Inherent Requirements Of The Master Of Clinical Psychology And Master Of Clinical Neuropsychology
The inherent academic requirements (given below) of the Master of Clinical Psychology and Master of Clinical Neuropsychology describe the skills and abilities that are fundamental and necessary to achieve the learning outcomes of these courses.
They are offered to guide students/applicants in making decisions about their suitability for undertaking these courses. It is intended to offer students/applicants information about the inherent academic requirements needed to complete the course.
Commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity
UWA is committed to including all students in the university community. We aim to foster an environment that welcomes all students.
Students with health conditions, disabilities, or other circumstances may be provided with a reasonable adjustment to facilitate their learning and skill acquisition needed to complete this course. We can put into place reasonable adjustments in our teaching and/or assessment methods for students depending on the student’s needs, provided that any adjustments do not compromise the inherent academic requirements of the course.
Consideration is also given to a student’s cultural and religious background/belief which may impact on participation on a course.
The inherent requirements described below are to help guide you as you decide whether you can meet these requirements. Please read these inherent requirement statements carefully. As you do so, reflect on challenges that you might experience in meeting and maintaining them.
If meeting these requirements might be a challenge for you related to a health condition, disability, or otherwise, you should discuss your concerns with UniAccess.
The UWA Master of Clinical Psychology and Master of Clinical Neuropsychology meet Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accreditation requirements and provide graduates with the necessary qualification to apply for registration as a psychologist in Australia with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Key psychology practice skills are embedded and assessed throughout these programs.
The Master of Clinical Psychology and Master of Clinical Neuropsychology courses are professional courses. They leads to registration as a psychologist in Australia. As such, all students who enter the program must have fundamental skills needed to practice that are assessed throughout the course to meet required competencies.
Students are required to undertake placements in Australian healthcare contexts throughout the course, which means that they will work with people from diverse backgrounds (e.g., all genders, different faith backgrounds).
Below we describe five domains that are needed to be successful in this course:
- Emotional and Behavioural
- Cognitive - both Scientific and Clinical
- Sustained Performance
Students require strong communication skills, such as understanding and responding to nonverbal and verbal communication accurately, appropriately, and in a timely manner. This includes a solid command of English, both oral and written. They also need to be able to communicate respectfully with people from diverse backgrounds, such as gender, culture, religion, and sexual orientation.
Understanding and demonstrating accurate, timely, coherent, and respectful communication (nonverbal, verbal, oral and written) is also fundamental to safe practice in the discipline.
Communication skills are needed to:
- Coordinate care
- Complete clinical tasks in a time-sensitive way, such as writing reports and progress notes, writing letters to and conferring with clients and relevant others (e.g., organisations, practitioners)
- Forming a therapeutic relationship with clients
- Conversing with supervisors, staff and peers/colleagues
Communication skills are required to liaise with others inside and outside the organisation. There will be a requirement for presentations to small and large groups of allied health staff and community stakeholders. Communication skills are also needed to participate in tutorial, simulation, clinical and placement discussions.
- For verbal communication, adjustments must address the need for timeliness, accuracy, coherence, and clarity across various formats (e.g., individual presentations, group presentations).
- For nonverbal communication, adjustments must facilitate the student recognising, interpreting, and responding to non-verbal cues appropriately, as well as showing and interpreting one’s own nonverbal behaviour (e.g., facial expressions, posture, body language, and attire) and understanding how others might interpret this.
- For written communication, adjustments must address impairments in order to meet the need for writing with clarity, cogency, coherence, and accuracy, as well as the need for timely completion.
