Introducing mental disorders: phobias, depression and OCD

In this post I’m going to look at ideas for introducing mental disorders. The AQA specification states students need to know and understand behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics of phobias, depression and OCD before considering each of the named disorders from a specific perspective: behavioural approach (phobias explanation and treatment), cognitive approach (depression explanation and treatment) and biological approach (OCD explanation and treatment).

As an introduction to the topic, students could form teaching teams and deliver a mini lesson to the class introducing one of the named disorders. If your lessons run for an hour, three 20 minute mini lessons is a perfect fit.

Internet research

The following sites may be a useful place for students to begin:

Lesson planning

Students can also research various lesson planning formats and models to help them structure their lesson or you could provide them with a specific structure e.g. ‘your lesson needs to include an engager activity, knowledge input and a task to check progress’.

The aim of the lesson could be to provide a general introduction (an overview of various issues) or you could request that they focus on behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics.

As with any sensitive topic in psychology, reminders to avoid personal anecdotes and questionnaires to assess someone’s mental state need to be reinforced – it may be worth checking the lesson before letting your teaching teams loose on the rest of the class.

Lesson observation

Each teaching team could be asked to create their own lesson feedback form for the rest of the class to complete with regards to what went well and areas of improvement. These comments could focus on teaching style, quality of activities as well as subject knowledge.