Credit points


Campus offering

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PSYC650 Issues and Skills in Professional Practice

Teaching organisation

3 contact hours per week for 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is one of two practicum units, which allow for the development of practical skills in a real world setting to complement the theoretical and simulated learning that takes place in the coursework units. The first practicum unit provides students with the opportunity to develop psychological skills in a university-based clinic. The emphasis is on skill development in a supervised, structured environment. The focus of this practicum is on conducting structured clinical assessment. Students will be encouraged to approach applied problems and skill based learning from a hypothesis based assessment perspective consistent with a scientist-practitioner model. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of initial psychological practice skills.

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 - apply knowledge about ethical practice and legal obligations to complete administrative procedures associated with a client case  (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA10) 

LO2 - conduct a clinical interview and use this information to formulate questions to guide further assessment and intervention (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9) 

LO3 - use client assessment findings to develop a case formulation and evidence-based recommendations and/or an intervention plan (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8) 

LO4 - communicate client assessment findings clearly in written and/or verbal format (GA1, GA8, GA9) 

LO5 - construct and present case reports in oral and written formats setting; (GA6, GA8, GA9)

LO6 - demonstrate insightful self-analysis of clinical skills (GA4, 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 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Specific goals for assessment and intervention skills will be arranged between student and supervisor/s. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in attendance mode because face-to-face attendance at the university clinic is required for this placement-based unit. Students are required to (a) attend placement 2 days per week (days of the week, and start-finish times to be negotiated with the Clinic Director) for a minimum of 12 weeks, (b) complete approximately 150 hours of client-related work, (c) participate in weekly supervision at a ratio of at least 1 hour of supervision for every 7.5 hours of client-related work, and (d) attend scheduled case conference sessions. This unit uses an active learning approach to support students develop psychological practice skills through client-focused (role-play simulation and/or client caseload) work. Students are required to attend and participate in facilitated case conferences in order to develop and refine their case formulation skills. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate their psychological practice skills. Importantly, the inclusion of the practicum review and portfolio allows the assessment of the student against the minimum standards for psychological practice and competence in psychological skills as determined by the Psychology Board of Australia and the Australian Psychological Accrediatation Council. The use of case presentations and reports allow students to demonstrate their formulation skills, which are a core skill of psychologists. The engagement in small group discussion – possible through case conference – also facilitates the development of formulation skills.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Practicum review 

Enables students to demonstrate competence in psychological practice  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9 


Enables students to submit all required practicum documentation (i.e., logbooks, portfolios, etc.) 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Case conference presentation 

Enables students to verbally communicate a concise case formulation in a small group case conference setting 



GA6, GA8, GA9

Case conference report 

Enables students to construct and communicate a concise case formulation in a written format 



GA6, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

ustralian Psychological Society (2007). Code of ethics (rev ed). Carlton South, Victoria: the author. 

Australian Psychological Society (2011). Ethical guidelines (11th ed.). Carlton South, Victoria: the author. 

Baird, B. N. (2010). The internship, practicum, and field placement handbook (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.  

Flanagan, D. P., & Alfonso, V. C. (2017). Essentials of WISC-V assessment. New Jersey: John Wiley& Sons. 

Lichtenberger, E. O., & Kaufman, A. S. (2013). Essentials of WAIS-IV assessment. (2nd ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley& Sons. 

Sattler, J.M. (2008). Assessment of children: Cognitive foundations (5th ed.). San Diego CA: Sattler Publishing Inc. 

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