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Developmental Psychiatry Course (DPC)

The Developmental Psychiatry Course is a one-year course (1 day/week) for professionals who aim to develop their knowledge and skills in assessing children, adolescents, young people and families presenting with a variety of social, emotional, behavioural, and developmental difficulties. The course builds a foundational knowledge in normal and abnormal development across the developmental stages, and builds competency in assessment, diagnosis, formulation, and treatment planning. While not being a university award program (ie completion of the course does not lead to the award of a formal university degree or diploma), the course has been accepted for more than forty years as the benchmark for vocational training in fundamental skills for the child adolescent, and youth mental health field.

The DPC is offered in two forms:

  1. Theory + Clinical: This version of the DPC involves attendance at two-hour seminars on Wednesday afternoons (130-330) during the Victorian school term, plus participation in 20-week placements (in either semester 1 or semester 2) in Victorian CAMHS/CYMHS services. Trainees who currently work in tertiary child and/or adolescent services or Take Two are required to complete theory + skills.
  2. Theory: This version of the DPC involves attendance at seminars noted above without placement at Victorian CAMHS/CYMHS.

Aims of the Course/Objectives

On completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Describe normal development in childhood, adolescents, and emerging adulthood (physical, cognitive, psychosocial, language, emotional) to enable appropriate discrimination between normal development and disturbances of development.
  • Link these principles of normal development to the methodological observation of children, young people, and parents.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of important clinical problems of childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood, including aetiology, ways in which these problems present, and natural history.
  • Make sense of the clinical problems of childhood, adolescents and emerging adults by considering the biological, psychological, social and relational factors which contribute both to the problems and to the young person’s strengths and the strengths of the systems around them.
  • Consider treatment recommendations that address both the clinical problem and the factors that are contributing to it, including by leveraging on the strengths of the young person and the system around them
  • For those participants enrolled in clinical: Develop skills in conducting clinical assessments of children and young people presenting to clinical services, including interviews of:

a. The family as a whole
b. Parents alone; and
c. Children/adolescents alone

  • For those participants enrolled in clinical: Liaise with other agencies, where appropriate, to gather further relevant information regarding the family of the child or young person presenting to clinical services (e.g., schools, courts, welfare agencies).
  • For those participants enrolled in clinical: Produce an adequate written formulation of a case which integrates information from the assessment in order to make sense of the problems of the child or young person, using a biopsychosocial framework, including:

a. Predisposing factors;
b. Precipitating factors;
c. Perpetuating factors;
d. Protective factors

The formulation should clearly lead to an understanding of the problem, and, if relevant, to a psychiatric diagnosis using ICD-10-CM or DSM 5. 9.

  • For those participants enrolled in clinical: Develop a clear written management plan which links to the formulation and diagnosis.
  • For those participants enrolled in clinical: Conduct an effective and collaborative feedback session with parents and children/young people.
  • Generalise the above skills to a variety of different clinical environments and presentations

Course Structure

DPC Theory

The seminar presentations focus on normal development through the life cycle, focusing on infancy, the toddler, the pre-school child, the school-age child, adolescence and young adulthood, and parenting. Seminars also focus on atypical development, mental health problems, and the relationships, cultures, and contexts that influence them. They are taught by local and international experts in their fields. An example of the 2022 timetable can be found here.

DPC Theory is held on Wednesday afternoons (130pm-330pm) in the Victorian school term, generally beginning in the first week of February and ending in the first or second week of December. Teaching is in a combination of face-to-face learning at Mindful (in Travancore) and videoconference teaching.

DPC Clinical

Small groups of trainees are placed at a Victorian Child and Adolescent/Child and Youth Mental Health Service. An experienced senior clinician gives an initial demonstration of the assessment process, and trainees observe through a one-way screen or via telehealth. In turn, each trainee undertakes a new assessment supervised by an experienced clinician and supported by other members of the group. By the end of the intake, each participant will have conducted at least one assessment and observed four further assessments. When participants conduct assessments, they are required to fulfil liaison, record keeping, and other relevant tasks associated with the appropriate management of the case as directed by their supervisor. Trainees are generally not placed in their workplace for DPC Clinical except in regional services.

DPC Clinical is normally held on Wednesday mornings and runs through Victorian school holidays, although some services may run DPC Clinical on different days and dates. We will inform you of any changes if we offer you a place in DPC Clinical.

Prerequisites & Selection Criteria


Participation in DPC requires satisfactory completion of the Mindful Introductory Course, a 19-hour online on-demand Child & Youth Mental Health - Introduction to Assessment (CYMH Intro) short course, conducted by Mindful - Centre for Training and Research in Developmental Health. For details of the MIC, click here

Selection Criteria

Participants must:

  • Have a relevant undergraduate qualification (relevance is determined by the DPC coordinator)
  • Have a current Working with Children Check
  • When released by their employer to undertake DPC, have written employer approval
  • Be available to travel to Mindful in Travancore for the first and last seminar of each term (ie 8 seminars out of 39) when this is required
  • For those applying for DPC Clinical, be prepared to travel to all identified sites of the service (as services may rotate DPC activities across several their sites). These are listed below for metropolitan services (regional services may also operate across several sites):
    Alfred CYMHS - Moorabbin
    Austin CYMHS - Heidelberg and Epping
    Eastern CYMHS - Box Hill and Ringwood
    Monash ELMHS - Clayton and Dandenong
    RCH CAMHS - Travancore, St Albans and Hoppers Crossing

    Availability of any service to run DPC may change year to year.

New staff in Victorian CAMHS/CYMHS are given priority of entry into DPC Clinical due to Mindful’s funding arrangements.

Requirements for completion

DPC Clinical

  • Undertake a full case assessment and complete a case report to a satisfactory standard according to local CAMHS/CYMHS guidelines
  • Complete formulations of all observed assessments to a satisfactory standard
  • Attend at least 80% of sessions

DPC Theory

  • Complete six developmental observation reports to a satisfactory standard
  • Attend at least 80% of sessions (70% of sessions must be watched live and 10% of sessions can be viewed later via recording)

Applications and Cost

How to apply

Applications for DPC 2022 have closed. Applications open on 1 October and close on 1 December each year. Applicants must complete the application form which will be available on the Mindful website from 1 October 2022. Late applications may be accepted depending on demand each year.


The cost of DPC 2023 is yet to be determined. As a general indication, 2022 costs are listed below; costs generally increase a small amount each year.

DPC Theory+Clinical 2022:             $1950

DPC Theory 2022:                            $1450 + GST

DPC Theory+Clinical is a GST-exempt training program. DPC Theory incurs GST.

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All information correct at 01/01/2022. Mindful reserves the right to make changes to the training calendar or any general or specific information published in this calendar. Mindful reserves the right to cancel courses that do not achieve minimum participation, in which case, course fees will be refunded.