Course Descriptions

Conceptual Foundations of Developmental Psychopathology: Risk & Protective Factors

Credits: 3

This course draws from two conceptual frameworks that form the basis of current thinking about developmental psychopathology. The developmental psychopathology perspective focuses on risk and protective factors in child psychopathology, and highlights the continuity between typical and atypical development. The bioecological model of human development emphasizes the importance of understanding bidirectional influences between the individuals’ development and their surrounding environmental context. This model provides an organizational framework for understanding intrapersonal, family, neighborhood/community and social/economic risk and protective factors relevant to understanding child mental health. In this class, we will address intra-individual (e.g., temperament, emotion regulation) as well as broad social-contextual factors that contribute to children’s mental health problems, such as parent substance use and mental health problems, intimate partner violence, poverty and contexts of abuse and neglect.


Parenting Interventions

Credits: 3

In this course, students learn to treat oppositional defiant disorder and other disruptive behavior disorders in children through parent management training. Students learn the underlying skills and strategies for treatment, engage in dialogue about cultural, social, and other family factors influencing treatment, and receive training in Helping the Noncompliant Child, an evidence-based treatment with over 30 years of research.


Social & Emotional Development

Credits: 3

Social-emotional development includes the child’s experience, expression and management of emotions, and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others. It involves both intra- and interpersonal processes. Social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, citizen and worker. In this course, we will cover the core features of social-emotional development, including temperament, attachment, emotional competence and regulation, development of the self, gender, identity development (including ethnic and racial socialization) and prosocial behavior. As healthy social-emotional development unfolds in an interpersonal context, we will focus on the role of parents, peers, romantic relationships and other caregivers as key contexts for strengthening children’s capacity to learn and develop.


Child & Adolescent Psychopathology: Assessment & Diagnosis

Credits: 3

This course introduces students to the major disorders typically diagnosed in childhood and adolescence, including the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, current information on their etiology and the latest research on the most effective assessment and treatment. Students examine the complexity of child psychopathology from an integrated perspective that considers biological, psychological, social and contextual influences on its development. The course aims to strengthen the critical thinking and conceptual skills necessary to formulate comprehensive case formulations and develop accurate diagnoses. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to accurately conceptualize and diagnose complex diagnostic presentations in childhood and adolescence, including disruptive behavior disorders, affective disorders, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder and eating disorders.


Approaches to Child & Adolescent Treatment

Credits: 3

This course is designed to provide students with comprehensive information and practical tools for providing evidence-based treatment to children experiencing a range of emotional and/or behavioral problems. You’ll learn about various treatment implementation approaches, and examine the application of those treatment approaches with diverse families (culturally, ethnically, sexually, economically, etc.). The course will use didactic (reading, lecture, in-class discussion), skills demonstration (modeling, role-playing) and assessment (presentations, written assignments) to achieve learning goals. By the end of the quarter, students should have an understanding of the most effective treatments across a range of different childhood disorders, a rubric for understanding how to make treatment decisions, and have some experiential awareness of delivery of evidence-based treatment elements.


Treatment for Trauma & Anxiety

Credits: 3

In this course, students learn to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and associated symptoms through learning a cognitive behavioral approach specific to trauma treatment. Students learn Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the most well-researched trauma treatment for children and adolescents. Students also learn therapeutic approaches that are helpful in the treatment of anxiety, especially specific phobias and generalized anxiety.


Critical Thinking about Research & Ethics

Credits: 3

Leadership in the area of child psychology and treatment requires the capacity to think critically about current research and to communicate current findings to others. It also involves knowledge of ethical principles for working with children and families. This course will provide students with an understanding of core concepts in research methodology and how to critically evaluate research findings. Ethical guidelines for practice and research will also be discussed.


Extreme & Complex Needs

Credits: 3

In this course, students learn to effectively treat more challenging disorders, such as conduct disorder, substance abuse and suicidal behaviors. For children and families in which these problems exist, symptom presentation is often complicated by difficulties in school, involvement in the juvenile justice system and often involvement in the child welfare system. In addition to learning several evidence-based approaches (including the principles of Multisystemic Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy), students learn how to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams and manage the complex needs of these families. Students also learn motivational interviewing techniques.