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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John Eric Stewart
BIS 270
Bothell Campus

Abnormal Psychology

General instruction to the study and treatment of psychopathology. Covers research on and theories about definitions and "causes" of psychological problems from a variety of perspectives. Addresses some of the major classes of mental health problems, such as mood and anxiety disorders, their causes and treatment.

Class description

This course provides a general introduction to and overview of the study and treatment of psychopathology. We will cover research on and theories about definitions and “causes” of psychological problems from a variety of perspectives. You will be introduced to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR), the primary diagnostic and classification system for psychologists and psychiatrists in the U.S. We will give specific attention to some of the major classes of mental health problems, such as mood and anxiety disorders, their causes and treatment. Throughout the course, you will be expected to engage in critical thinking about your own pre-existing assumptions and beliefs and about the many dilemmas and questions that characterize the field.

Student learning goals

Students will become knowledgeable about the DSM-IV-TR, its systems and categories, and its historical and cultural context

Students will become familiar with various etiological and treatment approaches, as well as some central controversies within and surrounding the fields of psychopathology and clinical psychology.

Students will also be introduced to a number of perspectives for critically assessing the assumptions and values of medicine/psychiatry and psychology that shape the practices and theories, in fact the basic conceptualization, of “abnormal psychology."

Students will have a more sophisticated and empathetic understanding of the experiences of those people navigating severe psychological distress and the systems meant to assist them.

General method of instruction

Lecture, readings, class discussion, films.

Recommended preparation

Introduction to Psychology *extremely* strongly recommended. Biological Psychology very helpful, but not required.

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on the quality of engagement of short writing assignments, and performance on 4 out of 5 in-class exams.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by John Eric Stewart
Date: 01/25/2011