Credit points


Campus offering

Find out more about study modes.

Unit offerings may be subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Please select your preferred campus.

  • Term Mode
  • ACU Term 1Online Unscheduled
  • ACU Term 4Online Unscheduled



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an intervention of choice in contemporary mental health service delivery and has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment option for a diverse range of consumers. Mental health practitioners therefore need a range of knowledge and skills to successfully facilitate Cognitive Behaviour Therapies in partnership with consumers.

Students will utilise simulated and real consumer case studies to apply knowledge and skills related to CBT in in an integrated fashion to formulate and implement an effective CBT intervention plan. Students will reflect upon and evaluate their own intervention while demonstrating an awareness of its impact on the consumer.

The aim of this unit is to help students build upon knowledge and skills gained from other units to build additional theoretically informed knowledge of culturally responsive and ethical CBT practices.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Explain the behavioural and cognitive foundations underpinning CBT case formulation, as a basis for designing CBT interventions in collaboration with mental health consumersGC1, GC2, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Describe the evidence-base for CBT case formulation approaches in working in partnership with culturally diverse mental health consumersGC1, GC2, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Apply knowledge of CBT interventions and consumer related observations to work in partnership and implement an effective CBT case formulation approach with culturally diverse consumers to formulate interventionsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO4Critically reflect upon and evaluate the impact of their use of a CBT intervention and its impact on the consumer that reflects appropriate ethical and evidence-based practiceGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


Topics will include:

Evidence base underpinning CBT

  • How do we define therapies, and what is CBT?
  • What’s CBT’s evidence base, and how does it compare to specific strategies, such as behavioural activation, thought evaluation, and mindfulness?
  • Culturally responsive, Ethical & professional issues
  • The theory underpinning CBT case formulation
  • The process – why is the therapeutic relationship is integral to CBT? 

Identifying emotional states and readiness for CBT

  • Helping clients identify emotions
  • Distinguishing primary and secondary emotions
  • Using emotion rating to shift problematic thinking styles and content
  • Determining a client’s existing aptitude for CBT 

Case Formulation

  • A developmental and longitudinal CBT case formulation
  • Integrating behaviour, attachment, and schema theories into CBT case formulation
  • Setting therapy goals
  • Embedding a high degree of collaboration and working alliance in goal setting

Behavioural Interventions utilised in CBT

  • Recapping behaviour principles
  • Behaviourally-focused interventions
  • Self-monitoring
  • Activity scheduling
  • Arousal reduction
  • Graded and imaginal exposure
  • Safety behaviours
  • Interpersonal skills training
  • Grading tasks to shape skills

 Cognitive processes underpinning CBT

  • Identifying thoughts
  • Using Socratic dialogue to identify and generate evidence to evaluate thinking, and facilitate genuine client discoveries
  • Prioritizing thoughts based on emotional distress
  • Evaluating thought content
  • Evaluating thought process
  • Targeting beliefs about thinking processes
  • Using in-session experiments to evaluate meta-cognitive beliefs
  • Using attentional refocusing, mindfulness, to facilitate distance from thinking

 Thoughts, beliefs and building resilience

  • Identifying cross-situational beliefs
  • Using experiments to evaluate cross situational beliefs
  • Using Socratic dialogue to identify core beliefs
  • Clarifying core beliefs, schema, and values within CBT case formulation
  • Helping clients to evaluate maladaptive core beliefs and strengthen resilience

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding and application, and to engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Students will have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the core principle and concepts related to the development and delivery of ethically sound, evidence-based CBT. Students will explore the policy context in which CBT is currently offered in Australia, theoretical concepts informing CBT case formulation and interventions and ethical and professional issues pertaining to this treatment intervention. This will be achieved through student-centred learning and teaching completed through online learning activities.  These online activities include, Inquiry Based Learning, student seminars, discussion forums, chat rooms, oral presentations, guided readings with links to electronic readings, self-assessments, self- directed learning and webinars that will provide students with the opportunity to analyse and critically evaluate the recovery-oriented approach in their clinical practice. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy used allows for the progressive development of knowledge and skills necessary for the student to be able to demonstrate ethical and effective professional practice in the assessment, development and delivery of evidence-based, ethically bound CBT case formulations and interventions.

In order to become effective at developing implementing and evaluating CBT case formulations, the student must first develop comprehensive knowledge of theoretical concepts underpinning CBT and the Australian healthcare system and of policy making processes. This will be achieved through a written assessment that requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the key theoretical concepts underpinning CBT.

In the second assessment task, students are applying their learning of CBT interventions to a simulated case study. Students will share their case formulation and planned interventions via a recorded presentation.

The final assessment task involves a Podcast recorded CBT case formulation and evaluation of an actual consumer case study. The student will evaluate the issues involved in developing the case formulation, strategies implemented to address these and how this experience has informed theory, ongoing thinking and understanding of CBT for use in clinical practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 - Written Assessment

Enable students to demonstrate knowledge of key theoretical concepts underpinning CBT.


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2 - Presentation with recorded narration.

Duration: 30 minutes

Enable students to demonstrate capacity to plan a range of appropriate CBT interventions in response to simulated practice example.


LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3 - Podcast recorded CBT Case Formulation and Evaluative Report

Duration: One (1) hour

Enable students to demonstrate capacity to apply knowledge of CBT case formulation, apply appropriate interventions for the consumer and critically reflect on the process, outcomes and ongoing learning needs utilising a practice example.


LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Beck, A. (2016). Transcultural cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety and depression: A practical guide. Routledge.

Beck. J. (2021). Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Basics and beyond (3rd Ed). Guilford

Corrie, S., & Lane, D. (2021). First steps in CBT. Sage

Foster, K., Marks, P., O'Brien. A. & Raeburn, T. (2020). Mental health in nursing, (5th ed.) Elsevier.

Hercelinskjy, G. & Alexander, L. (2022). Mental health nursing: applying theory to practice, revised ed. Cengage.

Kennerley, H. (2020) The ABC of CBT. Sage

Kennerley, H., Kirk, J & Westbrook, D. (2016) An introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy. (3rd Ed.). Sage

Meadows, G., Farhall, J,. Fossey, E., Grigg, B. Happell, M. McDermott, F., & S, Rosenberg (Eds.) (2020), Mental Health in Australia: Collaborative community practice (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Tondora, J., Miller, R., Slade, M., Davidson, L. (2014). Partnering for Recovery in Mental Health: A Practical Guide to Person-Centered Planning . Wiley

Santoft, F., Axelsson, E., Öst, L. G., Hedman-Lagerlöf, M., Fust, J., & Hedman-Lagerlöf, E. (2019). Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 49(8), 1266-1274

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs