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.