For example, students in either of these courses must:
- Write reports based on assessment findings and maintain other necessary written clinical documentation
- Communicate with other healthcare providers and their supervisors in both written and oral formats in a timely manner
- Orally communicate with clients as well as peers, staff, community medical and/or clinical practitioners
- Participate in public speaking and class presentations
- Demonstrate, interpret, and be aware of nonverbal communication, such as attentional cues and postural cues
Emotional and Behavioural Domain
This section is divided into:
- Ethical and legal
- Emotional and Behavioural regulation
Ethical and legal
The capacity to show ethical and legal practice and conduct are integral to the program and the discipline. Students will need to be aware of their obligations as a provisional psychologist and should show knowledge of:
- The Australian Psychological Society (APS) Code of Ethics, the APS Ethical Practice Guidelines, and the APS Code of Conduct
- The key Australian legislation governing the organisation of the profession [e.g., Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2010 (WA) & Mental Health Act (2014)]
- The broader legislation, practice standards, policies, and professional guidelines with which provisional and endorsed psychologists must interact
Ethical conduct in accordance with our codes, guidelines, and policies enables safe and competent practice. Complying with these codes, guidelines and policies ensure that the wellbeing of clients are not placed at risk. Students must be able to understand and conduct themselves in keeping with a range of codes, guidelines, policies, and regulatory requirements, etc., that govern their practice.
Adjustments must ensure that the student will meet provisions of the relevant codes, guidelines, and legislation in an ongoing manner.
In addition to the conduct requirements of the University, students in this course must:
- Conduct themselves in accordance with the ethical principles and other professional requirements of clinical practice
- Understand and comply with codes, guidelines, and other policies in a range of workplaces, and adapt to that environment in a way that enables professional and ethical conduct
Emotional and Behavioural regulation
The regulation of emotions and behaviours is needed to function effectively and competently in the course. Whilst students are supported as they learn the competencies of the course, these courses are demanding. Consequently, emotional and behavioural stability is needed to work constructively. This includes maintaining objectivity and professionalism across diverse environments and contexts that can be challenging and unpredictable. Students are thus required to “function and adapt effectively and sensitively in a demanding role” (Brett et al., 2016, p. 31), within the context of their course.
Students will be exposed to “highly complex human situations and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these events competently and professionally” (Brett et al., 2016, p. 31). Students must manage the often taxing demands and workload inherent in either of these programs as this ability helps ensure the safety and wellbeing of those with whom they interact, such as clients, peers, supervisors, and professional colleagues. They need to be receptive to reflective of constructive criticism, and respond appropriately to constructive feedback.
Adjustments for emotional and behavioural regulation must address the student’s need to develop/redevelop and maintain emotional and behavioural regulation skills.
Students in this course must manage their emotions and behaviours:
- When working with people from a wide range of backgrounds in highly demanding and, at times, unpredictable and potentially distressing clinical contexts
- When working with clients whose beliefs challenge or are discrepant to the student’s own beliefs (e.g., discrepant personal, religious, or cultural beliefs); the student must be able to deal with these in a way that does not adversely affect the quality of the clinical service the client is accessing
- In response to constructive feedback from supervisors, peers, and others
- To form responsive and respectful working relationships
Cognitive skills must be demonstrated to undertake these courses---which integrate science and practice---and to engage in safe and competent practice in the discipline. The capacity to demonstrate a range of scientific and clinical skills is also essential to maintaining effective client care in clinical psychology or neuropsychology placements.
Cognitive - Scientific skills
Students must show the cognitive skills needed to function as a trainee in these courses, which includes showing the ability to find and digest scientific literature to inform clinical psychology/neuropsychology practice; numeracy skills that show the ability to collect, interpret, and inform clinical psychology/neuropsychology practice; and reasoning and analytical skills that show the ability to make logical inferences based on evidence to inform practice.
Students must also show the cognitive skills needed to work as a scientist-practitioner, and thus demonstrate the capacity to be a producer and a consumer of new clinical knowledge. In addition to the preceding skills, cognitive skills involve the capacity to evaluate the current state of knowledge in an area and to frame a question scientifically and a means of answering it. Additionally, adequate comprehension of abstract concepts and critical thinking skills are essential for safe and effective care.
Cognitive - Clinical skills
Students must demonstrate the following:
- That they are aware of and respect professional and personal boundaries
- The ability to self-reflect (e.g., on their own emotions and behaviour, supervisor input) in order to inform their current and future practice
- The capacity to engage in clinical and ethical reasoning using a range of sources, keeping in mind professional standards and guidelines
- The ability to make effective use of their supervision time
- The ability to Integrate theory and practice
- Good time management skills, completing tasks within expected timeframes, especially within their clinical practice (to conform to professional and clinic requirements)
- That they can locate, digest, and apply appropriate and relevant information
To successfully complete either of these courses, students must have the cognitive abilities to understand psychological theories, the scientific literature, and how these inform effective practice with their clients. Students’ understanding is key to them undertaking a scientific-practitioner approach with best-practice principles, as taught throughout the courses for the benefit of clients. These skills are integral to sound clinical reasoning and assessment/intervention delivery, ultimately ensuring safe practice with clients. These skills are also needed to complete the research component of the courses.
