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PSY 4462 Clinical and Community Psychology

Course Description

Overviews the major theoretical approaches to personality development and research in the field.  Prerequisite:  PSY3761

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of clinical psychology in its practical manifestations regarding assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and therapy
  • Appreciate the current state of clinical psychology and place it in context against its historical development
  • Explain the educational requirements necessary to pursue a career in clinical psychology
  • Clarify the theoretical and research foundations of clinical practice, particularly in the area of treatment outcome studies
  • Become familiar with and practice writing skills necessary for scholarly manuscripts dealing with clinical psychological topics
  • Recognize different social venues where clinical psychology is practiced in and of service to the community
  • Comprehend the ethical foundations of clinical psychology and its practice

Week 1

Module: Clinical Psychology: An Introduction
Lecture: Introduction to Clinical Psychology


  • Define the scope of Clinical Psychology in its practical application
  • Clarify the various activities of clinical psychologists
  • Identify the various types of mental health practitioners and their degrees
  • Explain the ways these professionals work together to enhance the provision of clinical psychological services
  • Explain the way in which research efforts form the foundation of clinical practice
  • Explore the educational and degree requirements for  graduate work in clinical psychology
  • Explain how clinical psychology developed as a profession and the way in which current practice is founded upon these beginnings and their social progression
  • Discuss the direction and content of the lecture series
  • Discuss the way in which the lectures will enhance yet transcend the text
  • Explain issues of confidentiality and privacy as it relates to case presentations contained in the lecture series

Week 2

Module: Current Issues in Clinical Practice and Classification of Mental Illness
Lecture: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
  • Explain the concept of scientist-practitioner and how it legitimizes clinical psychological practice
  • Recognize the way in which the contemporary clinical psychologist must stay informed about current research trends and findings
  • Describe the scope of contemporary healthcare provision as it relates to clinical psychology
  • Discuss the debate over prescription privileges for clinical psychologists
  • Explain how current practice trends are connected to contemporary ideas about abnormal behavior
  • Define the concept of abnormality and its relation to psychological  diagnosis
  • Discuss DSM-IV-TR and how it is used
  • List examples of the way in which psychological manuscripts are written with regard to format and citation of references
  • Discuss the importance of familiarity and use of the DSM in contemporary practice
  • Discuss the real-world benefits and limitations of this manual via case examples and presentation
  • Recognize the way in which the DSM provides information about cultural diversity and the importance of this in practice as illustrated in case presentation

Week 3

Module: Psychological Assessment: Interviewing and Evaluating Intelligence
Lecture: Assessment of Child IQ for Giftedness


  • Define psychological assessment and its purpose
  • Recognize the foundational role which assessment plays in clinical practice and provision of mental health services
  • Explain the general interviewing strategies for gathering information in a clinical interview
  • Define the different types of assessment interviews
  • Discuss the history of IQ testing
  • Explain the historical and contemporary views of intelligence
  • Differentiate between intelligence and IQ
  • Explain the prevailing debates about the heritability of intelligence
  • Discuss the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler scales
  • Explain how IQ testing of children places special emotional demands on the clinician, patient, and the patient’s family
  • Define how giftedness is measured by IQ
  • Develop an overview of how such results are communicated to patients and the potential emotional consequences of this
  • Describe the human demands of this enterprise as it relates to clinical practice

Week 4

Module: Personality and Behavioral Assessment: Divergent Perspectives
Lecture: Projective Assessment: What is in an Inkblot?
Lecture: Human Figure Drawings (HFD) of Prison Inmates
Lecture: Most Unpleasant Concept (MUC) Drawings of Incarcerated Sex Offenders


