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Course Information

Instructor Info:Peter Gilford
TA Info:Lindsey Laub
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Wednesday
02:30 PM - 05:20 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 4

The mental health professions offer a range of approaches for the treatment of human suffering but there is often little explanation as to what the various treatments are and how they are thought to work. A central question this class will pursue is on what basis should one choose a psychotherapist and psychotherapy? We will examine what psychotherapy is from a range of perspectives with the intention of developing a moral and ethical framework through which psychotherapeutic practice can be critically understood. We will explore how shifting cultural values, economic changes in health care funding and accessibility, and the modern era's emphasis on efficiency and parsimony among other factors, contribute to the popular understandings about mental health treatment. Prerequisite: Some prior undergraduate background in psychology.

Course Objectives:

The goal of this class is to help you to identify and connect your worldview - -that is, what you think the “good life” is and what it means to be properly human to the fundamentally moral understandings that underlie all approaches to psychotherapeutic treatment. In identifying what type(s) of psychotherapy appeal to you and why, and which do not, you should begin to develop a moral and ethical framework about life, human striving and meaning-making, human happiness and human suffering and, most importantly, how psychology and psychotherapeutic practice is inescapably tangled up in the political. The personal will be repeatedly tied to the political: private troubles or public issues?

Learning Objectives:

1) To become familiar with various approaches to psychotherapy and their underlying moral positions, 2) To critically reflect on why certain psychotherapeutic approaches appeal to you and why others may not, 3) To connect how the values underlying psychotherapeutic approaches challenge or sustain the status quo, and encourage or discourage difference or conformity, 4) To understand how psychotherapies (“technologies of the self”) are situated historically and politically, and 5) To situate your understanding of human suffering and the means to its amelioration in a meaningful, critical frame of reference.

Evaluation Criteria:

Course Requirements and Evaluation Criteria:

 Written Work:

Every week you are required to post a one-page (minimum 350 words) reading response/thought piece in reaction to the upcoming week’s reading to the course website by Monday evening by 11PM.

 We will also do occasional in-class spontaneous writing in response to experiential activities and video.

Written assignments include two 3-page response papers, an 8-page mid-term paper (Due March 12th) and a 15 page final paper (Due April 30th). Specific instructions for these assignments will be emailed or posted on the course website two weeks before the assignments are due.

You will be expected to engage with the readings and to demonstrate that engagement through your weekly posts one-page posts on assigned readings.

Engagement with the readings will be evidenced by class comments, the on-line weekly integrated response-reactions you post, other discussion posts via the discussion forums on the course website, and the evolution of your critical thinking and analysis. Remember, it is your responsibility to continuously demonstrate your engagement with the course material throughout the semester through the above-mentioned pathways.

Written Assignments:

Written assignments must be turned in as hard copy on the day they are due. Late papers will be accepted only under extenuating circumstances and by prior permission of the professor. Late papers will not receive written comments.

 **The quality of your writing is extremely important in your final evaluation for this class. If your writing has significant issues it may be returned to you for revisions.**

 The entirety of your written work should be included in the class portfolio that you hand in at the end of the semester.


Additional Info:

Class Presentations: (depending on class size, this is likely to be changed)

Students will be responsible for a class presentation on specific readings that should include a 1-2 page summary of the readings for that date to be handed out to the class. Summary outlines of the significant aspects of the readings (or approaches) they are presenting on, and relevant terminology defined. Presentations should last 45 minutes and should include a visual component, a case example, and a creative exercise. Presentations will be evaluated by the class and suggested revisions to the format of presentations may happen throughout the semester. Below is the suggested areas presentations of specific therapeutic approaches may cover. Presenters/presentations are intended to stimulate discussion base on the summary of the assigned readings.

            Historical Background

            Concept of Personality

            Psychological Health and Pathology

            Process of Clinical Assessment (if any)

            The Practice of Therapy

            The Therapeutic Relationship and the Stance of the Therapist

            How is change thought to happen?

            Treatment Applicability and Ethical Considerations

            Research Support or Evidence for Efficacy

            Case Illustration and/or role-play

 There will be one presentation each class session excepting the first and last class, so some of you will likely need to choose a partner for your presentation (depends on enrollment). The presenter(s) are responsible for initiating and structuring the class discussion, thus it isn’t necessary to prepare to speak the entire 45 minutes. Presenters are encouraged to be creative in their presentations, using film, literature, poetry, case examples, experiential exercises etc., to illustrate or highlight aspects of what they are presenting on.

 Those presenting on a particular form of therapy should provide the essential assumptions of the theory and technique—but the main focus of the presentation should be critical - - that is, the presenters should discuss the positive and negative aspects of the approach they are discussing based on their own stated ethical criteria and also that derived from discussion and critical analysis.

 All written work must follow APA formatting criteria or it will be returned to you. Following APA (American Psychological Association) criteria is essential to academic work and will help you to understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. In short, this involves citing other scholar’s research, statements, ideas, concepts, vocabulary, theories, etc., and doing so according to APA criteria. This will also inform you of when and how to use quoted excerpts as well as the appropriate way to format and put together a reference section.


Also: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th or 7th Edition) which is in the library.

 In addition: See also: which is a website that will correctly format entries for your reference section if you provide an ISBN number (international standard book number).

 All Hampshire College students and faculty, whether at Hampshire or at other institutions, are bound by the ethics of academic integrity. The entire description and college policy can be found in Non Satis Non Scire at under Academic Policies/Ethics of Scholarship. Plagiarism is the representation of someone else’s work as one’s own. Both deliberate and inadvertent misrepresentations of another’s work as your own are considered plagiarism and are serious breaches of academic honesty and integrity. All sources used or consulted in the process of writing papers, examinations, preparing oral presentations, course assignments, artistic productions, and so on, must be cited. Sources include material from books, journals or any other printed source, the work of other students, faculty, or staff, information from the Internet, software programs and other electronic material, designs and ideas.

All cases of suspected plagiarism or academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Advising who will review documentation and meet with student and faculty member. Individual faculty, in consultation with the Dean of Advising, will decide the most appropriate consequence in the context of the class. This can range from revising and resubmitting an assignment to failing the course. Beyond the consequence in the course, CASA considers first offenses as opportunities for education and official warning. Multiple or egregious offenses will have more serious consequences. Suspected instances of other breaches of the ethics of academic integrity, such as the falsification of data, will be treated with the same seriousness as plagiarism and will follow the same process.