Course Number: PSYC 230
For as long as civilization has existed, the kinds of phenomena studied in a course in abnormal psychology has indeed generated much curiosity, puzzlement, and concern. The present time is no exception. Our newspapers and newscasts provide daily reminders of the kinds of things that can go wrong in human lives and result in psychological pain and behavioural problems. Some examples that speak to this point are: (1) Lorne, 19 years old, was part of a 25 car pileup during a blinding snowstorm. Eight months after the accident, he still has terrifying nightmares during which he relives the traumatic event. (2) Rebecca, 32 years old, washes her hands about 50 times a day to make sure that they are clean. The skin on her hands is cracked and infected, but she can't stop doing it. (3) Jeffrey, 54, told his doctor that there is a tape recorder in his brain. It was put there by means of an operation. The 'organization,' he says, did it. This course will examine such cases in an attempt to explain the kinds of processes which are involved in the development of such abnormal minds. The emphasis is on the personal experience of abnormality, the inner experience of individuals their fears, struggles and triumphs as they do battle with their particular mental disorder. The abnormal mind is a part of life to be reckoned with.