Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to extend the knowledge and skills previously developed in a three-year undergraduate psychology program and provide a basis of professional knowledge and skills for subsequent professional training.

The unit familiarises students with the theoretical and empirical bases that underpin a range of evidence based approaches to psychological interventions. The unit will also build student skills in interpersonal communication and interview skills important to the practice of a psychologist including active listening, developing rapport, appropriate cultural responsiveness and empathic responding. The unit will also focus on ethical principles and cultural considerations in psychological intervention and therapeutic skills.

The aim of this unit is to facilitate the acquisition of a pre-professional level of understanding of intervention strategies that underpin psychological practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - critically evaluate and analyse the models of intervention and evidence relating to the efficacy of different approaches to psychotherapy (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9); 

LO2 - demonstrate skill in interpersonal communication and clinical interviewing including active listening, clarifying and reflecting, effective questioning, summarising and paraphrasing, developing rapport, appropriate cultural responsiveness and empathic responding responding (GA4, GA5, GA9);  

LO3 - understand and apply ethical principles and cultural considerations in clinical skills and intervention (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9). 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 


  • The theoretical and empirical basis of evidence-based approaches to psychological intervention.  
  • Clinical interviewing, interpersonal communication skills (e.g. reflecting, summarising, developing rapport) and cultural considerations in interviewing.   
  • An examination of a range of psychotherapeutic approaches, including behavioural, cognitive behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic, and humanistic-existential models. Aspects of the approaches to be studied include the history, key concepts, application (techniques and procedures). Some specific interventions (techniques and procedures) arising out of these theories will be more closely examined. 
  • Ethical, legal frameworks and practical considerations that apply when using intervention approaches in multicultural and diverse client groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex and Queer client groups 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies include lectures workshops, and web-based learning. Lectures are structured to deliver essential content whilst allowing students the opportunity to critically discuss issues that arise in the unit. Workshops provide students with opportunities for reflective/critical thinking, role play and group discussions, which will enhance both practice and critical analysis of the unit content. Web-based learning will allow for the delivery of unit content. Teaching and learning strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within class activities. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows you to demonstrate your acquisition of knowledge and the ability to critically analyse and evaluate key concepts. The essay allows you to compare and contrast approaches to psychotherapy and critically evaluate and analyse models of intervention.  The video of an interview allows you to demonstrate your skills in clinical interviewing and interpersonal communication. The exam allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of principles underlying the theory and practice of psychological intervention.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


In this task you will be able to demonstrate your ability to critically evaluate evidence relating to topics covered in this unit, and to synthesise your analysis in a scholarly way.   


LO1, LO3 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Video-recorded Interview 

To demonstrate effective counselling interviewing skills. 



GA4, GA5, GA9 


This examination will assess knowledge and understanding of material related to course content. 


LO1, LO3 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Australian Psychological Society (2007). Code of ethics. Melbourne, Australia: Author.  

Australian Psychological Society (2007). Ethical guidelines on the prohibition of sexual activity with clients. Melbourne, Australia: Author. 

Australian Psychological Society (2007). Ethical guidelines for psychological practice in rural and remote settings. Melbourne, Australia: Author. 

Capawana, M. and Walla, P. (2016) Intimate attractions and sexual misconduct in the therapeutic relationship: Implications for socially just practice, Cogent Psychology, 3:1, DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2016.1194176 

Castelnuovo, G. (2010). Empirically supported treatments in psychotherapy: towards an evidence-based or evidence-biased psychology in clinical settings? 

Dudgeon, P, Milroy, H., and Walker, Roz. (2014). Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practie. Commonwealth Government. Retrieved from 

Lamb, D. H. & Catanzaro, S. J. (1998). Sexual and nonsexual boundary violations involving psychologists, clients, supervisees, and students: Implications for professional practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 29, 498-503. 

O’Donnell, M. (Eds). (2014). Working therapeutically with LGBTI clients: a practice wisdom resource. Retrived from 

Sommers-Flanagan, J. & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2016). Clinical interviewing (6th ed.). New York: Wiley. 

Sue, S., Zane, N., Nagayama Hall, G. C., & Berger. L. K (2009). The case for cultural competence in psychotherapeutic interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 525-548. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163651 

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