Accessing the Authentic Psychiatric Experience: Using Psychiatric Artefacts and Archival Documents to Facilitate Object-Based Learning in the Law and Criminology Classroom

Currie, Heidi Helena (2024) Accessing the Authentic Psychiatric Experience: Using Psychiatric Artefacts and Archival Documents to Facilitate Object-Based Learning in the Law and Criminology Classroom. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Currie. H (2023) DProf Accessing the Authentic Psychiatric Experience Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
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This research examines the effects of integrating Object-Based Learning (OBL) into mental health law curricula. The pedagogy developed for this study facilitated learner construction of a more accurately informed version of the mid-century ‘mental patient’ and the institution of psychiatry. The objects acted as powerful conduits by which students developed understanding and empathy with psychiatric patients. The study’s innovative pedagogical approach combined constructivist OBL with a conventional criminology and law syllabus, including lectures and case studies. Mental health law modules were adapted to incorporate OBL, using archival psychiatric case files and artefacts of patients' personal belongings to achieve this. The research aimed to evaluate how students in criminology and mental health law perceived historical psychiatric interventions and treatments and whether cultural myths and stereotypes about mental illness influenced their views. The constructivist instructional design of the study was influenced by a modified historical empathy model and the ‘object viewer experience’ used in museum education. The methodology involved analysing initial student questionnaires to understand their pre-existing knowledge and perceptions before and after the modified curriculum. Students also maintained reflective blog diaries during the term, responding to learning activities. Their responses, categorised by emergent themes, were assessed for indications of their evolving understanding of contemporary and historical psychiatry and mental health law. Findings suggest that student interactions with the objects led to the development of empathetic connections with psychiatric patients, indicating a transformative learning experience. The study introduces the concept of authentic psychiatric experience (APE), defined as an improved understanding of psychiatry less influenced by cultural misconceptions. Exploring APE can help develop a comprehensive grasp of the history and role of psychiatric institutions. Overall, the study highlights the profound impact of OBL in legal and criminological education and suggests its potential broader application in the social sciences. It emphasises the importance of OBL in nurturing empathy, historical accuracy, and the humanisation of psychiatric patients, with substantial implications for curriculum design and teaching methods.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: artefact pedagogy, object-based learning, legal education, criminology education
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
K Law > K Law (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Victoria Hankinson
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2024 14:38
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2024 14:38

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