Neurosciences and Recovery: From the Cellular to the Social

Neurosciences and Recovery: From the Cellular to the Social

Level ~ Masters
Teaching period ~ Semester 2

Students will utilise the CanMEDS lens of the Medical Expert and Communicator to examine contemporary thinking and research within the neurosciences, focusing on neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and concepts of brain plasticity.

Moving beyond brain structures and function, this topic will broaden students’ understandings by addressing the findings and clinical application of neuroscientific research as relevant to contemporary psychiatric and mental health practice, and consider this within the range of settings in which students work. Students will reflect upon the connection between neuroscience and recovery-oriented practice and look at how to translate the ‘hard sciences’ into clinical practice in a way that is meaningful, future-focused and respectful in collaborative practice when working with people with lived experience of mental illness and carers. In bringing together the neurosciences within the context of recovery, students will be asked to debate inherent tensions and consider questions such as: how do research findings within the neurosciences translate to students’ areas of practice? How can practitioners and consumers effectively and respectfully communicate and discuss neuroscientific findings? How can neuroscientific findings be successfully incorporated into collaboratively based care within a recovery paradigm?


Learning Outcomes

In this unit of study, using a culturally-informed, recovery-oriented approach, knowledge of neurosciences , mental illness and their treatments, and with application of identified medical competencies to the students workplace and role, students will:

  • Critically review and evaluate the application of contemporary research, psychiatric research and treatment guidelines, to patient outcomes in specific case setting(s).
  • Critique the impact of debates about the relative evidence for neuroscience and social factors as the origins of mental illness upon practice and engagement of people with mental illness into a therapeutic relationship in a selected service setting.
  • Focusing on one area of neuroscientific research undertake a critical appraisal of the changes in concepts and related psychiatric practices within that area over the last decade.
  • Describe and analyse a neuroscientific basis of ‘treatment refractiveness’, and its implications for both development of novel treatment approaches and recovery-oriented practice.
  • Critically review, deconstruct the comprehensiveness and appropriateness of psychiatric assessments and management plans for patients of any ages, to improve the application of research and evidence-based biological and psychosocial approaches.
  • Critically reflect upon their breadth of competencies to support people with mental illness and the implications for lifelong learning.
  • Apply, review and evaluate the transferability of psychiatric, mental health and other health research findings across practice settings and disciplines.
  • Use highly developed written and / or verbal communication skills to communicate the significance of neuroscientific research to practice to professional and community audiences.

Teaching Schedule
Topic 1 What Matters in Neurosciences and Recovery?
Topic 2 Culture, Society and the Neurosciences
Topic 3 Advanced Exploration of Treatment Refractoriness
Topic 4 Advanced Neurostimulation
Topic 5 Advanced Child Neuroscience
Topic 6 Advanced Older Person’s Neuroscience
Topic 7 Neuroscience of Psychotherapy
Topic 8 Neuroscience of Resilience
Topic 9 Mock Essay Exam

Mental Health Course Unit