Dept.Medical Psychology,Faculty of Medicine,Univ.of Medicine & Pharmacy Carol Davila,Bucharest

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 Syllabus Medical Psychology (2009-2010)

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Numarul mesajelor : 401
Data de inscriere : 30/08/2007

MesajSubiect: Syllabus Medical Psychology (2009-2010)   05.10.09 14:02


Ovidiu Popa – Velea
MD, PhD, MA Psychology, Fulbright Alumnus

Teaching assistants:
Liliana Diaconescu, MD (Epidemiology), MA Psychology
Ioana Cioca, Psychologist and psychotherapist, MA Psychology
Aurora Frunză, Psychologist and psychotherapist, MA Psychology
Alexandra Mihăilescu, MD (Psychiatry)
Mihaela Cuțov, Psychologist, MA Psychology
Mihaela Staicu, MD (Psychiatry), PhD, MA Psychology

To acquaint students with methods and issues relevant to the application of psychology to health-related intervention, the way people are affected psychologically by illness and disease, various behaviors and cognitions affecting health and illness.

The course is designed as an introductory undergraduate course, and is structured as a series of lectures and practical applications. Students are expected to have a minimal background in medicine and psychology, which would facilitate the assimilation of key Health Psychology concepts. The professor will prepare presentations and demonstrations, distribute background reading material, and lead group discussions. Learning will be an interactive process, so all students are encouraged to ask and to comment on any possible issues of interest concerning the course.

To enable students to:
1. Understand the disease in its triple dimension, biological, psychological and social, and become familiar with the modern approach of some frequent psychosomatic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular, pulmonary, allergic).
2. Understand the role of clinical and health psychologists in daily clinical practice;
3. Be able to identify the contribution of psychosocial factors in pathology and the possibility to address them, via psychotherapy or counseling.
4. Become familiar with the concept and theories of stress, to instruments designed to evaluate stress and to modalities of intervention, centered upon behavioral and coping style changes.
5. Be able to identify various psychological disorders and key personality traits related to health / disease.
6. Learn about doctor-patient communication and its importance in improving adherence to recommended health behaviors.
7. Learn about various difficult and / or critical patients and some psychological strategies of approaching them.
8. Become familiar with ethical issues in health psychology.
9. Encourage own student learning about health psychology issues, and their application in clinical settings.

Requirements: Students are expected to attend regularly the course and to participate actively in group discussions. They will also have to attend Health Psychology seminars, their participation being monitored by the teaching assistants. A number of two or more missed seminars will prevent the respective student from being admitted at the exam.
References will be assigned by the instructor and need to be read before each class.

Grades will be based mainly on student’s performances at the final written exam. Regular course and seminar attendance and a good grade obtained at the final seminar evaluation will be considered a plus.


Lecture 1 (October 5th, 2009)
Medical psychology: interference domain between medicine and psychosocial sciences[/b]
1.Health psychology and clinical psychology: commonalities and differences. Roles of health and clinical psychologists: attitudes to different behavioral disturbances.
2.Algorithm of differential diagnosis between neurosis, psychoses and personality disorders. Particularities and challenges for the doctor-patient relationship.
3.Personality traits related to health / disease.
4.Main research methods in health psychology: observation, experiments, psychological tests.
5.(+ seminar) Specific of questionnaires and projective tests. Advantages and disadvantages. Examples.

Lecture 2 (October 19th, 2009)
Stress and illness

1.Stress: definition, various types of stressors.
2.Theoretical models of stress.
3.Life events scale of Holmes and Rahe: an attempt to quantify the relative weight of various stressors;
4.(+ seminar) Personality traits related to different kind of stress appraisal (A, C, D).
5.Hormonal correlates of stress.
6.Allostatic load: helplessness-hopelessness syndrome (Seligman).
7.(+ seminar) Coping strategies.
8.(+ seminar) Anti-stress strategies and programs.

Lecture 3 (November 2nd, 2009)
Disease (1). The multi-faceted approach of Medical Psychology

1.Conceptualization of disease: the triple factorial model (disease, illness, sickness).
2.Social and cultural aspects of disease. The role of social support.
3.(+ seminar) Psychosomatic diseases and psychosomatic disorders: commonalities and differences.
4.(+ seminar) Various models explaining the pathogenesis of psychosomatic diseases (Alexander, Cannon, Pavlov, others).
5.Modern approach of psychosomatic diseases.
6.Various chronic conditions and the contribution of psychological factors in ulcer, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis. The emergence of new interdisciplinary fields (psychoneuroimmunology, psychoneuroallergology, psycho-oncology).

Lecture 4 (November 16th, 2009)
Disease (2). Associated existential and psychological discomfort.

1.Patient role and status (Parsons). Dynamics of assuming the patient role.
2.(+ seminar) Cognitive representations of illness (Leventhal).
3.(+ seminar) Typical patients’ reactions to illness: regression, evasion, informational contagion, (non)productive usage of illness.
4.Particularities of chronic patients.

