Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

A key area in the practice of psychology involves being familiar with key treatment approaches and the ability to apply these approaches in combination with foundational interpersonal skills.

This unit will address the basic principles and key concepts that underpin psychological practice by examining key treatment approaches. As well as acquiring knowledge of the main treatment theories, you will be introduced to other important aspects of psychological practice such as ethical principles and working with diverse client populations (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and LGBTIQ populations). The characteristics of an effective practitioner are explored, with a corresponding development of insight into the self. Further, you will be introduced to the importance of foundation interpersonal skills in therapeutic practice.

The aim of this unit is introduce you to the main aspects of being an effective practitioner whilst also developing practical interpersonal skills and self-reflection.

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 - describe theoretical models of psychology practice and key interventions (GA5, GA8);

LO2 - relate the role of interpersonal skills in the therapy process to the core characteristics of a practicing psychologist   (GA5, GA8);

LO3 - demonstrate foundation interpersonal skills relevant to psychology practice and constructive self-reflection (GA4, GA5); 

LO4 - apply knowledge and skills of psychology in a manner that is reflexive and sensitive to the diversity of individuals (GA2, GA4, GA6).

Graduate attributes

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

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • Historical foundations of psychological practice;  
  • Insight Oriented Therapies (Person-centered, Psychoanalytic and Gestalt) 
  • Action Oriented Therapies (Behavioural, Cognitive Behavioural, Solution Focused) 
  • Emerging Therapies (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) 
  • Interpersonal skills  and therapeutic practice;  
  • Family and Relationship Interventions; 
  • Interventions in Drug and Alcohol Use 
  • Reflective work for self-understanding and self-development; and 
  • Skills in working with specific populations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI), People Living with Disabilities and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (GLBTIQ) clients.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, and cooperative learning. The unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with 3 contact hours per week: each week there will be a 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. The lectures are to aid students with the acquisition and understanding of knowledge while the tutorials are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that knowledge.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge, as well as the application of that knowledge. In order to best enable students to demonstrate Learning Outcomes and develop Graduate Attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their developing knowledge of key concepts and remain consistently engaged in content through weekly self-refection exercises. The Personal Essay will allow students to demonstrate their ability to apply their understanding of key theories, ethical principles and interpersonal skills through a process of self-reflection. Finally, the recall of key knowledge concepts is assessed via multiple-choice questions in the final exam.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Reflective Exercise:  

Enables students to describe and apply interpersonal skills and constructive self-reflection. 


LO 2, 3

GA 4, 5, 8

Personal Essay 

Enables students to describe a psychology intervention model and to apply this knowledge through a process of self-reflection.


LO 1, 3, 4 

GA 2, 4, 5, 6, 8

Final Exam:  

Enables students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and their ability to apply this knowledge to practical examples. 


LO 1, 2, 4, 

GA 2, 4, 5, 6, 8

Representative texts and references

Corey, G., & Corey, M. (2015). Becoming a helper (7th ed.)Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole 

Geldard, D & Geldard, K. (2011). Chapters 5-8. Basic personal counselling: A training manual for counsellors. (7th ed). Sydney: Pearson

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