COUN6121 Contemporary Psychotherapy

Master Course Unit

COUN6121: Contemporary Psychotherapy

Duration: One trimester

Level: 1st year

Credit points: 3 (out of a total of 48 points)

Prerequisites: None

Mode(s) of delivery: Blended Delivery

Core/elective: Core

Unit description

This unit provides students with the opportunity to develop in depth knowledge about a range of contemporary psychotherapy models and their historical development, including Freudian, Object Relations, Lacanian, Self Psychology, Cognitive- Behavioural, Feminist and Constructivist therapies. Students will be introduced to the current controversies and debates about these models.

Students will develop comparative understandings of these models’ view of the self, the body, the unconscious, the nature of consciousness and the role of defences. The conceptualisation of the role of the therapist within each modality will also be compared. The strengths and limitations of each model will be critically reviewed.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the historical development and key concepts of the psychotherapy models studied
  • critically evaluate these models’ therapeutic effectiveness and limitations with reference to contemporary research findings.
  • critically compare concepts of consciousness, the Unconscious, dreams, the body, defence mechanisms, anxiety and the role of therapist across models studied.
  • demonstrate and critically analyse therapeutic skills  pertaining to different models and modes of interpretation
  • demonstrate integration of the selected method/s with their own models of practice and therapeutic skills

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Please refer to the document available here.

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Communication

The ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a range of contexts using literacy, numeracy and information technology skills. 

  • Independent and Lifelong Learning

A commitment to continued and independent learning, intellectual development, critical analysis and inquiry, integrative thinking, and creativity.

  • Problem Solving

The ability to problem solve across a range of settings including professional, social and cultural contexts. 

  • Information Literacy

The ability to assimilate, analyse and utilise information effectively in a range of contexts, genres and texts types.

  • Innovation and Sustainability

A capacity to promote innovation within a socially sustainable environment.

  • Social Justice

An acknowledgement of and respect for equality of opportunity, individual and civic responsibility, indigenous and other cultures and times, and an appreciation of cultural diversity.

  • Discipline Knowledge and Skills

A command of a significant body of discipline knowledge and relevant professional skills.

  • Ethics and Ethical Practice

An awareness of, and sensitivity to, ethics and ethical standards on interpersonal and social levels, and within a field of study and/or profession.  To demonstrate integrity on social, cultural, and environmental issues.

  • Teamwork and leadership

A capacity for and an understanding of teamwork and leadership.

  • Global Perspective

An appreciation, respect and valuing of cultural and intellectual diversity.

Special provisions

Students will attend an on campus workshop of 14 hours in this unit. These workshops are compulsory to meet PACFA Professional Training Standards which require a minimum of 200 hours of face-to-face teaching.


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the School of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link:

Relevant journals and resources

Knowledge and understanding of these topics will be enhanced by wide reading of international peer-reviewed journal articles from various domains of counselling and psychotherapy, which can be accessed via the ACAP Library’s journal databases.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing.  Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.