Credit points


Campus offering

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PSYC614 Practicum B

Teaching organisation

2 hours Case Conference per week for twelve weeks, or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is the third in a series of units designed to provide MPsych/PhD students with experience in the delivery of a range of psychological services in a real-world setting to complement the theoretical and simulated learning that takes place in the coursework units. The emphasis is on skill development in a supervised, structured environment. Students are encouraged to approach applied problems and skill based learning from a hypothesis based assessment perspective consistent with a scientist-practitioner model. Students also take part in a weekly group case conference. Professional ethics and behaviours are an integral part of learning in this unit. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of 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 - recognise, understand and behave in accordance with the professional ethical code and appropriate legal regulations and adhere to placement setting procedures (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10) 

LO2 - deal effectively with referrals and initial client contact, communicate effectively with clients, their families and other professionals, and establish competent record keeping practices (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - conduct psychological assessments and implement intervention plans, and write clear and competent psychological reports for more complex problems (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

LO4 - critically evaluate the assessment and intervention procedures they have observed and performed (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8) 

LO5 - demonstrate cultural sensitivity in work with clients (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9)  

LO6 - work under and benefit from supervision, co-operatively, and independently, and to present their cases competently at case meetings and to other professionals (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, 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 


The Practicum is carried out in the field placement or the ACU Clinic under the supervision of a registered psychologist approved as a Supervisor (Board Approved Supervisor) by the Psychology Board of Australia and holding the relevant area of practice endorsement. While on placement, students will develop the ability to integrate skills and intervention models with specific clinical material. Attendance at weekly case conferences involves small and large group discussion of issues relevant to professional practice such as diagnosis, formulation, choosing appropriate interventions, ethical dilemmas, record keeping and report writing. 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 or field placement is required for this placement-based unit. Teaching and learning strategies include supervised fieldwork, workshops, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities. 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. This unit uses an active learning approach to support students to develop psychological practice skills through client based 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 practicum logbook 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 use of case presentations and reports allow students to demonstrate their formulation skills, which are core skills of psychologists. The engagement in small group discussion – possible through case conference – also facilitates the development of formulation skills. Supervisors will evaluate competence levels of trainees at both mid- and end-placement using a structured assessment tool relevant to the stage of training and program of study (for example, the Clinical Psychology Practicum Competencies Rating Scale). The Mid-Practicum Review may be waived by the Placement Coordinator, with the student proceeding straight to the End-of-Practicum Review, in cases when extenuating circumstances impact the nature or duration of the placement.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Practicum Log Book:

Enables students to demonstrate competence in professional record keeping practices.


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 

Mid-Practicum review 

Enables students to demonstrate competence in psychological practice  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6 

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

End-Practicum review 

Enables students to demonstrate competence in psychological practice  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6 

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

Representative texts and references

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

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

Berchlibny-Butter, K.Z. & Jefferies, J.J. (2006). Clinical handbook of psychotropic drugs (16th ed.) Toronto: Hogrefe & Huber. 

Carr, A. (2006). The handbook of child and adolescent clinical psychology: A contextual approach (2nd ed)New York: Taylor & Francis Inc. 

Carroll, M. & Gilbert, M. (2006). On being a supervisee: Creating learning partnerships. Kew, VIC: Psychoz Publications. 

Morrissey, S. & Reddy, P. (2006) Ethics and professional practice for psychologists. South Melbourne, VIC: Thomson Learning. 

Zuckerman, E.L. (2019). Clinician’s thesaurus: The guide to conducting interviews and writing psychological reports (8th ed). New York: Guilford Press.

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