Class Overview

Before entering this course, I knew virtually nothing about the field of health psychology. In fact, I was simply taking this class as a way to satisfy a higher-level psychology credit. However, after taking this course, my perspective has vastly changed. I always believed that I wanted to be a clinical, cognitive-behavioral psychologist, however now I am questioning whether or not I want to be integrated into hospital work. I never thought about how a health psychologist would be so influential in the well-being of a patient. I knew, from my mom who is a clinical psychologist, about the influence of a psychologist in mental representations, however, this was the extent of it. After hearing about the different lecturers and reading about the vast amount of health issues in the textbook, I began to realize how needed health psychologists truly are. When my grandfather was in the hospital with cancer, we should have hired a health psychologist. The doctors were looking at the diagnostic from a cause and its effect perspective. However, what they missed was the holistic view of my grandfather’s overall health. This is what ultimately¬†killed him; not cancer.

In terms of possible changes to the course, I think removing¬†The Longevity¬†Project book from the material would be beneficial. The book, while interesting, was very repetitive and often did not contribute to what we were learning in class. If I were to change this, as I know that lab and blog posts are beneficial and crucial, I think each student getting to choose from a list of books at the beginning of class could be better. The list would consist of novels documenting different health disparities or issues in the medical field. From the book, the students would take the overarching topic to be used in their research paper. For example, if the book was about smoking, the student’s research paper would also be about smoking. I think this connection would be more interesting and more relevant to the course.

Overall, I think the course opened my eyes to a field that I largely ignored. Health psychologists are needed, perhaps more than they are actually sought after. I believe, by the time I am applying to graduate school, health psychology will be a much larger field than it is today. Society does not see the need for a more holistic medical evaluation until it is too late. Being informed of the positives of using a health psychologist has so many benefits; the world just is waiting to realize it.

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2 Responses to Class Overview

  1. Chloe McKinney says:

    I think your recommendations for changing the course are great! Though the book did present relevant information, it did not always seem to match up with the information being presented in class, which was sometimes confusing. I also had some difficulty choosing a topic for my research paper out of such a wide availability of topics, and being able to base the topic off a novel would solve that issue. I do think that the selection of novels should focus on more specific issues than the novel we read this year. Because of the varying topics the book covered, I felt like I didn’t really learn enough about each topic. I also think very few of the topics (other than stress and conscientiousness) covered aspects of life that are relevant to today’s society. It would be interesting to instead read novels on the impact of smoking, cell phone use, obesity, or other relevant topics.

  2. Jessica Patel says:

    I agree with your recommendations! The book does contradict itself a lot and while it shows some key insights, I did not find it to be a challenging read. Because of this, I didn’t really find it to be worthwhile. I really liked how the biopsychosocial model was very clear and obvious in our readings as the book was organized in that way. While I do have a lot of aspects of the model in my other clinical-psychology courses, this one really emphasized it through every single chapter we had read in the book. In addition, the presentations that we did in class really helped me gain a strong sense of how it can be applied to explaining health disparities.

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