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    Advanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy training in assessment and interventions with complex cases in mental health and addictions.

    This 60-point Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences paper endorsed in Advanced Topics in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is run by the Department of Psychological Medicine at our Wellington Campus.

    The paper is designed for health professionals who wish to extend their existing Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) assessment, conceptualisation and treatment skills. It builds on the CBT certificate-level training to ensure mental health and addiction practitioners are upskilled in a range of therapies.

    About this paper

    Paper title Advanced Topics in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
    Subject Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
    EFTS 0.5
    Points 60 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $3,201.50
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    COBE 401
    Limited to
    MHealSc, PGDipHealSc
    (i) Students who have not completed the normal prerequisite may enrol in the paper with the approval of the Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine, Wellington, according to ability and qualifications. This approval will be granted only to applicants who already have training in cognitive behaviour therapy that is equal to or exceeds the content, level and value of COBE401. (ii) The paper includes three residential block courses in Wellington, each one week in duration. (iii) Students must be working at least 0.6 FTE in a mental health setting in order to have access to patients to complete practical work.

    Applications will be considered for this paper from registered mental health or addictions clinicians working in psychiatry, nursing, or allied health, who have at least 3 years' experience in mental health and/or addictions fields.

    Applicants need to be:

    • Employed by a District Health Board or a Ministry of Health funded NGO or PHO (primary health organisation) in a Mental Health service throughout New Zealand.
    • A registered health professionals, working in a mental health service.
    • A New Zealand citizen or hold a Permanent Residency permit.
    • Must have access to ongoing work with clients.
    • Must have a supervisor who is a registered clinical psychologist experienced in CBT.
    • Must have completed the PGCertHealSc endorsed in CBT COBE 401paper (B pass minimum).
    • You are a registered psychologists holding a clinical scope of practice with base-level training in CBT as part of their Postgrad Diploma in Clinical Psychology (or equivalent) who is able to prove equivalance to the 60-point PGCertHealSc endorsed in CBT COBE 401 paper.

    Once the course has been confirmed interested parties are invited to commence phase one of the Uniersity online enrolment process. As there is a clinical component to this paper, registered applicants will be sent a Verification Form to complete after registering. Notification of outcome of all applications will be sent out the week before Christmas break.  If the application is successful, you will be invited to continue with formal University enrolment.


    Clement Cizadlo

    CBT Postgraduate Programme Coordinator

    Dept of Psychological Medicine

    Teaching staff

    Dr Emily Cooney: CBT Course Director and Senior Clinical Psychologist

    The paper is taught by Senior Clinical Psychologists who have considerable experience in teaching CBT. They attend national and international workshops and conferences, which ensures they keep abreast of the latest developments in CBT.

    Paper Structure

    This paper is half time for one academic year and involves compulsory attendance at the three block teaching weeks, monthly Zoom tutorials, supervised practice in the workplace and final exam. For the assignments students are required to complete one presentation, three written case histories with CBT conceptualisations and treatment plans, along with 60mins recordings of them working with a client on whom the case history is based. This is assessed using the Cognitive Therapy Scale (Revised). Students are required to meet regularly with their supervisors, who are clinical psychologists based in their workplace.

    The paper is an introduction to CBT, intended to teach the basic theory and strategies to a basic level of competence (ie able to work under supervision by a clinical psychologist with easier-to-treat anxiety disorders and depression with some knowledge of working with people with psychosis and alcohol and drug problems).

    CBT course objectives:

    • To develop a coherent psychological framework to underpin the application of CBT.
    • To provide a historical context for CBT, including models of learning and cognitive psychology.
    • To explain and practise the range of methods of assessment used in CBT.
    • To explain and practise the range of intervention strategies used in CBT.
    • To explain, differentiate and practise formulation and CBT conceptualisation.
    • To develop and practise the core therapeutic skills of CBT through feedback from role plays and videos.
    • To teach the CBT models, assessment and interventions for depression, generalised anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder and agoraphobia, substance abuse, and psychosis.
    • To model the CBT collaborative, structured process in the course of the teaching.
    • To be responsive to student feedback on teaching.
    • To facilitate supportive group environment to maximise participation and learning.
    • To provide appropriate teaching regarding bicultural considerations in assessing, conceptualising and treating clients.
    • To provide examples of CBT in action through videos and lecturer role plays.
    • To give specific, detailed and constructive feedback on assignments.
    • To use a variety of teaching methods.
    • To provide relevant supplementary reading materials.
    • To ensure that all students have regular, effective supervision by a clinical psychologist.
    • To maintain regular supportive contact with supervisors.
    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

    This paper is based at the University of Otago, Wellington campus and is taught by the Department of Psychological Medicine.

    Teaching is delivered over three 5-Day blocks.

    Block One - March

    Block Two - June

    Block Three - August

    The final exam will be held at the end of October.

    Block weeks will include lectures, demonstrations and case studies.

    Attendance at the three block weeks and final examination day is compulsory for all participants. Students need to ensure all travel arrangements enable them to arrive by 9.30 am on the Monday and depart after 4.30 pm on the Friday of block weeks.


    While no specific text books are required, various reading material will be available via our ereserve system in Moodle.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

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

    • Explain theoretical models pertaining to the application of CBT to complex presenting problems.
    • Explain and practise the range of assessment methods used in the application of CBT to complex presenting problems.
    • Explain and practise the range of advanced intervention strategies used in the application of CBT to complex presenting problems in an ethical manner.
    • Explain, differentiate and practise case formulation and the conceptualisation of complex presentations.
    • Provide a leadership role in mental health teams in terms of a demonstrated level of competence in CBT.
    • Recognise and understand the Seven Real Skills outlined in the Ministry of Health's Lets Get Real: Real Skills for People Working in Mental Health and Addictions (2007).
    • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural considerations in assessing,conceptualising and treating complex clients.
    • Show overview-level understanding of the range of therapies (in addition to CBT) commonly used in New Zealand (as specified in the Te Pou publication We Need to Act).


    Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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