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PSYC614 Practicum B

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ability to integrate theoretical knowledge into clinical practice is integral to the practice of psychology. This is the third of the series of units in which students as provisional psychologists gain experience in the delivery of psychological services in a real-world setting to complement the theoretical and simulated learning that takes place in the coursework units. The placement allows students to apply theoretical knowledge to develop and acquire the necessary skills to be a competent practitioner including demonstration of appropriate professional attitudes and values. The emphasis is on skill development in a supervised, structured environment, where reflective practice comprises an important component of supervisory relationships. Students will be encouraged to approach applied problems and skill based learning from a hypothesis based assessment perspective consistent with a scientist-practitioner model. Students will further develop their clinical assessment, intervention, and case formulation skills in readiness for practice as a psychologist with general registration. 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 confidence, competence and readiness to practice clinical work independently without close or regular supervision.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Acquire a greater understanding of the process of therapy, further confidence in their ability to engage clients in psychological work, the ability to reflect on their own practice facilitated by supervision, and the adoption of professional behaviour and an understanding of ethical and legal responsibilities on par with a graduate psychologistGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO2Explain the link (both verbally and in written form) between assessment, diagnosis, formulation, treatment plans, goals and monitoring of client progress in more complex clinical work with clients, and prepare treatment plans with greater levels of autonomyGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO3Apply clinical skills (and appropriately document the application of these in accordance with agency record keeping practices) to conduct psychological assessments and treatments, including maintaining client engagement, monitoring treatment progress and behaving in accordance with placement procedures and ethical and professional standards at a standard as required for a registered general psychologistGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


The third practicum is usually carried out in the field in an agency external to the University under the supervision of a registered psychologist approved as a Supervisor (BAS) 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. Students will complete a supervision contract and goals for their placement in collaboration with their supervisor to guide their development of specific psychological practice skills in readiness for independent practice. 

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 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 and the expected trajectory of attainment of clinical competencies. 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 is designed to assess students’ practical performance in a real-life work setting. This review of performance is intended to identify student strengths and areas for growth as provisional psychologists. If through this process concerns are raised regarding the student’s progress towards competence relative to their stage of training, a remediation plan will be developed to address these areas of concern in regards to clinical competence. This remediation plan will include the scheduling of an additional review meeting to assess progress towards improving performance in the areas of concern identified, and is intended to ensure that students are able to progress towards participating in an End-of-Practicum Review. 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. Students will need to demonstrate a higher level of competence at the End-of-Practicum Review due to increased expectations of their developing skills and independence across time. Students will not be offered the opportunity to repeat the End-of-Practicum review. Failure of an End-of-Practicum review will result in a failure of the unit overall. Unless negotiated in the Placement Contract established at the commencement of the placement, this End-of-Practicum Review should be completed within six months of commencing the placement. Any variation is this timeline or remediation process would need to be approved by the Psychology Clinical Governance Committee whose deliberations would include careful consideration of the resource implications of any extensions. 


The practicum log book is designed to assess students’ ability to develop the skills to maintain appropriate record keeping practices consistent with ethical and professional standards. Log books must be submitted within two weeks of concluding the practicum. If required, students will be given feedback to ensure that the logbooks meet registration standards. Required changes must be submitted within two weeks of the feedback being received in order to meet the requirements of this hurdle. The case presentation is designed to develop the students’ ability to present their clinical thinking in a concise professional manner to their peers, similar to a clinical case review meeting in the field. The case conference report is designed to assess students’ ability to critically evaluate and integrate information gathered during assessment procedures to develop a case formulation and treatment plan consistent with the empirical research literature. This written report requires students’ to critically reflect on their case presentation and incorporate relevant feedback from their peers. Students will be given one opportunity to resubmit this task in response to feedback provided by their case conference facilitator. Students must complete all applicable hurdle tasks successfully and achieve a pass grade in all Pass/Fail tasks to pass this unit, as a failure in any of these assessment tasks is likely to translate to an unacceptable level of risk to clients the student will come into contact with in their future practice as a psychologist. Learning outcomes will be assessed at multiple time points in order to ensure that student progression in development of confidence, competence and readiness to practice clinical work independently is adequately assessed.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Practicum Log Book:  

Enables students to demonstrate competence in professional record keeping practices.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Case conference presentations:  

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


LO1, LO2, LO3

Case conference reports:  

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


LO1, LO2, LO3

Mid-Practicum review:  

Enables students to demonstrate competence in psychological practice in readiness for independent practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

End-Practicum review:  

Enables students to demonstrate competence in psychological practice in readiness for independent practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

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. 

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

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

Carr, A. (2016). The handbook of child and adolescent clinical psychology: A contextual approach (3rd Edition). New York: Routledge Carr, A., & McNulty, M. (2016). The handbook of adult clinical psychology: An evidence based practice approach (2nd Ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis Group  

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. (2018). Clinician’s thesaurus: The guidebook for writing psychological reports (7th ed.). New York: Guilford Press 

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