4.0

4.0

3.7

3.3

3.0

2.7

2.3

2.0

1.7

1.3

1.0

0.7

0.0

A note on academic integrity

As a member of the Wash. U. academic community you are bound by honor regarding your academic work. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on tests, fabricating information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used as your own, or tampering with the academic work of other students. Plagiarism is another unacceptable practice. Plagiarism occurs when an individual uses the thoughts or words of another person as if they were their own. In your written work, you must provide adequate citation of other people痴 work. Identify where your ideas have come from when they are not your own. Academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in referral to the Dean. If you have questions about what might constitute academic dishonesty, please talk with me or an administrator at the University. Additional information can be found in the University Student Judicial Code or from the Academic Integrity Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences (www.artsci.wustl.edu/~college/College/academics/academic.html).

[Hit Counter]