Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: One of the following: ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of mental disorders
  • Demonstrate knowledge of common treatment modalities.


Introduction to the scientific study of psychopathology. Investigation of psychological disorders from various theoretical perspectives such as biological, psychodynamic, behavioral, sociocultural, cognitive, and humanistic approaches. Survey of psychological disorders and their major causes and treatments.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Comprehend interaction of biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural forces in the expression of emotional disorders.
B. Gain knowledge of technical terminology used to describe abnormal behavior.
C. Identify emotional disturbances, their etiology, and their treatment, and the effects of cultural awareness.
D. Comprehend clinical methods and procedures.
E. Recognize objectives, expected outcomes, and actual outcomes of psychotherapeutic procedures.
F. Critically analyze clinical methods.
G. Evaluate divergent theories on the etiology and treatment of psychological disorders.

Course Content

A. Definition of abnormal behavior
1. Distress, disability and deviance
2. Individual perspective
3. Cultural perspective
B. Abnormal behavior: historical perspectives
1. Evil spirits
2. The dark ages
3. Age of enlightenment
4. Asylums and hospitals
C. Mental health professionals
1. Psychiatrists
2. Clinical psychologists
3. Other professionals
D. Causes and treatments
1. Freudian theory
2. Neo-Freudian theories
3. Behavioral theories
4. Humanistic theories
5. Socio-cultural theories
6. Neurological/biological theories
E. Diagnostic techniques
1. Psychological tests
2. Reliability and validity
3. Trait measurement
4. Sociocultural factors
5. Laboratory tests
6. Observation in natural settings
7. Cultural bias in assessment
F. Research methods
1. Characteristics of the scientific method
2. Case study
3. Correlational
4. Descriptive
5. Experimental
6. Ethical concerns
G. Anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, trauma stressors and related disorders
1. Normal versus abnormal anxiety
2. Symptoms of phobic disorders
3. Generalized anxiety disorder
4. Panic disorder
5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding, trichotillomania, excoriation
6. Body dysmorphic disorder
7. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
8. Theory and therapy
H. Dissociative and somatic symptom disorders
1. Dissociative disorders (amnesia, fugue)
2. Dissociative identity disorder
3. Depersonalization/derealization disorder
4. Conversion disorder
5. Factitious disorder
6. Illness anxiety disorder
7. Somatic symptom disorder
8. Theory and therapy
I. Schizophrenia
1. Symptoms
2. Issues
3. Explanations and treatments
J. Substance-related and addictive disorders
1. Alcohol use disorder
2. Nicotine use disorder
3. CNS depressants
4. CNS stimulants
5. Hallucinogens
6. Narcotics
7. Explanations and treatments for drug use
8. Gambling addiction
K. Depressive and bipolar disorders
1. Major depression
2. Persistent depressive disorder
3. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
4. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
5. Bipolar disorder
6. Cyclothymic disorder
7. Suicide
8. Theory and therapy
L. Sexual dysfunctions, paraphilic disorders, and gender dysphoria
1. Paraphilias
M. Neurodevelopmental disorders
1. Autism spectrum disorders
N. Feeding and eating disorders
1. Anorexia nervosa
2. Bulimia nervosa
3. Binge eating disorder
4. Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
O. Personality disorders
1. Odd/eccentric personality disorders
2. Dramatic/emotional personality disorders
3. Anxious/fearful personality disorders
4. Borderline personality disorder
5. Histrionic personality disorder
6. Narcissistic personality disorder
7. Theory and therapy
P. Neurocognitive disorders
1. Alzheimer's disease
2. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
3. Lewy body disease
4. Vascular disease
5. Traumatic brain injury
6. Substance/medication use
7. HIV infection
8. Prion disease
9. Parkinson's disease
10. Huntington's disease
11. Another medical condition
12. Multiple etiologies
Q. Unspecified neurocognitive disorder

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Midterm examination
Problem-solving exercises
Final examination

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Class discussions
Active learning exercises

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Susan K. Whitbourne. Abnormal Psychology: Clinical Perspectives on Psychological Disorders, 9th ed.. 2020.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Written exercises on case studies
B. Writing assignment on a specific psychological disorder
C. Current journal articles on various psychological disorders, causes and treatments