BEHV 7038 Assessment and Treatment of Complex Psychological Disorders

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102809

Coordinator David Mutton Opens in new window

Description linical psychology is a fast-evolving discipline, and practitioners need to be able to respond to changing psychological health needs of a diverse population. This unit will prepare students to expand their skills in clinical assessment of psychopathology, diagnosis and psychological interventions to respond to the needs and preferences and cultural values of clients who experience complex and/or chronic psychological disorders. Responsive practice within the context of the changing demands for clinical psychology services is foregrounded, as is the unique context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This unit will explore the theories, techniques and effectiveness of new and emerging psychological therapies; prepare students for working in multidisciplinary teams; and introduce students to the practice of clinical psychology with more complex client groups. The unit will also examine the professional and organisational roles of clinical psychologists within these settings. Please note: some of the activities in this unit may include experiential learning, for example where students may be asked to take on the client role using their own lived experience, to provide opportunity for training in therapeutic modalities that are more "real life". Students may opt-out of these activities without consequence through speaking to the unit coordinator and alternative arrangements for student learning opportunities will be organised.

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 BEHV 7028 - Psychological Interventions 2 LGYA 1563 - Psychological Interventions 3


Students must be enrolled in 1812 Master of Clinical Psychology.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Apply evidence-based psychological practice that tailors the best available psychological treatments to clients, taking into consideration their wider social and cultural context (APAC GA: 3.2 & 4.2.1i, 4.2.3i, 4.2.3ii, 4.2.3iv).
  2. Evaluate the diagnostic features and associated characteristics of complex and co-morbid psychopathological presentations and the current major theories of the aetiologies, vulnerabilities and resilience factors of these disorders; and apply these to clinical diagnosis and complex and evolving case formulations to inform treatment alternatives and their evaluation, including inter-disciplinary treatments and communication with other health professionals (APAC GA: 3.5, 3.7, 3.8, 3.10,3.12, 4.2.1i, 4.2.1ii, 4.2.1iii, 4.2.2i, 4.2.2iii & 4.2.2iv, 4.2.3ii & 4.2.3iii).
  3. Apply therapeutic skills in the assessment, formulation, planning and implementation of psychological interventions that may be applied trans-diagnostically to address a range of complex psychological problems, reflecting upon the appropriate treatment modifications required for each clinical population and including working with the unique attributes of the person within their cultural context (including with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians) (APAC GA: 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 3.9, 4.2.2ii & 4.2.3i).
  4. Demonstrate therapeutic skills in one psychological intervention and engage in reflective practice on the process and outcomes of the intervention (APAC GA: 3.6, 3.9, 3.15 & 4.2.3i).

Subject Content

Theoretical and empirical foundations of the practice of clinical psychology interventions with specific clinical populations with complex presentations.
Assessment, diagnosis and formulation and psychological treatment interventions for a range of complex clinical populations.
Introduction of a range of intervention modalities that may be tailored trans-diagnostically and to the unique attributes of the person, family, or community within their cultural context (including with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians).
Skills to work collaboratively within clinical and multidisciplinary teams.


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
2a Report 1,500 -2,000 words 40 Y Individual
2b Presentation 5 minutes 20 Y Individual

Teaching Periods




Subject Contact David Mutton Opens in new window

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Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact David Mutton Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window