Unit description

Involves a critical analysis of the use of psychotherapy in mental health practice. Students will explore in depth, the assumptions, practices and outcomes associated with at least one school of psychotherapy and consider its application to a practice area. They will explore the notion of the therapeutic alliance, how problems are formulated and how therapeutic activity might be incorporated into routine practice.

Unit content

Students will be supported to develop a plan of study around a psychotherapy of interest. Readings will be provided which address:

  • Topic 1. A brief historical overview of psychotherapy, from ancient times to the present.
  • Topic 2. The scientific and ideological foundations on which psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy are based.
  • Topic 3. Selected therapeutic approaches, including psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential, person-centred, Gestalt, reality, behaviour, cognitive-behaviour, family systems and feminist therapies. Comments regarding their usefulness and efficacy are provided for each
  • Topic 4. An evaluation of the therapies in general, as well as a description of the context in which therapeutic care is delivered.
  • Topic 5. The therapies in action, and such issues as the therapeutic alliance, therapist-client relationships, characteristics of both therapist and client, the type of therapy appropriate for specific clients and preferred styles of therapy.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Teaching and assessment


Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2014 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 1

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.