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COBE401 Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy

Application of Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy to common mental health disorders, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and psychotic disorders. Participants are required to be employed by a DHB, or a Ministry of Health funded PHO or NGO in a supervised clinical mental health setting.

This Postgraduate Certificate course is specifically designed for registered health professionals who wish to extend their existing skills and qualifications. The course is both practical and applied and is designed so participants develop skills which enable them to use Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) in their workplace. Establishing a firm theoretical knowledge base, it shows how CBT is used as a framework for assessing and gaining understanding of a patient's psychological distress and then formulating and implementing an intervention based on that conceptualisation.

Paper title Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy
Paper code COBE401
Subject Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy
EFTS 0.5
Points 60 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,980.50
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $21,348.00

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Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc
Admission to COBE401 in any year is subject to approval. Please contact Maria Fitzmaurice ( for more information.

Applicants must be:

  • A registered health professionals working in a mental health setting, with a minimum of two years' clinical experience
  • Employed by a District Health Board or a Ministry of Health funded NGO or primary health organisation.
  • Working at least 0.6 FTE in a mental health setting and must have access to ongoing work with clients.
  • Applicants must be New Zealand citizens or hold a permanent residency permit.
  • Applicants are also required to have individual supervision by a clinical psychologist with expertise in CBT.
  • Applicants must have access to ongoing work with clients.

All interested parties are invited to complete phase one of online enrolment with the University (Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences). Once registered as an applicant you will be sent a CBT Application for Acceptance Form to complete. As there is a clinical component to this course, there is an interview process as well. Interviews are conducted via phone and commence sometime between early November and mid December, with outcomes being advised before the Christmas break each year. If successful, you will then be invited to continue with formal enrolment.


Teaching staff

The course is taught by clinical psychologists who have considerable experience in CBT:
CBT Programme Director and Senior Clinical Psychologist: Fiona Mathieson
Course Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist: Emily Cooney

Paper Structure

During the academic year, course participants must attend three week-long teaching blocks and one final exam day at the Wellington Campus. The three block weeks are held in March, June and August (dates to be confirmed).

CBT Brochure.

The course is half time for one academic year and involves three block weeks of teaching plus optional monthly tutorial Zoom conferences, and supervised practice in the workplace. Students are required to complete three written case histories with CBT conceptualisations and treatment plans, along with recordings of them working with the 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 course is an introduction to CBT, intended to teach the basic theory and strategies to a basic level of competence, i.e. 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.

Teaching Arrangements

The Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in CBT is taught from the University of Otago, Wellington Campus.

Although not confirmed yet we hope to teach this paper in 2021, from our Auckland Campus as well. Details to be confirmed - Sept 2020.

Attendance at the three block teaching weeks is compulsory.
Additional work and assignments are based around the implementation of CBT in the participant's usual clinical casework.

  • An Introduction to cognitive behaviour therapy:

The 2011 edition would also be acceptable.

  • Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out: A Self-Practice/Self-Reflection Workbook for Therapists (2015) by James Bennett-Levy & Richard Thwaites, Guildford Press
Course outline

The teaching covers:

  • Assessment, conceptualisation and treatment of depression; this includes the use of the five part model, and a range of strategies such as socratic questioning, activity scheduling, thought records, behavioural experiments, problem solving, assertiveness training and relaxation training.
  • Assessment, conceptualisation and treatment of anxiety disorders. (Panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder).
  • Applications of CBT in a bicultural context.
  • Assessment, conceptualisation and treatment of substance use disorders.This includes Motivational interviewing as well as a cognitive behavioural approach to substance use disorders.
  • Assessment, conceptualisation and treatment of psychotic disorders. This includes engagement strategies, coping strategy enhancement, medication adherence and an overview of working with delusions

Course objectives for students:

  • 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, GAD, 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 & 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
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
The ultimate aim of this paper is that participants learn the skills to conceptualise and respond to their clients' problems in the future.

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system