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PSYCH 131A: How to Think Like a Shrink (PSYC 230)

This course will teach you how to think (or experience) yourself and the communities around you as a therapist does. That means coming to understand why therapists focus on early life relationships and learning, why we privilege emotions, and why we see the seeming contradictions in our lives as places for deeper understanding. In class discussions, we will consider questions such as: How do our early experiences in relationships affect the ones we create later? Why are we more likely to segregate and point fingers when we are afraid? How can we make better use of our precious capacity for attention? What good might come from anger, sadness or guilt? Projects will include looking at how the psychological phenomena we will learn about play out in public spheres and personal ones. This is not a class about mental health, but rather about the intricacy of our feeling and thinking minds. The course will be discussion-based with a focus on experiential learning, and include weekly projects more »
This course will teach you how to think (or experience) yourself and the communities around you as a therapist does. That means coming to understand why therapists focus on early life relationships and learning, why we privilege emotions, and why we see the seeming contradictions in our lives as places for deeper understanding. In class discussions, we will consider questions such as: How do our early experiences in relationships affect the ones we create later? Why are we more likely to segregate and point fingers when we are afraid? How can we make better use of our precious capacity for attention? What good might come from anger, sadness or guilt? Projects will include looking at how the psychological phenomena we will learn about play out in public spheres and personal ones. This is not a class about mental health, but rather about the intricacy of our feeling and thinking minds. The course will be discussion-based with a focus on experiential learning, and include weekly projects that will have you playing detective in your own life. Prerequisites include a high degree of honesty (or the desire for this), creativity and an interest in the human experience. The course may include a field trip to a sensory deprivation float tank as we study attention. At the end of the seminar, I hope you will have a greater appreciation for the complexity of your mind and reactions, and the psychology of everyday life -- personal relationships, group functioning, tiffs between political parties. My aim is to have you learn to both take yourself very seriously and not seriously at all. This course will provide no answers, however I hope it will open channels of thought and discussion, and make your own life a little richer. Enrollment preference given to juniors and seniors.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3
Instructors: Tversky, D. (PI)
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