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Unit outline_

OCCP5222: Psychosocial and Cognitive Strategies

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Students will develop knowledge and skills required to provide occupational therapy for people whose occupational performance is compromised by psychosocial and cognitive impairments. A variety of theoretical perspectives used to guide practice will be covered. Students will learn how to evaluate performance, design occupation-embedded therapy programs, clearly articulate the theoretical and evidence-based rationale for their programs, and select methods to evaluate outcomes from therapy

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Participation Sciences
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Justin Scanlan,
Lecturer(s) Judy Ranka,
Justin Scanlan,
The census date for this unit availability is 2 April 2024
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Psychosocial and cognitive strategies exam
In person exam covering both modules of the unit.
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Participation hurdle task Class participation and group skills demonstration
0% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Case study (cognitive strategies)
Written assignment
30% Week 07
Due date: 09 Apr 2024 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Small continuous assessment Weekly reading responses
Short answer
30% Weekly Approximately 250 words each.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Weekly reading responses (Psychosocial strategies component): You will engage with weekly readings/other materials and complete short “reading responses”or other activities related to the preparation material.
  • Class participation and group skills demonstration: You will be assessed on your contribution to class discussions and your contribution to the learning of your peers. Throughout the semester, some students will be randomly selected to participate in in-class activities.
  • Case study (cognitive strategies): This paper will require that you prepare a written submission for an occupational therapy program that will address the cognitive impairments demonstrated by a client group using material presented in class and your own investigations.
  • Psychosocial and cognitive strategies exams: Exam with two sections worth 20% each will be scheduled in week 15. Exams will include occupational therapy processes and professional reasoning. Examination questions will relate to case scenarios that will be given out in week 13. Students will be required to prepare themselves for the tasks set in the examination by researching the case thoroughly and gathering relevant  information.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While no individual assessment piece is “must pass”, students must achieve at least 50% for each of the modules (e.g., a cumulative total of at least 25/50 for the weekly reading response and psychosocial component of the exam AND a cumulative total of at least 25/50 for the cognitive case study and cognitive component of the exam).

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Outstanding level of achievement: Moves well beyond what would normally be expected for the student’s level of learning.  The work is structured appropriately, deeply analytical and well supported.


75 - 84

Excellent level of achievement: Clearly structured and presented.  Ideas/arguments are well articulated and systematically presented.  All tasks set by the assessment item are completed.  Work is comprehensive, analytical and presents evidence of critical thinking.


65 - 74

Above average level of achievement:  Incorporates many of the aspects listed above but without the same degree of analysis or critical thinking.  Demonstrates a sound understanding of the content.


