PUB HLTH 2009 - Introduction to Counselling Theory and Practice

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

This course provides an introduction to counselling and psychotherapy theory. It will examine current notions of mental illness and well-being, considering how our understanding of those meeting diagnostic criteria as detailed within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM-5) can be enriched through awareness of counselling and psychotherapeutic theory and principles of person-centred care. The course is divided into three modules, each with a different theoretical focus, but all including opportunity for practical learning of person-centred interpersonal communication, building upon student's own life experiences. The first module draws out theoretical perspectives on mental health and illness, through application of different models (e.g., Recovery, Medical, Biopsychosocial models), and critical examination of the DSM-5. The second introduces influential theories that have shaped contemporary understandings of working therapeutically to promote mental health and well-being. A third module focuses on elements of effective communication with those seeking support to manage current life stressors, drawing upon person-centred counselling practice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 2009
    Course Introduction to Counselling Theory and Practice
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week (1 x 1 hr plus 1 x 2 hrs)
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Participation in course activities, online quizzes, essays
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: David Hillard

    Course Timetable

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

    Timetable details are located on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Successful completion of this course will enable you to:

    1. Compare and contrast different theoretical perspectives on mental health and health issues
    2. Describe dominant theories in counselling and psychotherapy
    3. Recognise key concepts and goals of different counselling/psychotherapy theories
    4. Recognise and identify verbal and non-verbal signs of distress
    5. Distinguish between helpful and unhelpful responses to signs of distress
    6. Demonstrate appropriate interpersonal responses to signs of distress

    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 5, 6

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    5, 6

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1, 4-6

    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    There is no set text book for this course. Selected online resources, including journal articles and reading lists will be disseminated via MyUni.

    Recommended Resources

    Additional resources required will be advised, but will include online resources and submission via TurnitIn.

    Online Learning
    MyUni is used extensively for announcements, discussion board, recordings of seminar/workshops and practicals, external web-links, readings, details of assignments, as well as online quizzes and essay submission. Material will be sequentially released in line with the teaching and learning activities in each week.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Within each module, there are several learning and teaching modes. Didactic material and experiential learning are integrated to introduce concepts, illustrate their use, and provide an interactive environment to encourage student engagement as they apply
    concepts and clarify understanding. Each module will have an associated quiz to confirm understanding of fundamental
    concepts and allow for identification of areas of study requiring further study prior to completion of an essay assignment. Two essay
    assignments will provide an opportunity for further exploration of key concepts, for wider reading and synthesis of concepts
    and literature.

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

    As a 3-unit course, Introduction to Counselling Theory and Practice will require approximately 12 hours of work per week, including attendance and participation at workshops (2 hours per week) and tutorials (one hour per week). The remaining hours is study outside of regular classes and will include readings and preparatory activities and completion of assessments.
    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

    Specific Course Requirements

    Students must have completed at least 24 units of level 1 courses to be eligible to enroll in this course.

  • 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






    Participation in course activities

    Formative and summative



    Online quizzes

    Formative and summative



    Essay: Two written assignments, each 1000 words (30% each)





    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Class participation:

    Students will attend and engage in class activities, demonstrating respectful engagement and cooperation with their lecturers and fellow students; further opportunities to demonstrate participation will be available through contribution to online discussion via the Discussion Board on MyUni.

    Three online quizzes:

    For each module, students will complete an online quiz (3 at 10%), including Multiple Choice, T/F, Matching formats, to confirm understanding of fundamental concepts and identify areas requiring further study.

    Two written assignments:

    For 2 modules only (30% each; wordcount 1000 words each), students are required to demonstrate evidence of extended reading and understanding of key concepts introduced during the module.
    All extensions for assessments 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 nor acknowledged. 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 assessments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late. All assessments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late submissions where no extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assessment 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 assessment 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) anextension 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 resultshould raise their concerns with the Course Co-ordinator in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assessment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator 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.

    What changes have been made in response to student feedback?
    1. A new way to assess participation
    2. Review the curriculum and tutorials to maintain what is working well but support clearer links and make slides available ahead of workshops
    3. Assign consistent tutor to each group where possible, and employ people who are practicing and/or qualified counsellors
    4. Adjust teaching to create space for a Q and A panel for students to put questions, relevant to the learning goals, to current practicing counsellors if next cohort has this interest.
    5. Reduce number of assignments

  • 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.