Controversies in Clinical Psychology. This class will discuss controversial issues in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. We will consider the empirical support and arguments for and against issues such as the use of the DSM classification system, the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in children, the validity of the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity (formerly known as multiple personality) Disorder, and the controversy surrounding the recovery of traumatic memories. Other topics may include the debate surrounding the use of manualized psychotherapies such as cognitive therapy, the designation of "empirically supported" psychotherapies, and whether exposure to violence in the media is a cause of childhood aggression.
The class will meet once per week for three hours. Students will be asked to read literature that summarizes each side of the issues being considered, as well as studies that are relevant to the issue. They will learn to critically evaluate research methodology, and will be asked to write three short papers that summarize and critique the literature that is discussed in class (one paper per month, on any issue discussed that month). In addition, each student will be responsible for preparing one or two oral presentations. The oral presentations will take the form of a "debate" with another student on the issue that will be discussed that day, and will take place at the beginning of class, before a general discussion of the issue.