PSY564 Foundations of Professional Psychology (8)

This subject introduces students to the core competencies required to practice as a professional psychologist. It focuses on the development of competence in evidence-based practice, ethical decision-making, basic interviewing and counselling skills, assessment and diagnosis of psychopathology, and in generating socio-culturally informed individualised formulations and treatment plans.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PSY564. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Psychology

Enrolment Restrictions

Available to students in Psychology Masters programs.

Assumed Knowledge

A foundation in the core psychology graduate attributes, including knowledge of the discipline of psychology, undergraduate studies in abnormal psychology, biological bases of behaviour, learning, individual differences, research and analysis methods, critical thinking skills, communication skills, and an appreciation of professional ethics.

Subject Relationships

PSY534 This subject combines and replaces PSY534
PSY533 This subject combines and replaces PSY533

Incompatible Subjects

PSY533, PSY534

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to reflect on current levels of competence in order to further develop and enhance demonstration of basic counselling skills;
  • be able to analyse critically and synthesize a large body of complex information in order to support the application of ethical decision-making theories and practices to ethical dilemmas commonly encountered in professional practice;
  • be able to reflect on current levels of competence in order to develop and/or enhance diagnostic interviewing skills in the assessment of psychopathology;
  • be able to critically analyse and synthesize a large body of literature in order to discuss the history and characteristics of the major taxonomic systems for psychopathology; and
  • be able to synthesize complex information in order to develop individualized formulations and treatment plans for disorders commonly encountered in professional practice.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Legal, ethical, and professional issues in psychology practice.
  • Evidence-based practice in psychology.
  • Developing a reflective practice framework
  • Socio-cultural diversity and across the lifespan
  • Interviewing and counselling micro skills.
  • Professional communication skills.
  • Classification and diagnostic interviewing (Mental Status Examination, structured diagnostic interviews and assessment instruments, current classification systems).
  • Suicide and dangerousness risk assessment.
  • Biopsychosocial assessment, case formulation and treatment planning.

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school is intended to serve a number of functions:

" to introduce staff and students
" to orient students to the academic requirements, support services and technical facilities available to them
" to familiarize students with the detailed placement requirements of the professional psychology programs
" to commence provision of information regarding core foundational knowledge components of the professional psychology programs
" to commence the self-evaluation component of the Masters of Clinical Psychology
" to undertake the counselling skills training component required by accreditation guidelines
" to demonstrate the application of skills to diagnosis and case formulation
" to engage the students in case analysis and discussion

Activities include:
" Introduction to program
" Library tour
" Orientation to the interact site
" Provision of information regarding the academic and placement requirements of the programme
" small-group learning activities and role-plays, self-evaluation tasks, commencement of personal learning portfolio
" demonstrations of specific psychological skills
" case discussions and other small-group learning activities and role-plays

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.