PUB HLTH 7010 - Mindfulness-based Counselling Applications

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

This course provides an introduction to three important treatment modalities suitable for use in counselling and psychotherapy: mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). 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 PUB HLTH 7010
    Course Mindfulness-based Counselling Applications
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 12 x 2hrs + 1 x 6hrs
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge GEN PRAC 5005
    Course Description This course provides an introduction to three important treatment modalities suitable for use in counselling and psychotherapy: mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). 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 Alexandra Bloch-Atefi

    Course Coordinator: Paula Gillespie-Fotheringham
    Phone: +61 8313 1633
    Location: Level 11, 178 North Terrace

    Student & Program Support Services Hub
    Phone: +61 8313 0273
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:


    Explain the theoretical backgrounds for mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), positive psychology and hope in counselling;


    Compare and contrast research studies related to the clinical application of mindfulness, ACT, MBCT, positive psychology and hope in counselling;


    Evaluate the similarities and differences between mindfulness, ACT, MBCT, and other common approaches to counselling and psychotherapy;


    Discriminate between the indications and contraindications related to use of mindfulness, ACT, and MBCT;


    Discuss and provide psycho-education for counselling clients regarding the nature of mindfulness, ACT, and MBCT;


    Demonstrate increased knowledge, skills, and confidence to use the techniques and processes of mindfulness in counselling practice, through written assignments and class presentations;


    Apply their ability to use of a range of related resources, including websites, apps, books and articles, through class presentations.


    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4, 6, 7, 8
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • 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
    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.

    Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2013). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression (2nd ed.). New York: The
    Guilford Press.

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

    Copies of readings (relevant journal articles) will be made available via MyUni. A range of videos and YouTube clips will be recommended for students to study.

    Online Learning
    3.3.1 MyUni
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework program have access to a Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. This course is available on MyUni at . Please check the website regularly as it may contain announcements that are relevant to your study in the course. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site:
    Discussion Board – Users can post discussion items and reply to other posts. Note: If you would like to have a specific Discussion Board Forum created, please send your request to
    Send Email – This feature enables users to send email to fellow students.
    Group Pages – Groups enable Users to collaborate with each other. Groups usually consist of a smaller group of Users in a course or organisation, such as study groups or project groups. From a Group Page, users may send email, exchange files, enter discussion forums or enter collaboration sessions. Note: Only members of a particular Group can access the Group communication
    features (discussion forums, email, etc.). If you would like to have a specific Group Page created, please send your request to For example, Group Pages can be created to include students living in the same geographical area or students working for the same organisation.
    Please note that you also have access to individual MyUni sites for EACH course you are enrolled in. Please check the sites regularly as they may contain important announcements that are relevant to your study in the course.

    3.3.2 Access Adelaide
    Access Adelaide is the name of the online service that allows you to access and, in some cases, amend your records. It can be found at:
    You can log into Access Adelaide to view:
    - your enrolment details for any term
    - your academic results
    - your unofficial academic transcript
    - your personal details
    - the fees, charges and payments on your University account
    - your exam schedule
    - your graduation eligibility details.
    As a student you can:
    - change your address and telephone details (please inform the School as well)
    - change your password
    - set a password clue to help you remember your password.

    3.3.3 Student email
    It is important that you set up your student email and check it regularly. Information from your course coordinator and student administration will be sent to you at your University of Adelaide email address. It is your responsibility to check your email. You will need your student number located on your student card to log in.

    3.3.4 Computers
    Where can I use a computer in the University? Computing facilities are provided to students by the University, and there are
    several suites of computers available, including at the Barr Smith Library and in Hub Central. The University web site has a list of computer labs at:

    3.3.5 Internet access
    The University provides a free dial-up service to students without the need for a commercial ISP account. This service is available at the cost of a local call to students residing within Adelaide (please refer to your telecommunications provider for confirmation of call costs). Students residing outside these numbers can dial into the University at STD call rates ( Postgraduate Coursework students will receive a University Funded Quota of 500Mb.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be an experiential and interactive one, with twelve 2 hour sessions, plus a single 6-hour day intensive offered over a semester. The course will additionally require that students engage with materials presented online, undertake readings, and complete online quizzes. Sessions will be constructed as lecture/workshops and will include didactic sessions, small group, and large
    group discussions as well as personal reflection on MBCA. Lecturers will use illustrations from their own work, along with structured exercises and group discussion, as a way of supporting participants to engage with the various Mindfulness based theories. The didactic and other face-to-face sessions will be supported by readings and videos, and assessment designed to assist integration of learning and development of skills.


