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COBE404 Advanced Topics in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

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.

Paper title Advanced Topics in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Paper code COBE404
Subject Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy
EFTS 0.5
Points 60 points
Teaching period Full Year (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,980.50
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $21,348.00

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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 by 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. Once funding has been confirmed by Ministry of Health Te Pou (Mental Health Clinical Training Agency) we invite applications from all interested parties, who meet the following criteria.

Applicants need to be:

  • Employed by a District Health Board mental health service or a Ministry of Health funded non-government organisation (NGO) or primary health organisation (PHO) throughout New Zealand.
  • Must be 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 completed the PGCertHealSc endorsed in CBT COBE 401paper (B pass minimum).


  • Are 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).
  • Must be able to prove equivalance to the 60-point PGCertHealSc endorsed in CBT paper to be considered.

Once the course has been confirmed interested parties are invited to commence phase one of the online enrolment process. As there is a clinical component to this paper, registered applicants will be sent an Application for Acceptance (AfA) Form to complete. If the application is successful, you will be invited to formally enrol with the University.


Maria Fitzmaurice
CBT Postgraduate Programme Coordinator
Dept of Psychological Medicine
Tel 04 918 6511

Teaching staff

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

Course Convenor and Senior Clinical Psychologist: Fiona Mathieson
Course Lecturer Emily Cooney

Paper Structure
The paper is half time for one academic year and involves three block weeks of teaching, plus monthly audioconferences 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 a client on whom the case history is based. This is assessed using the Cognitive Therapy Scale (Revised). Students 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 paper is based at the University of Otago, Wellington campus and is taught 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.

To be advised
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
  1. Explain theoretical models pertaining to the application of CBT to complex presenting problems
  2. Explain and practise the range of assessment methods used in the application of CBT to complex presenting problems
  3. Explain and practise the range of advanced intervention strategies used in the application of CBT to complex presenting problems in an ethical manner
  4. Explain, differentiate and practise case formulation and the conceptualisation of complex presentations
  5. Provide a leadership role in mental health teams in terms of a demonstrated level of competence in CBT
  6. 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)
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of cultural considerations in assessing,conceptualising and treating complex clients
  8. Show overview-level understanding of the range of therapies (in addition to CBT) commonly used in New Zealand (as specified in the Te Pou publicationWe Need to Act)

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Full Year

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