McGill Psychology 408 Syllabus 2014


McGill Psychology 408 Syllabus 2014

  • By Ian Bradley
  • 3 Tags

Course Outline  Principles of CBTFall 2014 Psych 408

 Dr Ian Bradley (


Time and Location:

FridaysLeacock 1098:30 – 11:30




Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Core Principles for Practice

by William T. O’Donohue (Editor), Jane E. Fisher (Editor)

July 2012, Hardcover (E-book also available)



My goal is to introduce the student to the basic principles and techniques of CBT.  Since one prominent branding feature of CBT is it’s empirical basis, I have selected a textbook that stresses the research base and therapeutic efficacy of the interventions and their underlying principles.  Although the text focuses on the clinical use of CBT, I will also stress its application to the world of sports and work since I would imagine that not everyone will become a clinical psychologist but everyone will ultimately work.


In an effort to make the course more involving and educational, after completing an intensive boot-camp introduction, we will have a series of CBT exercises many of which will involve client-therapist simulations.


Prerequisites:  (PSYC 337 and PSYC 211)

Only under rare circumstances ( eg equivalent courses taken at another university)  will a student be allowed to register without these courses.


Class schedule



Hour 1

Hour 2

Hour 3

Sept 5

Application of CBT to sports

-Course outline

-Review of textbook

-Group formation

Chapter 1

Core Principles

Sept 12

Chapter 2

Functional Analysis

Case Conceptualization

Chapter 3

Skills Training

 -learning principles


 -chronic mental pts

Sept 19

Chapter 4

Exposure Therapy

  -panic disorder



Chapter 5 Relaxation


Chapter 6 Cognitive restructuring

Sept 26

Chapter 7

Problem Solving

Grp 1    ABC’s fear

Grp 2    ABC’s in OCD

Grp 3    ABC’s depression

Grp 7

Grp 8

Grp 9

Oct 3

Chapter 8

 Self Regulation

Grp 4   ABA autism speech

Grp 5   Skill deficiency -parenting

Grp 6   Skill building chronic pt

Grp 10

Grp 11

Grp 12

Oct 10

Chapter 9

Behavioral Activation

Grp 1   Diaphragmatic breathing

Grp 2   PMR – 2 muscles grp

Grp 3   PMR –  coping technique

Grp 7

Grp 8

Grp 9

Oct 17

Chapter 10

Social Skills Training

Grp 4  Exposure preparation in PD

Grp 5  Actual exposure in agora.

Grp 6  Actual exposure in OCD

Grp 10

Grp 11

Grp 12

Oct 24

Mid- term

Change groups



Oct 31

Chapter 11

Emotional regulation

Grp 1 Problem-solving experts

Grp 2  SMART in work

Grp 3  Goal setting in I/O

Grp 7

Grp 8

Grp 9

Nov 7

Chapter 12


Grp 4    SST, teenagers

Grp 5    SST, alcohol abuse

Grp 6    SST, shyness

Grp 10

Grp 11

Grp 12

Nov 14

Chapter 13

Positive Psychology

Grp 1    Behavioural activation for students


Grp 2    Cognitive errors students

Grp 3    Couple therapy,  money

Grp 7

Grp 8

Grp 9

Nov 21

Chapter 14


Grp 4    Couple therapy, sex

Grp 5    Careers, Clifton

Grp 6    Changing High School +ve psychology

Grp 10

Grp 11

Grp 12

Nov 28



   Additional presentation time

If required

Group Assignments Details:

ARC’s fear

ARC’s in OCD

ARC’s depression

These presentations involve the intimate connection between antecedent events, “A’s”, the three domains of the response, “R” ( behavioural, cognitive and affective/physiological)  and the resultant consequences that usually serve to maintain the problem behaviour.


In each task, the team will present a verbal description of a realistic case in one of the three indicated diagnostic areas. Although a brief demographic and situational contextual sketch will be given, the main emphasis will be on the A,R and C elements. A schematic diagram will be presented to illustrate the interaction among the variables. Finally, other relevant variables will be drawn into the conceptualization.


ABA autism speech

Skill deficiency -parenting

Skill building chronic pt

These presentations all involve treatment, specifically, skill-building using learning-based rather than cognitive interventions.  Each of the three target behaviours have seminal authors whose works should be examine; Lovass in autism; Patterson in parenting and Paul/Lentz in token economy programs for chronic mental patients.


Start each presentation with a very brief case description either verbally delivered or shown from Youtube. The, focus on how a learning-based treatment (chapter 3) can be applied.  Describe and illustrate some of the points in a simulated client –therapist interaction.


