PSYC20054 - Psychopathology and Formulation I

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit is the first of two units which focus on mental disorders across the lifespan and case formulation. In this unit you will explore mental disorders most prevalent in childhood and adolescence. A problem-based learning approach will be used, providing you with the opportunity to engage in self-reflective practice and synthesise your knowledge and application of mental disorder classification (using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) and International Classification of Diseases 10 (ICD-10)), diagnosis, and case formulation. The study of mental disorders will involve exploration of genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors. The role of these factors will be considered in the development of mental disorders and possible intervention pathways. You will employ professional communication skills in a socially and culturally responsive manner to present your case formulations. This unit will include a three day residential in the first week of term which is compulsory for all students to attend.


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 CL68 Master of Professional Psychology

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 3 - 2022

Term 1 - 2023 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. Presentation 0%
2. Reflective Practice Assignment 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 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.4 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 58.33% 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: Have Your Say - student feedback
Retain student presentations and peer feedback overall, but consider reducing the amount of peer feedback each student is required to complete.
Consideration to be given to reducing peer feedback from three to two for each peer.
Action Taken
Peer feedback was reduced to two items per task.
Source: Have Your Say - student feedback
Currently a lot of reading each week before class - could this be reduced to more specific readings.
Review of weekly readings to be undertaken to assist with student identification of those required prior to class and those students may find of interest.
Action Taken
Weekly readings were reviewed and clearly differentiated into required readings for class and recommended readings to support additional learning.
Source: Have Your Say - student feedback and communication with Unit Coordinator
Due to technology difficulties when COVID-19 restrictions first came into place students chose to stop watching peer presentations in class and watched recordings in their own time, suggest this format remains as students really enjoyed the additional time spent on case formulation skill development.
Continue with current format of students reviewing peer presentations outside of class time as this allows more time for in-class activities.
Action Taken
Students reviewed peer presentations outside of class time and additional in-class activities were provided.
Source: Have your say, verbal feedback provided to staff.
Students indicated that the psychoeducation handout and presentation assessment tasks were relevant and useful but they would have liked feedback earlier in the term.
Teaching team to review assessment due dates and return dates to allow provision of earlier feedback for the psychoeducation handouts and presentation assessment tasks.
Action Taken
Source: Have your say, verbal feedback provided to staff.
Students reported that the case conceptualisation in the online test was difficult to complete in class as students were fatigued from compulsory classes held earlier in the day
Teaching team to review the case conceptualisation and in-class format of the online test.
Action Taken
Source: Have your say, verbal feedback provided to staff.
Students enjoyed the interactive, case-based approach of the classes and indicated that this format supported their learning.
Retain interactive, case-based teaching approach for classes.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of mental disorder diagnostic criteria relevant to mental health issues experienced during childhood and adolescence
  2. Apply relevant theoretical frameworks to case formulation for mental health disorders experienced during childhood and adolescence
  3. Employ professional communication skills in a socially and 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 - Presentation
2 - Reflective Practice Assignment
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
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
7 - Leadership
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8