Core Clinical and Developmental Courses

Core Clinical and Developmental Courses


Developmental Psychology (510). This course provides an overview of theory and research relating to the development of children and adolescents within family, school, and cultural contexts and thus serves as a foundation for future work in the department. Following an overview of major developmental theories, we examine topics such as infant perception, infant sociality, prelinguistic communication, attachment, language development, the development of self awareness, early social cognition and theory of mind, conceptual change, memory and learning, parent-child relations, peer relations and gender issues, self-concept and self-perception, moral development, logical thinking, and identity formation. Topics are examined within a multicultural, ecological, and developmental framework.


Developmental Psychopathology (551). An examination of research and theory addressing the origins, course, and consequences of maladaptive functioning in children, adolescents, and families. Major forms of childhood and adolescent psychopathology (e.g., antisocial behavior, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and depression) are examined and family-based risk factors for psychopathology, such as parenting quality and marital conflict, are explored. An important focus of the course is on the identification of risk and protective factors for psychopathology. Topics covered include contrasting models of psychopathology; assessment and classification of childhood disorders; models of individual and family risk; social and cultural factors influencing the development of psychopathology; and therapeutic efforts to prevent or ameliorate disorders.


History of Clinical Psychology (612). Familiarizes students with 20th century developments in clinical psychology and with the 18th and 19th century social and intellectual trends from which they emerged. Topics include: Mesmerism and the rise of dynamic psychiatry in Europe and America; changing patterns in the institutionalization of the insane; the Boston Group (James, Prince, Sidis) and the development of abnormal psychology and psychotherapy; the American reception of psychoanalysis; the Mental Hygiene and Child Guidance movements; the growth of psychometrics; personality theories and theorists; and trends in the professionalization of clinical psychology after WWII.


Family, School, and Culture (623). This course is designed to examine recent research on and theories of the influence of family, culture, and schools on child development. This course is a prerequisite for the family therapy course. Topics covered include: theories and models of the family and family life cycles, the school as a social system, family-school relationships, and cultural influences on families and schools. The course emphasizes theoretical concepts and has a strong historical perspective.


Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues (690). This course deals with ethical, legal, and professional issues in the science and practice of psychology. Students give class presentations and lead discussions about legal cases affecting school and clinical practice, about the APA and NASP Ethics codes, and about professional issues related to academic and applied psychology. It is taught in the Spring semester of the year in which students are engaged in their assessment practicum (usually their third year in the program). The class includes a weekly "supervision lab" in which students discuss ethical, legal, and professional issues related to their school placements. Specific ethical and legal issues discussed include competence, informed consent, confidentiality, expert testimony, special education law, due process rights, child custody evaluation, and the duty to warn, with particular emphasis on situations likely to arise in the provision of psychological services to children and families. (Discussion of ethical conduct of research and practice also occurs in the weekly Research Brown Bag lunch meeting and in the Research Methods course, as well as in meetings between individual students and their research advisors).



Clinical and Assessment Courses


Introduction to Psychological Assessment: Cognition and Information Processing (540). This course introduces current approaches to identifying the educational needs of children and adolescents through psychological assessment. The major topics include: theoretical conceptualizations of intelligence and learning disabilities/differences within a developmental framework, psychometric concepts as they apply directly to the assessment process, and the use of norm-referenced measures of cognition and information processing in concert with observations, clinical interviews, and other qualitative information about the strengths and needs of students. Additional topics include issues of culture in assessment, differential validity of standardized tests, the role of Dynamic assessment approaches, and multiple perspectives on current classification systems. Assignments entail practice in the administration, scoring, interpretation, and integration of selected cognitive and information processing measures, as well as the communication of findings and their implications.


Psychoeducational and Social/Emotional Assessment (541). This course serves as a continuation of Psych 540 (above) with emphasis on the assessment of academic skill development, social/emotional functioning, and behavioral functioning with the purpose of aiding in the development of appropriate remedial strategies and clinical recommendations. This course will include an overview of the reading process, and the acquisition of math and writing skills. Students will be introduced to standardized measures of academic assessment as well as informal, curriculum-based, and response to interventions methods of assessment of learning disabilities/differences. Students will also be exposed to a variety of diagnostic and assessment tools utilized for the assessment of social/emotional and behavioral issues including rating scales, observations, interviews, questionnaires, and projective measures. This course will also introduce the students to current approaches in the assessment and/or diagnosis of several specific disorders including Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. Interpretation and integration of information will be emphasized throughout.


