PSYC20060 - Psychopathology and Formulation 2

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit is the second of two units in which you will learn how professional knowledge of research and psychological theory can be applied to practice related to low-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 low-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 PSYC21006.

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 2 - 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. Project (applied) 0%
2. Portfolio 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 2 - 2023 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 80.00% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 78.95% 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: Unit evaluation responses
Students commented that they would like more balance between lecture, class discussions (including real-life clinical cases), and in-class presentation time.
From 2023, class time will be increased from 2 hours to 3 hours per week, as part of the new co-teaching arrangements between the Master of Clinical Psychology (CG17) and Master of Professional Psychology (CL68) courses. The teaching team will review class delivery to allow for more balance between lecture and presentation (clinical case discussion) components, including drawing on more clinical case examples.
Action Taken
The class time increased to 3 hours in 2023. The structure for the lecture contained 1 hour of presentations, 1 hour of lectures, and 1 hour of class discussions.
Source: SUTE unit comments
Students commented that Term 2 (adult psychopathology) was a repeat of Term 1 (child psychopathology) assessments (i.e. presentations and handouts).
From 2023, rather than separating psychopathology by child and adult disorders, the new co-teaching arrangements between the Master of Clinical Psychology (CG17) and Master of Professional Psychology (CL68) courses will reflect a more integrated approach. This more fluid approach rather than child vs. adult psychopathology is more consistent with contemporary conceptualisations of psychological disorders (e.g., DSM-5). This will allow greater integration between theory and clinical presentation and ensure that assessment extends learning in both units.
Action Taken
As a result of the new co-teaching arrangements between the Master of Clinical Psychology (CG17) and Master of Professional Psychology (CL68) courses, Term 2 content build upon the previous term to reflect a more fluid approach to diagnosis.
Source: SUTE unit comments
Students commented that it would have been helpful to have more readings on each topic and to have them made available the weekend before class.
The teaching team will make readings available at the start of term and increase extra reading materials, where possible.
Action Taken
All readings and resources were made available in week 1 of Term 2
Source: Student verbal feedback and SUTE unit comments
Students felt certain questions on the quiz could be stated in a clearer manner to avoid confusion.
The questions and content of the quiz will be reviewed to improve the quality of this assessment for Term 2, 2024.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE Unit comments
Students felt the structure with 1 hour blocks of presentations, lectures, and group work contributed to greater satisfaction and good outcomes on assessment tasks.
The structure of lectures will be maintained in 2024.
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 low 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 low 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 - Project (applied)
2 - Portfolio
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