Since 1990, more than thirty textbooks for undergraduate abnormal psychology courses have been published. This count does not include revised editions of existing books. The same period has seen the publication of numerous “handbooks” in psychopathology and psychiatry, which are conceived primarily as reference books for clinical practitioners and researchers.
What has been missing is a true textbook of psychopathology for first-year graduate students in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and related fields. Our goal in creating this book was to provide the “missing link” in the continuum. We designed content and coverage for a first-level graduate course (or an advanced-level undergraduate course for exceptional students or those who have already taken an entry-level undergraduate course in abnormal psychology).
This book was designed and written with students in mind. The length, organization, content, and level and style of writing reflect this intention. We, the editors, are clinical psychologists with a combined forty-five years of experience teaching doctoral students in clinical psychology. The chapter authors are among the most distinguished researchers in the fields of clinical psychology and psychopathology.
We had two primary goals for the book:
1. To provide up-to-date information about theory and research on the etiology and treatment of the most important psychological disorders. Toward this end, we chose well-known authors who are not only familiar with the cutting-edge research in their areas of specialization but arc also actively contributing to it.
2. To challenge students to think critically about psychopathology, not just memorize information. We tried to accomplish this goal in two ways. First, we encouraged authors to challenge traditional assumptions and theories about the problems they were addressing.
Second, and more important, we commissioned chapters that dealt directly and in depth with such crucial and controversial issues as the definition of psychopathology, the influences of culture and gender, the validity of psychological testing, clinical judgment and decision making, the validity and utility of traditional psychiatric diagnosis, and the role of biological factors in the cause of psychological problems.