As of last night at 11:15pm I officially finished my Adult Psychopathology blended course. I think I have mentioned this class before, but just as a reminder blended courses are primarily online with the exception of one “weekend-in-residence” where we meet for class all day on Saturday and Sunday. The class was seven weeks instead of the full semester, and I feel like it was just yesterday that I cracked open my Abnormal Psychology book to chapter one to start the class! I must say, I was pretty apprehensive about taking a class online, especially psychopathology, as I really enjoyed all of my traditional classes last semester and I especially enjoyed all of our great class discussions. However, while it took some getting used to the online format, all in all I really enjoyed this blended course.
For the class we had to complete weekly readings in the textbook as well as any related articles and we had to respond to discussion questions online. Responding to the discussion questions was my favorite part of the class, as the questions often incorporated interesting videos and articles that related the week’s course content to present-day issues. For example, as the DSM is undergoing a major revision we did a lot of reading and writing about our opinions on the proposed changes. As clinicians in training, changes in the DSM will have a huge impact on our future work with clients and it was really interesting to analyze some of the proposed changes from the stance that they will someday directly affect us as professionals. Also, we watched some really great video clips about different topics relating to mental illness. The last video that we watched was a presentation by Dr. Xavier Amador, a clinical psychologist who discussed his proposed model of how to work with people with severe mental illness and how to engage them in treatment. I found his presentation to be both fascinating and eye-opening, as it provided me with a great level of insight to the use of motivational interviewing to align with people suffering with psychotic disorders. Dr. Amador discussed how the resistance to treatment demonstrated by such people is purely a symptom of their illness, and through his method of listening, empathizing, agreeing, and partnering a therapeutic relationship is established that provides the necessary trust and support to aid in the process of these patients seeking the treatment they need. I really urge you all to check out his book, as I found it to be very insightful and informative- I included a link below!
Any who…I have a habit of getting side tracked…but back to my experience with my blended course. In addition to responding to discussion questions, we had the opportunity to respond to posts made by our classmates. Unlike being in a classroom setting, the spontaneity and natural flow of a conversation was lacking but instead we were able to take the time to thoughtfully respond to each other and as a result we were able to have some really meaningful exchanges through the discussion boards. It was nice to have this experience in addition to my experiences in my traditional courses. Lastly, the main focus of the course was learning how to diagnose using the DSM so we completed a series of quizzes where we explained our diagnosis of case presentations. Similarly, I finished my final exam last night where I received a thorough case presentation and I had to present my diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
It has been an extremely busy seven weeks, but I feel as though I learned a lot in this class and it ended up being a great experience!