Diaphragmatic breathing

PMR – 2 muscles grp

PMR –  coping technique

This series of presentation address two types of relaxation; diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

With each, create an appropriate GAD case and then explain the rationale of the technique in a simulated client-therapist interaction.  The first PMR simulation will simply teach the client to relax two major muscle groups,.  The second simulation will assume that the client has been taught to relax the 16 major muscle groups leaving the focus on how to consolidate the technique and utilize it in a real world coping situation.


Exposure preparation in agora.

Actual exposure in agora.

Actual exposure and response prevention in OCD

In-vivo exposure is the theme for these client-therapist simulations. The first focus upon preparing the agoraphobic client for in-vivo exposure.  The second involves actual exposure while the third switches targeted problems to OCD where a compulsive hand washer will be exposed to dirt in a simulation that discourages the compulsive hand washing. (exposure and response prevention, ERP)


Problem-solving experts

SMART in work

Goal setting in I/O

The chapter on problem-solving outlines the method CBT therapists use to teach clients an effective strategy to solve social problems.  The method involves defining the problem, generating alternatives, weighing pro’s and con’s of each alternative etc.  However, experts in various fields from architects to medical diagnosticians (eg; Dr House) probably don’t use this method.  Find examples to make this point.


Define SMART as a method to set goals and apply to you challenges faced by people of your cohort.


Summarize the major findings about goal-setting in I/O psychology and apply the findings to clinical psychology.


SST, teenagers

SST, alcohol abuse

SST, shyness

Social Skills Training, SST, utilizes core ingredients of role-playing, modeling and coaching after behavioural rehearsal.  Simulate a snippet of the events of a SST group using these methods addressing the indicated targeted problem.


Problem-solving for students

Cognitive errors students

Couple therapy, PS, money

How can the principles of behavioural activation be applied to ameliorate poor study and work habits in a simulated case of a failing McGill undergraduate student?


Beck and Ellis focused on changing so-called cognitive errors.  Adapt their list of errors to an undergraduate student population; state/demonstrate/show the error and its remediation.


CBT therapy for couples attempts to identify and then remediate poor style of communication. Demonstrate this in a simulation with a dysfunctional couple interaction involving money.


Couple therapy, PS, sex

Careers, Clifton

Changing HS, +ve psychology

Do the same couple demonstration involving sex.


Clifton has written a fable about animal strengths.  How could it be applied to schools and career-placement settings?


Use the principles of positive psychology to change your high school.



General notes about the presentations:

One of the advantageous of the current manualized approach to CBT is that most of the techniques can now be delivered by talented young people like you. Therefore, let’s have fun and do just that.


We will form groups with an upper limit of 4 students each.  The twelve groups will be divided into two sections; groups 1 to 6 presenting in the second hour of class, and groups 7 to 12 presenting in the third hour.   The groups will be reconfigured after the mid-term exam. 


We will have three presentations per hour therefore plan to have deliverable content for at least 10 minutes allowing 5 minutes for questions that I will pose.  Be creative in your presentation using A-V material when required. However, since time is precious, ensure that your group sticks to the issue.


I have several tips about group functioning in this context. Firstly, groups that laugh a lot during their preparation periods tend to produce good work.  Secondly, groups members laugh more when they are not stressed about work distribution, ie everyone is working hard.  However, equal work does not mean that everyone does the same thing. Ensure that individual talents are fully exploited.  Finally, develop leadership in your group since the timeline is short.


Please note that some of the assignment exercises might change due to student interest or feedback.


Group Assignment Evaluation:

Each individual will receive the group mark. Group marks are based on the following scale:

 Expected level of a McGill undergraduate presentation2 points

Wow level of performance equivalent to doctoral student2.5 points

Missing the mark1.0 points



Overall Evaluation:


Since I would like to have as much discussion and interaction as possible during our relatively few meetings, there will be an attendance sheet.  Missing a substantial part of more than 2 classes reduces the ceiling by 50%, missing 3 to 4 classes by 80%.  If you miss five classes, there is no mark for attendance.

 Midterm exam(20%)

The material for the mid and final exams will be taken from the textbook and class lectures/ presentations.  The mid-term will be restricted to short-answer format questions.

 Group Projects, four in number(30%)

Students will also be assigned to a project group to practice the application of the principles and techniques discussed in class.

 Final Exam(40%)

The format will be a mixture of short and longer essay questions covering material from the entire course.


DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES (see for more information).