Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Mental health disorders are a major public health burden with significant impacts on individuals’ wellbeing. This course will focus on introducing evidence-based, clinical psychological practice with adults, the scientist-practitioner model and the skills of identification, diagnosis, assessment, and treatment planning for the more common adult psychological disorders. The course includes instruction on assessment, diagnosis and methods of treatment. Major intervention strategies for common mental health problems in adulthood will be addressed including psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and e-health interventions. This course uses the blended learning format and students are expected to engage with readings and online tasks each week. Seminars will be held fortnightly and will centre on problem-based learning exercises.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Critically evaluate psychological theories of the aetiology, progression and/or recovery, precursors and sequelae of common psychological disorders, including incidence, prevalence and predisposing, risk, protective and maintenance factors to example cases. (Competencies 3.16, 4.2.1.i)

2. Relate the developmental systems and biopsychosocial models of health (in an appropriate cultural context) to common psychological disorders as well as the multiple factors that impinge on mental health. (Competency 3.2, 4.2.1.ii)

3. Apply the DSM 5 classification system and relevant international taxonomies of classification of common psychological disorders at professional standard levels of competency. (Competencies 3.5, 4.2.1.iii)

4. Explain the role of psychopharmacology within psychological practice for management of common psychological disorders. (Competency 4.2.1.iv)

5. Incorporate assessment data and knowledge of psychopathology to inform case formulation, diagnosis and treatment planning in a culturally sensitive manner. (Competencies 3.2, 4.2.3.i, 4.2.3.iv)

6. Apply evidence-based professional practice techniques in the diagnosis and management of psychological disorders and across modalities such as e-health approaches. (Competencies 3.2, 4.2.3.iv)


  • The aetiology and presentation of common psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and substance use
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM 5) diagnosis and assessment of common psychological disorders
  • Problem formulations and transdiagnostic perspectives
  • Planning evidence-based interventions
  • Psychopharmalogical interventions for common psychological disorders
  • Cultural awareness and responsiveness in diagnosis, assessment, problem formulation, and intervention
  • Relevant professional and ethical issues in assessment and intervention
  • Models of care in contemporary mental health settings


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Master of Professional Psychology [40117], the Master of Clinical Psychology [40187], or the Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) [11539].

Assumed knowledge

It is assumed that students will have completed a four-year program in Psychology which has been accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).

Assessment items

Quiz: Online quizzes *

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study Presentation *

Written Assignment: Essay/Case Study *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Written Assignment: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must pass this assessment task to gain a pass in this course
  • Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must pass this assessment task to gain a pass in this course
  • Quiz: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must pass this assessment task to gain a pass in this course

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Fortnight for Full Term

Non Seminar weeks: 3 hours of guided learning online and 7 hours of independent study Seminar weeks: 3 hours of guided learning online to prepare for the seminar, 3 hour seminar and 4 hours of independent study

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.