The University of Newcastle, Australia

Inherent requirements for Master of Psychology

The University of Newcastle (UON) supports the rights of all people who wish to pursue a Master of Clinical Psychology program.

To support potential and current students' decision-making a series of inherent requirement statements have been developed. These statements specify the program requirements of the Master of Clinical Psychology for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, communication, cognition, relational skills, reflective skills and sustainable performance. Many of the activities associated with the professional practice of a registered psychologist are time sensitive, where the capacity to perform certain activities within specified time limits is required to reduce or avoid risks to patient safety and wellbeing.  The safety and wellbeing of yourself and others is always of paramount importance.

Students are required to undertake placement activities in mixed gender environments which reflect the Australian health care context.

Successfully completing the course enables you to apply for registration as a registered psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA), which is a partner board of the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority (AHPRA).The inherent requirements outlined below provide a guide for students and staff when considering whether you are able to meet these requirements and the type of reasonable adjustments that could potentially be put in place to assist you to complete the program without compromising the academic integrity of the program.

How to read the inherent requirements statements:

If you are intending to enrol in the Master of Clinical Psychology, you should review these inherent requirement statements and carefully consider whether you can meet these requirements. If you think you may experience challenges for any reason, including a disability or chronic health condition, you should discuss your concerns with the AccessAbility Service or Course Coordinator. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine whether reasonable adjustments can be made to assist you to meet the inherent requirements. Where it is determined that a student cannot meet the inherent requirements of a program even with reasonable adjustments, the University staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

Each inherent requirement is made up of the following five levels:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of what the inherent requirement is
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the program
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the inherent requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of things you must be able to do to show you've met the inherent requirement

There are eight domains of inherent requirements in the Master of Clinical Psychology. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

  1. Ethical Behaviour
  2. Behavioural Stability
  3. Legal
  4. Communication
  5. Cognition
  6. Relational skills
  7. Reflective skills
  8. Sustainable Performance

Inherent Requirement statements:


1. Ethical Behaviour

Introduction

Clinical psychology is a profession governed by the codes, guidelines and policies of the Psychology Board of Australia where clinical psychologists are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts. Students should demonstrate knowledge and engage in ethical behaviour in practice.

Description

Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.

Justification

Compliance with the codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people they engage with. This ensures the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the individuals.

Adjustments

Must not compromise codes, guidelines and policies of the Psychology Board of Australia or engage in unethical behaviour.

Exemplars

Complying with conduct required to maintain provisional registration as a psychologist.

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2. Behavioural Stability

Introduction

Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in a demanding role.

Description

Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in diverse and changing academic and clinical environments, which may at times be challenging and unpredictable.

Justification

Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments.  Students will be exposed to situations which are challenging and unpredictable, and will be required to have the behavioural stability to manage these objectively and professionally.

Adjustments

Must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings.

Exemplars

Being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedback.

Managing own emotional state in order to be able to develop and maintain appropriate relationships with a diverse range professional colleagues, supervisors, academic staff, peers and clients.

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3. Legal

Introduction

Clinical psychology practice is mandated by specific legislation to enable the safe delivery of care.

Description

Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with relevant laws and professional regulations.

Justification

Knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary pre-requisites to placements in order to reduce the risk of harm to self and others.

Compliance with these professional regulations and laws ensures that students are both responsible and accountable for their practice.

Adjustments

Must be consistent with legal and regulatory requirements.

Exemplars

Complying with legal requirements regarding all aspects of practice.

Complying with the requirement for student registration with AHPRA.

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4a. Communication (verbal)

Introduction

Effective and efficient verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide the safe and effective delivery of clinical psychology information and support.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
  • The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner.
  • The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation.
  • Timely and clear feedback and reporting.

Justification

Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships is essential to psychological practice.

The practice of psychology requires a wide range of communication skills including effective verbal communication with clients and members of the professional team.

Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety and/or assessment.

Timely, accurate and effective communication is necessary to provide safe and professional support.

Adjustments

For impaired verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety.

Exemplars

Participating in tutorials, presentations, simulations and applied practice discussions.

Responding appropriately to a professional or client care request in the professional experience environment.

Collecting information from clients by asking questions during assessments.

Explaining a treatment plan to a client.

Discussing the client's progress with other professionals.

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4b. Communication (non-verbal)

Introduction

Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to clinical psychology and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathic, honest and non-judgemental.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues.
  • Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours.
  • Sensitivity to individual and cultural differences.

Justification

The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships.

Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships.

