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Disaster Psych Syllabus Spring 2011

Disaster Psych Syllabus Spring 2011

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Published by: Youth Radio on Jun 15, 2011
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State University of New York at New Paltz
PSY456-01: Disaster Psychology, Spring 2011
Mondays & Thursdays, 3:05 to 4:20, Humanities 312
³As individuals we cannot afford the multiple costs of illness or disaster, we cannot get so far out of phase with the concert scoredfor the lives we all lead together. Because we lean so heavily onone another, whether we deliberately choose to or not, we lust after an answer to the accidents of life. And if this insurance is notforthcoming, we insist at the least that our fellows rally and beconcerned if catastrophe occurs.´- R.N. Wilson (1962),
 Man and Society in Disaster 
 _______________________________________________________________________ Instructor:
Karla Vermeulen, Ph.D.
Office hours:
Wednesdays 3:00 - 4:30, Thursdays 1:00 - 3:00, or by appointment
 Office location:
JFT 214
Course Objectives:
1. Define disasters and disaster mental health, and describe the development of the field.2. Describe the psychological impact of disasters and trauma, including typical reactionsand severe reactions such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder.3. Describe short- and long-term interventions to assist disaster survivors.4. Discuss vicarious traumatization, self-care, and other issues affecting disaster mentalhealth helpers.5. Provide training and credentials from the American Red Cross, which may lead toqualifications to respond to disasters as volunteers under the auspices of the Red Cross.
ease be aware that some content that wi
be inc
ded in the co
rse may be dist 
rbing to yo
If yo
ed by the materia
ease contact the instr 
ctor and/or the
ing Center 
Course Expectations:
 Grades will be based on one group presentation (20%), one paper (20%), and three non-cumulative exams, each worth 20%. The final exam will be cumulative, and either canserve as a makeup or can replace the lowest of the first three exam grades. Because of this,
no make-up exams will be given during the semester
. Exams will include multiplechoice and essay questions. They will include material covered in class but not in thereadings as well as material covered in readings but not discussed in class ± in other words,to do well you need to attend class AND complete all reading assignments.For the presentation, each group of 4-6 students will select a historic disaster from a listthat will be provided, research the details of that disaster, and present on the relevantcharacteristics that would be expected to influence survivors¶ reactions.For the paper,
each student will work individually
to develop a plan for the kind of mental health interventions you would offer if you were involved in responding to thatsame event. Papers should be about 4-6 pages double-spaced. We will discuss the presentation and paper in more detail closer to the due dates.
Class participation is strongly encouraged and may earn extra credit at theinstructor¶s discretion!
Attendance at both Red Cross training sessions is mandatory since certification requiresattendance. In the case of an unavoidable absence, you will be expected to makearrangements with the Ulster County Red Cross to attend the course at a different location.Attendance at all other classes is expected. Slides will be posted on Blackboard after eachclass, but far more detail will be discussed in class than is included on the slides, so regular attendance and note taking is strongly recommended. In the case of any absence, you areresponsible for obtaining the missed information from another student.
Class Cancellations:
If it is necessary to cancel class due to weather or other unavoidable circumstances, you¶ll be emailed at your New Paltz address as early as possible.
Students with documented physical, learning, psychological, and other disabilities areentitled to receive reasonable accommodations. If you need classroom or testingaccommodations, please contact the Disability Resource Center (SUB 210, 257-3020). TheDisability Resource Center will provide forms verifying the need for accommodation. Assoon as the instructor receives the form, you will be provided with the appropriateaccommodations. Students are encouraged to request accommodations as close to the beginning of the semester as possible.
Other Policies:
 Any student caught cheating on an exam will automatically fail that exam and, perhaps, the
course. Any student caught plagiarizing ± that is, quoting another author¶s words directlyor rewording another author¶s ideas without proper attribution ± will fail the paper assignment and, perhaps, the course. In addition, anyone who cheats or plagiarizes willhave his or her name reported to the coordinator of campus judicial affairs. It is WAY tooeasy to unintentionally plagiarize by copying an online resource and pasting it without proper attribution so be extremely careful to uphold academic ethical standards.
Please turn off phones, PDAs, iPods, and other devices unless you¶ve cleared it with mein advance (for instance, you need to be reachable in an emergency). Respect yourfellow students and don¶t text in class ± it¶s highly distracting to everyone around you!Required Textbook:
 Disaster Menta
th: Theory and 
by James Halpern and Mary Tramontin.(2007). Thomson-Brooks/Cole.
Other required readings will be available on Blackboard unless otherwise noted(more may be added):
Alvarez, L. (2008, August 26). Home from war, veterans say head injuries gounrecognized,
ew York Times
.Beiser, V. (April 19, 2010). Organizing Armageddon: What we learned from the Haitiearthquake.
Wired Magazine
NOT on Blackboard - download from:http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_haiti/all/1Bonanno, G.A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated thehuman capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events?
20-28.Halpern, S. (May 19, 2008). Virtual Iraq: Using simulation to treat a new generation otraumatized veterans.
ew Yorker Magazine
Downloaded fromhttp://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/19/080519.Lord, J.H.; Hook, M.; & English, S. (2003). Different faiths, different perceptions of  public tragedy. In M. Lattanzi-Licht & K.J. Doka (Eds.),
 Living with grief: Coping with p
ic tragedy
, pp. 91-107. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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