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This module aims at reminding the different research methods, both quantitative and qualitative and their application to the clinical psychology. The student must be able to identify and understand the paradigms which underlie researches in clinical psychology and in psychotherapy, the possibility of their application, their advantages and their boundaries. He must master the application of methods and techniques which are appropriate to the study of concrete cases in psychology and psychotherapy, by obeying absolutely the scientific approach and the deontological and ethical prescriptions. He will be able to analyze critically the methodologies which have been used in studies, articles and other scientific reports achieved and published in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy. Finally, he must produce a research project as a prelude to the final elaboration of his dissertation project.
The module is an introduction to basic concepts of psychophysiology and contemporary neuropsychology. It is centered on attentive mechanisms, memory and visual recalling tackled in a psycho physiological perspective (mechanisms of plasticity and apprenticeship, interaction of epigenetic and genetic variables, mechanisms of attentive filtering, etc) and under a neuropsychological perspective (effect of cerebral lesions on cognitive and behavioural functioning), by animal models, by analyzing cases of brain damaged patients and techniques of functional imaging.
At the end of the training, the student will have acquired an understanding of psycho physiological mechanisms of basic cognitive functions, knowledge and critical look on the recording methods of cerebral functions which enable to establish a link between behaviour and cognitive functions, to understand the behavior pathology and the consecutive cognition a cerebral lesion of a human being. He should master the instruments of evaluation in neuropsychology, particularly in the framework of forensic expertise.
This teaching presents the main psychic disorder of learning and developing of infants and children and adolescents (description of syndromes, theoretical models, etiological hypotheses, psychopathological evaluations and treatment modalities) in accordance with the systems of the international classification of mental disorders. Each of those disorders is illustrated by cases and clinical boards illustrating different types of trouble, the problem, the symptoms and the different theoretical approaches that allow to analyze and to interpret them in order to organize appropriate intervention.
This teaching recalls the definitions of psychopathology, the main concepts related to it as well as the historical references in connection with its development. The different theoretical approaches of psychology and their application are also presented by focusing on DSM V. Moreover, the teaching develops the study of personality and its trouble, addictive behaviours, ageing and gerontology, mechanisms of defence and coping. Problems connected with anxiety, depression, psychosis and other comorbidities, as well as post-traumatic stress will particularly be detailed due to the context of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is important to think about the human system in which the individual moves, to place this thinking in the perspective of human development, the building of the family, the different systems in which the human being is involved. This thought must be interdisciplinary, that is, to refer to psychological, systematic, anthropological, sociological, historical and cultural theories. This thought must also apply to the reality of the multi-ethnical and dynamic Congolese society in a comparative perspective, by illustrating these comparisons with some concrete cases borrowed from psychopathology and psychotherapy in the African context in general and in the Congolese context in particular.
It is the mastering of the theories and practices of evaluation that match in the clinical psychology of child, adolescent, adult, couple and the aged person. The student must apply the techniques of clinical discussion. He must dominate the principal tests end measures of evaluation in clinical psychology as well as the administration techniques, master grading and interpreting results. This psychological evaluation is characterized by a good choice of evaluation model, the observation and the inferential measures, the psychological diagnosis and the evaluation report. Such an evaluation is achieved in the strict respect of ethical principles and professional deontology.
Health psychology tackles health and environment concepts, psychosomatic illnesses, chronic diseases, sexuality and its problems. It develops different types of models leading to psychopathology in the domain of somatic problems, prevention of diseases, promotion and maintenance of psychic and somatic well-being.
Fundamental notions such as stress, social support, control, presentation of health and illness as well as strategies of adaptation (coping) will be tackled, first theoretically, then in the perspective applied through different somatic illnesses and their bio-psychosocial, cultural and spiritual care.
The topic about sexuality will be dealt with in its anatomy-physiological (reproduction and sexual reaction) and psycho-physiological components (different steps of sexuality in existence and the criticism of the biological determinism of identity and sexual orientations) as well as regulation and pathology of reproduction (fertility and infertility, contraception, genital system diseases). It does not mean to be able to take care of these pathologies, but to understand and be able to orient and support those who are suffering.
This training seeks double objectives: deepen the knowledge of the analytical theory which is inseparable with the method which allows access to the trainings of the unconscious. This training will allow, by referring to Freud and his disciples, to question the clinic and analyze the psychological, psychiatric, psychotherapeutic or psychoanalytical practices.
