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Psychology 270: Introduction to Clinical Psychology

Instructor: John Young, M.A. Office hours by appointment

Required Texts:

Introduction to Clinical Psychology: Science, Practice, and Ethics (2005) Jeffrey E. Hecker and Geoffery L. Thorpe

Cognitive Therapy of Depression (1987 edition) Aaron Beck

Course Description and Philosophy:

The main goal of this course will be to understand fundamental concepts of clinical psychology, including information related to the history and development of the discipline, approaches to clinical problems, methods of assessment, specific techniques and possible careers involving clinical psychology. Throughout the course, the major emphasis will be on the cognitive-behavioral field of clinical psychology, as this particular approach has provided the most empirical evidence as being successful in the treatment of problems addressed by clinical psychology. One of the texts for this course (Cognitive Therapy of Depression) covers the initial development of cognitive-behavioral techniques as set forth by one of the most important figures in this approach, Aaron Beck. It is a text often intended for active professionals or graduate students, and will be extremely useful in your understanding of empirically-based clinical psychology.

In terms of my approach to teaching, I believe that the goal of the student/teacher relationship is to aid in your learning and development of skills that will become practical in your future goals (i.e., graduate school or working in a professional setting of any kind). Consequently, I would like every assignment and class period to be an opportunity to help you progress in these domains. Simple memorization of information contained in your textbooks and in my lectures will not be enough to perform well in this course. Knowledge of a topic is the essential first step in the ultimate goal of this class: applying thought and forming deeper understanding of topics relevant to clinical psychology. As such, I will place strong emphasis upon your formulation of opinions and ideas relevant to the knowledge that will be presented. It is you understanding rather than your memory that I will be interested in throughout this course. This philosophy has shaped my approach to testing and opportunities for extra credit (see below).

I encourage each of you to become as involved in as many aspects of this course as you can. The fulfillment of the minimum requirements for the course in a satisfactory fashion may earn you an A, but it will be possible for you to take as much from this course as you put into it. I will offer detailed feedback on your work, particularly when it is above and

beyond what is necessary to do well in this course. Those students that take advantage of this opportunity are likely to learn far more than those who do not.

University Definition of Plagiarism:

“Plagiarism includes but is not limited to submitting, in fulfillment of an academic requirement, any work that has been copied in whole or in part from another individual's work without attributing that borrowed portion to the individual; neglecting to identify as a quotation another's idea and particular phrasing that was not assimilated into the student's language and style or paraphrasing a passage so that the reader is misled as to the source; submitting the same written or oral or artistic material in more than one course without obtaining authorization from the instructors involved; or "drylabbing," which includes obtaining and using experimental data and laboratory write-ups from other sections of a course or from previous terms.”

In other words, any presentation of anyone else’s work as your own, or any replication of your own work across courses equates to cheating, which will not be tolerated. Any instances of cheating in this class will result in an automatic F for the course and will be pursued with higher University authorities to the fullest extent possible.

Tentative Schedule – Chapters indicated should be read before class attendance on a given day:


21 - Introduction, Syllabus Review, Questions About Course

23, 25 - Chapter 2: History of Clinical Psychology 28, 30 - Chapter 3 – Psychological Models in Clinical Psychology (Emphasize Behavioral and Cognitive Models, p 94-104)


1 - Chapter 4 – Biological Models in Clinical Psychology *4 – Holiday - Labor Day


– Chapter 4, continued - Review for test


Test on Chapters 2, 3, 4


– Test Review, Chapter 5 – General Issues in Psychological Assessment


– Chapter 5 continued

15, 18 - Chapter 6 – Clinical Interviewing 20, 22 - Chapter 7 – Intellectual and Educational Assessment

25, 27 - Chapter 9 – Behavioral Assessment (skim chapter 9) – Review for Test

29 - Test on Chapters 5, 6, 7, 9

October 2, 4 - Review of Test - Chapters 10-12 (skim chapters)

6, 9, 11 - Chapter 13 – Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions (through page 387)

13 – Review for Test

16 - Test on Chapters 10-13

18, 20 - Review of Test - Beginning of Beck’s CBT – Lecture only, no reading 23, 25 - Beck Chapters 1-4 – Overview; The Role of Emotions in Cognitive Therapy; The Therapeutic Relationship: Application to Cognitive Therapy; Structure of the Therapeutic Interview (skim chapters) 27, 30 - Beck Chapter 6 – Session by Session Treatment


