Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - explain the behavioural and cognitive foundations underpinning CBT case formulation, as a basis for designing CBT interventions in collaboration with mental health consumers (GA5, GA9);

LO2 - describe the evidence-base for CBT case formulation approaches in working in partnership with culturally diverse mental health consumers (GA5, GA8, GA9);

LO3 - apply 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 interventions (GA3, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9);

LO4 - critically 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 practice (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


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

Learning and teaching strategies utilised in this unit will support students in meeting the unit aim and achieving the learning outcomes relevant to this unit and the broader course learning outcomes.

This unit utilises an active learning process offered in online mode delivery through the learning environment online (LEO) via eLearning link. This approach to learning is flexible and inclusive, enabling students to access a range of learning opportunities form a variety of geographical locations.

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 activities 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 by applying this understanding to a simulated case study. Students will share their case formulation and planned interventions with their peers and lecturer through an online seminar.  

The final assessment task involves a video 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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Written Assessment

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


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Online Seminar presentation

Duration: 30 minutes

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


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

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

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford (

Hofmann S. G. (Ed.). (2013). The Wiley Handbook of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . New York: Wiley.

Kazantzis, N, Reinecke, M. A., & Freeman, A. (2010). Cognitive Behavior Theories in Clinical Practice. New York: Guilford. (

Meadows, G., Farhall, J,. Fossey, E., Grigg, M. McDermott, F., & Singh, B. (Eds.), Mental Health in Australia: Collaborative community practice (3rd ed.). Melbourne: 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 . New York: WIley

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