Courses & Units

Psychopharmacology & Substance Use KHA712



This unit contains two major components. The first provides an introduction to psychopharmacology and the underlying physiological systems that are involved in psychopathological disturbances. Students will also be introduced to pharmacological interventions currently used in Australia for particular disorder classes, their mechanisms of action, and the evidence base for their effectiveness. Additionally, the effects of these drugs on cognitive and behavioural function are examined where relevant to the practice of clinical psychology.

The second component aims to introduce students to the impact of psychoactive drugs on brain chemistry and behaviour, biopsychosocial models of development of dependence and addiction, and the strategies employed in assessment and the clinical treatment of people experiencing problems in relation to substance use. There will be a focus on the types of drugs most commonly used recreationally within Australia (alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamine, ecstasy and related drugs, heroin and prescription opioids and benzodiazepines) and the effects of such use on brain function at both the neurophysiological and cognitive levels. Students will also be introduced to clinical strategies for helping people overcome problems associated with substance use, such as motivational interviewing, problem solving skills, behavioural self-management, and relapse prevention training.


Unit name Psychopharmacology & Substance Use
Unit code KHA712
Credit points 6.25
Faculty/School College of Health and Medicine
Tasmanian School of Medicine
Discipline Psychology
Coordinator Assoc Prof Raimondo Bruno
Teaching staff

Assoc Prof Raimondo Bruno

Level Postgraduate
Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? No


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 13/7/2020 10/8/2020 31/8/2020 18/10/2020

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2020 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2020 will be available from the 1st October 2019.

About Census Dates



Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
2 2020: $595.00 2020: $1,177.00 019907

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:

  • KHA752


Teaching Pattern

2-hr seminar weekly (13 wks)


Weekly Quiz exercises - 10 questions per week for 9 weeks - 30%, 

Client or Clinical educational resources - 2 x 2000 words - 70%

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Information about any textbook requirements will be available from mid November.

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