Post-Master Counseling Certification Program

HUS 672: Principles of Psychopathology and Diagnosis: Applications to Counseling, Practice and Human Service Delivery

Department: Master of Human Services
Instructor: Dr. Effie Bastas
Semester: Spring, 2005
Phone: (215) 842-0678
Credit hours: 3
Office hours: W, Th 1-6 p.m.

Pre-requisites: Master's degree in Human Services or related field; eligibility for licensing as professional counselor.

Course description: This course serves as an advanced practicum for students who have a Master's degree in human services or a related field and who are eligible to be licensed as professional counselors. The course will provide a comprehensive review of current models, theories and principles pertinent to the identification, description and delineation of major mental disorders. Concepts and terminology from the DSM-IV will be detailed and applied to salient clinical concerns and situations arising in human service agencies. Case supervision will be provided for participants' on-going clinical experiences. Special emphasis will be placed upon the reasoning, judgements and extrapolations that underlie the process of clinical diagnosis and prognosis.

Purpose: This course is intended for human service practitioners who serve as therapists, counselors, or case managers in a variety of human service settings in both the public and private sector and who are eligible to become Licensed Professional Counselors. The purpose of the course is to present the diagnostic categories of the DSM-IV as well as definitions of mental disorders derived from theory and research, and to enable participants to apply diagnostic skills in clinical settings. Students should also become better able to make effective linkages between diagnostic judgments and appropriate interventions and treatment plans.

Course goals:

1. Examine the DSM-IV as a relevant tool for counselors and clinicians;

2. Enhance the clinical skills of participants in identifying, understanding, and treating mental disorders within client populations with which they work;

3. Present criteria and decision rules for diagnosis of a variety of mental disorders;

4. Examine the concept of psychopathology with respect to cultural differences, historical context, and social controversy;

5. Introduce some of the criticisms of the DSM diagnostic system through the perspectives of sociologists, anthropologists, and feminist and black psychologists.

Student objectives: Students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of how to use the DSM-IV to identify and diagnose mental disorders;

2. Discuss the principle of differential diagnosis in distinguishing among several mental disorders;

3. Categorize mental disorders in terms of cognitive disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance related disorders, and biological and genetic disorders;

4. Specify the purpose of clinical diagnosis and define psychopathology in terms of symptoms and behavioral descriptions;

5. Demonstrate a capacity to match descriptions of behavior with appropriate categories of disorders in the DSM-IV;

6. Describe current treatment trends and directions with each of the major mental disorders;

7. Apply the above skills to specific supervised cases in a clinical practice setting.

Topics to be covered:

1. Historical perspectives in the study of psychopathology;

2. Descriptive and psychological diagnostic approaches;

3. The DSM-IV categorization and decision system for clinical diagnosis;

4. Types, etiology, and prevalence of mental disorders, including substance abuse disorders, bipolar disorders, panic disorders, phobic disorders, dissociative disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and borderline personality disorder;

5. Limitations of diagnostic categories, including issues of racism, sexism, classism, and multicultural issues;

6. Psychopathology and diagnosis in counseling practice and human service delivery.

Course requirements:

1. Students will be expected to comply with established principles and tenets of academic integrity as delineated by Lincoln University policy.

2. Students will be expected to attend all classes. Three absences will constitute a failure of the course.

3. Students will be expected to participate in all classroom discussions, exercises, role-plays, and/or small group activities.

4. Each student will give an in-class presentation identifying and describing a specific mental disorder, with an emphasis on its diagnosis, prevalence, and treatment modalities within a specific client population in a specific agency setting.

5. Each student will be required to perform at least 24 hours of supervised clinical practice with a relevant client population within an agency setting.

6. Each student will make a 20-minute case presentation applying the principles of diagnosis and treatment planning to a specific client case in the practicum setting.

7. Each student will take a midterm examination based on the descriptions and categories of the DSM-IV.

8. Each student will submit a 12 to 15 page final paper describing the relevant concerns and issues regarding psychopathology and diagnosis in his/her agency and client population. The paper must demonstrate a knowledge of historical background, social issues, political and economic implications, and emerging health care trends. The impact of managed care regarding diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention must also be addressed. The relevance of race, class, gender, and culture must be included. The paper must be written in APA format.

Assessment of student performance: Grades will be based on the following:

Oral presentation 20%
Case presentation 20%
Midterm exam 20%
Final paper 40%

Course methods: The course will employ a variety of educational methods, including lectures, films, discussions, role-plays and simulations, class presentations, and small group exercises. By utilizing various methods, the course will foster learning that is active, participatory, and grounded in practice. The integration of theory and practice will be emphasized.

Schedule of assignments:

Weeks 3-8 Oral presentations (in alphabetical order by name)

Week 8 Midterm examination

Weeks 9-11 Case presentations

Week 12 Final paper due

Required reading:

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th edition, text revision). Washington, D.C.: APA.

Spitzer, R.L., Gibbon, M., & Skodol, A. (1994). DSM-IV casebook. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Handouts as appropriate.

Recommended reading:

Maxmen, J.S. & Ward, M.G. (1995). The essentials of psychopathology and its treatment. (2nd ed.) N.Y.: W.W. Norton.

Munson, C.E. (2001). The mental health diagnostic desk reference. N.Y.: The Haworth Press.

Turner, S.M. & Herson, M. (1997). Adult psychopathology and diagnosis. N.Y.: Wiley.

Schlele, J.H. (2001). Human services and the Afrocentric paradigm. N.Y.: Haworth.

Wernet, S.P. (1999). Managed care in the human services. Chicago: Lyceum Books.

Zide, M.R. & Gray, S. (2001). Psychopathology: A competency-based assessment model for social workers. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.


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