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COU5004 Mental Health Practice 1

Semester 1, 2020 Online
Short Description: Mental Health Prac 1
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090513 - Counselling
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Nancey Hoare


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCCO or GDCN or MCCO or PDEV or GCHH or GDHH or MOHH


According to the World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, promoting mental well-being, preventing mental disorders, and providing high quality and culturally-appropriate services are essential goals to addressing the burden of disease caused by mental illness.

Therefore, it is essential for mental health counsellors working in a range of professional settings to possess highly developed knowledge and professional skills relevant to contemporary mental health practice. This course will cover areas of knowledge common to most forms of mental health practice in Australia. It aligns with the PACFA Mental Health Practitioner Competencies and complements other courses within the Mental Health specialisation of the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, and Master of Counselling.


The course focuses on the essential issues and skill that underpin mental health counselling practices in Australia. Students will develop knowledge of the key ethical, professional, and legal issues in mental health practice in Australia, the principles and practice of evidence-based assessment, diagnosis, formulation, and collaborative treatment planning, along with general principles and practice of case management.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. advanced knowledge of the legal, ethical and professional issues in mental health practice in Australia;
  2. advanced understanding of, and sensitivity towards, diversity and cross-cultural issues in mental health counselling, particularly in relation to Indigenous Australians;
  3. advanced knowledge of the major mental health classification and diagnostic systems, mental health assessment models, types and tools, and mental health case management practices;
  4. appropriate, effective, and culturally-sensitive use of counselling and interviewing skills to establish and maintain rapport with clients from diverse backgrounds, and to obtain information essential to formulating the presenting issues and determining appropriate interventions;
  5. a broad understanding of different types of psychological interventions;
  6. effective use of client feedback tools to assess the working alliance, therapeutic relationship, therapy processes and outcomes;


Description Weighting(%)
1. Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Mental Health Counselling 10.00
2. Mental Health Classification and Diagnostic Systems 10.00
3. Essential Skills in Mental Health Assessment 5.00
4. Models of Mental Health Assessment 10.00
5. Mental Health Assessment Instruments 10.00
6. Practical Applications of Mental Health Assessment 10.00
7. Treatment and Outcome Evaluation 5.00
8. Case Formulation and Treatment Planning 10.00
9. Introduction to Psychological Interventions – Part 1 10.00
10. Introduction to Psychological Interventions – Part 2 10.00
11. Case Management Principles and Practice 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Meadows, G., Farhall, J., Fossey, E., Grigg, M., McDermott, F., & Sing, B 2012, Mental health in Australia: collaborative community practice, 3rd edn, Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Aerican Psychiatric Association 2013, Diagnostic and stastical manual of mental health disorders, 5th edn, Washington, DC.
Corrie, S., Townend, M., & Cockx, A 2016, Assessment and case formulation in cognitive behavioural therapy, 2nd edn, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Dudgeon, P., Milroy, H., & Walker, R. (Eds.) 2014, Working with Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice,
Edward, K-L, Munro, I., Robins, AI, & Welch, A 2018, Mental health nursing: dimensions of praxis, 3rd edn, Oxford Australia Press, Melbourne, Australia.
Ivey, A., E., Ivey, M. B. & Zalaquett, C. P 2018, Intentional interviewing and counselling: facilitating client development in a multicultural society, 9th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.
Nelson-Jones, R 2014, Practical counselling and helping skills, 6th edn, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Ranzijn, R., McConnochie, K., & Nolan, W 2009, Psychology and Indigenous Australians: foundations of cultural competence, Palgrave Macmillan, Melbourne, Australia.
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P 2015, Kaplan and Sadock's synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioural sciences/clinical psychiatry, 11th edn, Wolters Kluwer, Philidelhpia, PA.
Garvey, D. C. (2008). Indigenous identity in contemporary psychology: dilemmas, developments, directions. Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.
World Health Organisation. (2018). International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems 10th revision (ICD-10). Retrieved from

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 45.00
Directed Study 40.00
Online Tutorials 10.00
Private Study 70.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 30 30 31 Mar 2020
Assignment 2 40 40 12 May 2020
Online Test 60 30 09 Jun 2020

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to participate in the online tutorials and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course. There will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. If electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for an electronically-submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment, irrespective of holidays. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  3. If hardcopy submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for a hardcopy assignment is the date by which a student must submit at USQ or despatch the assignment to USQ, irrespective of holidays.

  4. USQ will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile or email unless expressly requested by the course examiner.

  5. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students must use 6th edition APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

  6. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic assessment and submission elements. Students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission and electronic assessment attempts. All students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Graduate Certificate of Counselling, the Graduate Diploma of Counselling, and the Masters of Counselling, and is benchmarked against the:
o internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review;
o professional accreditation standards of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Training Standards, 2014.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in this course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect the same grades as those students who do possess them.

Date printed 19 June 2020