At the close of each trimester, the Australian College of Applied Psychology's final-year Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy (MCP) cohorts present their research projects to an audience of peers, teachers, research supervisors, family, and friends.
These events mark MCP students’ official foray into formal research. By continuing to work with their supervisor they may apply to publish their findings in journals, present their research at a professional conference, or enrol into further PhD studies.
At the May sessions, topics the students presented covered unexplored hypotheses.
Individuals from Sydney’s cohort presented on: the impact of social media on young people’s development; counselling African refugees; the importance of self-care for mental health professionals; culturally competent counselling and psychotherapy practice.
Some of the Melbourne campus research topics were: attitudes to online and face-to-face counselling; barriers to seeking counselling services for the Muslim community; the psychosocial impact of road traffic accidents on survivors; the human-animal bond in stressful environments; and end of life concerns for the elderly.
Members of the ACAP faculty praised the quality of the students’ work, noting its potential to benefit their futures in ongoing study or career prospects.
“This research program makes you leaders in the field,” said Dr Katrina Andrews, MCP Course Coordinator and student research supervisor.
“You have the ability to keep building the knowledge base that makes up counselling and psychotherapy and your research will make your qualifications transferable to further study or if you want to work overseas.”
ACAP Professor of Counselling and Psychotherapy Denis O’Hara agreed that the research component of the Masters degree gives it unique international credibility.
“Counselling is an old practice but a relatively new profession. There is a lifelong experience of practice and learning ahead for these graduates, with a lot more to know, but this course is a great way to enter the field if you’re not already practicing,” he said.