At the end of the training, the participants will be able to carry out therapeutic process, either in ambulatory or in institution context, according to a psychoanalytic conception, by using theoretical tools (fundamental concepts and notions) and appropriate clinics.
This implies the acquisition and the deepening of specific competences and knowledge in the domain of psychoanalytical psychotherapy by means of:
First, it is about tackling the theoretical issues of family therapies related to systematic trend: theory of systems, communication systematic approach, and different systematic approaches of the family. The second step will be devoted to family clinic: analysis of communication and functioning of couple and family, the vital cycle, and the modifications of the family during a course of time. Finally, it will concern family competences and resources as well as therapeutic issues.
It will be important to put into practice these concepts through the analysis of filmed family scenes, sessions of family or couple therapy, and role playing.
In a society where the foundations of the family have been seriously affected, the family therapy is very important in order to rebuild a less problematic society based on deep care of couples and families.
The cognitive and behavoural therapies (TCC) represent the application of principles resulting from scientific psychology to clinical practice. These therapies have been based at first on the theories of training: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, theory of social training. They have also referred to the cognitive theories of psychological functioning, in particular the model of treatment of information. They currently speak about cognitive and behavioural therapies.
This psychotherapeutic trend is well known for its particular high effectiveness in the treatment of all forms of psychopathologies shown by the survivors of sexual violence and other traumas. Its application must take into account different variants which allow to evaluate and treat better different pathologies in an attitude of empathy and benevolent listening of the cultural representation of pain.
This module aims at providing the student with the right knowledge on the psychotropic drugs used in clinical domain to treat affective, behavioural and cognitive disorders. It is about reviewing the general principles of psychopharmacology, understanding the action mechanisms, the benefits and the limits of different psychotropic drugs used in clinical domain in the treatment of psychopathologies; establishment of links between psychopharmacology and professional practice of psychologists: the concepts underlying the medical treatments of mental problems and the place of psychotherapies.
The student must be able to describe the main psychotropic drugs (such as antidepressants, anxiolytics, hypnotics, neuroleptics, humour stabilizers, stimulants, agents stimulating/increasing the cognitive functions), their classification, their clinical and pharmacological actions, their principal therapeutic indications, their disadvantages and the limits of their prescription.
The students will be trained in anthropological clinical practice, i.e. taking into account the context of therapeutic pluralism which characterizes the today’s African societies. In fact, these ones are not only fighting for keeping their tradition but also being open to technological and scientific transformations. It is important to understand the African therapeutic practices for better confronting them with the definition of health according to the WHO and to the systematic theory which involves families and communities in the therapeutic process.
The training in clinical psychology is the crucial moment of confronting theory with practice. It is about learning in concrete terms the professional realities through multiple activities of reception, discussion, psychological evaluation, planning and psychotherapeutic intervention. In the institution of training, the trainee is under the responsibility of an experienced psychologist and a supervisor who is member of the academic and scientific body of the University. Analysis seminars of clinical cases of children, adolescents, adults, and 3rd age people will be organized by the supervisor who will also make individual or group coaching sessions.
Finally, the student must elaborate a 30-page training report, in which he acts as a future professional. After briefly describing the institution in which the training has taken place and precise the regulation framework in which the institution is registered, the student indicates the activities at which he has participated or has conducted and how he has been ranked in the institution. Then he will work on the clinical or psychopathological problem statement which varies according to the training he has done and the questions he has faced at the training place. He reports the deontological and ethical problems that he has encountered. Finally, he devotes 3or 4 pages to his auto-evaluation in pre-professional situation. For evident ethical reasons, confidentiality is de rigueur vis-à-vis the training institution personnel as well as the people who are received and treated. This training report is submitted to the institution for a written approval.
Finally, he must prepare the dissertation to which he will devote the 4th semester and whose oral presentation will be the final step of the training in the Clinical Psychology Department.
Training through research is one of the key elements for the training of psychologists. Under the guidance of a dissertation supervisor, the project that has been prepared at the end of the training must be enhanced during the first month of the 4th semester. A final research paper will be written by the student and will contain all steps that a research in psychology must have: problem statement, research questions, objectives, literature review, definition of the theoretical framework and the methodology adapted to the project. The remaining months will be devoted to data collection and analysis as well as the interpretation of the results. The data may be derived from the clinical experience during the training or not. The dissertation is accepted after it has been submitted to the Department and defended within the allocated time.
The process of elaborating the dissertation is followed by sessions of seminar at which the students regularly present the progress of their work and receive feedback from other students and their supervisors.