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PSY8050 Advanced Clinical Intervention

Semester 2, 2014 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology, Counselling and Community

Contents on this page


Examiner: Sue Littler
Moderator: Gavin Beccaria


Pre-requisite: PSY8045


The practitioner addressing psychological problems requires a depth of understanding of therapeutic perspectives and methods demonstrated to be effective within complex and severe mental health challenges. This course critically reviews the research literature with a focus on psychopathology as it is conceptualised in terms of the disruption of neurological and relational development across the lifespan. Students will acquire knowledge and skills within current therapeutic processes that address the specific daily functioning challenges these clients face due to differential sensitivity to environmental factors. Students' competencies to plan and implement interventions will include attention to the particular demands on developing and maintaining therapeutic alliance with personal insight within a relational frame.


This course addresses principles and practice of supportive, integrative and interpersonal psychotherapies across the spectrum of crisis and trauma-based complex mental health issues across the lifespan. The course material is presented through personal critical reflection, discussion and debate in class and on-line, and through experiential skill development in three two-day workshops. The knowledge acquired will be assessed through a case-study based in-class test. The skill level of individual students will be assessed using videotaped therapy sessions.


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

  1. demonstrate a level of competencies as identified by APAC Standards and the APS Clinical College in relevant areas of chronic and complex mental health problems;
  2. develop and maintain a working alliance characterised by compassion and empathy-based intervention frameworks, with insight regarding how to therapeutically use transference and countertransference;
  3. determine the appropriate therapeutic focus and strategy for a client on the basis of the assessment of the cognitive capacity and emotional strength to engage;
  4. manage the challenges of client attention abilities, consensual problem definition and goal-setting;
  5. design, implement and evaluate individual interventions with the ability to flexibly renegotiate and redesign such interventions as needed based on session by session outcome evaluations;
  6. demonstrate a range of evidence-based applicable interventions which may include Psychological First Aid and Crisis Intervention,Exposure-based Behaviour Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Mindfulness CBT,Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, demonstrate proficiency in professional communication and client/community relations with respect to understanding and attending to the needs of trauma and chronically disabled clients through: writing and presenting reports of needs assessments, intervention plans and outcomes, assessing the ecological validity of proposed interventions, critically reviewing the efficacy of interventions.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Developmental conceptual frameworks to understand complex and chronic symptoms including neuro-biology and relationship-attachment. 15.00
2. Therapeutic relationship challenges with complex clientele. 20.00
3. Intervention models and specific strategies for working with clients across the spectrum of crisis and trauma presentations. 30.00
4. Intervention models and specific strategies for working with clients across the spectrum of complex and chronic disorders. 30.00
5. Communicating within multidisciplinary treatment teams and community services regarding the needs and care of complex and chronic clientele. 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Courtois, C. & Ford, J 2009, Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: An Evidence-based Guide, The Guildford Press, New York.
  • Dalenberg, C 2000, Countertransference and the Treatment of Trauma, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
  • Moskowitz, A., Schafer, I. & Dorahy, M 2008, Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation: Emerging Perspectives on Severe Psychopathology, Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, N.J.
  • REQUIRED TEXT: Students will find the set text useful pre-reading for workshops and as a foundation for their written case study and exam.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Paris, J 2008, Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide to Evidence-Based Practice, The Guildford Press, New York.
  • Simeon, D. & Abugel, J 2006, Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of Self, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Adults with Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (2013). Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. East Melbourne.
  • Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Clients with Previously Unreported Traumatic Memories. (March 2010) Australian Psychological Society.
  • Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide 2nd Ed (2006). National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Practical Experience 30.00
Private Study 60.00
Tutorials 48.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
IN CLASS TEST 50 50 27 Oct 2014

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    To ensure that students can satisfy the objectives of the practical component of the unit, attendance at all workshops for this course is compulsory. The intervention skills component of this course will be taught in three, two day workshops held on campus. During these workshops students will engage in practice of intervention techniques with respect to a range of health problems. Attendance at the workshops is compulsory.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete the In-class test and the treatment plan satisfactorily students must obtain at least 70% of the marks available for each item. To complete the three videos of therapy satisfactorily, students must obtain 100% of the marks available for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve a satisfactory mark for all items attempted and achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    Final grades for students will be determined by the addition of the marks obtained in each assessment item, weighted as in the Assessment Details.

  6. Examination information:
    An exam (held as an in-class test) will be held in the final workshop requiring students to critically analyse and plan treatment for a clinical case study.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students are expected to be enrolled in a practicum at this time

  2. A formal intervention plan of 8 sessions of a therapeutic model will be designed by the student to assist a client The plan must present a full formulation of the presenting problem from the perspective of the therapeutic model chosen , consideration of possible therapeutic alliance challenges particular to this clientand an outline of a possible schedule of 8 therapy sessions. This plan should be between 3,000 and 4,000 words.

  3. At least three recordings of therapeutic strategies must be submitted for assessment and feedback through the semester on a resubmit basis until competence is demonstrated.

  4. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  5. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner.

  6. The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  7. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //