University of Technology Sydney

96043 Introduction to Clinical Practice Skills

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health (GEM)
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject is an orientation to the profession of clinical psychology and an introduction to the practical component of the clinical program. The aim of the subject is to develop the clinical skills needed to assess, formulate, diagnose and treat a range of patient issues and problems, and to understand relevant ethical codes and ethical decision making.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

001. Locate scholarly literature relevant to a given topic
015. Apply research in a given clinical context
020. Develop a formulation from a range of clinical perspectives
026. Apply diagnostic systems (e.g. DSM, ICD) in a given clinical context
031. Justify the selection of a particular intervention
035. Justify the links between diagnosis, formulation and the intervention chosen
050. Demonstrate empathic active listening skills
051. Apply core therapy skills, such as clarifying, reflecting, paraphrasing and summarising
052. Achieve and maintain an effective therapeutic relationship
053. Identify goals with clients and stakeholders
054. Explain one's own role, within the context of the service
055. Explain the limits of confidentiality
057. Use written and spoken communication in a manner appropriate to the target audience
058. Produce accurate, succinct and well-organised written communications
059. Negotiate the commencement, conduct and termination of a treatment session
060. Negotiate the commencement, conduct and termination of a treatment program
070. Interpret initial client information
075. Conduct appropriate tests, interviews or other assessments
078. Respond appropriately to any risk arising from assessment
083. Maintain continual professional development and registration requirements
084. Utilise best available methodologies and resources in clinical practice
085. Maintain records and carry out administrative tasks to the required standard
086. Adhere to the guidelines and policies of relevant professional bodies
087. Maintain familiarity with State and Commonwealth law and regulations relevant to the practice of clinical psychology
089. Manage interpersonal boundaries
090. Recognise ethical dilemmas
091. Apply ethical decision-making principles in professional practice
092. Gain and maintain informed consent
093. Maintain confidentiality at all times
094. Maintain professional dress, demeanour and behaviour
097. Detail practitioner's obligations with respect to own and others' competence

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

The learning outcomes for this subject are as follows:

  • Apply in practice accurate and comprehensive knowledge of the current state of psychological theories and models, the application, implementation and interpretation of psychological investigations, and the implementation of psychological interventions. (.001)
  • Provide ethically and legally accountable client-centred care, with awareness of own capabilities and limitations. (.002)
  • Assess and report on individual and population psychological health status, using appropriate testing and/or observation methodologies. (.003)
  • Design and evaluate psychological interventions to optimise client or organisational health. (.004)
  • Evaluate evidence and engage in systematic inquiry. (.005)
  • Communicate effectively and accurately with clients and stakeholders in written or spoken language appropriate to their needs. (.006)
  • Contribute as leader and collaborator in the delivery of client-centred care (.008)
  • Reflect on the knowledge, skills and attributes required for the evaluation and integration of emerging evidence into practice, promoting the growth of personal and professional learning, and the education of others. (.009)
  • Represent the psychologist's perspective in multidisciplinary environments, and through self-awareness and acknowledgement of the contribution of other health practitioners, support an interdisciplinary approach to attain the best outcomes for clients. (.010)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of psychological practice in national and global communities, with awareness of their social and cultural contexts, using a consultative approach to the formulation and implementation of management plans to meet diverse needs. (.011)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

Lifelong learning

Graduates of the Master of Clinical Psychology are lifelong learners, committed to and capable of reflection and inquiry in their quest for personal development and excellence in professional practice.

Professional capacity

Graduates of the Master of Clinical Psychology are client-focused, ethical practitioners with the understanding and proficiency to be leaders in their profession, capable of effectively researching and communicating solutions in a global context.

Global citizenship

Graduates of the Master of Clinical Psychology contribute to society, resolving to undertake those actions and responsibilities that will enhance their role in local, national and global communities.

Cultural competence

Graduates of the Master of Clinical Psychology are culturally competent professionals, able to reflect on and explain their own cultural perspectives, accommodate cultural differences and achieve optimal outcomes through the adoption of a consultative approach to patient care with indigenous Australians and other cultural groups.

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject includes a proportion of flipped, inquiry-based, problem-based, project-based, studio-based, experiential or similar practice-oriented learning activities that involve students preparing before class and making use of the preparation in class

Preparation for Learning: Specifically students are expected to have completed the workshop reading prior to the workshop.

Active Lectures: Specifically the coordinators will demonstrate various clinical techniques and interventions, which students will then practice in pairs or small groups.

Case-based Learning: Specifically students will be provided with case studies to inform their simulated practice.

Research-integrated Learning: Specifically students will be required to link the academic literature with the skills and interventions that they are practicing.

Collaborative Learning: Specifically students will be required to collaborate on various workshop activities, as well as assessable tasks.

Reflective Learning: Specifically students are encouraged to engage in ongoing reflection of their skills.

Practice-based Learning: Specifically students will engage in a considerable number of role plays to ensure that they are comfortable doing assessments and various clinical interventions.

Authentic and Simulated Clinical Experiences: Students will observe experienced clinicians completing assessments and interventions and will role play skills with their peers. Students will also observe real clients in the clinic.

Self-directed Practice: Specifically students will be required to practice the skills at home.

Ongoing Feedback: In-class verbal feedback is an important teaching and learning strategy employed throughout the subject. Specifically the course coordinators will observe skills practice and provide feedback on skills as required.

Content (topics)

  • Ethics and professional practice
  • Foundational clinical skills
  • Clinical interviewing
  • Risk assessment
  • Diagnostic interviewing
  • Case formulation and treatment planning


Assessment task 1: Ethical Decision Making Model (must pass assessment)


Clinical psychologists regularly encounter ethical scenarios in their work. The ability to work through these ethical scenarios in a structured way is an important skill to learn for clinical psychology trainees. This assessment task is designed to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to identify and respond to an ethical dilemma that may arise during their practice.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

001, 015, 057, 058, 086, 087, 090, 091 and 097

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.002, .004, .005, .006 and .009

Type: Case study
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 25%

1,200 words maximum


Marking criteria for this task is provided on Canvas.

Assessment task 2: Clinic Interview Demonstration (must pass assessment)


It is important that clinical psychologists are able to ascertain clinical information in a timely way and as such the completion of an appropriate initial clinical interview is an essential skill to master for a developing clinical psychologist. This task is designed to ensure that students are able to demonstrate competency in the delivery of an initial clinical interview prior to working with clients.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

050, 051, 052, 053, 054, 055, 057, 059, 060, 070, 075, 078, 084, 086, 087, 089, 092 and 094

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.001, .002, .003, .006, .008, .009, .010 and .011

Type: Demonstration
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

30 minutes


The marking criteria for this task is provided on Canvas.

Assessment task 3: Case Formulation (must pass assessment)


Once an assessment is complete clinical psychologists formulate the case and plan an appropriate treatment. This assessment task is designed to ensure that students demonstrate basic competency in case formulation prior to commencing work with clients on their first placement.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

015, 020, 026, 031, 035 and 058

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.001, .002, .003, .004, .005, .006, .010 and .011

Type: Demonstration
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

15 minutes


Marking criteria is provided on Canvas.

Assessment task 4: Clinic Meeting and Case Presentation Attendance (must pass)


During the second semester of the first year of the Master of Clinical Psychology students will commence their first internal placement. This assessment task is designed to provide students with the opportunity to:

1. Increase their understanding of the types of client presentation seen at the UTS Psychology Clinic and

2. Learn how clinical formulations are applied in routine clinical practice.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

083, 085, 086, 087, 093 and 094

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.002 and .009

Groupwork: Individual

Minimum requirements

Students must attend all twelve workshops (100% attendance). Students must pass all assessment tasks in order to pass the unit.

Required texts

Coursework Assessments Policy

Coursework Assessments Procedures

Graduate School of Health Policy, Guidelines and Procedures

  • Guidelines for Mandatory Notifications.
  • National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce.
  • Australian Psychological Society (APS). (2007). Code of Ethics.
  • New South Wales Health (2017). Mental Health Act Guide Book (Fifth Edition).

Other required readings will be posted on the Canvas site for this subject. Students are encouraged to check these folders regularly to ensure they have completed the required readings for this subject.

Recommended texts

  • Egan, G. (2014). The Skilled Helper: A Problem Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping. Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning
  • Newman, C.F. (2013). Core Competencies in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. New York: Routledge
  • Tolin, D. F. (2016). Doing CBT: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Behaviors, Thoughts, and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Wright, J.H., Basco, M.R., & Thase, M.E. (2006). Learning Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.