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COURSE NAME: "Clinical Psychology"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Nicola Petrocchi
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 11:30 AM 12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PS 101


This course aims to provide an overview of the area of Clinical Psychology and will cover both a brief history of clinical psychology and current standards and evidence-based practices. Students will learn about the main theoretical approaches and common assessment and treatment methods of clinical psychologists and explore the current issues in this area.

Satisfies "Applied Psychology" core course requirement for Psychological Science majors.


The course will begin with providing a definition of clinical psychology, and a survey of the professional activities and settings of clinical psychologists. We will explore the rich history of the field and highlight the current controversies that characterize it. After a discussion of the cultural issues relevant to this discipline, we will analyze the most important ethical issues for clinical psychologists, including confidentiality. The course will then focus on how and why clinical psychologists conduct research. The issues of diagnosis and classification of disorders will be analyzed and discussed, with a focus on the clinical interview. We will then examine general psychotherapy issues such as efficacy, effectiveness, and the commonalities and differences among various psychotherapy approaches. The course will end with a critical survey of the several approaches to individual psychotherapy (psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, and cognitive approaches), group psychotherapy and family therapy. 

  • To learn what distinguishes clinical psychology from other fields
  • To understand and describe the key concepts, principles, theories, empirical findings and application in clinical psychology using the appropriate terminology 
  • To become aware of the cultural and ethical issues relevant to this discipline
  • To understand the models of education and training in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on the options available to students applying for graduate study in Clinical Psychology.
  • To comprehend the differences among the several approaches to individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy and family therapy.
  • To learn the main elements of the clinical interview
  • To express ideas in writing that reflect basic psychological concepts and principles 
  • To use standard English, and write using APA style
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Clinical Psychology: Science, Practice, and Diversity - 5th EditionAndrew M. PomerantzSAGE Publications, IncISBN-13: 978-1544333618; ISBN-10: 1544333617  Ebook  

2 MIDTERM TESTS (OCT 4th & NOV 8th - 2023)The exam will consist of multiple-choice questions and short essay questions.20% each
FINAL TEST (date TBD)The exam will consist of multiple-choice questions and short essay questions.20%
INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENTStudents will be required to do a 10-minute in-class presentation20%
PARTICIPATIONThe success of the class depends heavily on participation in class activities. Students will be expected to make regular contributions to class discussions and weekly forums on Moodle.20%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Attendance, although not mandatory, is essential to earn a good grade in this course. Each week will include a variety of readings, lectures, discussions, measures, and activities aimed at exploring the week’s topic. Students will get the most if they come to class prepared and ready to participate and engage with class activities and discussions.



You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Session Focus



SESSION 1.Clinical Psychology: definition, and training


SESSION 2.Evolution of clinical psychology (1)

Chapter 1, 2 (till page 37) of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Norcross, J. C., Sayette, M. A., & Pomerantz, A. M. (2018). Doctoral training in clinical psychology across 23 years: Continuity and change. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 74, 385–397.

-Norcross, J. C., Pfund, R. A., & Prochaska, J. O. (2013). Psychotherapy in 2022: A Delphi poll on its future.Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 44(5), 363–370.


SESSION 3. Evolution of clinical psychology (2) & Current controversies in clinical psychology  


SESSION 4. Directions in clinical psychology


Finish Chapter 2; Chapter 3 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Truijens, F., Zühlke-van Hulzen, L., & Vanheule, S. (2019). To manualized, or not to manualize: Is that still the question? A systematic review of empirical evidence for manual superiority in psychological treatment.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75, 329–343.

-Owen, J. J., Tao, K., Leach, M. M., & Rodolfa, E. (2011). Clients’ perceptions of their psychotherapists’ multicultural orientation. Psychotherapy, 48, 274–282.


SESSION 5. Diversity and cultural issues in clinical psychology

SESSION 6. Ethical issues in clinical psychology 


Chapter 4 and  5 (till page 113) of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Gelso, C. J., Pérez Rojas, A. E., & Marmarosh, C. (2014). Love and sexuality in the therapeutic relationship. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(2), 123–134.

