GEN PRAC 7006 - Counselling Applications

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

This course provides an introduction to four important treatment modalities suitable for use in counselling and psychotherapy: mindfulness, ACT, MBCT, and DBT, plus treatments suitable for use in trauma and critical incidents, including medication, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, narrative therapy and hypnosis. Students will learn about the background, theoretical bases, evidence bases, and indications and contraindications for these therapies, and will develop knowledge, skills, and confidence in the use of these techniques and processes in the counselling setting.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEN PRAC 7006
    Course Counselling Applications
    Coordinating Unit General Practice
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 3 x 8 hour workshop over 3 days
    Course Description This course provides an introduction to four important treatment modalities suitable for use in counselling and psychotherapy: mindfulness, ACT, MBCT, and DBT, plus treatments suitable for use in trauma and critical incidents, including medication, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, narrative therapy and hypnosis. Students will learn about the background, theoretical bases, evidence bases, and indications and contraindications for these therapies, and will develop knowledge, skills, and confidence in the use of these techniques and processes in the counselling setting.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Mark Pearson

    Additional Academic Staff

    Name Email Location
    Charlotte Marshall Private practice
    Administrative contact details

    Name Phone Email Location
    School Office: Learning & Teaching Team +61 8313 2128 Level 7, 178 North Terrace, Adelaide
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Explain the theoretical backgrounds for mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), positive psychology and hope in counselling;
    2 Compare and contrast research studies related to the clinical application of mindfulness, ACT, MBCT, positive psychology and hope in counselling;
    3 Evaluate the similarities and differences between mindfulness, ACT, MBCT, and other common approaches to counselling and psychotherapy;
    4 Discriminate between the indications and contraindications related to use of mindfulness, ACT, and MBCT;
    5 Discuss and provide psycho-education for counselling clients regarding the nature of mindfulness, ACT, and MBCT;
    6 Demonstrate increased knowledge, skills, and confidence to use the techniques and processes of mindfulness in counselling practice, through written assignments and class presentations;
    7 Apply their ability to use of a range of related resources, including websites, apps, books and articles, through class presentations.
    8 Evaluate the evidence base of mindfulness, ACT and MBCT in relation to different presenting issues, as well as the strengths and limitations of these approaches in practice.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-4, 6, 8
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2-4, 7-8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 5-7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6, 7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2, 5-8
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2, 8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 2, 4, 6, 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Harris, R. (2009). ACT made simple. A quick-start guide to ACT basics and beyond. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications

    Recommended Resources

    Recommended Texts
    Blackledge, J. T., Ciarrochi, J., & Deane, F. P. (Eds.) (2009). Acceptance and commitment therapy: contemporary theory research and practice. Bowen Hills, Qld.: Australian Academic Press.

    Flaxman, P. E., Blackledge, J. T., & Bond, F. W. (2011). Acceptance and commitment therapy : distinctive features. New York: Routledge.

    Luoma, J. B., Hayes, S. C., & Walser, R. D. (2007). Learning ACT: an acceptance and commitment therapy skills-training manual for therapists. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

    Siegel, D. J. (2007). The mindful brain: Reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. New York: WW Norton & Co.

    Recommended readings
    Journal articles and book chapters - these will be available through MyUni.

    You are expected to read the relevant readings before sessions:

    Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., & and Allen, K. B. (2004). Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: The Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills. Assessment, 11,191- 206. doi: 10.1177/1073191104268029

    Braboszcz, C., Hahusseau, S., & Delorme, A. (2010). Meditation and neuroscience: From basic research to clinical practice. In R. Carlstedt (Ed.). Integrative clinical psychology, psychiatry and behavioral medicine: Perspectives, practices and research. (pp. 1910 – 1929). New York: Springer Publishing.

    Britton, W. B., Shahar, B., Szepsenwol, O., & Jacobs, W. J. (2012). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy improves emotional reactivity to social stress: Results from a randomized controlled trial. Behavior Therapy, 43, 365 – 380.

    Carson, S. H., & Langer, E. J. (2006). Mindfulness and self-acceptance. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 24(1), 29 – 43. doi: 10.1007/s10942-006-0022-5

    Fjorback, L. O., Arendt, M., Ørnbøl, E., Fink, P., & Walach, H. (2011). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy - a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 124, 102–119. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01704.x

    Grossman, P., Niemannb, L., Schmidtc, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57,35-43. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00573-7

    Hayes, S. C., Levin, M. E., Plumb-Vilardaga, J., Villatte, J. L., & Pistorello, J. (2013). Acceptance and commitment therapy and contextual behavioural science: Examining the progress of a distinctive model of behavioral and cognitive therapy. Behavior Therapy,44(2), 180–198.

    Ludwig, D. S., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2008). Mindfulness in medicine. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(11), 1350 – 1352.

    Manicavasagar, V., Perich, T., & Parker, G. (2012). Cognitive predictors of change in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for depression. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 40, 227 - 232. doi:10.1017/S1352465811000634

    Neth, C. (2008). Personal reflections. Mindfulness practice. The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 62(1 – 2), 143 – 144.

