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PSY8050 Advanced Clinical Intervention

Semester 1, 2021 On-campus Ipswich
Short Description: Advanced Clinical Intervention
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: Jean McCausland-Green


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MCPS or MCPA or be undertaking the course as professional development


The practitioner addressing psychological problems requires a depth of understanding of therapeutic perspectives and methods demonstrated to be effective within complex mental health challenges. Students will acquire knowledge and skills within current therapeutic systems that address the emotional distress and specific daily functioning challenges clients face. Students' competencies to plan and implement interventions will include attention to the particular demands on developing and maintaining therapeutic alliance with personal insight based on reflective practice.


This course addresses principles and practice of a range of psychological therapies including: dialectical behaviour therapy, short term psychodynamic therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and interpersonal therapy, for complex mental health issues across the lifespan. Cultural competency for psychologists and the use of tele-psychology and other e-mental health services will be covered. The course material is presented through personal critical reflection, discussion and debate in class and on-line, and through experiential skill development in workshops/residential school. The knowledge acquired will be assessed through case formulation and treatment planning for the same client using two different therapy systems. The skill level of individual students will be assessed using a videotaped therapy session. Attendance at the on-campus workshops/residential school is mandatory. Dates of the workshops/residential schools will be according to the 'Workshop Schedule' which will be emailed to students at the outset of the program.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. apply knowledge and skills for covered therapeutic modalities to Clinical Psychology practice.
  2. develop and maintain a working alliance characterised by compassion and empathy-based intervention frameworks, with insight regarding how to therapeutically use their relationship with the client and an understanding of potential transference and countertransference;
  3. determine the appropriate therapeutic focus and strategy for a client on the basis of the assessment of the presenting problem, diagnosis, and the cognitive capacity and emotional strength to engage;
  4. adopt the appropriate therapy within the context of 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 progress evaluations;
  6. proficiently communication and engaging with clients and community to understand and attend to the needs of clients.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Intervention models and specific strategies for working with clients across the spectrum of the complex and chronic disorders. 40.00
2. Therapeutic relationship challenges with complex clientele. 20.00
3. Cultural competency in the therapeutic relationship and adaptation of therapy approaches. 20.00
4. Use of e-mental health resources as complement to therapy; telepsychology for rural clients. 15.00
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. (

Hayes, S.C. & Smith, S (2005), Get out of your mind and into your life: The new acceptance and commitment therapy, New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA, US.
(Note: This is designed as a client self help work book. Takes you through the ACT methods.)
Linehan, M.M (2015), DBT skills training manual, 2nd edn, Guilford Press, NY.
(Note that this is for the skills training component only. Purchase also gets access to online reproducible teaching notes and handouts.)
Walker, S (2005), Culturally competent therapy: Working with children and young people, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK.
Weissman, M.M., Markowitz, J.C., & Klerman, G.L (2018), The guide to interpersonal psychotherapy: Updated and expanded, Oxford University Press, NY.

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.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Private Study 125.00
Workshops 35.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
RECONCEPTUALISATION& REV PLAN 30 30 30 Jun 2021 (see note 1)

  1. The Course Examiner will advise Students of the due date via StudyDesk.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in the mandatory workshops held on-campus, where the skills components of this course will be taught. During these workshops, students will engage in the development and practice of skills. Further, it is the students' responsibility to study all assigned material. If circumstances prevent a student from attending any portion of a workshop, the student MUST contact the examiner IN ADVANCE, if at all possible. The student must also contact the examiner in order to arrange an alternative activity, although it is important to note that it will be at the examiner’s discretion as to whether an alternative activity will be made available. Attendance at, and participation in, the five workshops and/or completion of one or more alternative activities at a standard judged to be appropriate by the examiner is required to pass. Attendance at the five on-campus workshops is mandatory. Dates of the five workshops will be according to the '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 complete the class conceptualizations and treatment plans satisfactorily students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each item. To complete the videos of therapy satisfactorily, students must obtain 50% of the marks available for that item. See also point 4 below. .

  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 submit each assessment item, and achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for each assessment item. All course in the MCPS and MCPA are approved by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), which requires that students pass all assessment items in all courses. Where a fails any assignment, the student will be allowed one opportunity to re-submit their work following feedback from the course examiner. If a student fails any assignment a second time, he or she will be deemed to have failed the course and will be required to undertake the course again at its next offering. This rule applies regardless of whether or not the aggregated marks for remaining assessment in course are higher than 50% overall. Where illness, bereavement, or circumstances of similar gravity affect a student's ability to meet the high standards expected in the course, the student should meet with the course examiner and Director of Postgraduate Psychology to negotiate suitable management of the person's individual needs.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course, with a passing grade only awarded where all workshops were attended and all assessment items were passed.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  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 NOT expected to be enrolled in a practicum at this time

  2. A formal intervention plan of several 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 client and an outline of a possible schedule of several therapy sessions. The second case formulation and treatment plan is for the same client using a different therapy system.

  3. At least one recording of telehealth practice must be submitted for assessment and feedback through the semester on a resubmit basis until competence is demonstrated. 6 July is the final date to reach competency.

  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. A request for an extension must be submitted in writing to the examiner, IN ADVANCE of the due date.

  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.

Date printed 18 June 2021