Course Outline

COU707 Counselling and Mental Health

Course Coordinator:Catherine Creamer ( School:School of Law and Society

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course will introduce you to the field of mental health, and provide a basis for the acquisition of foundational knowledge for the  the practice of mental health counselling. You will learn about contemporary mental health assessment, explore dominant psychotherapeutic approaches, examine ethical counselling practise, and utilise experiential approaches to develop capacity in mental health therapeutic interviewing. Holistic case management and the recovery model are also explored.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus workshop - 3 hours 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Mental Health, Illness and Treatment in Australia;

Counsellor Scope of Practice;

Stigma in Mental Health; Learning from Lived Experience;

Pharmacology for Counsellors;

Protective and Vulnerability Factors in Mental Health;

Trauma-informed understanding in Mental Health;

Assessment in Mental Health

Introduction to Psychiatric Classification: The DSM V

Therapeutic orientations in Mental Health Counselling;

Case Formulation and Therapeutic Planning;

Attachment and Mental Health

Mentalisation Approaches in Mental Health 1 and 2

Introduction to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Group Psychotherapy; Planning a group-based program

Suicidality in Mental Health Counselling

Art-based approaches in Mental Health Counselling

Transpersonal Perspectives in Mental Health

[Adult themes across all topics]

What level is this course?

700 Level (Specialised)

Demonstrating a specialised body of knowledge and set of skills for professional practice or further learning. Advanced application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the mental health field by critically examining understanding of what constitutes mental illness, health and recovery including evidence-based diagnosis and treatment paradigms. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
2 Analyse and evaluate the role of counselling, pharmacotherapy and other treatment supports used with individuals impacted by mental health issues. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
3 Critically analyse and synthesise the complex knowledge required to enable tailoring and facilitation of individualised mental health counselling interventions. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4 Apply a client-directed and outcome informed approach in developing a comprehensive treatment plan for a client presenting with mental health issues in an ethical and responsible manner. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
5 Apply specialist mental health counselling knowledge in the development of a tailored group counselling intervention. Evidence of ethical consideration in the intervention design. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
6 Demonstrate a developing scholarly capacity in written submissions, incorporating clarity of written expression, integration of academic literature, and adherence to APA style. Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Enrolled in Program AR708


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

A Week 4 quiz will provide feedback in relation to acquired theoretical knowledge. An in-class presentation task presents opportunities for formative feedback in the early and mid weeks of the semester.  Timely and detailed feedback is provided for each of the later summative assessments. Informal feedback is provided within-class in response to individual and class activities. Students are invited to seek feedback through face-to-face discussion with the course coordinator. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
1 Hour
Week 4 Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Oral Individual 0%
15 minutes
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) In Class
All 3 Plan Individual 40%
2000 Words
Week 10 Online Submission
All 4 Plan Group 40%
2500 words
Exam Period Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Progress assessment of knowledge related to Counselling in Mental Health
To demonstrate acquisition of foundational knowledge in Counselling and Mental Health (Weeks 1-4 of the course).
Product: Quiz/zes
An online multiple-choice test.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Accuracy in understanding key concepts relating to material covered in the first 4 weeks of the course
1 2
All - Assessment Task 2:MH Presentation
Work in arrangements of three students, to jointly develop an oral/visual presentation focused on a selected Mental Health condition.
Product: Oral
The presentation will incorporate:
i) a description of the presenting condition;
ii) information about the course and progress of the condition;
iii) presenting therapeutic needs/goals associated with the condition;
iv) evidence-based (psychotherapeutic) treatment approaches;
v) a brief lived experience representation of the MH condition - a resourced video/podcast/art-making/narrated poetry(as examples).

Presentations will be timetabled as part of class time across weeks 5-10 of the semester.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate developing knowledge of a mental health condition, incorporating presentation, developmental factors, treatment approaches, recovery and an appreciation of lived experience.
All - Assessment Task 3:Mental Health Treatment Plan
You will create a mental health treatment plan based on a provided case study
Product: Plan
A 2000 word written report outlining a treatment plan for an identified case study. 
Your plan will include: 
i) assessment approaches and items;
ii) presentation of a possible diagnosis, 
iii) conceptualisation of the client’s presenting issues, 
iv) identification of influencing factors, 
v) development of client/counsellor treatment goals;
vi) description and scholarly rationale for a selected counselling approach(es); and
vii) an outline of projected themes/ aims/goals/focus/activities across sessions 1-3 (early); 4-7 (mid); 8-10 (trajectory).
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Evidenced understanding of the biopsychosocial frameworks for viewing mental ill-health.
1 2
Demonstrated capacity in relation to assessment and case formulation;
1 2 3
Demonstrated capacity to identify an appropriate, evidence-based counselling treatment approach;
1 2 3 4
Logical alignment of presented content, use of appropriate literature and research to support the argument. Consistent application of APA7 referencing and formatting style.
All - Assessment Task 4:Group Therapeutic Plan
To create a six-session group therapy plan for a specific client population group.
Product: Plan
A 2500 (approx.) word written report. The report will:
•	Provide a rationale for a group therapy approach with an identified client group – e.g. Individuals experiencing depression or anxiety or an eating disorder;
•	Detail a six-session group therapy plan developed to meet the therapeutic needs of the identified group’
•	Include a description of the identified client population;
•	Define particular therapeutic needs of this group;
•	Identify and describe the psychotherapeutic framework that is to inform program implementation;
•	Summarise the main aims and intended outcomes of the program;
•	Define the duration and structure of each session;
•	Present a weekly plan for each session, including activities,
•	Identify benefits associated with group participation (evidenced-based);
•	Reflect on dealing with any possible challenges in the presented program;
•	Reference appropriately.

The due date for this assessment will be Week 15 (the first week of the exam period).
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Comprehensive, professional and therapeutically informed description of the client group; potential therapeutic needs of the group are identified;
1 3
Demonstrated understanding of i) the nature and utility of group therapy in mental health counselling; ii) the specific fit of group therapy approaches for the identified client group;
1 2 5
Capacity to identify an appropriate psychotherapeutic framework, and to provide an effective scholarly rationale for this framework for the selected mental health presentation and population.
1 2
Demonstrated capacity to design an appropriate, evidence-based 6-week group therapy program, that reflects congruence between activities and aims/goals; reflects expected structures/ processes of group therapy; and responds to potential challenges;
1 2 5
Detail a weekly plan for each session, including setting, themes, aims, activities, content overview and handouts (where used); provide an overall resources list with budget;
1 2 5
Use of appropriate support literature, Logical alignment of presented content, clarity of expression; Effective application of APA7 referencing and formatting style.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


UniSC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUniSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUniSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUniSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

Student Charter

UniSC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

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