    Newsome, S., Christopher, J. C., Dahlen, P., & Christopher, S. (2006). Teaching counselors self-care through mindfulness practices. Teachers College Record, 108(9), pp. 1881–1900.

    Powers, M. B., Zum, M. B., Vörding, V. S., & Emmelkamp P. M. G. (2009). Acceptance and commitment therapy: A meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, 78, 73-80. doi: 10.1159/000190790

    Seligman, M. E. P., Rashid, T., & Parks, A. C. (2006). Positive psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 61(8), 774 – 788.

    Treadway, M. T., & Lazar, S. W. (2009). The neurobiology of mindfulness. In Clinical handbook of mindfulness (pp. 45 – 57). New York: Springer New York.

    Online Learning

    Weekly lecture notes, activity handouts and links to background readings will be provided via MyUni.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Course Content
    The course content will include the following topics:
    Mindfulness: background (including origins, evidence base, definitions, and relationship to neuroscience), similarities and differences with other modalities, psychoeducation, using mindfulness in therapy (techniques and processes), and adaptations for various treatment settings and issues.
    ACT: background (including origins, evidence base, definition), similarities and differences with other modalities, psychoeducation, using ACT in therapy (techniques and processes), and adaptations for various treatment settings and issues.
    MBCT: background (including origins, evidence base, definitions), similarities and differences with other modalities, psychoeducation, using MBCT in therapy (techniques and processes), and adaptations for various treatment settings and issues.
    Implications for therapeutic support from Positive Psychology and hope-focused counselling.
    The theory, evidence-base, indications and contraindications, strengths and limitations of each approach will be addressed, along with clinical applications and skills development.

    Weekly lectures / small-group learning tasks
    This course comprises weekly two-hour lecture / small group learning activities for 12 weeks (not including semester break) in Semester 2, plus a 6 hour workshop on Friday 17 October, for student presentations of experiential therapeutic activities (Assignment 3).
    All sessions will be on Thursdays from 5pm – 7pm in the Schulz building, rooms 308a / 308b.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The course comprises two hours every week of lecture, seminar and small-group learning tasks. Sessions will be seminar/workshop format, with a mixture of lectures and interactive exercises, and it is compulsory for all students to attend. Essential readings and on-line video material will be recommended.
    Face to Face lectures and practicals: 2 hours / week Plus a 6hr workshop
    Core/background readings: 6 hours / week
    Preparation of assignments: 4 hours / week
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic Lecture / Learning Tasks
    1 Course Overview and Introduction to Mindfulness The origins, applications, research, types of practice of mindfulness.
    Introduction to Assignment Two: The 8-week mindfulness practice challenge.
    2 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - 1    Guest lecturer: Charlotte Marshall
    Overview of origins of ACT;
    Introduction to the ACT Model as a whole and its theoretical underpinnings;
    Introduction to the components of the ACT
    3 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - 2 Guest lecturer: Charlotte Marshall
    Practical applications of ACT strategies (including small group discussion and experiential exercises).
    4 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - 3 Guest lecturer: Charlotte Marshall
    Practical applications of ACT strategies (including small group discussion and experiential exercises).
    5 Developing mindfulness skills Variety of mindfulness practices; Evidence base and outcomes for mindfulness and meditation. Review of assignment progress.
    6 The neuroscience of mindfulness Meditation and relaxation;
    Mindfulness and self-esteem, impact of practitioner mindfulness on client mindfulness.
    Small group task: Conditions that support mindfulness practice.
    7 Mindfulness applied to counselling Reflective thinking, internal attunement, neural correlates of mindfulness practice, mindfulness within therapy.
    8 Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT);
    Mindfulness in depression prevention;
    The insight meditation tradition.
    9 Applications of MBCT Applications of MBCT;
    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs and impact on depression; Relaxation training within counselling.
    Workshop   Experiential Skills presentations Student-lead skills presentations, critiques and de-briefing (Assessment Task 3)
    10 Case conceptualisation Small group learning tasks: planning applications of ACT, Mindfulness, & MBCT
    11 Hope in counselling The counselling relationship and hope through safety, acceptance, understanding and commitment; Supportive identity development; Perspective change.
    12 Positive psychology Therapeutic application of wellbeing theory, optimism, gratitude. Seligman’s PERMA model.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Students must pass each assignment and attend all lectures/sessions to pass. If special circumstances arise which prevent the student attending all sessions, the student should discuss these with the course co-ordinator. If the student nominates illness as the reason for missing lectures, a medical certificate will be required. At the discretion of the course co-ordinator, make-up assignments may be set to ensure appropriate engagement with the relevant knowledge base.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Throughout the course, small-group learning activities will be offered, that lead to students cooperatively arriving at new formulations of the applicability of methods to work with clients. Students are expected to participate fully in all group work.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s)
    1 Written Assignment: Model of Treatment Essay Summative 35% 1-4, 6, 8
    2 Mindfulness Practice Journal Synopsis Summative 20% 1, 6, 8
    3 Written and Oral Collaborative Skills Presentation Summative 35% 1-3, 5, 7, 8
    4 Class Participation Summative 10% 3, 5-7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Use a cover page that clearly identifies the word count.
    Page numbers must be supplied for any direct quotes.
    Reference List – in alphabetical order. In-text citations – in alpha order if more than one. APA style is essential.
    Maximum number of 2 secondary references (i.e. someone else’s citing)
    Use Australian English as your spelling style.
    When you have finished, carefully proof-read your work, and have someone else proof-read it also.
    Assessment Detail

