Mental Health Practice

Mental Health Practice

Unit Description

Explore holistic approaches to mental health, including the recovery model and the Process Oriented approach to understanding altered states

This unit provides students with in-depth knowledge of common mental health presentations, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress and psychotic disorders, within social and individual contexts. Students will explore holistic approaches to mental health, including the recovery model and the process o riented approach to understanding altered states. This includes an understanding of a consciousness continuum, a meta-communicator and altered and extreme states.

Skills will be developed for assessment of mental health presentations and risks to safety, and in making referrals and working collaboratively with other mental health practitioners. Mental health practice knowledge and skills will be developed through case studies, practice sessions and exploring students’ own experience. Students will become familiar with the DSM-5 for the purpose of assessment, report writing, communicating with colleagues and understanding medical diagnosis and treatment.

A critique of the medical model and diagnosis will be presented, compared to the consumer advocacy movement, the recovery model and the holistic lens of Process Oriented Work.

Experiential methods of learning are used to familiarise students with their own experience of altered states of consciousness and to de-stigmatise and reduce fear often associated with these states.

Unit Code


Unit Type

Core Unit

Study Period

Semester 2, 2021


Southern Highlands Campus UOW

Credit Points


Consultation Times

30 minutes before and after workshop intensives and by appointment during the semester

Topics Covered

  • Common presentations in mental health: Assessment and treatment planning
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Psychotic disorders
    • Bipolar disorders
    • Personality disorders
    • Eating disorders
    • Post-traumatic Stress disorder
    • Co-occuring presentations of mental illness and substance abuse
  • The recovery model and consumer advocacy
  • Process oriented approach to working with altered and extreme states
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Contraindications for process work and making referrals and working collaboratively with other mental health practitioners and services
  • Mental health and diversity
  • Self awareness

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Assess and plan interventions for common mental health presentations
  2. Analyse the assumptions underpinning the medical model of mental disorders and differentiate these from holistic approaches to mental health
  3. Apply the holistic Process Oriented model to mental health case studies and competently demonstrate treatment planning skills
  4. Recognise contraindications and articulate referral processes and skills for collaborating with mental health practitioners and services

Assessment Overview

1. Case Study Essay

Critically evaluate the application of the holistic model for mental health with clients with mental health presentations, using one of the case studies provided

Demonstrate knowledge of referral pathways to mental health practitioners and services

Length: 1,500 words

Year 1, Semester 2,

Week 6


2. Reflective Journal

Write six entries on your experience of working with your own altered and extreme states. How might this influence your approach to working with others in altered and/or extreme states?

Length: 1,000 words

Year 1, Semester 2,

Week 16


Unit Resources


Hungerford, C., Hodgson, D., Clancy, R., Monisse-Redman, M., Bostwick, R., & Jones, T. (2016). Mental health care: An introduction for health professionals in Australia (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.

Prescribed readings

Barlow, D. H. (Ed.). (2014). Clinical handbook of psychological disorders: A step-by-step treatment manual (5th ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Mindell, A. (2008). City shadows: Psychological interventions in psychiatry. Portland, OR: Lao Tse Press.

Delivery Mode

Workshop intensives on-campus

Workshop Intensive 1:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Workshop Intensive 3:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Online delivery
1.5 hour Zoom discussion mid-semester

Student Workload

The total unit workload is equivalent to five hours per week over the semester (77.25 hours in total).

  • On-campus workshop intensives: 6.5 hours in total
  • Zoom discussion: 1.5 hours
  • Study Buddy work: 5.25 hours
  • 64 personal study hours

Written by: Mr Reece Jones • Created: 27 Apr 2021, 4:11 p.m.