University of Technology Sydney

96045 Adult Clinical Psychology 1

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 2023 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 takes a scientist–practitioner approach to understanding psychological disorders in adults. Specifically, students learn about common mental health presentations in adults with reference to: the aetiology of the disorder; assessment and diagnostic issues; and evidence-based treatments. This knowledge is presented in the context of the relevant ethical, legal and professional standards, as well as consideration of cross-cultural factors.

Successful completion of this subject is required for progression to all second-year subjects in the Master of Clinical Psychology (C04300).

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

001. Locate scholarly literature relevant to a given topic
002. Critique selected research
012. Communicate research findings and outcomes
016. Integrate diagnostic information with formulation in treatment planning
023. Apply multiple methods for assessing the severity and types of mental health conditions
029. Follow a structured process to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis
030. Draw on clinical evidence to propose an intervention
031. Justify the selection of a particular intervention
032. Design an intervention
035. Justify the links between diagnosis, formulation and the intervention chosen
036. Provide evidence-based treatment across the life-span
037. Use core behaviour change techniques
038. Provide evidence-based treatment across a range of disorders
039. Respond to the immediate needs of any clinical presentation
040. Utilise specific behavioural and cognitive interventions
041. Plan and review homework
042. Summarise and gain feedback from client
045. Measure behavioural, cognitive and affective change
050. Demonstrate empathic active listening skills
051. Apply core therapy skills, such as clarifying, reflecting, paraphrasing and summarizing
052. Achieve and maintain an effective therapeutic relationship
057. Use written and spoken communication in a manner appropriate to the target audience
059. Negotiate the commencement, conduct and termination of a treatment session
070. Interpret initial client information
071. On the basis of available information, establish initial assessment requirements
072. Select appropriate assessment measures and methods for a given case
073. Provide a rationale for the method(s) of assessment utilised
084. Utilise best available methodologies and resources in clinical practice
089. Manage interpersonal boundaries

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)
  • 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

Preparation for Learning: Students are required to prepare for learning by completing relevant learning activities before attending face-to-face classes. These learning activities may include readings, peer practice of skills, or other clinical activities. Students will be provided with readings on Canvas prior to each class. It is expected that students complete these required readings before class and are prepared to contribute in class.

Active Lectures: During classes, various clinical techniques and interventions will be discussed and demonstrated. Students will practice these techniques at some points during the semester. During these simulations, students are encouraged to both obtain and provide feedback from their peers. The coordinator will also provide limited feedback where possible during these simulated sessions. In addition, students will have the opportunity to discuss the required readings, as well as any issues or questions arising from the information, during the lectures. The lectures are designed to facilitate active learning and discussion.

Expert Instruction: This subject uses expert instructors to convey the latest evidence-based information for particular psychological disorders. The expert will provide information relevant to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of each psychological disorder and provide insights from their own practice. Students are encouraged to come to class prepared to engage with the expert instructor on the topic of their expertise.

Case-based Learning: Case-based learning is a form of problem-based learning, and is a key learning strategy in this subject. The lecturer or guest speaker will give case examples of the adult psychological disorder being presented. This will facilitate learning of the practical diagnostic, assessment and intervention skills required to work with adult clients.

Research-integrated Learning: Clinical psychologists adhere to a scientist-practitioner approach. Students will be taught how to work within the scientist-practitioner model. This allows the integration of research into clinical practice. Students will also be required to critically evaluate research as part of their assessment tasks.

Collaborative Learning: Much of our work as clinical psychologists involves working with multi-disciplinary teams, as well as teams made up of multiple psychologists. Therefore it is essential that clinical psychology students develop skills in teamwork. A group presentation will form part of the assessment for this course. Students will be required to work in small groups to present the evidence base, diagnostic considerations and treatment options for a specific adult psychological disorder.

Reflective Learning: Reflective practice is an essential skill of a clinical psychologist. This subject aims to foster reflective practice by encouraging students to engage in reflective learning as part of the class participation of clinical activities. In particular students are asked to consider and identify their areas of strength and weakness and to consider avenues to improve their skills prior to commencing work with clients.

Simulated Clinical Experiences: As part of the case formulation and assessment lectures, students will be provided with the opportunity to view examples of clinical practice, as well as an opportunity to practice these in class.

Ongoing Feedback: In-class verbal feedback is an important teaching and learning strategy employed throughout the subject. Specifically the course coordinator/lecturer will observe skills practice and provide verbal feedback on skills as required. Students will also regularly receive feedback from their peers. Written feedback will also be provided via marked assessments.

Content (topics)

  • Introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar and related disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
    • Specific phobia
    • Panic disorder and agoraphobia
    • Social anxiety disorder
    • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Trauma and stressor disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Non-clinical presentations


Assessment task 1: Peer Related Skills Practice (must-pass assessment)


It is important that clinical psychologists demonstrate the ability to deliver a wide variety of clinical interventions. The aim of this assessment is for students to practice specific cognitive and/or behavioral interventions that are relevant to the delivery of evidence-based practice for common mental health conditions.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

032, 036, 037, 038, 039, 040, 041, 042, 045, 050, 051, 052, 057, 059, 072, 084 and 089

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.001, .002, .003, .004, .005, .006, .008 and .011

Type: Demonstration
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 10%

Each role play should not exceed 30 minutes


Marking criteria is available on Canvas

Assessment task 2: Treatment Plan


It is important that clinical psychologists can develop an evidence-based treatment plan for all clients. This assessment task is designed to ensure students are competent in their ability to assess and develop an evidence-based treatment plan for a fictitious client who is presenting with a common adult mental health disorder.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

001, 002, 012, 016, 023, 029, 030, 031, 032, 035, 036, 038, 045, 057, 070, 071, 072 and 073

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

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

Type: Report
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 30%

2000 words (maximum)


Marking criteria is available on Canvas

Assessment task 3: Skills Demonstration (must-pass assessment)


Clinical psychologists often see a variety of different presentations in practice and thus it is essential that clinical psychologists are able to demonstrate competence in the treatment of a variety of common and complex presentations. The aim of this assessment task is for students to demonstrate competence in the delivery of various cognitive and/or behavioural interventions for common mental health disorders.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

032, 036, 037, 038, 039, 040, 050, 051, 052, 057, 072, 084 and 089

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

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

Type: Demonstration
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

Each role play should not exceed 30 minutes.


Marking criteria is available on Canvas.

Minimum requirements

Students are required to attend a minimum of 100% of classes.

To pass this Subject students must achieve a minimum grade of 50%.

Note: All assessments are considered 'must-pass' assessments in this subject.

Required texts

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.): American Psychiatric Association.

Barlow, D. H. (2014). Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders. A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual. New York: Guilford Press

Tolin, D. F. (2016). Doing CBT: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Behaviors, Thoughts, and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

Coursework Assessments Policy

Coursework Assessments Procedures

Graduate School of Health Policy, Guidelines and Procedures (login required)

Recommended texts

Springer, K.S. & Tolin, D.F. The Big Book of Exposures: Innovative, Creative, and Effective CBT-Based Exposures for Treating Anxiety-Related Disorders. New Harbinger Publications.