Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Occupational Therapy
OfferedPeninsula First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Nikos Thomacos


This unit explores psychological theory and research relevant to the practice of occupational therapy, including psychological perspectives on pain, stress, illness and disability. Grounded in a biopsychosocial model of health and wellbeing, this introductory unit provides students with an overview of the major psychological traditions and approaches e.g. psychodynamic, developmental, cognitive, social psychology, etc., and examines how each provides insight into the challenges and issues experienced by individuals, carers, families and communities. This unit also introduces students to the methods of inquiry and assumptions of theory associated with the science of psychology. The relevance of the discipline of psychology to occupational therapy thinking and practice is emphasised.


On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss key contemporary theories, concepts, and perspectives that underpin a biopsychosocial model of health and wellbeing;
  2. Identify and discuss the differences among the various psychological traditions (i.e. psychodynamic, developmental cognitive, behavioural, social, personality, etc.), and how each is related to activity and occupational therapy thinking and practice;
  3. Articulate the personal relevance of unit's content, including an understanding of the role of biopsychosocial forces in their lives and the lives of others, and an appreciation of the practical value of psychology;
  4. Explain how psychological theory and research can be applied to issues such as pain, stress, illness, disability, and health and wellbeing;
  5. Critically evaluate information concerning psychological phenomena obtained from research, the broader community and the media; and,
  6. Identify, evaluate and integrate psychological knowledge in the preparation of assessment tasks set, including the correct use of APA 6th edition referencing.


Hurdle requirement:
Students are required to attend 100% of tutorials. Students must also participate in the class data collection exercise.

Formative assessment:
Feedback during lecture and tutorial participation, as well as following two summative assessments (i.e. assessment tasks 1 and 2).

Summative assessment:
Assessment task 1: 2,000 word essay comparing how a range of psychological traditions differ, and how these different traditions relate to contemporary occupational therapy (30%). (Objectives 1-2).

Assessment task 2: 1,500 word report on a data set collected by students that examines the relationship among personality, behaviour and health and wellbeing (30%). (Objectives 3-6).

Assessment task 3: A two-hour, multiple choice and short answer exam (40%). (Objectives 1-6).

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2 hour lecture and 2 hour tutorial per week

Off-campus attendance requirements

80% tutorial attendance