Abnormal in a Normalized World: Psychopathology and Treatment Interventions in Context

Winter 2020
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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This one-quarter program provides a survey of mental health problems, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, addiction and substance abuse disorders, the schizophrenias, and personality disorders. The program curriculum asks, what does it mean to be "normal" and who decides? How has history and culture affected our perspectives on abnormality? What are clinical characteristics of mental disorders and how are they assessed? What role does treatment play in addressing psychological disorders? How do we separate facts from myths surrounding psychological disorders?

This program will not simply present a checklist of symptomatology. Through contextualization and bio-psycho-social perspectives, students will develop critical thinking skills as applied to theories, assessment, and treatments relevant for each disorder. Students will also be encouraged to consider the role of stigma in mental illness. In this exploration, students will gain an understanding and appreciation of how to live a healthier life.

Lectures, workshops, seminars, and films help to further contextualize program texts. Students can expect to engage written assignments throughout each academic week that include short papers in preparation for seminars and workshops. In addition, students will write and present a final synthesis paper at the end of the quarter.

Students will use one main text: Princeton psychologist Ronald Comer's Abnormal Psychology (10th ed.) (2018). In addition, students will read Jennifer Finney Boylan's She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders , James Fallon's The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain (2013). Kay Jamison's An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1995), and Marc Lewis' The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease (2015). In addition to seminars and workshops devoted to these texts, the program provides supplemental lectures and films to deepen our understanding of abnormal psychology in context.


Winter 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 20187
Jr - Sr (1 - 16): 20484

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies and careers in

Clinical psychology, education, health care, social work

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 D1107 - Workshop