John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology
Listed below are ongoing projects that are conducted during class periods or outside of class. These projects will require more time than one class period to complete.
Respect the wishes of students who feel uncomfortable about participating in an experiential activity. When introducing an activity to the class, it's a good practice to let students know that participation is not required.
Working (and playing) with Dreams
Either as an ongoing in-class project, or as an activity outside of class, students can work on exploring and interpeting their dreams. I use this handout as a supplement to our in-class discussions about dreams. Here is the pdf file that contains a version of this handout. The circulating papers technique is an excellent in-class method for helping students work with dreams.
This exercise, which draws on elements of the Native American ritual, has proven to be one of the most rewarding I have used in my teaching. This link will take you to a description of the exercise and the references for two articles I published about it.
Hands-on Learning in Teaching Psychological Tests
Learning about the issues involved in administering, scoring, and interpreting a standard test battery can be a valuable educational experience for students.
Are computers good psychotherapists?... Not quite. But students who interact with the well-known Eliza program can learn about the ingredients of effective psychotherapy by experiencing the limitations of software simulations.
A Psychotherapy Case Study
A handout describing how to write a paper describing a psychotherapy case.
Writing a paper based on interview research
A handout for Independent Study students that suggests some strategies for writing a paper based on interview research.
Group Dynamics Manual
A manual for an upper level undergraduate course where students participate in ongoing task and process-oriented groups.
The manual for eQuest projects
In eQuest projects, students conduct online research and participate in a variety of online activities in order to better understand and perhaps resolve some issue that is important in their lives.
The manual for Photographic Psychology projects (pdf)
In Photographic Psychology projects, students conduct research on how individuals differ in creating, sharing, and reacting to images, especially in online enviroments and using digital photography. As a form of participant-observation research, it involves both a subjective and objective analysis of information.
Using Interviews in Research
I encourage students to use interviews in their research projects. It's a "qualitative" research method that psychology often overlooks in favor of the more usual quantitative methods. My hope is that students will appreciate how the interview is both an art and a science. This link will take you to the handout I give students as introductory information explaining the rationale and techniques of the interview.
Life History Interview
A handout for students who are interested in "taking a history" on people as part of a research project.
A Creative Project
Two handouts providing students with guidelines for carrying out a semester long creative project of their choice. I use this exercise in my course States of Consciousness, although it could be used in a variety of other psychology courses.
For several courses, I ask students to keep an ongoing journal to record their ideas and reactions, and apply insights from the class. Here are a few slightly different versions of the instructions I give to students for keeping their journal: