DPSY5203 - Theories and techniques of intervention part 1 - 2017

0 points, SCA Band 1, 0.000 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences


Dr Katherine Lawrence

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


HDR unit


This unit provides students with training in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and the delivery of psychological interventions more broadly. The emphasis here is on understanding CBT theory and the related techniques of intervention, understanding the psychological issues faced by clients, and bringing the two together in formulation. We start by introducing students to the theory of CBT and the process of assessment and formulation and how to structure therapy. Key CBT processes such as guided discovery and collaboration are highlighted. Then students are supported to learn and apply the core skills of CBT including cognitive restructuring, behavioural experiments, problem-solving and relaxation. Finally, these tools and techniques are applied to clients across the age range with cognitive impairment, depression, anger, and anxiety.


This unit provides students with knowledge and skills related to both generic therapeutic competences as well as competences related specifically to CBT as defined by Roth and Pilling (2007). These competencies align with those set by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council especially in relation to domains: Knowledge of the Discipline, Intervention Strategies and Communication and Interpersonal Relationships. By the end of the unit, students should have a good working knowledge of and demonstrate capacity to utilise the tools and techniques listed below.

Generic therapeutic competences

  • Knowledge of mental health problems, ethical and professional guidelines, and a model of therapy (and the ability to draw on and apply this knowledge when providing psychological interventions)
  • Ability to engage the client, foster and maintain a good therapeutic alliance, and to grasp the client's perspective and 'world view'
  • Ability to deal with emotional content of sessions
  • Ability to manage endings
  • Ability to undertake an assessment

Basic CBT competences

  • Knowledge of basic principles of CBT and rationale for treatment, common cognitive biases relevant to CBT, and the role of safety-seeking behaviours
  • Ability to explain and demonstrate rationale for CBT to client
  • Ability to agree goals for intervention
  • Ability to structure sessions
  • Ability to use measures and self-monitoring to guide therapy and to monitor outcome
  • Ability to devise a maintenance cycle and use this to this set targets
  • Problem solving
  • Relapse prevention

Specific CBT techniques

  • Exposure techniques
  • Applied relaxation
  • Activity monitoring and scheduling
  • Guided discovery and Socratic questioning
  • Ability to develop a formulation with the client


Satisfactory attendance and participation are required to pass the unit.

  1. Skills practice and written submission - Guided discovery (40%)
  2. Skills practice - Reviewing homework (20%)
  3. Video recording and written reflection - Sharing formulations (40%)

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Must be enrolled in Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology or Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology