Unit planning: Abnormal

This section of the site has two purposes.  First, it is here that you will find curriculum related material - particularly, the unit planners and advice on how to address the ATL planners on Managebac if your school is using that program.

For the different components of the curriculum you will find lesson plans, with links to activities on the site that you may find helpful for students to develop understanding of key concepts as well as critical thinking skills.

The options are divided into three topics.  According to the curriculum guide, in each session (May and November) exams will ask one question from each topic of the option.  It is up to you whether you teach one, two or all three topics.

Topic 1.  Factors influencing diagnosis

Unit plan: Diagnosis

Below you will find a unit planner for the "factors influencing diagnosis" module of the abnormal psychology option.In this part of the option, it is not important that you focus on any particular disorder....

ALP 1.1 Defining normality

This lesson looks at concepts of normality and abnormality. This is usually how I start the unit on abnormal psychology.Personally, I feel that this is one of the most important parts of this unit. It...

ALP 1.2 Classification systems

This lesson looks at classification systems and how they are used in diagnosis. In the previous lesson, the problems of using a symptoms-based approach were outlined. This will be explored in more depth...

ALP 1.3 Validity and reliability

Reliability and validity are two very important factors when discussing the process of diagnosis. It is important that we have a clear definition of each term.When preparing this learning objective for...

ALP 1.4 Biases in diagnosis

The following lesson looks at different biases that may affect diagnoses. Clinical biases have to do with the expectations of the clinician. This may include cognitive biases, as well as stereotypes....

ALP 1.5 Ethics in diagnosis

The following lesson plan looks at ethical considerations in "factors that influence diagnosis." There are two potential questions that may be asked. One focuses on ethics in research. The other focuses...

Topic 2. Etiologies of disorders

Unit plan: Etiologies

Below you will find a unit planner for the "etioliogies" module of the abnormal psychology option.The guide states that the following disorders may be studied to prepare for the exam: anxiety disorders,...

Topic 3. Treatment of disorders

Unit plan: Treatment

Below you will find a unit planner for the "treatments" module of the abnormal psychology option.This module does not require students to focus on a single disorder; however, you may find it helpful to...

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Comments 6

Gayatri Ayyer 20 July 2018 - 08:40

Hi John
Do we have any lesson plans for abnormal unit as well? Can we focus on just one disorder or it better to take a group of disorders? Thanks in advance

John Crane 22 July 2018 - 18:57

Dear Gayatri,

I hope to have some of the abnormal lesson plans done by the end of the summer holidays. I am trying to get all of the Paper 3 samples updated. As for a disorder, I would expose students to several disorders, but only teach research for one. The IB only requires that they study one in depth.

Barbara Adachi 26 August 2018 - 02:29

Hi John,
Confused about this sentence: " According to the curriculum guide, each session (May and November) exams will ask one question from each session of the option. " Should that be one question from each section? Or am I more confused than I realize?!

John Crane 26 August 2018 - 06:14

Thank you, Barbara. Just realized how terrible the wording was of this page. I have fixed it. I hope this is more clearly written.

Beth Wasylyk 28 August 2018 - 22:06

Hi John,
So students only need to know one disorder in depth? Or one disorder per category (ie. anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, trauma and stress related disorders, eating disorders)? Just wondering if they could get a question that is about a specific category of disorder.


John Crane 29 August 2018 - 05:16

Dear Beth

One disorder in depth. They cannot ask a question about a specific disorder.