Frontline counselling experience helps Masters students and the Whealtbelt community

December 11, 2015

Master of Counselling students Yvette Patrick and Andre Burton

Master of Counselling students Yvette Patrick and Andre Burton

An 18-week work placement in Northam has propelled the development of two Master of Counselling students Yvette Patrick and Andre Burton, and in the process helped members of the Wheatbelt region suffering from mental health issues.

Through the outreach program the Murdoch students provided free counselling services to the regional community via the Share and Care Community Service Group for two-days a week.

With a lack of counselling services in this area, Yvette found that some people had been dealing with their problem for some time and were now ready to tackle it. The experience also gave Yvette an insight into the process of counselling.

“Counselling has taught me how to really listen to people and an understanding to allow people to be,” said Yvette, who completed her undergraduate studies at Murdoch.

“It also helped me to look at the whole process of counselling. You could be providing counselling services to clients in their home or while they are out in the community. I learnt adaptability.”

Adaptability is something Andre will also take from his practicum as well as, “the importance of not clinging to tunnel-vision. It is optimal to have expansive, visionary outlooks as opposed to close-minded approaches,” he said.

Many more positives have stemmed from the placement, with Yvette coming out with a question that she hopes to take into her PhD, and the students organising a dedicated counselling room to be permanently set up at the Share and Care facility.

“I was grateful to hear from clients’ first-hand how helpful they found the services to be,” added Andre, who will begin his PhD in 2016.

Allan Rudner, Lecturer in Counselling at Murdoch said the work placement would stand the students in good stead in the future careers as there is no predictability to counselling.

“This was a particular exciting opportunity because the students got exposed to a whole different way of approaching things,” Allan said.

“It is not about learning from the book. The real work comes when you go out into the field.”

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