PSY6201 - Psychopathology and theories and techniques of intervention - 2018

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

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Nikolaos Kazantzis
Dr James Courtney


Associate Professor Nikolaos Kazantzis
Dr James Courtney

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


This subject provides clinical neuropsychology students with important grounding in clinical psychology. Psychopathology aim to educate students with a working knowledge of formal mental disorders. A concurrent aim is to equip students with the clinical skills required to assess, formulate and diagnose clients presenting with a variety of clinical conditions related to mental health. This unit introduces students to initial concepts in the field of psychopathology, and contributes to the development of skills necessary for clinical practice. The Theories and Techniques of Intervention subunit 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.


At the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Conduct a clinical interview and concurrent mental status examination;
  2. Engage in appropriate ethical behaviour during clinical interviews, such as gaining informed consent and identifying ethical dilemmas;
  3. Complete an accurate written evaluation of a client (e.g. clinical assessment report);
  4. Understand and discuss major classes of psychiatric illness across the life span;
  5. Feel competent in the initial formulation and diagnosis of a common psychiatric problems;
  6. Effectively and appropriately contribute to case discussions regarding formulation and diagnoses and reflect on and evaluate assessment and clinical interviewing skills;
  7. Have developed the following generic therapeutic competencies:
    • 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
  8. Have developed the following basic CBT competencies:
    • 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
  9. Have developed the following Specific CBT techniques:
    • Exposure techniques
    • Applied relaxation
    • Activity monitoring and scheduling
    • Guided discovery and Socratic questioning
    • Ability to develop a formulation with the client



  • Participation & Role Play (Hurdle Requirement)
  • Mental Status Examination (10%)
  • Psychological Report (15%)
  • Take-home Exam (25%)

Theories and Techniques of Intervention:

  • Skills Practice and Written Submission (20%)
  • Skills Practice - Reviewing Homework (5%)
  • Video recording and Written Reflection (25%)

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