Masters Course Unit
PSYC5022 Psychology, Health and Wellbeing
Duration: Trimester One
Credit points: Three
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus
Unit co-ordinator: Professor Lynne Harris, Room 6-29, Level 6, 11 York Street, Sydney
Consultation times: Thursday: 11.30am-12.30pm, other times by appointment.
Lecturing staff: Professor Lynne Harris; Dr Ester Senderey-German (weeks 3 & 4)
This unit is one of the core coursework units for students in the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology and the Master of Psychology (Clinical). This unit introduces students to the fundamentals of health psychology and prepares students with a foundation in psychopharmacology essential to working with clients.
This unit situates health at the intersection between biological, environmental, social, cultural and psychological factors. Students are provided with a grounding in psychopharmacology and will examine the origins and principles of health psychology; the behavioural and psychological determinants of health; behavioural health management; stress; pain; addictive behaviours; the contribution of attitudes and beliefs to health; health promotion; disability and impairment; loss, dying and bereavement; theoretical perspectives and evidence-based interventions for working with psychological aspects of chronic and terminal conditions.
Learning and teaching process
This unit requires students to attend and participate in three and a half hours of classes scheduled weekly from week 1 to week 10 of trimester. The classes will include a lecture component and a range of student-focused, active learning activities. Students will be expected to prepare for each class by completing specified activities, such as reading reports and journal articles and collecting / reviewing information from a range of sources such as health promotion campaigns. Students are expected to actively participate in seminar activities and it is assumed that students will spend a further 10.5 hours in private study, including reading, preparation, and completing assessments, for each scheduled class.
On completion of this unit students should be able to:
- demonstrate understanding of the major classes of psychoactive drugs prescribed in Australia to treat anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, their mode of action, contraindications, side effects and drug interactions;
- demonstrate understanding of the biopsychosocial model and of the evidence-base supporting the biopsychosocial approach in professional psychology practice;
- demonstrate understanding of the content area of health psychology and related areas (e.g., behavioural medicine);
- explain and justify the major approaches, interventions, and methodologies used by health psychologists with reference to empirical findings;
- justify recommendations for an intervention or health promotion activity in an area relevant to health psychology (e.g., substance dependence, chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, physical activity / dietary change)
- demonstrate skills in information literacy and academic writing;
- demonstrate skills in communication suitable for professional development;
- demonstrate skills in working with a team.
|Week||Health psychology and the biopsychosocial model of health and illness; social and biological determinants of health and illness (20/02/2014)|
|Week 1||Australian health system; behavioural and psychological determinants of health and illness 27/02/2014|
|Week 2||Stress and coping; grief, loss and bereavement 06/03/2014 (ES-G)|
|Week 3||Stress and coping; grief, loss and bereavement 06/03/2014 (ES-G)|
|Week 4||Psychological aspects of physical disability; pain and pain management 13/03/2014 (E-S-G)|
|Week 5||Professional psychology and health promotion: interventions and evaluation; Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders 20/03/2014|
|Week 6||Principles of psychopharmacology; Psychopharmacology and drugs of addiction: alcohol 27/03/2014|
|Week 7||Psychopharmacology and drugs of addiction: other drugs 10/04/2014|
|Week 8||Pharmacological interventions for depression and anxiety 17/04/2014|
|Week 9||Pharmacological interventions for psychosis and dementia 24/04/2014|
|Week 10||Pharmacological interventions: current issues and evaluation 01/05/2014|
Group seminar presentation
Presentation on an area of practice relevant to health psychology with (a) synopsis (no more than 500 words) or powerpoint slides and (b) bibliography.
Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h
Essay critically reviewing the evidence for a question relevant to psychopharmacology.
Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f
short answer and essay examination assessing understanding of all material presented in the unit, including material presented in seminars, and in prescribed reading.
Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d
Learning outcomes and core capabilities/ attributes
The course is designed to develop eight core professional capabilities:
- understanding the discipline of psychology;
- ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice;
- psychological assessment and measurement;
- psychological intervention strategies;
- research and evaluation for psychology practice;
- communication and interpersonal skills for psychology practice;
- psychology practice in a cross-cultural context;
- psychology practice across the lifespan.
The matrix below shows the map of learning outcomes for this unit to core attributes.
|Learning outcome||Core capability / Attribute|
|a) demonstrate understanding of the major classes of psychoactive drugs prescribed in Australia to treat anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, their mode of action, contraindications, side effects and drug interactions||
|b) demonstrate understanding of the biopsychosocial model and of the evidence-base supporting the biopsychosocial approach in professional psychology practice||
|c) demonstrate understanding of the content area of health psychology and related areas (e.g., behavioural medicine)||
|d) explain and justify the major approaches, interventions, and methodologies used by health psychologists with reference to empirical findings||
|e) justify recommendations for an intervention or health promotion activity in an area relevant to health psychology (e.g., substance dependence, chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, physical activity / dietary change)||
|f) demonstrate skills in information literacy and academic writing||
|g) demonstrate skills in communication suitable for professional development||
|h) demonstrate skills in working with a team||
Attendance at scheduled classes is required. Students are expected to prepare for, and contribute to each scheduled class.
Allen, F. (2010). Health psychology and behaviour in Australia. North Ryde: McGraw-Hill Australia. Navitas Library 616.0019/ALL.
Caltabiano, M. & Ricciardelli, L. (2013). Applied topics in health psychology. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons. Navitas Library 616.8900994/CAL; e-book available Navitas library.
Preston, J. D., O’Neal, J. H. & Talaga, M. C. (2013). Handbook of clinical psychopharmacology for therapists (7th ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. Navitas Library 616.8918/PRE/2; e-book available Navitas library.
Other significant references
Aldwin, C. M. (2007). Stress, coping and development: An integrative perspective (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. . Navitas Library 616.89075/DSM/5; e-book available Navitas library.
Giordano, S. (2010). Exercise and eating disorders: An ethical and legal analysis. Abingdon, Oxdon: Routledge.
Miller, P. M. (Ed.). (2009). Evidence-based addiction treatment. Boston: Academic Press.
Murray, R. B., Zentner, J. P. & Yakimo, R. (Eds.). (2009). Health promotion strategies through the lifespan (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Park, C. L., Lechner, S. C., Antoni, M. H. & Stanton, A. L. (2009). Medical illness and positive life change: Can crisis lead to personal transformation? Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Relevant journals and resources
Students will benefit from reading in a range of journals including the following:
Addictive Behaviors, American Journal of Health Behavior, Health Promotion International, Health Psychology, International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Psychology & Health, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
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 http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.
This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.