Skip to main content
USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

PSY8065 Adult Psychopathology

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Adult Psychopathology
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Gavin Beccaria


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MPPS or MPCL or be undertaking the course as professional development
Co-requisite: PSY8010 or PSY5110


A first skill required by the clinician dealing with adult clients is identification and diagnosis of various psychopathologies to which they are vulnerable. This course aims at providing a comprehensive understanding of such issues.


This course aims to support a problem-solving approach to understanding of common psychological disorders, notably diagnosis but also aetiology, maintaining mechanisms, and broad frameworks of intervention.


On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. apply awareness of past and current notions of psychological disorders;
  2. competently use semi-structured interview and standard clinical interview for diagnosis;
  3. Apply theory-based conceptualizations of psychological disorders;
  4. understand connections between models of aetiology and maintenance of, and modes of intervention in, specific psychological disorders;
  5. develop a comprehensive best-practice biopsychosocial treatment plan;
  6. conceptualise mental illness within a cross cultural context and
  7. formulate treatment plans in keeping with best practice in interprofessional care for mental health consumers with complex needs


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Queensland Mental Health Act, DSM-5, and ICD-10. Diagnosis of mental health disorders through semi-structure clinical interview and standard clinical interview. 10.00
2. Anxiety Disorders 15.00
3. Mood disorders 15.00
4. Psychoses 10.00
5. Dissociative disorders 10.00
6. Eating, Sleeping, and Substance-Related disorders 10.00
7. Personality Disorders 10.00
8. Integrating legal, ethical, professional issues, and medication management 10.00
9. Working with Older Adults 10.00

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. (

American Psychiatric Association 2013, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), 5th edn, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association.
(Online available to USQ students at
Hersen, M., Turner, S. M., Beidel, D. C 2018, Adult psychopathology and diagnosis, 8th edn, J Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.

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.
Anxiety Panic Hub,
Barlow, DH 2018, Abnormal psychology: an integrative approach, 8th edn, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Australia.
Endler, NS 1990, Holiday of darkness: a psychologist's personal journey out of his depression, rev edn, Wall and Thompson, Toronto.
Hersen, M & Turner, SM (eds) 2018, Adult psychopathology and diagnosis, 8th edn, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
Koocher, GP, Norcross, JC, & Hill, SS 2013, Psychologists' Desk Reference, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, USA.
Lachenmeyer, N 2002, The outsider: a journey into my father's struggle with madness, Hill of Content Publishing, Melbourne.
McLean, RW 2003, Recovered not cured: a journey through schizophrenia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
((see also
Van Os, J & McKenna, P 2003, Does schizophrenia exist? Paper No. 12, Institute of Psychiatry, London.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 40.00
Private Study 125.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT 35 35 13 May 2019 (see note 1)
VIVA CASE PRESENTATION 35 65 03 Jun 2019 (see note 2)

  1. Due date to be advised by examiner. This written essay will critically examine contemporary definition/diagnosis of a specific DSM-5 disorder as well as development of such conceptualizations, critical review of pertinent research, theories of aetiology, and summary of suggested pharmacological and psychological interventions. Students may also practice a structured clinical interview such as the MINI or SCID and reflect on this assessment in the Essay.
  2. Student will interview an actor simulating a particular disorder. The student will have 65 minutes to conduct a clinical interview and prepare a presentation including a full clinical history, diagnostic formulation, and treatment plan to the examiner.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the student's responsibility to participate actively in all scheduled workshops and Web-based activities and to study all course materials, so as to be informed of all course academic and administrative activities and policies, and to maximise his/her chance of meeting the objectives of the course. In order to meet accreditation requirements attendance is compulsory. If a student misses a workshop they are required to present appropriate documentation (e.g., medical certificate) and complete makeup work. Attendance at the five on-campus workshops is mandatory. Dates of the five workshops will be according to the 'MPPS Workshop Schedule' which will be emailed to students at the outset of the program

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the in the essay and 70% in the viva voce. Students who receive under 70% in the viva will be expected to complete make up work to demonstrate advanced competency, which is required as a clinical psychologist.

  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 satisfactorily complete the course students must must achieve at least 50% of the in the essay and 70% in the viva voce. Students who receive under 70% in the viva will be expected to complete make up work to demonstrate advanced competency, which is required as a clinical psychologist.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grade will be determined by the addition of the marks obtained on the essay and the examination (viva), weighted as indicated in the Assessment Details.

  6. Examination information:
    The viva voce is open book. Candidates are allowed to bring any information that will assist with the interview or diagnostic formulation.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

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

  2. The Faculty will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media.

  3. 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.