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

    The course comprises 2 hours every week, plus one 6-hour intensive. 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 or on-line video material will be set every week, and we expect that all students will have read or viewed these before each session. If students do not do the
    essential reading/s, they will find it difficult to follow the theory section of the session.

    Face to face lectures and practicals: 2 hours / week plus one 6 hour session
    Core/background readings: 5 hours / week
    Preparation of assignments: 4 hours / week

    Learning Activities Summary
    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.


    Topic and Activities

    Course Overview

    Introduction to Mindfulness – origins, applications, research, types of practice. Introduction to Assignment Three: The 8-week mindfulness practice challenge.

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - 1

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - 2

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - 3

    Developing mindfulness skills; Variety of mindfulness practices; Evidence base and outcomes for mindfulness and meditation. Review of Assignment Three progress.

    The Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Program – What can we learn for counselling practice: Mindfulness in depression prevention; Self-compassion; Introduction to the MBCT groupwork program and activities.

    MBCT – 2: Applications of MBCT; preventing depression relapse; Overview of MBCT program sessions 3 to 8.

    The Mindful Brain: The neuroscience of mindfulness; Interpersonal neurobiology; qualities of mindfulness practice; Impact of mindfulness on the brain.

    Using Relaxation in Counselling: Relaxation training within counselling; progressive muscular relaxation; Autogenic training; Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

    Case conceptualisation:   Small group learning tasks: Linking concepts across therapy styles; case planning; planning applications of ACT, Mindfulness, & MBCT

    Hope in counselling. The counselling relationship and hope through safety, acceptance, understanding and commitment; Supportive identity development; Perspective change.

    Student-lead skills presentations, critiques and de-briefing                                             

    Introduction to Positive Psychology – Focus on wellbeing and optimal functioning; Therapeutic application of wellbeing theory, optimism, gratitude. Seligman’s PERMA model.

    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • 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 item


    Assessment Type


    Learning Outcome(s) being addressed

    1 Online Quiz



    Overview of ACT

    5 online questions


    2   Written




    Model of Treatment Essay

    (max 2,000 words)

    1 - 4, 6, 8


    3 Mindfulness

    Practice Journal Synopsis

    (weeks 1 to 8)



    Critical and Personal Reflection - on weekly experience of mindfulness practice over eight weeks (max 1,500 words)

    1, 6, 8


    4   Collaborative Written and Oral Skills Presentation



    Collaborative Skills Presentation

    Written: Describe the clinical application of a skill from ACT or mindfulness (max 1,500 words).

    Oral: In pairs, present the skill to the class, and facilitate a de-briefing discussion

    1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8


    5 Class




    In accordance with both university policy and the group norms identified in class.

    3, 5, 6, 7


    Assessment Related Requirements
    This course is based on experiential learning, specifically in engagement with others, and this is reflected in the assessment of class participation. If special circumstances arise which prevent you from attending any sessions, you should discuss these with the Course Coordinator. You may also be asked to write a summary of the missed unit content to demonstrate your familiarity with the presented material.

    Assessment instructions and marking rubric/criteria will be made available online through MyUni.

    To pass this course, you must obtain a pass for each assessment task.

    Assessment Detail
    Class Participation: students are expected participate in class according to established group norms.

    Online quiz: students are required to complete a short multiple choice online quiz assessing knowledge of ACT.

    Essay: Model of Treatment Essay.

    Practice Journal: Synopsis of 8 week Mindfulness Practice.

    Collaborative Skills Presentation: Written: Describe the clinical application of a skill from ACT or mindfulness: Oral: In pairs, present the skill to the class, and facilitate a de-briefing discussion
    Submission of Assignments
    Assignments should be submitted through the “Assignments” section of MyUni. Instructions on
    how to submit an assignment in this way can be found at:
    Assignments must be submitted by 11.59 pm on the day that they are due. (note that MyUni will accept your assignment after this time but it will be marked late

    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted noracknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation.  The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact on the student. Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.  

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.
    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process . Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result.  Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and
    will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
    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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.