BEHV 7008 Clinical Health Psychology

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101220

Coordinator Evelyn Smith Opens in new window

Description In this unit students acquire an understanding of how biological, psychological, social factors interact in health and illness, and how the principles of biopsychosocial models of health inform clinical psychology intervention strategies that can be applied to the management of physical disorders. This unit will cover psychological assessment, formulation that integrates medicine and psychology, clinical health psychology treatments and assessment of their outcomes. Given that comorbidity has an impact on health outcomes, psychological practice when working with co-morbid substance use disorders will also be addressed. Practice within this branch of clinical psychology requires working within inter-disciplinary treatment contexts that include medical interventions and the tailoring of psychological interventions to help manage a medical condition and enhance quality of life. The unit includes culturally responsive attitudes and skills in clinical health psychology practice, including when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

School Psychology

Discipline Psychology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Pre-requisite(s) BEHV 7027 AND
BEHV 7029

Equivalent Subjects LGYB 5193 - Clinical Health Psychology BEHV 7011 - Clinical Psychopathology 2


Students must be enrolled in 1546 Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) or 1812 Master of Clinical Psychology

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Apply evidence-based practice in clinical health psychology that integrates empirically supported psychological treatments with consideration of the client's health, illness and wider social and cultural contexts (APAC GA: 3.2, 3.16, 4.2.1i & 4.2.1ii, 4.2.3iv).
  2. Outline the characteristics of a range of effective psychological treatments for complex and comorbid presentations (APAC GA: 3.2, 4.2.2iii).
  3. Compare and contrast the assessment, planning, implementation, tailoring and evaluation of outcomes of psychological treatments of these disorders with diverse client groups, including working with the unique attributes of the person within their family, health and cultural context, including from multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts (APAC GA: 3.2, 3.7, 4.2.2iii & iv & 4.2.3ii).
  4. Articulate the importance of the contributions of a multidisciplinary teams and interventions (including pharmacological) to treatment plans development and implementation and communication within an inter-professional context (APAC GA: 3.10, 3.12, 4.2.1iv, 4.2.2ii & 4.2.3iii).
  5. Implement a psychological intervention for a client for a range of specific clinical populations, reflecting upon the appropriate treatment modifications required for each population and their own emerging practice in clinical health psychology contexts (APAC GA: 3.2, 3.3, 3.9, 3.14, 3.15 & 4.2.3i)
  6. Demonstrate competency in MI-MAP case formulation skills and therapeutic skills in one psychological intervention (APAC GA: 3.7, 3.14, 3.15 & 4.2.3i)

Subject Content

Integrating medicine, other disciplines and psychology: formulation framework for clinical health psychology
Transdiagnostic and e-mental health treatment for chronic health conditions
Psychoneuroimmunology and health models
Models of adjustment and complicated grief in living with chronic and life-threatening illness
Therapeutic modalities (Motivational Interviewing, Problem Solving Therapy)
Psychological interventions for co-morbid presentations, including substance use disorders
Pain mechanisms and management
Acute and chronic health conditions (e.g., spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis; asthma; diabetes; arthritis, obesity, cardiovascular disease)
Clinical Health Psychology practice within a range of cultural contexts, including when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
1a Simulation 40 minutes S/U Y Individual
1b Simulation 40 minutes 40 Y Individual
Exam 2 hours 60 Y Individual

Teaching Periods




Subject Contact Evelyn Smith Opens in new window

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Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Evelyn Smith Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window