SWSP5630 Introduction to Psychosocial Theory

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit examines explanatory (explaining how and why, but not necessarily how to intervene) and practice (specific instruction on how to intervene) theoretical frameworks that assist social work understanding. Social work is a profession that relies on the understanding that theory provides in order to first conceptualise a clinical presentation, formulate appropriate assessments and ultimately intervene in a case. All of these tasks typically rely heavily, although not exclusively, upon theoretical understanding and direction. This unit assists students to appreciate the ways in which a range of explanatory and practice theories, and personal and process knowledge combine to influence professional social work decision making.
Students are able to (1) develop an understanding of both the normative and pathological phases of human development of individuals and families across the life span and be aware of how these phases influence cognition, mood and behaviour; (2) develop the capacity to identify and articulate the major psychosocial theoretical paradigms taught in the program; (3) develop an understanding of mental illness; (4) develop an ability to understand and apply theoretical explanations of human behaviour to clinical situations; and (5) develop an ability to clearly and confidently communicate their ideas.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) examination—test of students' knowledge of theories examined in class and (2) essay—students to identify and articulate the conceptual and analytical challenges in applying theory to clinical practice. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Mark Sachmann
Contact hours
30 hours
Unit Outline
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.