PSYC20054 - Psychopathology and Formulation 1

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit is the first of two units in which you will learn how professional knowledge of research and theory can be applied to practice related to high-prevalence psychological disorders across the lifespan, inclusive of culturally diverse populations. As a result, you will learn to conceptualise contemporary psychology cases and to formulate a treatment plan to help your clients. Specifically, this unit uses case-based learning to develop competency in self-reflective practices and the application of diagnostic classification systems to high prevalence psychological disorders, including the critical evaluation of diagnostic systems of taxonomy.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level 9
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Students must be enrolled in CG17 Master of Clinical Psychology or CL68 Master of Professional Psychology.

Anti-req PSYC21005.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2024

Term 1 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Portfolio 0%
2. Project (applied) 0%
3. Online Test 0%

This is a pass/fail (non-graded) unit. To pass the unit, you must pass all of the individual assessment tasks shown in the table above.

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2023 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 29.41% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 89.47% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Teaching staff
The time allocated to content delivery was time pressured. This impacted active student engagement of the content by having limited time for discussion and reflections.
Reduce the time allocated to case presentations and consider provision of pre-recorded content so that students can reflect and ask questions during classes.
Action Taken
Time allocated to case presentations were reduced. Pre-recorded lecture content was not viable however visual media resources were used to assist class discussions and reflections.
Source: Unit evaluation responses
Students commented that time limits impacted the amount of time being allocated to group work when content ran over.
Teaching team to review the content and the timing of presentations to allow additional time for group collaborations.
Action Taken
To allow additional time for group collaborations, the teaching team reviewed the content and the timing of presentations and ensured that 1 hour of class time was provided for group work.
Source: Unit evaluation responses
Students commented that the amount of readings between weeks were inconsistent.
Teaching team to review reading requirements for consistency across topics and weeks.
Action Taken
The teaching team reviewed readings across topics and weeks with consistency improved by subtracting/adding readings accordingly.
Source: Student Evaluations.
Students commented that there were too many readings for some weeks and it was not clear how they all complemented the lecture topic.
The weekly reading list will be reviewed to ensure the amount of pre-reading required is appropriate and that readings clearly link to the lecture topic.
Action Taken
Source: Student Evaluations, Moodle & Class.
Students enjoyed the case-based learning and group work approach, particularly in relation to the collaboration with peers.
Retain the case-based learning and group work approach.
Action Taken
Source: Student Evaluations, Moodle & Class.
Students reported finding the group assessment schedule confusing and difficult to follow.
The group assessment schedule will be reviewed to support clarity for students.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Synthesise and apply psychological knowledge and relevant international taxonomies (i.e. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and International Classification of Diseases) to evaluate and classify high prevalence psychological disorders.
  2. Interpret and synthesise psychological data to inform case formulation, diagnosis and intervention to guide evidence-based treatment planning in a culturally responsive manner.
  3. Apply advanced psycho-developmental knowledge to biopsychosocialspiritual models of mental health as they apply to the conceptualisation and communication of high prevalence psychological disorders in a culturally responsive manner.

Learning outcomes are drawn from specifications for study at level 9 as indicated by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), program of study criteria as stated by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsychBA), and the following core competencies stated by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC):

  • 3.2 Apply evidence-based and scientific methods to professional practice across the lifespan in empirically valid and culturally responsive ways,
  • 3.3 Employ professional communication skills, in a culturally responsive manner, with a range of socially and culturally diverse clients,
  • 3.5 Identify psychological disorders using a recognised taxonomy,
  • 3.6 Conduct professional interviews and assessments and synthesise information from multiple sources, including assessment of risk, to formulate a conceptualisation of the presenting issues to determine the most appropriate interventions, including management of risk, and
  • 3.14 Engage in self-reflective professional practice, taking account of the impact of their own values and beliefs, and taking appropriate actions as a result (APAC, 2019, p.13-14).

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Portfolio
2 - Project (applied)
3 - Online Test
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8