  • Identify the way in which personality assessment and behavioral assessment approach the individual from opposite perspectives
  • Discuss personality assessment in terms of revealing internal or covert processes and behavioral assessment in terms of revealing external or overt processes
  • Explain the advantages and drawbacks of both
  • Explain the way in which these two perspectives can provide comprehensive information about the patient
  • Differentiate between objective and projective personality assessment
  • Define the concept of projection and the way in which it applied to assessment
  • Differentiate assessment with MMPI-2, Rorschach, and Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • Identify different observation methods for assessing behavior
  • Recognize the way in which cognitive-behavioral views add to traditional behavioral assessment
  • Explain the concept of projection and the way it relates to assessment
  • Become familiar with a brief history of the Rorschach
  • Make their own inkblots
  • Recognize how to use such homemade blots to enhance imagination and spur creativity
  • Differentiate between objective and projective assessment
  • Discuss the reasons why psychologists working in prison might utilize HFDs in the assessment and treatment of inmates
  • Discuss actual drawings collected from the prison population and conceptualize, via case presentation, how these drawings can facilitate therapy
  • Define a Most Unpleasant Concept (MUC) drawing
  • Explain the way in which this can be used to derive information about both individuals and populations
  • Explain actual MUC drawings from samples of college students, non-sex offender prison inmates, and prison inmates with sex offenses
  • Discuss a published article on this topic by the lecturer
  • Explain how MUC drawings can be used in the assessment of other populations

Week 5

Module: Clinical Judgment and Intervention
Lecture: Vicissitudes of Interpretation: Is the Patient Ready?


  • Explain how psychologists use theory to guide their interpretations of clinical material
  • Distinguish between quantitative and subjective approaches to clinical judgment
  • Define the distinction between clinical and actuarial approaches to professional judgment
  • Define psychotherapy and its varied approaches
  • Name the common aspects to effective therapy regardless of theoretical foundation
  • Describe the relationship between assessment and therapeutic goals and objectives
  • Discuss current trends and findings in psychotherapy outcome research
  • Recognize the way in which interpretation is only as good as the patient’s ability to accept it
  • Explain how interpretation must be conceptualized as an interpersonal process
  • Explore how interpretation is used in discussing a patient’s dreams, childhood, or present view of their own life
  • Discuss case examples of how interpretations can be used in therapy

Week 6

Module: Psychotherapy: Divergent Perspectives
Lecture: Depression and Attempted Suicide: A Psychodynamic Case Study From Prison


  • Discuss psychodynamic psychotherapy, its focus, and its objectives
  • Discuss cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, its focus, and its objectives
  • Recognize the way in which these two approaches differ in the type of change for which they aim
  • Name and define four techniques used in psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Name and define four techniques used in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy
  • Recognize how psychodynamic theory applies to clinical work
  • Explain why psychodynamic psychotherapy is the preferred approach for certain cases
  • Explain how psychodynamic treatment is implemented in a case of depression with suicidal ideation
  • Explain how the goals of psychodynamic work are realized by the patient

Week 7

Module: Community Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Lecture: Singin' in the Rain: The Power of Positive Thinking


  • Define the perspective of community psychology
  • Discuss the concept of community mental health
  • Explain the importance of wellness education and prevention strategies in mental health
  • Identify reasons why early intervention is important for the development of mental health
  • Explain how psychological principles and practice relate to physical health and medical treatment
  • Explain how common medical problems have psychological factors which need to be addressed in order for medical treatment to progress
  • Identify trends for healthcare psychology
  • Explain how positive thinking and optimism can have a healthy influence on physical health
  • Identify the way in which optimism and positive thinking can be foundational to clinical psychological practice
  • Discuss the limitations of this perspective
  • Explain how positive thinking can be used in treatment

Week 8

Module: Forensic Psychology and the Use of Group Therapy
Lecture: Group Sex Offender Treatment: Goals and Objectives


  • Discuss the importance of group, family, and couples therapy in the treatment of mental illness and maladjustment
  • Discuss the advantages of group treatment over individual treatment
  • Identify problems which respond best to group, couples, or family therapy
  • Define forensic psychology
  • Explain how clinical psychological practice is relevant to issues of law and legal work
  • Name major activities of forensic psychologists
  • Recognize various settings in which forensic psychologists practice
  • Recognize why group therapy is the preferred psychological treatment strategy for sex offenders
  • Identify the continuity of this approach in both prison and while on probation/parole in the community
  • Explain the goals of group sex offender treatment
  • Discuss the limitations of group sex offender treatment
  • Explore how this is practiced in prison via case presentation

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2013