Introduction to Psychotherapy (561). This course provides an introduction to the principles and practice of individual psychotherapy with an emphasis on working with children and adolescents. Students are encouraged to think critically about the nature and process of psychotherapy and to apply creatively their knowledge and skills to the task of helping those in need. Emphasis is placed on formulating therapeutic goals and conceptualizing therapeutic change. The course provides an overview of dominant conceptualizations of therapy, including psychodynamic and cognitive/behavioral approaches and of the psychotherapy research literature. Therapeutic techniques and challenges in work with children and adolescents are presented. Concurrent with the course, students have an introductory therapy experience in a school or clinic in which they conduct psychotherapy with one or two clients and receive supervision.


Family Therapy (660). This course introduces students to the theoretical and practical foundations of treating couples and families from a systems perspective. Treatment issues are covered through the use of videotapes, didactic presentations, role plays, and student presentations. In conjunction with the weekly one-semester course, students can elect to participate in a one-morning per week family therapy supervision group at CSI. While enrolled in this course, and in the subsequent semester, students engage in a psychotherapy practicum in a clinic, school, pupil service agency, or other approved setting arranged by the department.


Consultation and Practice Issues in School Psychology (642). The third and final course in the CDPP psychological assessment sequence, this course prepares students for the professional practice of clinical developmental and school psychology. The course deals with models of special education; consultation approaches in school psychology; categories of exceptionality; multicultural issues in the delivery of school psychology services; principles of educational psychology; the structure and organization of schools; and assessment of preschoolers. The class includes a weekly “Diagnostic and Personality Assessment Lab” While taking this course, and continuing through the second semester, each student works in an assessment practicum in a school, clinic, or pupil service agency. This course includes a weekly lab in which students and instructors discuss ongoing cases and consider such clinical issues as test selection, scoring, report writing, working with parents, consultation, and programming recommendations.



Research Methods and Statistics Courses


Statistics (500). Designed to help students develop the critical skills necessary to evaluate the research of others and to design and conduct research of their own. Students are presumed to have had exposure to statistics as undergraduates, but basic ideas and methods are reviewed quickly at the beginning of the semester. Topics covered in the course include simple and multiple correlation and regression, t-tests, nonparametric tests, analyses of variance, and methods of analyzing categorical data. The course stresses major theoretical concepts such as hypothesis-testing, uses of inferential methods, research design, validity, and power. Students gain experience analyzing data with SPSS and presenting the results of their analyses in APA-style.


Research Methods (501). This course deals with research design and methodology in psychology. An important purpose of this course is to help students begin their predissertation research projects. Students explore issues of internal and external validity of research designs, examine the use of survey, case, observational, and experimental methods, and consider modes of data collection and levels of measurement as they examine a variety of research topics in clinical and developmental psychology in greater depth. Topics covered include basics of experimental design, measurement and scaling, microgenetic methods, diary studies, treatment efficacy research, and research ethics.


Multivariate Statistics (502). This course is designed to introduce students to advanced statistical techniques that are becoming increasingly important in developmental, clinical and school psychology research. We focus on understanding the advantages and limitations of common multivariate analytic techniques that permit simultaneous prediction of multiple outcomes. Emphasis is placed on helping students critically evaluate applications of these techniques in the literature and the utility of applying these techniques to their own work. Topics covered include path modeling, ways of analyzing data collected over multiple points in time (e.g., a growth curve capturing change in a developmental variable during childhood), confirmatory factor analysis, and measurement models. Students use existing data sets to gain experience with statistical software that can be used for multivariate analyses.



Proseminars Covering the Breadth of Psychology


Cognitive/Neuropsychology (529). This course explores the cognitive bases of behavior, emphasizing an information processing approach. The major areas of cognitive psychology are surveyed. These areas include perception, attention, memory, language, and thinking and decision making. The application of basic knowledge in these areas to developmental and clinical psychology is also explored. In addition, the course deals with the basics of human neuropsychology, providing an introduction to disorders of language, spatial processing, memory, emotion, and planning/attention as a result of brain injury.


Biological/Affective Bases of Behavior (537). Provides students with a foundation in the biological basis of emotion and behavior. The primary areas covered are basic neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, the physiological basis of emotion and motivation, and an introduction to psychopharmacology. Students learn about the primary experimental methods for the study of learning, emotion, and motivation in animals and the importance of animal models for the study of clinical problems in humans.


Tests and Measurements/Social Psychology (536). The first half of the semester addresses fundamentals of tests and measurements. Topics covered include measurement in relation to statistics, norms and scores, test validity, and classic reliability theory. The second half provides an introduction to basic social psychological theories and research. Topics covered include: group dynamics, stereotypes and group conflict, attitude measurement, and attitudes and behavior. An emphasis is placed on research methods in the study of social psychology.