The history of the diagnosis of mental disorders is fraught with examples of how cultural norms and prejudices interfere with and warp a diagnosis. The result is that normal behavior and orientations have been pathologized as an illness or disease. An example of this would be the story of Alan Turing, the famous British computer scientist of the 20th century, who was instrumental in inventing modern computers and deciphering German code in World War II. He was convicted in 1952 in England of gross indecency for being gay. Turing was forced by the courts to undergo 12 months of hormone therapy and could no longer work for the British government. At the time, homosexuality was pathologized as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and was criminalized in most Western countries. It was not until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) finally removed homosexuality from the DSM.
Historically, the process of rendering a diagnosis has been used to pathologize those who fell outside what was considered the cultural norm of human behavior. This process often marginalized diagnosed populations and prevented individuals from receiving appropriate care. It is of utmost importance to consider cultural issues that influence how you as a clinician interpret a client’s behavior and how cultural issues influence how a client may express behavior. This week, you explore the history of psychopathology and the evolution of theoretical perspectives in the field.
Analyze historical and currently recognized biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors that inform the expression, course, and prevalence of psychopathology
Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)
Practicum Manual Acknowledgment
The Practicum Manual describes the structure and timing of the classroom-based and practicum experiences and the policies students must follow to be successful in the nurse practitioner (NP) specialties.
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The PMHNP Study Support Lounge is offered throughout the course as a place of academic refuge, where you can ask questions, offer insights, and interact with your peers. Your Instructor may also weigh in to provide global feedback to the group based on trends, common problems, and common strengths in student posts.
As a peer, you are encouraged to provide constructive, helpful feedback to your peers. Advanced practice nurses always benefit from the feedback of others. Your Study Support Lounge posts may be procedural (“How do I attach a Kaltura video to a Discussion post?”), conceptual (“How does this relate to the other therapy approaches we have studied?”), or analytical (“What do these diagnostic results actually mean in the context of this specific patient case?”). Although not mandatory, this is an opportunity to interact and study together as you navigate the assignments, so you are highly encouraged to take part in this activity. Full participation in activities like these is a statistically significant predictor of success.
To Participate in this Optional Discussion:
PMHNP Study Support Lounge
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In many realms of medicine, objective diagnoses can be made: A clavicula is broken. An infection is present. TSH levels meet the diagnostic criteria for hypothyroidism. Psychiatry, on the other hand, deals with psychological phenomena and behaviors. Can these, too, be “defined objectively and by scientific criteria (Gergen, 1985), or are they social constructions?” (Sadock et al., 2015).
Thanks to myriad advances during recent decades, we know that psychopathology is caused by many interacting factors. Theoretical and clinical contributions to the field have come from the neural sciences, genetics, psychology, and social-cultural sciences. How do these factors impact the expression, classification, diagnosis, and prevalence of psychopathology, and why might it be important for a nurse practitioner to take a multidimensional, integrative approach?
Review this week’s Learning Resources, considering the many interacting factors that contribute to the development of psychopathology.
Consider how theoretical perspective on psychopathology impacts the work of the PMHNP.
By Day 3 of Week 1
Explain the biological (genetic and neuroscientific); psychological (behavioral and cognitive processes, emotional, developmental); and social, cultural, and interpersonal factors that influence the development of psychopathology. Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses
By Day 6 of Week 1
Respond to at least two of your colleagues on 2 different days by explaining the implications of why, as an advanced practice nurse, it is important to adopt a multidimensional, integrative model of psychopathology.
Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 1 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 of Week 1 and Respond by Day 6 of Week 1
To Participate in this Discussion:
Week 1 Discussion
In Week 2, you will be introduced to assessment and diagnosis of the psychiatric patient. You will explore elements of the psychiatric interview, history, and examination as well as psychiatric rating scales. You also will review the classification system of psychiatric disorders in the DSM-5 and the role the DSM-5 plays in diagnosis.
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Practicum – Upcoming Deadline
In the Nurse Practitioner programs of study (FNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP, and PMHNP) you are required to take several practicum courses. If you plan on taking a practicum course within the next two terms, you will need to submit your application via Meditrek .
For information on the practicum application process and deadlines, please visit the Field Experience: College of Nursing: Application Process – Graduate web page.
Please take the time to review the Appropriate Preceptors and Field Sites for your courses.
Please take the time to review the practicum manuals, FAQs, Webinars and any required forms on the Field Experience: College of Nursing: Student Resources and Manuals web page.
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