1 - Beck Chapter 7 – Application of Behavioral Techniques – Review for Test

3 - Test on Beck’s CBT Chapters 1-7 6, 8 – Review of test - Beck Chapter 8 – Cognitive Techniques

10 – Holiday; no class

13, 15 - Beck Chapter 9 – Focus on Target Symptoms 20, 22 no class; instructor out of town


– Holiday; no class


- Beck Chapter 10-11 – Specific Techniques for the Suicidal Patient; Interview with a

Depressed Suicidal Patient (skim); Beck Chapter 12 – Depressogenic Assumptions


29 – Test on Beck Chapters 8-12

December 1, 4 - Beck Chapter 13 – Integration of Homework into Therapy

6 Hecker and Thorpe, Chapters 14-16 – Clinical Neuropsychology; Clinical Health

Psychology; Forensic Psychology (skim); Future Directions 8 – Beck Chapter 15 – Problems Related to Termination and Relapse - Review for final

Final Exam During University Scheduled Time

Grading Participation – 10% Everyone will be expected to participate in class activities and discussions. As such, attendance is required. Additionally, it will sometimes be possible to earn extra points in class by demonstrating a superior knowledge of relevant material.

Reactionary Paper – 20%

At some point during the class you will be required to write a reactionary paper of at least

3 pages, but no more than 5 pages, in length (using default Word margins and double

spacing). This should illustrate your understanding of and opinions toward some topic relevant to the class, with an emphasis on concise, clear, structured writing. A great place to start to get ideas for your paper is in the material presented in lecture. What I am looking for is not an exhaustive review of articles or a simple repetition of what is written in your textbook, though those can both be good secondary components of this assignment. Rather, what I am interested in is your conceptualization of a given topic and your opinion of it. Your generation of ideas can be as creative as you would like;

however, if you come up with an idea that is not covered in lecture, please see me before you begin working on it. Also, if you need help in deciding what other sources might be useful in learning more about a given idea (i.e., journal articles), please see me and I will aid in getting you started. Grading will include points for spelling and grammar, so pay attention to these aspects of the assignment.

Please also note that this assignment is due no later than December 4 th . Papers will not be accepted beyond this date for any reason.

Tests – 70% During the course of the semester you will be tested 6 times on information covered during the previous unit’s reading and lectures (5 non-cumulative tests and a final exam). Mid-semester test format will be multiple choice, and your grade will be determined as a simple percentage of questions answered correctly. Apart from the final, tests will also be fairly short (in the range of 20 questions) and will focus on broad concepts, particularly those emphasized in the syllabus.

Extra credit Finally, there will be extra credit opportunities available to anyone who would like them. It is possible to earn extra-credit in three ways: 1) extra points gained from superior knowledge of class subjects, as outlined above, 2) give a presentation on a topic related to clinical psychology that is not explicitly covered in this course and 3) attend student extra credit presentations and serve as audience members/discussion participants. (It will be possible to give group presentations, but every member of the group must speak during the presentation.) These presentations will necessarily occur outside of class and will be scheduled at the discretion of the presenters and instructor. Since listening and discussing are much easier than preparing and presenting, audience members will earn a maximum of 1 point on their final grades (to be determined by engagement, attentiveness and participation in discussion), and presenters will earn a maximum of 5 points on their final grades (to be determined by scope of project, depth of understanding and quality of presentation). No extra credit will be given after December 1 st .

Anyone interested in extra credit can see me ahead of time, and we can determine a relevant domain on which you can present. Please note that this will be something that requires a good bit of extra work and reading separate from class assignments. You will be expected to demonstrate relative mastery of a topic in order to earn maximum points, and should deliver a polished, professional presentation. In other words, these assignments will be difficult. Your participation in this form of assignment is encouraged, however, as the ability to speak clearly to a group will serve you well academically, professionally and personally. You will also receive detailed feedback from your instructor regarding your presentation, which will hopefully aid in improving your presentation skills over time.

Letter grades Your final letter grade will be determined as follows according to your earned percentage of possible points:

98-100 = A+ 90-97.9 = A 88-89.9 = B+ 80-87.9 = B 78-79.9 = C+ 70-77.9 = C 68-69.9 = D+ 60-67.9 = D Below 60 = F