50 - 64

Acceptable level of achievement: Work submitted meets the basic requirements of the set task.  Demonstrates a basic understanding of the topic/issue/concern but is less precise and less discriminating than higher level responses.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Weekly reading responses must be submitted in HARD COPY before the commencement of the Psychosocial Strategies class each week. Late submissions will be awarded a mark of 0. For all other assessment, standard penalties apply.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: 1. Cognition and occupational therapy; 2. The neuroanatomy of cognition; 3. The disorder Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: 1. Unit introduction; 2. Exploration of own beliefs and understanding Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 02 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: 1. Practice trends; 2. Evidence of effectiveness Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: 1. Therapeutic use of self; 2. Boundaries and boundary violations Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 03 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: 1. Assessment: Applied Cognition; 2. Intervention: Systematic instruction Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: 1. Recovery; 2. Recovery orientation of services; 3. Positive risk taking Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 04 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: 1. The process of cognitive recovery; 2. Disorders of consciousness; 3. Disorders of attention Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Medical knowledge: Diagnosis, mental state examination; risk assessment and management Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 05 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Disorders of sensory perception (Part 1) Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: 1. Goal setting; 2. Supporting individuals to make change Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 06 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Disorders of sensory perception (Part 2) Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: 1. Occupational therapy assessment; 2. Functional implications of mental illness Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 07 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Case application practise Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Self-management strategies Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 08 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Disorders of memory Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Interventions 1 Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 09 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Disorders of planning and organisation Seminar (0.1 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Interventions 2 Lecture (0.1 hr)  
Week 10 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Disorders of behaviour Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Groupwork skills labs Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 11 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Disorders of self-awareness and insight Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Groupwork skills labs Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 12 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Synthesis: Case analysis Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Groupwork skills labs Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 13 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES: Revision and exam preparation Seminar (2 hr)  
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRATEGIES: Revision and exam preparation Lecture (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: There is an 85% attendance requirement for this unit of study. Students who do not meet this attendance requirement may be awarded a fail grade for the unit of study. Students are expected to actively participate in discussions and activities.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of the lived experience and impact on occupational engagement due to illness or disability with particular emphasis on people with mental illness and on others (e.g. carers) with psychosocial needs
  • LO2. understand the concept of recovery of people with mental illness and recovery as a guiding philosophy and practice within mental health field
  • LO3. understand the role of occupational therapy within the scope of mental health services and mental health specialist and generalist roles such as in early intervention, acute care, rehabilitation and community support
  • LO4. assess, using relevant occupational therapy assessments, the extent and nature of occupational performance in people with mental illness and with other psychosocial issues
  • LO5. analyse therapist’s own use of self as a therapeutic tool and apply therapeutic use of self in rapport building, engagement, assessment and intervention with clients
  • LO6. apply theoretical perspectives and best practice models in planning and implementing occupational therapy programs for people with psychosocial issues as individual sessions and within group therapy
  • LO7. describe the characteristics of major cognitive impairments impacting on occupational performance in adults with neurological disorders, and discuss the parallels that exist between adult disorders and those that exist in children with developmental and learning disorders
  • LO8. describe, compare and contrast major theoretical frameworks that have shaped occupational therapy assessment and intervention in this area of practice, and discuss contemporary perspectives on practice
  • LO9. observe, identify and describe the impact of cognitive impairments on occupational performance illustrated in video-taped examples of clients
  • LO10. establish occupation-focused goals and therapy aims from assessment findings, and develop intervention plans that are supported by the best available evidence
  • LO11. synthesise learning by developing a program submission for an occupational therapy program for clients with cognitive impairment.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Australian occupational therapy competency standards 2018 -
Competency code Taught, Practiced or Assessed Competency standard
1.10 P A Practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise
1.11 P A Maintains professional competence and adapts to change in practice contexts
1.15 A P Addresses issues of occupational justice in practice
1.17 A Recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients.
1.3 A Maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships
1.4 A Recognises and manages conflicts of interest in all client and professional relationships
1.7 A P Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice
1.9 P A Identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice
2.1 A P Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice
2.2 P A Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making
2.3 A P Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision-making
2.5 P Maintains current knowledge for cultural responsiveness to all groups in the practice setting
2.6 P A Maintains and improves currency of knowledge, skills and new evidence for practice by adhering to the requirements for continuing professional development
2.8 A Reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision-making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice
2.9 A Maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies, and
3.1 A Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement
3.10 P Reviews, evaluates and modifies plans, goals and interventions with the client and relevant others to enhance or achieve client outcomes
3.11 P Evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice
3.12 P Uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and interprofessional approaches for decision-making and planning
3.13 A Uses appropriate assistive technology, devices and/or environmental modifications to achieve client occupational performance outcomes, and
3.3 P Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals
3.4 A P Develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals
3.7 P A Reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decision-making
4.1 P Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively
4.11 P Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others.
4.2 P Adapts written, verbal and non-verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context
4.9 P Uses effective communication skills to initiate and end relationships with clients and relevant others

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Feedback from previous student cohorts has resulted in numerous changes to this unit, including more structured feedback and provision of study aids to assist in exam preparation.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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