HCM301 Psychology of Clinical Aesthetics

Unit Description

This unit introduces students to the field of psychology and how it influences and affects our daily lives. It begins by asking the question: what is psychology?

The first half of the unit explores some of the core elements of contemporary psychology. It discusses the relationship between physiology and psychology and explores how psychological traumas and anxiety can manifest themselves physically. It examines the role culture and society play in determining our psychological well-being and considers the factors that influence our emotions, aspirations and motivations, including sex, the desire for self-actualisation (in both our personal and professional lives) and the need to develop and maintain meaningful relationships.

The unit explores a number of specific factors that influence or affect our sense of well-being, such as age, gender and stress. The second half of the unit examines the relationship between psychology and aesthetics and the desire for aesthetic modification. Students will discuss the key types of aesthetic or cosmetic modifications sought by men, women and adolescents and will seek to understand the underlying psychological motivations for such treatments. The unit explores the idea of self and body image and related psychological manifestations such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

Finally, the unit examines the potential outcomes of such treatments when those undergoing aesthetic modifications experience negative, unwanted or unintended outcomes.


There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student will be able to:

  • Describe and discuss the role of psychology in everyday life including body image
  • Articulate how physiology can affect or influence one’s psychology and vice versa  including an understanding of how physiological mechanisms correlate with  mental health and appearance
  • Describe,  explain and cite examples of and discuss the role of culture and society in determining or influencing our psychological well-being regarding our body  image
  • Critically assess and evaluate the factors that influence our emotions and what  motivates us to seek aesthetic modification
  • Articulate  the impact of stress on individuals and describe stress management and prevention strategies
  • Conceptualise the most common types aestheticmodification undertaken by men, women and adolescents
  • Articulate the most common psychological drivers that compel people to undertake aesthetic modification

Graduate Attributes (GA)

In addition to the unit-specific learning outcomes listed above, the following graduate attributes are taught, developed and assessed in varying degrees within this unit:

  • Knowledge of applied health science theory and practice
  • Knowledge of the social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities within healthcare delivery systems
  • The ability to communicate effectively with clients, peers and the wider community
  • The ability to demonstrate in-depth competence in their area(s) of specialisation
  • The ability to formulate and apply therapeutic interventions in their area(s) of specialisation
  • The capacity to lead, manage and/or work effectively with multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse teams
  • Awareness of professional and ethical responsibilities and a commitment to ongoing professional development and life-long learning.
Dermal Science
20 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000