Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Sciences (Ch.Adol.&Fam.Ment.Health)

Course 208CA (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Year and Campus: 2011 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 24 months part time.


Dr Sophie Havighurst,


To receive an application form or a course handbook, or to discuss your professional development interests, please contact:
Dr Sophie Havighurst (Course Coordinator) or
Ms Toni Langley (Course Administrator).
Address: Mindful - Centre for Training and Research in Developmental Health Building C
The University of Melbourne
50 Flemington Street (NOT Flemington Road)
Flemington Vic 3031
Phone: (03) 9371 0220
Fax: (03) 9371 0250

Course Overview: The Graduate Diploma in Metal Health Sciences (Child, Adolescent and Family Therapies) is designed to teach therapeutic skills to professionals working in the child, adolescent and family mental health field.

The course builds a foundation of knowledge in cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, and family systems therapies. Significant attention is directed towards engagement and skills and strategies used in therapeutic work with children, adolescents and families. Course participants are encouraged to explore an eclectic mix of techniques, use these in their clinical work, and to discuss this work in the clinical supervision sessions. These sessions create an ideal method by which the trainee learns therapeutic concepts/techniques, applies them in practice, and then refines and extends these in the clinical practicum.

Trainees will learn how to develop individually tailored therapy for working with children, adolescents, parents, and families. The role of the child's network and liaison with other professionals will also be explored as a part of therapeutic work.

The graduate Diploma in Mental Health Sciences (Child, Adolescent and Family Therapies) is offered by the Department of Psychiatry within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne. It is held at mindful - Centre for Training and Research in Development Health, 50 Flemington Street Flemington Vic 3031

+. Mindful draws on the services of well-experienced clinicians to contribute to the theoretical and clinical components of the course.

Objectives: On completion of this course participants will have:
  • acquired an advanced knowledge of the theoretical principals of the most commonly employed effective clinical treatment modalities, so as to enable conceptualisation of presenting problems from a variety of perspectives;
  • enhancing their skills in the appropriate application of specific interventions which are employed within the most commonly used effective clinical treatment modalities; and
  • developed a sound understanding of the rationale for deciding upon a specific treatment, from a range of possible treatments.

This course also facilitates the development of particular generic skills. On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • value the contributions made by a range of theorists and practitioners to the field of child, adolescent and family mental health;
  • critically evaluate the contributions of different theorists and practitioners;
  • use information derived from the assessment of a child, adolescent or family to develop a treatment plan;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of an implemented treatment plan and make modifications as appropriate;
  • prepare a written review of theoretical approaches in work with children, adolescents, parents and families;
  • make effective use of the supervision process as a means of improving clinical skills and of ensuring appropriate clinical work is conducted with children, adolescents, parents and families;
  • present case material for the consideration of colleagues;
  • constructively reflect upon colleagues' clinical work;
  • utilise problem-solving skills in responding independently to the needs of children, adolescents, parents and families in treatment;
  • prepare a report of clinical work conducted with children, adolescents, parents and families;
  • participate productively in a team of helpful professionals; and
  • provide effective treatments within child, adolescent and family treatment settings.

Course Structure & Available Subjects: The course is conducted on a two year part-time basis - one half day per week over four twelve week semesters. It requires the completion of four coursework subjects - which each have a written assessment of between 3,000 and 5,000 words; four clinical practicums - which each have a written case assessment of 2,500 to 4,000 words, and a log of clinical contacts. Coursework subjects comprise seminars combining didactic teaching with discussion and experiential learning. The four coursework subjects are:
  • Foundations of Working with Children
  • Foundations of Working with Adolescents
  • Foundations of Working with Families
  • Foundations of Parent and Liaison Work

Clinical practicums comprise closely supported training in the application of various forms of clinical work through close supervision with well-experienced clinicians. The four clinical practicums are:

  • Working with Children
  • Working with Adolescents
  • Working with Families
  • Conducting Parent and Liaison Work

Whist participating in each of these clinical practicums, students must work with the relevant population, eg. during the "Working with Children" practicum, trainees must have direct therapeutic contact with children aged 0 - 12 years. Applicants who do not have the required access to children, adolescents or families are helped to seek opportunities for access through other services.

The course assumes a working knowledge of normal / abnormal development, child, adolescent and family assessment, and clinical formulation skills. Participants who do not have this experience are encouraged to undertake the Developmental Psychiatry Course offered at mindful.

Subject Options:

Core Subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2011
Entry Requirements: Degree in developmental psychiatry or related qualifications (eg. nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychiatry, medicine and physiotherapy). Candidates should be currently working with children, adolescents, parents and families.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :

Graduate Attributes: Trainees will learn how to develop individually tailored therapy for working with children, adolescents, parents, and families.

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