-Fried, A. (2018). Ethical dilemmas in diagnosis. The Clinical Psychologist, 71(4), 10–12.

-Garske, J. P., & Anderson, T. (2003). Toward a science of psychotherapy research: Present status and evaluation. In S. O. Lilienfeld, S. J. Lynn, & J. M. Lohr (Eds.), Science and pseudo-science in clinical psychology (pp. 145–175). New York, NY: Guilford Press.


SESSION 7. Professional issues in clinical psychology 

SESSION 8. Conducting research in clinical psychology

Chapter 5 (till the end) and 6 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Wakefield, J. C. (2016). Diagnostic issues and controversies in DSM-5: Return of the false positives problem.Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 12, 105–132.

-Rettew, D. C., Lynch, A. D., Achenbach, T. M., Dumenci, L., & Ivanova, M. Y. (2009). Meta-analyses of agreement between diagnoses made from clinical evaluations and standardized diagnostic interviews.International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research,18(3), 169–184.https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.289

-Huprich, S. K., Jowers, C., & Nelson, S. (2019). Comparing DSM–5-Hybrid, SWAP, and PDM prototype models of personality disorders: Convergent and divergent findings. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 10(4), 376–382.https://doi.org/10.1037/per0000340

-Bornstein, R. F. (2011). From symptom to process: How the PDM alters goals and strategies in psychological assessment. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93(2), 142–150. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2011.542714


SESSION 9.DSM-5 and more




Chapter 7 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Sommers-Flanagan, J. (2016). Clinical interview. In J. C. Norcross, G. R. VandenBos, & D. K. Freedheim (Eds.), APA handbook of clinical psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 3–16). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

-Fiquer, J. T., Moreno, R. A., Brunoni, A. R., Barros, V. B., Fernandes, F., & Gorenstein, C. (2018). What is the nonverbal communication of depression? Assessing expressive differences between depressive patients and healthy volunteers during clinical interviews.Journal of Affective Disorders, 238, 636–644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.05.071


SESSION 11.Principles of clinical interview – I


SESSION 12.Principles of clinical interview – II

Chapter 8 and 9 (till page 216) of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Salmon, K. (2006). Toys in clinical interviews with children: Review and implications for practice.Clinical Psychologist, 10(2), 54–59.https://doi.org/10.1080/13284200600681601

-Bertelli, M. O., Cooper, S.-A., & Salvador-Carulla, L. (2018). Intelligence and specific cognitive functions in intellectual disability: Implications for assessment and classification. Current Opinion inPsychiatry, 31(2),88–95. https://doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0000000000000387


SESSION 13. Intellectual and Neuropsychological assessment



SESSION 14.Personality and behavioral assessment

Chapter 9 (till the end) and 10 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Fresson, M., Meulemans, T., Dardenne, B., & Geurten, M. (2019). Overdiagnosis of ADHD in boys: Stereotype impact on neuropsychological assessment. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 8(3), 231–245.https://doi.org/10.1080/21622965.2018.1430576

-Froján-Parga, M. X., Núñez de Prado-Gordillo, M., Álvarez-Iglesias, A., & Alonso-Vega, J. (2019). Functional behavioral assessment-based interventions on adults’ delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech: A single case meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2019.103444


SESSION 15.General issues in psychotherapy (I)


SESSION 16.General issues in psychotherapy (II)

Chapter 11 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Mulder, R., Murray, G., & Rucklidge, J. (2017). Common versus specific factors in psychotherapy: Opening the black box.The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(12),953–962.https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30100-1

-McClintock, A. S., Perlman, M. R., McCarrick, S. M., Anderson, T., & Himawan, L. (2017). Enhancing psychotherapy process with common factors feedback: A randomized, clinical trial.Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64(3),247–260. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000188


SESSION 17.Psychodynamic psychotherapy 



SESSION 18. Humanistic psychotherapy (I)

