Former industrial engineer Deborah Martinez was the first placement student to be accepted by the Dorothy Impey Home (DIH), a community-based aged care facility in suburban Melbourne. The 92-bed centre was so impressed by the results Deborah achieved with its residents while she was completing her Bachelor of Counselling that they recruited her as their first onsite counsellor in the home’s 45-year history. Deborah graduated from ACAP in 2016.
What led you to studying counselling?
I migrated to Australia in 2000, first as an international student and I became permanent resident as a skilled migrant in 2002. I worked in logistic roles within the fashion industry for over a decade. I used to change jobs every two years and realised the problem wasn’t so much the company but the job, so I decided to quit that industry for good. I wanted to help people and feel fulfilled with what I was doing and a career in Counselling sounded very good to me.
What did you do at placement?
I worked two days a week with approximately six hours of face-to-face counselling. The rest of the time I helped the leisure and lifestyle team with resident activities, wrote case notes and met with my supervisors.
DIH gave me full autonomy to work as an onsite counsellor of residents, staff and residents’ family members. I mostly applied the person-centred approach to counselling with the help of some theoretical concepts.
As I was their first ever counselling student, my placement was developed according to my needs and the needs of the home. Everything I did at DIH prepared me for my employment with them. I was very proactive and they liked this a lot. Because of my work placement DIH realised they needed a counsellor onsite.
How has your first job in counselling focused your career goals?
I was very happy to receive the DIH job offer and it suits my lifestyle perfectly. I finished my placement in December and started working for them in early March.
My work at DIH has let me to want to specialise in dementia as future career path.