Reasonable adjustments to the course must address the student’s ability to show scientific and clinical skills in an ongoing manner.
Students in either of these courses must:
- Show that they understand and can use a range of scientific methods to collect information
- Identify relevant theory and evidence-based scientific knowledge, and use this to inform their clinical practice and make sound clinical reasoning and related decisions
These courses require students to form and maintain healthy working relationships with a wide range of clients, peers, and other professionals. Strong social skills and the capacity to resolve conflict are needed, as students are required to develop these relationships often under stressful circumstances with people across the lifespan and from diverse backgrounds. Students need to quickly engage with and maintain rapport with child and adult clients over time, and express empathy and use other relevant active counselling skills to effectively working with clients.
Strong relational skills that enable the formation of effective therapeutic relationships with clients from diverse backgrounds and across the age span are fundamental to effective service provision. These skills are essential to forming effective working relationships with other professionals to the benefit of clients and their families/significant others.
Adjustments must address the requirement for the student to form positive and professional relationships with clients that are consistent with ethical codes and practice guidelines and must enable the student to show the effective use of relational skills across the range of clinical tasks required by the program.
Students in this course must be able to:
- Reliably and rapidly establish, and sustain, rapport with clients when on placements
- Build healthy working relationships with other professionals whilst on placement (e.g., supervisors, staff, peers, colleagues)
- Appreciate personal and professional boundaries and respect those boundaries in their actions
The courses require reliable and sustained physical and mental functioning. Students need to show consistent, sustained physical and mental performance during busy and/or challenging clinical circumstances (e.g., throughout a busy clinic day) such that they maintain professionalism in providing quality client care and in interactions with peers and professionals.
Students must maintain professionalism in their activities and be able to consistently work across a range of demanding contexts to provide clients with safe and effective services. Students need to complete full-day placements that require sustained physical and mental health performance at a busy clinic service, with early evening appointments sometimes needed, such that they provide consistent quality care.
Adjustments must address the need for the student to maintain consistent professional and ethical conduct over sustained periods.
Students in this course must:
- Participate fully in classes, lectures, workshops, clinical meetings or other clinic- and/or research-related activities throughout the day and potentially in the early evening
- Engage in reliable and professional interactions with clients, peers, and other professionals
- Attend to the content of clients’ sessions throughout a busy day in a placement and appropriately recognise and manage their own emotions so as to not impact the quality of interaction or service that the client receives throughout the day/week
- Sustained physical energy during a busy clinical day, with appointments during the early evening possible, in order to complete a tasks in a timely manner
- Perform certain procedural skills such as administering neuropsychological/psychometric tests in a timely manner, which involves dexterity (e.g., being able to perform tasks involving fine motor skills, such as grasping and manipulating materials and recording client’s verbal responses), and differentiating sounds, speech and alarms in a clinical environment
Brett, M., Harvey, A., Funston, A., Spicer, R., & Wood, A. (2016). The Role of Inherent Requirement Statements in Australian Universities. Retrieved from Access and Achievement Research Unit latrobe.edu.au/aaru May 2021
Johnson, A., Allan,T., Phillips,K., Azzopardi,T., Dickson,C., Goldsmith,M & Hengstberger-Sims, C. (2011). Inherent Requirements of Nursing Education (IRONE), Western Sydney University School of Nursing & Midwifery and Student Equity & Disability Services.
Whilst developing these Inherent Requirements, we also consulted those at other Australian universities. With thanks to:
University of Western Sydney - Inherent Requirements http://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ir
University of Western Sydney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International licence.
University of the Sunshine Coast - Inherent Requirements https://www.usc.edu.au/current-students/student-support/inherent-academic-requirements/master-of-psychology-clinical-and-master-of-professional-psychology-inherent-academic-requirements