Chapter 12 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Lingiardi, V., Muzi, L., Tanzilli, A., & Carone, N. (2018).Do therapists’ subjective variables impact on psychodynamic psychotherapy outcomes? A systematic literature review. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 25(1), 85–101. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2131

-Abbass, A. A., Nowoweiski, S. J., Bernier, D., TarzwelI, R., & Beutel, M. E. (2014). Review of psychodynamic psychotherapy neuroimaging studies. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83(3), 142–147.https://doi.org/10.1159/000358841

-Whelton, W. J. (2004). Emotional Processes in Psychotherapy: Evidence Across Therapeutic Modalities.Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 11(1), 58–71. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.392


SESSION 19. Humanistic psychotherapy (II)






Chapter 13 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle.

Papers (not mandatory):

-Hedman-Lagerlöf, M., Andersson, E., Hedman-Lagerlöf, E., Wicksell, R. K., Flink, I., & Ljótsson, B. (2019). Approach as a key for success: Reduced avoidance behaviour mediates the effect of exposure therapy for fibromyalgia.Behaviour Research and Therapy, 122.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2019.103478

-Turrini, G., Purgato, M., Acarturk, C., Anttila, M., Au, T., Ballette, F., … Barbui, C. (2019). Efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions in asylum seekers and refugees: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 28(4), 376–388.https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796019000027

-McDonnell, C. J., & Garbers, S. V. (2018). Adverse childhood experiences and obesity: Systematic review of behavioral interventions for women. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 10(4), 387–395. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000313.supp (Supplemental)


SESSION 21. Behavioral therapy (I)



SESSION 22. Behavioral therapy (II)



Chapter 14 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle. Papers (not mandatory):

-Kazantzis, N., Luong, H. K., Usatoff, A. S., Impala, T., Yew, R. Y., & Hofmann, S. G. (2018). The processes of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses.Cognitive Therapy and Research,42(4), 349–357. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-018-9920-y

-Khalsa, M. K., Greiner-Ferris, J. M., Hofmann, S. G., & Khalsa, S. B. S. (2015). Yoga-enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy (Y-CBT) for anxiety management: A pilot study.Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy,22(4), 364–371. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.1902


SESSION 23. Cognitive therapy

SESSION 24. 3° Wave CBT – mindfulness-based therapies

Chapter 15. Slides posted on Moodle;

Papers (not mandatory):

-Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., & Linehan, M. M. (2009). A biosocial developmental model of borderline personality: Elaborating and extending linehan’s theory.Psychological Bulletin,135(3), 495–510. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015616

-Petrocchi, N., & Cheli, S. (2019). The social brain and heart rate variability: Implications for psychotherapy.Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice,92(2), 208–223.https://doi.org/10.1111/papt.12224

-Gilbert, P. (2014). The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy.BritishJournal of Clinical Psychology,53(1), 6–41.https://doi.org/10.1111/bjc.12043






SESSION 25. Group and family therapy



SESSION 26. Clinical child and adolescent psychology


Chapters 16 and 17 of the textbook; slides posted on Moodle;

Papers (not mandatory):

-Valiente-Gómez, A., Moreno-Alcázar, A., Treen, D., Cedrón, C., Colom, F., Pérez, V., & Amann, B. L. (2017). EMDR beyond PTSD: A systematic literature review.Frontiers in Psychology,8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01668

-Burlingame, G. M., MacKenzie, K. R., & Strauss, B. (2004). Small-group treatment: Evidence for effec- tiveness and mechanisms of change. In M. J. Lambert (Ed.),Bergin and Garfield’s handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change(5th ed., pp. 647–696). New York: Wiley.


SESSION 27. Health psychology


SESSION 28. Forensic Psychology

Chapter 18 and 19 of the textbook. Slides posted on Moodle; Papers (not mandatory):

-Diamond, G., Russon, J., & Levy, S. (2016). Attachment‐based family therapy: A review of the empirical support.Family Process,55(3), 595–610. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12241

-Barlow, D. H. (2004). Psychotherapy and psychological treatments: The future.Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 16, 216–220.