PSYC523-20A (HAM)

Clinical Practicum 1: Fundamental Clinical Skills

20 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Psychology


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Paper Description

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Learning Aims
The aims of both papers are to enable students to work sensitively, ethically, competently, and effectively in the clinical field. More specifically:
(1) To broaden the training received in PSYC521 and PSYC522 using the scientist-practitioner model;
(2) To enable students to learn to work effectively under external supervision during their practicum placements;
(3) To develop strengths and skills in the application of assessment strategies and the planning and implementation of therapeutic interventions;
(4) To learn how to address cultural considerations in clinical contexts;
(5) To develop the ethical and practical implementation of these skills and thus prepare students to function effectively and confidently as clinical interns in their 3rd year of training.
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Paper Structure

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Case Conference is held from 11:15am to 12:30pm on Mondays in I1.09. The clinical concepts (i.e., Fundamental Clinical Skills (PSYC523) and Advanced and Specialist Skills (PSYC524)) seminars are held from 1:00pm to 4:30pm in JB.07.

This paper consists of both on-campus and off-campus activities. There are two types of on-campus sessions (1) Clinical Concepts (including Fundamental Clinical Skills (Semester A) and Advanced and Specialist Skills (Semester B)), and (2) Case Conferences. Students will also engage in Practicum Placements in external organisations, for two days per week.

Clinical Concepts Seminars
The purpose of the seminar is to support your continued development and to build on the basic skills and knowledge you gained in your first year. Seminars will be led primarily by clinical staff with specialist sessions given by local clinicians, and will focus on their areas of skill and expertise. Most sessions will be a mix of didactic and clinical material, with practice applying theoretical concepts to clinical problems. It is appropriate to bring your clinical experience into the class sessions with questions and discussion of cases; however, please remember to respect the confidentiality of your clients at all times. Most sessions will be attended only by the second year group, but occasional sessions will be held jointly with the interns (on campus), as indicated in the curriculum schedule.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and the application and use of knowledge derived from the current clinical literature in related areas.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • integrate psychological knowledge with the practical skills acquired on placements, and to expand clinical professional skills to practice clinical psychology in a safe, competent, ethical, and culturally appropriate manner.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • discuss clinical problems from a cognitive-behavioural basis
    The development of a critical faculty is considered important during this year: students are expected to be able to provide a psychological rationale for case formulations and intervention plans and be able to operationalise and define the explanatory constructs used. Although innovative and creative clinical interventions are encouraged, and students are encouraged to become familiar with other theories and treatment approaches, students will be expected to be able to apply CBT protocols and concepts with regard to case material.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • identify and access leading research journals in clinical psychology rather than more general journals on mental health issues from other disciplines
    However, there are some topics where it will be important for students to read widely and use information from medical, psychiatric, social work, or nursing sources. Students are also expected to be able to cite and explain the research and theories of leading clinical researchers from overseas, in addition to knowing the local networks of services and possibilities within New Zealand.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • discuss and problem-solve clinical services, such as assessment and treatment, for the range of clients as they encounter them on placement.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. General comments regarding paperwork and assignments
2. Experience workbook/ePortfolio
  • Hand-in: Department Office
3. Oral presentation
  • Presentation: In Class
4. Demonstrations of Procedural Knowledge
  • In Class: In Lecture
5. Placement Performance
  • Other:
6. Case Studies
  • Hand-in: Department Office
7. Mid-year oral examination
  • Other:
8. End-of-year oral examination
  • Other:
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Recommended Readings

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Invited presenters will provide suggested readings and references. You are also expected to maintain ongoing reading of appropriate literature from the University library and other sources, and we suggest setting time aside on Monday morning for this. Please resist any efforts, however enticing, to give up Monday hours to anything other than reading, class attendance and Case Conference.

Clinical students spend considerable amounts of time tracking down key references to topics of special importance (e.g., a particular type of client problem encountered in the clinic), and so it is useful to share references and to collaborate by making extra copies of key articles you encounter. The sharing of PDF files of articles is a particularly effective method of sharing knowledge.

Any articles assigned by lecturers are considered required readings and are considered to be examinable during the oral exams. Texts that are recommended (not required) include:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed) (DSM-5). APA.

Barlow, D. H. (Ed.). (2014). Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders. A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual. Guildord Press.

Bennett-Levy, J., Thwaites, R., Harrhoff, B., & Perry, H. (2015). Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out. Guilford Press.

Evans, I. M., Rucklidge, J. J., & O’Driscoll, M. (Eds.). (2007). Professional practice of psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Psychological Society.

Kanfer, F.H., & Schefft, B.K. (1988). Guiding the process of therapeutic change. Research Press.

Kilgour, T. (2012). How to Make the Most out of your Psychology Internship. Amazon e-book.

Page, A., & Stritzke, W. (2006). Clinical psychology for trainees: Foundations of science-informed practice. Cambridge University Press.

Persons, J. B. (2008). The Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Guilford Press.

Sadock, B. J. & Sadock, V. A. (2014). Synopsis of Psychiatry (11th ed). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Seymour, F., Blackwell, S., & Thorburn, J. (Eds.). (2011). Psychology and the law in Aotearoa/New Zealand. New Zealand Psychological Society.

Trull, T. J., & Prinstein, M. J. (2013). Clinical psychology (8th ed.). Wadsworth.

Westbrook, D., Kennerly, H., & Kirk, J. (2011). An introduction to cognitive behaviour therapy: Skills and applications (2nd ed.). Sage.

Wright, J. H., Basco, M. R., & Thase, M. E. (2006). Learning cognitive-behavior therapy: An illustrated guide. American Psychiatric Publishing.

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Other Resources

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Other readings and resources will be discussed in class as required
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Online Support

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This is a communication space for students studying psychology and is available via Moodle.

Graduate Virtual Common Room
The Graduate Virtual Common Room has been designed to help you locate the resources you are likely to need as a graduate student, to find out what is happening in the School and to network with other graduate students. More information can be found at

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For some of you, 523 and 524 will be taken in addition to a full workload of Masters or PhD research. This paper is unusual in that larger amounts of time will be required for working with clients, supervision, workshops, and so on. Students need to plan accordingly. Because of these commitments of time, the formal academic content of the course is kept as light as possible. It is generally expected that each week students will do about two hours of reading and library work for each hour of class or workshop time. The reading and outside of class requirements for 523 and 524 considerably less than this, however, because of the demands of the clinical placement. Workloads for clinical students are considerable and will require good organisation and time-management skills. If you are finding yourself under time pressures, it is important that you discuss these with us as soon as possible and before you find yourself unable to complete requirements on time.

Thesis completion
Students should note that if they intend to undertake their internship in 2020 they should normally submit their theses to Registry by 5.00 p.m. on the last Friday in January 2020. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that his/her supervisor is aware of this requirement. Students should note that many staff take their annual leave over Christmas and during January. This means that you should aim to submit your final draft to your supervisor well before Christmas.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: PSYC521 and PSYC522




Restricted papers: PSYC703

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