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  • Semester 2Campus Attendance


PSYC621 Professional Practice in Psychology , PSYC630 Psychological Assessment

Unit rationale, description and aim

Psychological disorders are prevalent in Australia and knowledge of the diagnostic criteria and evidence--based intervention for common psychological disorders ensures that psychologists are skilled at identifying and treating these. Psychologists require in-depth, critical understanding and application of the principles and methods of psychological diagnosis, assessment, formulation and intervention of psychological disorders in order to provide empirically supported and evidence--based services. This unit covers the critical examination of major diagnostic systems and diagnostic criteria, and competencies to reliably diagnose common psychological disorders including adjustment, anxiety, mood, eating, and substance use disorders across the lifespan. It also covers the psychological assessment and treatment of common psychological disorders across the lifespan such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, internalizing and externalizing problems, and autistic spectrum disorders. Risk assessment and screening for psychosis will also be reviewed. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of knowledge of clinical assessment and intervention skills with a particular focus on evidence--based assessment, formulation, and intervention for psychological disorders across the lifespan.

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
LO1Describe the diagnostic criteria, aetiological factors, clinical assessment methods, and empirically validated treatments for psychological disorders typically seen across the lifespanGC1, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO2Explain the link between diagnosis, formulation and intervention plans, goals and strategies for disorders typically seen across the lifespanGC1, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Apply culturally responsive clinical skills to conduct assessments and identify, select, implement and evaluate a range of empirically validated treatments for disorders typically seen across the lifespan adulthoodGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12


  • Diagnostic criteria, aetiological factors, assessment methods, and psychological models for psychological disorders across the lifespan  
  • Conducting clinical assessment and diagnosis of psychological disorders across the lifespan 
  • Empirically validated treatment for psychological disorders 
  • Identifying, selecting and implementing a range of empirically validated treatments for psychological disorders and disorders across the lifespan 
  • Justifying the link between diagnosis, formulation and intervention plans, goals and strategies 
  • Consideration of culturally responsive assessment and intervention approaches to psychological disorders 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach that puts students at the centre of their learning through discussion. As such, the unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with 3 contact hours per week or equivalent in intensive mode, and utilises lectures, seminars and workshops. Teaching and learning strategies for this unit provides the students with evidence-based knowledge through lectures, opportunities to develop practical assessment and intervention skills through the use of demonstrations and role plays, and to consolidate their knowledge through reflective/critical thinking activities. These strategies reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner while also ensuring consistency of knowledge development. Lectures and demonstrations are structured to deliver essential content, while workshops and role plays provide students with opportunities to practice and discuss assessment and intervention strategies.Web-based learning and reflective/critical thinking activities will enhance learning and provide opportunities for students to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively. 

This unit may also be offered in intensive mode on an international campus. The materials and assessments are consistent with the semester mode materials. Intensive mode delivery of PSYC623 will be transparently equitable in delivery of content, to that of students participating in face-to-face delivery on campus.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to collaborate with each other and demonstrate their acquisition and critical application of evidence-based assessment and intervention skills. Students will learn how to deliver evidence-based interventions for clinical problems presenting across the lifespan. The written assignment is designed to assess students’ ability to critically analyse and synthesise information relevant to diagnosis, assessment and formulation of a psychological disorders. The skills demonstration is designed to assess students’ ability to develop a treatment plan and demonstrate their therapeutic skills. The exam is designed to assess students’ knowledge in assessment and diagnosis of psychological disorders. Students must pass all assessment tasks in order to pass the unit as it is critical that students demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and skill in diagnostic assessment and evidence based interventions, and a failure in any of these tasks is likely to translate to an unacceptable level of risk to clients the student will come into contact with as a provisional psychologist on practicums. 

Intensive mode assessment of PSYC623 will be transparently equitable to that of students participating in face-to-face delivery on campus.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes


Requires students to demonstrate their knowledge and receive feedback on understanding of the principles of assessment and diagnosis of psychological disorders  



Written Assignment:  

Requires students to critically evaluate and integrate the literature on evidence-based assessment and diagnosis. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Skills demonstration:  

Requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of specific intervention strategies. Students will learn to apply appropriate interventions to clinical problems. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 

Carr, A. (2016). The handbook of child and adolescent clinical psychology: A contextual approach. (3rd ed.). Abington, UK: Routledge. 

Rieger, E. (2014). Abnormal Psychology: Leading Researcher Perspectives (3rd ed). Publisher: McGraw-Hill Pty Ltd, Australia. 

World Health Organisation. (1990). International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (10th revision). 

Journal Series: Clinical Case Studies. Sage Publications

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