Adult & Geriatric Psychopathology & Treatment

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This course presents the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of adult and geriatric psychopathological disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5). Students will develop skills in the unique application of diagnostic interviewing techniques, differential diagnosis, case conceptualization via personality theory, and empirically-based treatment planning with regard to adult and geriatric psychopathology. Benefits and limitations of the diagnostic and treatment process are also reviewed. In addition, this course will examine the methods and techniques utilized by counselors to assist adult and geriatric clients in the change process with specific reference to problem diagnosis, medical and psychiatric co-morbidity, basic psychopharmacological principles and intervention, construction of an empirically-based treatment plan, termination, and ethical and cultural issues in the diagnostic and treatment process.

The course in adult and geriatric psychopathology will be beneficial to students enrolled in the professional counseling degree program since this course will satisfy the Texas State Board of Professional Counselors board rule §681.83 (c) (3). It is both ethically and clinically essential that students at Amberton University, who are pursuing a master’s degree in professional counseling, and who wish to obtain licensure as an LPC in the state of Texas, possess knowledge and skills in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of adult and geriatric clients suffering from mental illnesses. This course is designed to prepare students to ethically and effectively practice as professional counselors in a professional treatment role for adults who are suffering from mental disorders.




  • Proficiency in utilizing the DSM-5 to apply accurate diagnostic labels to mental disorders.
  • Effectively applying differential diagnoses with respect to co-morbidity and medical etiologies across a wide-range of mental disorders.
  • Understanding the nature and etiology of adult psychopathology in order to articulate case conceptualization and make empirically based treatment plans.
  • Understanding the role of systematic scientific, clinical experience, and consultative input in making treatment decisions.
  • Utilizing basic psychotherapeutic assessment tools to assess outcomes in the treatment of adult and geriatric clients.
  • Understanding ethical and cultural issues involved in the treatment process.
  • Understanding the importance of self-examination and critiquing self as an effective change agent in counseling relationships.
  • Comprehending and examining the role of age upon the manifestation and treatment of mental disorders in adult and geriatric clients
  • Understanding basic psychopharmacological intervention with regard to the treatment of mental disorders in adult and geriatric clients
  • Comprehending and addressing the effects of end-of-life issues involved with the manifestation of mental disorders in elderly populations.


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