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PSYC655 Practicum 1

Teaching organisation

3 contact hours per week for 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is the second of two practicum units, which allow for the development of practical skills in a simulated setting to complement the t learning that takes place in the coursework units. This second practicum unit provides students with the opportunity to develop psychological skills in a virtual simulated environment under supervision. While the objectives of this unit are similar to Practicum 1, the level of independent practice further challenges the student to broaden their responsibilities beyond those of the first placement. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of psychological knowledge and skills to a more advanced level than their first placement. This will be reflected in their interaction with simulated client materials via the Deakin Virtual Psychology Clinic, standard of case formulations, and sensitivity to therapeutic process and case management issues.

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 - conduct a simulated preliminary intake interview in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the client (GA1, GA9); 

LO2 - formulate questions to guide further assessment and intervention (GA4, GA5); 

LO3 - plan, conduct and evaluate psychological testing and/or therapy for simulated cases (GA4, GA5, GA6); 

LO4 - participate in simulated psychological assessment and intervention for simulated clients (GA1, GA5, GA7); 

LO5 - construct and present case reports in oral and written formats (GA5, GA9); 

LO6 - demonstrate insightful self-analysis of clinical skills in the context of ethical and professional practice (GA3, GA4, GA9). 

Graduate attributes

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

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 

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


The Practicum is carried out as an online placement with simulated clients, through the Deakin Virtual Psychology Clinic Program. The placement will occur under the supervision of a registered psychologist approved as a Higher Degree Supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia. While on placement, students will develop the ability to integrate skills and intervention models with simulated clients. Attendance at weekly supervision online involves individual and small group discussion of issues relevant to professional practice such as diagnosis, case formulation, choosing appropriate interventions, ethical dilemmas, record keeping and report writing.   

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in online mode because simulation tasks and activities will be structured around the Deakin Virtual Psychology Clinic case material. Group and individual supervision will occur online, and students will have access to the Melbourne Psychology Clinic space on Fridays to complete simulation activities. Students are required to (a) participate in simulated placement activities 2 days per week for a minimum of 19 weeks, (b) complete approximately 300 hours of simulated 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 simulated client caseload) work. Students are required to attend and participate in facilitated case conferences in order to develop and refine their case formulation skills. Students are also expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively while completing the simulated placement.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate their psychological practice skills on simulated client material. 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 Accreditation Council. The mid-placement review offers students a formal review of their psychological skills against these minimum standards; this offers the student an opportunity to address any areas of concern prior to the completion of the placement. The use of case presentation and report of simulated client material 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 formulations skills.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Requires students to submit all required practicum documentation (i.e., logbooks, records of supervision, etc.). This enables students to demonstrate competency in record keeping required for the practicum placement as well as reflect on the development of their skills as a provisional psychologist. Record keeping will be based on simulated client material. 


LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6 

GA3, GA4, GA5,  GA9

Two (2) case conference presentations:  

Students demonstrate their learning verbally communicating a concise case formulation in a small group case conference setting for 2 cases. Case conference formulation and presentation will be based on simulated client material.   


LO2, LO5 

GA1,  GA3, GA4, GA5,  GA8, GA9 

Two (2) case conference reports:  

Students demonstrate their learning by constructing and communicating a concise case formulation in a written format for 2 cases. Case conference formulation and presentation will be based on simulated client material. 


LO2, LO5 

GA1,  GA3, GA4, GA5,  GA8, GA9 

Mid-practicum review of competencies:  

Provides students with a formal review of their psychological practice skills approximately halfway through their placement. This enables students to reflect upon and demonstrate their learning in psychological practice, based on simulated client material and completion of associated learning tasks and activities linked to key competencies. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6 

GA1,  GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9 

End-practicum review of competencies

 Requires students to demonstrate competence and learning in psychological practice. This enables students to reflect upon their learning in psychological practice, based on simulated client material and associated learning tasks and activities. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6 

GA1,  GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9 

Representative texts and references

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

Australian Psychological Society (2017). Ethical guidelines (14th ed.). Carlton South, Victoria: the author. 

American Psychological Society (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Ed.). Washington, DC: the author 

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

Carr, A. (2016). The handbook of child and adolescent clinical psychology: A contextual approach (3rd Ed.). New York: Routledge.  

Carr, A., & McNulty, M. (Eds.) (2016). The handbook of adult clinical psychology: An evidence-based practice approach (2nd Ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.  

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. (2018). Assessment of children: Cognitive foundations (6th ed.). La Mesa CA: Sattler Publishing Inc. 

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