    Assessment One
    Model of Treatment Essay – Written Assignment
    (35%) Word count: 2,000 Due: 1 September, 2014
    You will describe a treatment plan for the first two counselling sessions, with an adult client, using one of the approaches covered in the course (Mindfulness, ACT, or MBCT). This plan will be designed to apply to a particular adult client issue (see list below), within a counselling setting.
    Possible issues – select one as your focus: Bereavement, Depression, Anxiety, Stress and burnout, Eating disorders, Social isolation, or Substance use disorders.

    In your treatment plan:
    Summarise the counselling approach you will use and the client issue
    Briefly describe why you would use this approach – pros and cons?
    Describe the adult client (real or imaginary) e.g. gender, age, family context
    Summarise their therapeutic goals (use your imagination here) and your therapeutic goals – are there any similarities or differences?
    Set out the logical steps and counselling activities – both general and specific to this course – you would plan to use in sessions one and two

    Marking Guide:
    Description of approach 20
    Rationale for choice of approach 20
    Description of counselling issue 10
    Planned steps and activities 40
    Coherent structure of assignment 5
    Correct use of APA 6 referencing 5

    Assessment Two
    Mindfulness Practice Journal Synopsis.
    Critical & personal reflection on an 8-week mindfulness practice challenge
    (20%) Word count: 1,500 Due: 6 October, 2014
    Provide a written summary of your reflections on weekly experiments with mindfulness practice over the first eight weeks of the course. After researching the various approaches to mindfulness practice and mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions, make a deliberate plan to experiment with finding your preferred style of mindfulness practice, e.g. in stillness (e.g. as a meditation practice), in movement, using a cognitive focus, using a somatic focus, using an emotion focus.

    Core areas to reflect / report on:
    Ability with attention focus
    Observations of cognitive challenges, e.g. your rationale for not practicing
    Experiences of keeping awareness in the present moment
    Experiences of judgement and abandoning judgement
    Mindfulness while being still and while in movement
    Comparisons of observations and efforts in the first weeks and last weeks
    The development of your own style of mindfulness practice.

    Marking Guide:
    Overview of mindfulness-based practices 20
    Analysis of what supports and what hinders your mindfulness efforts 20
    Evidence of working with the 8-week practice challenge 25
    Summarising your preferred style of mindfulness practice 15
    A summary of advice you could offer to others (e.g. clients)
    based on your efforts 20

    Assessment Three
    Written and Oral Presentation
    ACT or Mindfulness Skills Collaborative Presentation
    (35%) Due 17 October – Work in pairs to write and present at workshop (a roster for presentations will be drawn up during class)

    Part A - Written: Describe the clinical application of a skill from ACT or mindfulness. Identify appropriate user groups and the evidence base (word count 1,500).

    Part B - Oral: Present the skill experientially, and provide a description, to the class during the one-day workshop, and facilitate a de-briefing discussion, on Friday 17 October (max 20 minutes).

    Marking Guide:
    Part A:
    Description of the clinical application 20
    Identification of appropriate user groups 10
    Provision of the evidence base for the application 20
    Evidence of wide reading 10
    Correct use of APA 6 referencing style 5

    Part B:
    Clarity and coherence of presentation 20
    Use of questioning to engage group reflection and discussion 10
    Hardcopy summary of application for the group 5

    Assessment Four
    (10%): Assessed by lecturer observation of each student’s contribution to the class interactions and small group discussions. Assessment of class participation is based on consideration of the student’s attendance record, their ability to manage time (in terms of attendance and assignment submission), their engagement in developing and fostering group norms for the class, their willingness to offer questions in class, engagement in small-group discussions and learning tasks, their respectful and professional engagement with peers and staff, evidence of their tolerance with peers and clients, and their ability to modify behaviour in response to feedback from peers or staff.

    Be aware that you are required to master APA 6 referencing style, and marks will be deducted for incorrect referencing in all assignments.

    All assignment can be submitted in hardcopy, via the assignment box on Level 7, 178 North Terrace or handed to the lecturer in class, OR by email to the Course Administrator, Jacqui Howard, by 4pm on the due date.

    Hand-written presentations will not be accepted. All written work must be referenced accurately and consistently, using the American Psychological Society Referencing Format (APA 6). Information regarding this system can be found at or more detailed information can be found at Marks will be deducted for incorrect referencing in all assignments.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    In response to previous student feedback, this course has expanded input on ACT.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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