John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology

Abnormal Psychology:
Course Outline

(PSY 220)

Dr. John Suler
Science and Technology Center
Rider University

This course explores the symptoms, causes, and experience of various types of psychological disorders - particularly the neurotic, psychotic, and mood disorders. We will emphasize a case study approach to understanding these conditions, as well apply abnormal psychology to everyday life. How we identify and assess abnormality are important underlying issues. A variety of class activities - including small group exercises, videos, and audio recordings - are used to understand mental disorders.

After many years of teaching this course, I decided to stop using traditional textbooks about abnormal psychology. As these books attempted to become more and more comprehensive in keeping up with the ever expanding DSM, the readings became too complex and expansive for many undergraduate students. I prefer a more conceptually streamlined, focused, and phenomenological approach to understanding mental disorders- which is why I now use the novel Madman and a case study book as the required readings.


Madman: Strange Adventures of a Psychology Intern, by John Suler

Case Studies in Abnormal Psychology, by Oltmanns, Martin, Neale, & Davison

I. Studying and classifying psychopathology

** Exam #1

II. Less severe forms of psychopathology

** Exam #2

III. Severe pathological conditions

IV. Overview of Mental Health Treatments

** Exam #3

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