Top Course Tags
Always Do the Reading
Great Intro to the Subject
Lots of Writing
This class was tough.
Abnormal psychology was one of my favorite undergraduate courses. I would recommend this class to anyone because I believe everyone, in one way or another, will be exposed to it. Some of these encounters include our culture, jobs, family, and friends. Regardless of how you are exposed to it, taking this class will help you be more informed and prepared for the experiences we have. Whether you realize it or not, mental illness is all around us. It is displayed in the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the books we read, and the news programs we view. People encounter mental health all the time. Sometimes these encounters are happy stories of people who have overcome their grief. Other stories will be depressing or disturbing. For example, whenever a shooting occurs, the question of the individual’s mental health is one of the first things that will be brought up. Unfortunately, another issue pertaining to culture is the uninformed opinions that are derived because of mental health. Much of our society views the issue of mental health as very black and white. However, upon taking this course, the student will soon discover, for better or for worse, that mental health is not black and white at all. It includes multiple shades of grey. As a culture, we will be better equipped with how to address this issue by being somewhat informed of what happens with mental health in various circumstances. One of the popular areas where mental health issues arise is in the place of employment. As a manager of 70 employees and working as an adjunct professor of over 400 students in a semester, you will run into someone who has one mental illness or another. I have encountered depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, dyslexia, panic disorders, and many types of learning disabilities. I believe that because of my knowledge of this course, I knew better how to deal with and approach these individuals. Had I not taken PSYCH 342, I might not have been as sympathetic, understanding, or helpful to these people. Like I mentioned above, society views mental health as black and white. I was one of these people, as well. I even embraced this mindset with other people I knew outside of employment. Family is probably the most important thing in all of our lives. It gives us our strongest-happiest memories, but it also gives us some of our greatest struggles and trials. One of the things that can make family life very hard is a family member who has mental illness. I have two nieces who have had or currently have a mental illness. One struggled with anorexia and depression. The other currently deals with conduct disorder and depression. In either case, while never acting as a therapist, both of these nieces were able to approach me and confide in me. Of course I wasn’t able to solve their problems, but I was someone that they knew who had a remote idea of how what they were going through. Most importantly, they understood that I didn’t have a black and white view of mental illness. One of these nieces, the one struggling with depression and anxiety, personally thanked me for the support that I was to her. Not only me, but she had several friends who supported her, as well. Maybe no one in your family has mental illness. That is good. But surely, there will be a person that you meet who will have a mental illness. And if you are unaware, unfamiliar, or uneducated on this issue facing mental illness, you might cause more harm in this person’s life than you know. Nothing is more fulfilling in this life than being a person that someone else can count on. I believe PSYCH 342 will give you some tools to allow you to be that kind of person. In conclusion, there are several areas of our life that will expose us to mental illness. The more familiar we are with it, the more prepared we will be to approach it. It does not make you a mental health professional and it certainly doesn’t give you all the answers. But it gives you a good understanding of what mental illness is and how you can be more understanding and helpful with the issues at hand.
