The Use of an Online Escape Room in Psychodiagnostics: An Exploratory Project With Postgraduate Psychology Students

The Use of an Online Escape Room in Psychodiagnostics: An Exploratory Project With Postgraduate Psychology Students

Eleni Petkari, Ana Calvo
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6081-8.ch001
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This chapter provides a detailed presentation of a virtual escape room implemented in the teaching and learning of psychodiagnostics and displays the students and lecturers' first experiences with its use. The activity was offered to 500 students of a compulsory first-year course of an MSc in General Health Psychology program. Ninety-four students entered the escape room, and 39 students completed the activity. All students reported that they enjoyed the escape room, and half of them reported learning and extending their knowledge as the main reason for carrying out the activity. Importantly, the activity increased the students' self-confidence towards the diagnosis establishment. The lecturers described the activity as a useful tool for enhancing the teaching and learning process in an innovative, intuitive, and motivating way. Thus, this virtual escape room seems to be a feasible and useful tool for lecturers that look for ways to enrich their teaching practice and to achieve a deep learning of the diagnostic procedures for their students.
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The Educational Context of Teaching Psychodiagnostics

Clinical and health practice in psychology involves the process of evaluating the patients’ clinical manifestations, and depending on the professionals’ competencies, establishing diagnoses (Sánchez et al., 2017). The so-called psychodiagnostic process is a core feature of the curriculum of postgraduate programs in clinical and general health psychology around the globe and aims at linking theory to the clinical practice of future mental health professionals. The diagnosis establishment is primarily based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5; APA, 2013), which is a globally used handbook that includes criteria for determining the presence of most mental disorders. Though it has been criticized for not being able to fully represent the patient’s experience, it is suggested that the DSM-5 boosts a critical evaluation of the symptoms’ manifestation (Fluyau, 2018). Although it is an advantageous tool, this manual is dense and full of long lists and complex terminology, making the teaching and learning process tedious for mental health trainees, who typically skim through the pages superficially (Jibson & Seyfried, 2017). Additionally, since the DSM-5 defines diagnoses through a list of descriptive symptoms in diagnostic categories (Berrios, 2012), one criticism is that the subjective experience of the patients is missing in the diagnostic process (Etxeandia-Prandera et al., 2021). Thus, students usually only reach a shallow level of learning through memorizing the manual’s content, overlooking the patient’s perspective, and remaining far from achieving practice-based and meaningful learning. In fact, the APA panel on the DSM-5 celebrated on May 18-22, 2013, recommended the promotion of a holistic view of the person, together with diagnosis, to make its instruction more meaningful for future mental health professionals (Summers & Kreider, 2014). Therefore, there is a clear need for creating a path that mitigates the complexity of diagnostics and accounts for the distance between theory and practice, aiming at deep learning of the diagnostic procedures and psychopathology (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Differential Diagnosis: A procedure through which the mental health professional needs to decide what is the best diagnosis that describes the person’s symptoms and difficulties.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A framework used to align teaching strategies with learning goals.

Schizophrenia: A severe mental disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thoughts and behaviors, causing severe disturbance to the person’s everyday life and functioning.

Psychodiagnostics: The operational procedures of understanding and establishing a mental health diagnosis.

Major Depressive Disorder: A mental disorder characterized by low mood, loss of interest in everyday activities, lack of pleasure experience and lack of self-care, affecting the person’s everyday functioning.

Bipolar Disorder: A mental disorder characterized by periods of elevated mood and self-esteem, interchanged with periods of low mood and hopelessness, that significantly disturb the person’s life.

Avatars: A virtual identity representing a role or a person in a video game or other online activity.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5): A manualized guide for establishing mental health diagnoses.

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