2021 Master Class -【Psychology】Introduction to Abnormal Psychology: Mental Illness



Professor Introduction:

UC San DiegoProfessor Nathaniel Chapman is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the UC San Diego. He has diagnosed and treated various populations including spinal cord injuries, substance abuse patients, veterans and adolescents, as well as children. Professor Chapman also specializes in couples therapy utilizing empirically supported Gottman Method treatment. He developed co-curricular community outreach programming for undergraduates interested in clinical psychology. 




Course Description:

This course provides an introduction of the causes, characteristics, and treatment of psychological disorders. Emphasis is given to the interaction between biological, psychological, and sociocultural processes contributing to abnormal behavior. 


Student Learning Objectives:

The Introduction to Mental Disorders course is designed to give you an introduction to Mental Illness and Mental Wellness.  The course will provide you with an overview of the major approaches to developing and treating psychological disorders.  


Methods of Instruction:

Lectures, discussions, audiovisual presentations, readings, and personal investigation.  Students’ views and opinions are a refreshing addition to the class format.  However, disrespect will not be tolerated. You are ultimately responsible for your performance and its results.  By reading and studying, you will be at a significant advantage in applying your knowledge in classroom discussions and assignments. Therefore, I encourage you to purchase a textbook as soon as possible and begin reading and exploring the material on your own, where the full responsibility for your academic success ultimately lies. (we may not be able to cover all that is projected, and the syllabus is subject to change) It is recommended that you read the assigned chapters before coming to class.  


Course Outcomes:

Students will gain insight on how to conduct the 3 methods of thought introduced below, and use these methods of thought to analyze case studies using vignette techniques. 

Inquiry-Based Thinking

Students will formulate focused questions and hypotheses, evaluate existing knowledge, collect and analyze data, and draw justifiable conclusions.

  • Articulate and describe basic research methods and designs in studying abnormal disorders.
Integrative Thinking 

Students will make connections and transfer skills, and learn amount-varied disciplines, domains of thinking, experiences, and situations.

  • Examine the history, basic terms, concepts, theories, and ethics related to psychological disorders
  • Describe how the major theoretical orientations in the field of psychology can be used to explain various  psychological disorders
Quantitative Thinking

Students will analyze real-world problems quantitatively, formulate reasonable estimates, assess the validity of visual representations of quantitative information, and differentiate valid from questionable statistical conclusions.

  • Read and analyze charts, graphs, contingency tables, & other data representations conveying scientific information.
  • Discuss and use critical thinking and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems within the field of psychology

Course Outline:

Week 1: July 5-9

Covers Chapter 1-3 of the Textbook

Introduction to the course and psychological disorders

History and Trends

Models of Abnormality





Clinical Assessment

Differential Diagnosis Vignette


Week 2: July 12-16

Covers Chapters 3-5



Generalized Anxiety Disorder


Social Anxiety Disorder

Panic Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Acute Stress Disorder


Dissociative Identity Disorder

Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder



Week 3: July 19-23

Covers Chapter 6-7 & 12


Bipolar Disorder


Paranoid Personality Disorders

Schizoid Personality Disorders

Schizotypal Personality Disorders

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

“Anxious” Personality Disorders


End of Course Reflection


Title Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology
Author(s) Ronald J. Comer & Jonathan S. Comer
Publisher MacMillian
Edition 9th
ISBN ISBN-978-1-319-12669-8, ISBN-1-319-12669-3

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