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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 (1:30-3:30pm) during the Victorian school term, plus participation in a 15 week clinical course, (in one of 3 Intake blocks running) and the satisfactory completion of assessment tasks. Trainees who work in infant, child, youth & family mental health and wellbeing services that are applying for one of the Department of Health funded positions must complete Theory + Skills . 
  2. Theory: This version of the DPC involves attendance at the seminars noted above, as well as the satisfactory completion of assessment tasks, without placement at Victorian CAMHS/CYMHS. 

Aims of the Course/Objectives

On completion of this course participants will be able to:

DPC Theory:

  • Understand the theory behind the assessment, formulation, and diagnosis of clinical problems across infancy, childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood. 

  • Through enhanced knowledge and understanding of development from infancy to early adulthood, clinical problems, and contextual factors, participants will be supported in the clinical assessment of children and young people presenting to services.  

  • Describe normal development in infancy, childhood, adolescence, 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 across infancy, childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood, including aetiology, ways in which these problems present, and natural history.  

  • Make sense of the clinical problems of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood by considering the biological, psychological, social and relational factors which contribute to the problems.  

  • Identify the young person’s strengths and the strengths of the systems (family, community, services etc.) around them. 

  • Consider treatment recommendations that address both the clinical problems and the factors that are contributing to them, including by leveraging on the strengths of the young person and the system around them. 

DPC Clinical:

  • Conduct clinical assessments of children and young people presenting to clinical services, including interviews of: 

                      The family as a whole; 

                      Parents alone; and 

                      Children/adolescents alone 

  • 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). 

  • Produce case reports appropriate for an Infant, Child, Youth and Family Mental Health and Welling Service, including a written formulation that integrates information from the assessment in order to make sense of the problems of the child or young person, using a biopsychosocial framework, including: 

                      Predisposing factors; 

                      Precipitating factors; 

                      Perpetuating factors; 

                      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, as well as a clear written management plan. 

  • 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. 

  • Develop the skills to provide clear, succinct clinical case presentations, with a clear purpose and an ability to engage in clinical discussions with peers on in an appropriate and supportive manner  

  • Develop reflecting thinking skills to help guide your own clinical work and to provide support and feedback to peers.  


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 2023 timetable (draft) can be  found here

DPC Theory is held on Wednesday afternoons (1:30pm-3:30pm) 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

The Clinical course is designed to enable participants to apply the knowledge learnt in DPC Theory to their own clinical practice and to enhance reflective practice skills.  Within their own workplace, participants will observe and complete clinical assessments and receive feedback on direct observations of their skills.  Participants will also participate in online clinical case conferences with other DPC Clinical participants that is facilitated by an experienced senior Infant, Child, Youth and Family Mental Health and Wellbeing clinician.  By the end of the course, participants will have observed one full assessment, completed at least one assessment under the observation and had the opportunity to complete one more full assessment, either independently or with support.  They will also have presented 3 cases in case conference, engaged in peer supervision and completed 3 full assessment reports.  

DPC Clinical is normally held on Wednesday mornings and participants will enrol in one of three 15-week blocks. 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 18-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 

  • For those applying for DPC Clinical, be willing to participate in online clinical case presentations and discussions with peers from different services.  

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

New staff in Victorian Infant, Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health and Wellbeing Services are given priority of entry into DPC Clinical due to Mindful’s funding arrangements. 

Requirements for completion

DPC Clinical

  • Attend at least 80% of the Clinical Case Conferences and complete an alternative task for any sessions missed  

  • Participate in activities designed to promote self-reflection regarding learning and development goals.  

  • Complete three clinical assessments, with at least one occurring under observation/supervision of an experienced clinician 

  • Satisfactorily complete and submit three full clinical assessment reports 

  • Satisfactorily present three cases at clinical case conference 

  • Meaningfully contribute to group discussions in Clinical Case Conference 

DPC Theory

  • Prepare for seminars by reading the essential readings and undertaking any activities which correspond with the seminar,and be prepared to discuss the reading material in relation to the seminar material presented. 

  • Attend at least 80% of sessions (70% of sessions must be watched live and 10% of sessions can be viewed later via recording) 

  • Complete three developmental observation reports and one parent interview to a satisfactory standard 

Applications and Cost

How to apply

Applications for DPC 2023 closed now. Join the waitlist here

If you have more specific requirements please contact us via [email protected]


As a general indication, 2023 costs are listed below; costs generally increase a small amount each year. 

2023 DPC Theory+Clinical:             $2,040 

2023 DPC Theory (Victoria):            $1,518 + GST

2023 DPC Theory (Interstate):         $1,780 + GST

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

Click here to go to the payment webpage.

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The information you provide at registration will be used by authorised staff only for the purposes for which it was collected - enrolment and course administration. Basic contact information will be retained for student alumni management and to inform members of our industry of future training opportunities which may be of interest. All information will be protected against unauthorised access and use. You may access any personal information you have provided to the University, through Mindful, or request removal from our contact list after completion of your course, by contacting us at the [email protected] or telephone +61 3 8344 2000. The University of Melbourne is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic). All information collected by the University is governed by the University’s Privacy Policy. For further information about how the University deals with personal information, please refer to the University’s Privacy Policy or contact the University’s Privacy Officer at [email protected]

All information correct at October 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.