Lecture 5 (November 30th, 2009)
Doctor-patient relationship

1.Communication: verbal and non-verbal elements. Importance of concordance between verbal and non-verbal behavior.
2.(+ seminar) Specific of communication between doctor and patient: interaction to doctor’s presumed roles, various kinds of anamnesis and their utility.
3.(+seminar) Difficult patients. Identification of problematic behavior (MMPI test).
4.(+ seminar) Description of main personality disorders and their attitude towards doctors and medical institutions.
5.Communication with difficult patients.

Lecture 6 (December 14th, 2009)
Psychological correlates of pain

1.General aspects of pain (types of pain, causes of pain).
2.(+ seminar) Role of psychological factors in producing and enhancing pain.
3.(+ seminar)Psychological interventions for pain suppression (hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery).
4.(+ seminar) Incurable / chronic illness and pain.

Lecture 7 (January 11th, 2010)
Important additional constructs of Medical Psychology: therapeutic compliance, placebo effect, drug dependence, quality of life.

1.(+ seminar) Therapeutic adherence: psychological factors that influence patient’s adherence to treatment. Examples in some chronic conditions (tuberculosis, asthma, arterial hypertension).
2.(+ seminar) Placebo effect: ways of using Placebo effect in therapy, varieties of Placebo effect, factors that influence the occurrence of Placebo effect.
3.(+ seminar) Psychological drug dependence: examples, reasons and consequences.
4.(+ seminar) Quality of life and its relation to drug profile: the balance between gains and losses.

Lecture 8 (January 25th, 2010)
Psychotherapy (1). (second part = Behavioral Sciences class, 2nd year of study)

1.(+ seminar) Definitions, classification, indications of psychotherapy.
2.(+ seminar) Psychoanalysis (definition, theoretical background, indications, efficiency).
3.(+ seminar) Cognitive – behavioral therapy (definition, theoretical background, indications, efficiency).
4.(+ seminar) Relaxation techniques and hypnosis (definition, theoretical background, indications, efficiency).
5.Art therapy (definition, theoretical background, indications, efficiency).


Lecture 1
- Handouts distributed in class (“Differential diagnosis between various kinds of psychological disorders”, “Immunogenic and dis-immunogenic personality traits”, “Psychological testing”, “Personality assessment”).

Lecture 2
- Ogden, Jane – “Health psychology: a textbook” (3rd ed.), McGraw-Hill Education, 2005, New York, London; chapter 10 (“Stress”) (pg.233-250), chapter 11 (“Stress and illness”) (pg.251-283).
- Iamandescu, I.B. (Ed.) - “Psychoneuroallergology” (2nd ed.), Amaltea Medical Publishing House, 2007, chapter 3 (“Psychological stress”) (pg.61-79).

Lectures 3-4
- Marks, David, Murray, Michael, Evans, Brian, Willig, Carla, Woodall, Cailine, Sykes, Catherine – “Health psychology: Theory, research and practice” (2nd ed.), SAGE Publications Ltd., London Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, chapter 4 (“Culture and health”) (pg. 69-89), chapter 12 (“Illness and personality”) (pg.235-252).
- Iamandescu, I.B. (Ed.) - “Psychoneuroallergology” (2nd ed.), Amaltea Medical Publishing House, 2007, chapter 2 (“Psychosomatics today. Some arguments for a conceptual reformulation”) (pg.41-57).

Lecture 5
- Handouts distributed in class (“Doctor-patient relationship during terminal illness”, “Doctor as patients”).
- Stoudemire, A. (red.) - “Human Behavior: an introduction to medical students”, 2nd Ed., J.B.Lippincott Company, 1994, Philadelphia, chap.1 (“The Doctor-Patient Relationship”) (pg. 3-20).
- DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) (edited by American Psychiatric Association), 4th Edition, 2000: Description of main personality disorders: paranoid (690-694), schizoid (694-697), histrionic (711-714), obsessive-compulsive (725-729).

Lecture 6
- Ogden, Jane – “Health psychology: a textbook” (3rd ed.), McGraw-Hill Education, 2005, New York, London; chapter 12 (“Pain”) (pg.285-305)

Lecture 7
- Noble , L. – “Doctor-patient communication and adherence to treatment” (chap.3), in Myers, l., Midence, K. (eds.) – “Adherence to treatment in medical conditions”, Harwood Academic Publishers, London (pg.51-73).
- Popa-Velea, O. – “Psychological factors influencing therapeutical adherence in asthma” (pg.248-256), in Iamandescu, I.B. (Ed.) - “Psychoneuroallergology” (2nd ed.), Amaltea Medical Publishing House, 2007.
- Ogden, J. - “Health psychology: a textbook” (3rd ed.), McGraw-Hill Education, 2005, New York, London; chapter 13 (“Placebos and the interrelationship between beliefs, behaviors and health”) (pg. 309-326).

Lecture 8
- Fadem, B. – “Behavioral science” (BRS collection), Harwal Publishing, 1994; chap.6 (“Psychoanalytic theory”) (pg.49-54), chap. 7 (“Learning theory and behavioral medicine”) (pg.55-62).
- Handouts distributed in class (“Cognitive-behavioral therapy”) (“Relaxation and hypnosis”) (“Art therapy”).
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