Being sensitive to individual and cultural differences demonstrates respect and empathy, and permits the development of trusting relationships required to work with clients during placements.

The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues is essential for safe and effective observation of clients' symptoms and reactions as part of their assessment and treatment.

Adjustments

Enable the recognition, interpretation and appropriate response to non-verbal cues as well as initiation of effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.

Exemplars

Recognising and responding appropriately to non-verbal cues in the professional experience environment.

Recognising and responding appropriately to non-verbal cues in classroom situations.

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4c. Communication (Written)

Introduction

Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental clinical psychology responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.

Description

Student demonstrates capacity to construct, in English, coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.

Justification

Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice standards.

Accurate written communication for a range of purposes and audiences is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and professional support in the field placement context.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and clinical settings.

Exemplars

Constructing an assessment report to required academic standards including appropriate referencing of source.

Preparing clinical psychological reports which are appropriate to the purpose and audience, completed in a timely manner, and that meet professional standards.

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5a. Knowledge and cognition skills

Introduction

Consistent and effective knowledge and cognitive skills must be demonstrated to undertake safe and competent clinical psychology practice.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information.
  • The ability to process information relevant to practice.
  • The ability to remember and recall appropriate and relevant information
  • The ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice

Justification

Satisfactory performance on placements requires identifying and accurately extracting and understanding information from a range of sources, which must also be applied appropriately.

Adjustments

Must not compromise or impede student's ability to demonstrate the minimum acceptable level of knowledge and cognitive skill required to practice safely.

Exemplars

Ability to learn, recall and apply academic knowledge to clinical practice, for example through developing and testing hypotheses, developing treatment plans and then conducting interventions for clients based on this.

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5b. Literacy (language)

Introduction

Competent literacy skills are essential to permit safe and effective practice of clinical psychology during placements.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to accurately acquire information and accurately convey appropriate, effective messages.
  • The ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information.
  • The capacity to understand and implement academic and practice conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience.

Justification

The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and delivery of care.

The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective conduct during placements.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate the minimum acceptable capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information.

Exemplars

Conveying a spoken message accurately and effectively in a clinical setting during placements.

Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with the American Psychological Association Publication Manual conventions.

Producing accurate, concise and clear documentation while on placement in the clinical setting which meets legal and professional requirements.

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5c. Numeracy

Introduction

Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for research and to support the safe and effective performance of clinical psychology practice skills.

Description

Students demonstrate the ability to interpret and correctly apply numerical data, measurement and numerical criteria in the execution of clinical psychology practice while on placement.

Justification

As clinical psychology practice relies in part on collecting data in a numerical form, for example psychometric assessments, students must be able to accurately record and manage numerical data and to interpret their findings.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate the minimum acceptable capacity to manage and interpret numerical data.

Exemplars

Accurately scoring and interpreting research and psychological test data in academic and practice settings.

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6. Relational skills

Introduction

Clinical psychology practice requires the ability to make and maintain strong relationships with a wide range of professionals and clients, often under stressful circumstances.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peers.
  • The ability to engage in effective and empathic psychology practice and group work.
  • The ability to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group clinical psychology and experiential learning groups.

Justification

Highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective workplace and therapeutic relationships that permit effective engagement, assessment and intervention.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate minimal acceptable level of effective relational skills across the range of tasks and clinical populations required to successfully complete their studies.

Exemplars

Rapidly building rapport with a client in order to engage them in a clinical assessment while on placement.

Effectively using relational and interpersonal skills to manage professional and therapeutic relationships on clinical placement.

Relating effectively, openly and sensitively to academic staff, supervisors and peers.

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7. Reflective skills

Introduction

Clinical psychology practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for reflectivity in order to consider the effect of one's own issues, actions, values and behaviours on practice.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to accurately reflect on their professional performance.
  • The ability to accept feedback on their professional practice and respond constructively.

Justification

Participation in supervision is a key teaching strategy in clinical psychology training which requires adequate understanding of oneself in order to appropriately engage in this activity.

Working with clients while on placement and understanding and responding to them requires adequate understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area.

Exemplars

Identifying when a clinical issue is outside one's scope or expertise, or when one's practice may be affected by an impairment.

Reflecting in clinical supervision on how one's own responses may impede or enhance work with particular clients on clinical placement.

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8. Sustainable performance

Introduction

Clinical psychology practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to meet individual needs over time.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time.
  • The ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately.
  • The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of duty.

Justification

Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective care.

Adjustments

Must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period.

Exemplars

Participating in tutorials, lectures throughout the day.

Remaining focussed and providing consistent responses over a negotiated time frame during placement.

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