When I reflect on the general understanding I received from this class, I don’t think that these were the ones that impacted me very much. The things that did impact me and have stuck in my mind for a long time consists of elements like training, labeling, and discovering abnormal behavior. I will elaborate on each of these. When I have severe head pain, I don’t go to dentist, optometrist, or a therapist. I want to see a physician. He is someone who has been trained to deal with symptoms like headaches. In comparison, if I have an addiction, I don’t want to go to a therapist who specializes in treating schizophrenia. Believing that a therapist who has specialized in something that I am not needing treatment for would be like seeing an optometrist for a toothache. One of the problems mental health faces is “professionals” who see clients that they haven’t been trained to see. That is why people get poor treatment, undesired results, and, in worst case scenarios, damaged lives. In this course, the need and importance for training was strongly fused into my mind. People who aren’t trained will often be quick to label a condition on someone that they don’t have. A common theme among students who study abnormal psychology is superficial diagnoses that they give to themselves, their roommates, and people they barely even know. More telling are psychological studies that demonstrate how people will begin to act out the role or label that they have been given. So when a psychology student tells their roommate that, based off of the textbook they are reading, they are depressed, the recipient of that diagnosis will begin to act and feel like a depressed person. This is why convicts, upon their release, are often admitted back into prison; society continues to place a label of “convict” on them. We need to be very cautious and very careful about the labels that we place on each other. They can have detrimental effects on our experience of life. A final highlight from this class is the fact that everyone experiences some abnormal psychological state or another. All of us have felt or will feel depression. I would argue that all of us at some point in our life have thought to ourselves, “I am so glad that nobody knows what I am thinking.” Or perhaps we have done something and said, “I am so glad that no one saw me do that.” We are all subject to abnormal behavior. Even more interesting to admit is that people we refer to as abnormal are also subject to doing completely normal behavior. Our experiences in life dictate this phenomenon. The temptation is to say we are the healthy ones and they are the mentally ill ones. In other words, we create and “Us vs. Them” society. As mentioned and demonstrated throughout this course, it’s not that simple. They are us and we are them. And the more we experience in this life, the more we will realize this. I could address all the individual disorders that I learned about. As interesting as they all were, I didn’t feel like they prepared me for my future as a psychologist as much as these three things did. We need to be trained, we need to be slow to label, and we need to not separate ourselves from others who exhibit abnormal behaviors because we are subject to them as well. The disorders themselves are fascinating, but it is what we are going to do to help with those disorders that was most important for me.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
Like any aspect of life, what you put into something is what you will get out of it. If you work hard and put effort into it, it will be one of the most rewarding classes that you will ever take. To better prepare for this course, however, I would encourage students to bring a laptop, demonstrate that you know what’s in your notes, and never cram study. Technology is a double-edged sword. If you are one who can tune out the entertaining portion of technology and use it to focus, you will gain much from your classes. However, if you are one that cannot stay off Facebook, YouTube, or any other online site, technology can be detrimental to your education. By focusing and typing all that you can in your classes, you give yourself a backup plan to all the information you will forget. Record your professor’s lecture, type down everything they say, and then go back to them regularly days or weeks before the exam and review what you have. It will serve you greatly. Those seem pretty obvious. A more telling question is to determine if you really know what is actually in your notes. What I recommend is that you highlight key words (typically a definition or theory). Then, when it comes time to study, only look at the highlighted word. After you have done that, you should say or write down everything that you know about that concept. Once you have used all the cognitive resources that you can to help you with this concept, then you look at your notes, but not before. After you have said all you can, read your notes. Look for things you might have forgotten about or things that you said wrong. This exercise will quickly show you what you need to study and focus on. If there is something you missed and got wrong, that’s what you study. If there are things that you were able to retrieve without the use of your notes, you know that you don’t need to study those further. Remember, rereading something or being familiar with it does not equate to understanding it. This will be a daunting task to perform if you wait last minute to study. Learning and memory researchers have discovered that one of the worst things you can do to study is wait till the last minute before your exam. You need to start studying for your test immediately. Spread it out and increase the amount of time you spend doing it. Give yourself days or weeks of studying for an exam. This spread out strategy will also help you focus and spend more time learning about the stuff that you were unable to retrieve when you tested yourself in the example above. If you do these three things, bring a laptop and write down all you can from the teacher’s lecture, test yourself by highlighting notes and describing everything you can before you look at your notes, and doing this exercise right after each lecture each day, you will be more prepared and equipped. In fact, this strategy for studying will work in any class that you find yourself in.
Not too easy. Not too difficult.
This course was really enlightening, I was able to better understand not only the facts and treatments for people with different psychological disorders, but I was able to gain empathy for them and gain a better understanding of their day to day life.
The highlight was when we watched a movie in class.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
Read the book very thourally, and go to class.