ACAP Psychology Clinic turns five

Posted by Virginia on 31 July 2017

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The Australian College of Applied Psychology’s Sydney Clinic reached its five-year milestone recently, with the event marked by a celebration attended by students, staff and alumni.

Since its establishment by the ACAP School of Psychological Sciences in May 2012 as an onsite centre for supervised clinical training of provisionally and registered psychologists, the ACAP Clinic has been the venue for consultations with more than 2,600 clients in group and individual therapy sessions.  

In 2016 when the ACAP Sydney campus relocated to 255 Elizabeth Street, the clinic acquired its own spacious suite of rooms with private reception area on level 11. 

 

 

Guest speaker recalls clinic’s beginnings

Clinical psychologist, ACAP alumni Peiling Kong (pictured, below left, with Clinic Manager, Dr Ester Senderey) was guest speaker at the five-year anniversary gathering.

Pei graduated in 2013. At the anniversary event, she reminisced about the clinic’s establishment during her final years of study. With assistance from staff members, Pei and her cohort enjoyed the unique responsibility of writing the clinic’s group therapy workbooks as part of the facility’s set-up.

Clinic turns five Pei and Ester BODY COPY

Pei graduated in 2013. At the anniversary event, she reminisced about the clinic’s establishment during her final years of study. With assistance from staff members, Pei and her cohort enjoyed the unique responsibility of writing the clinic’s group therapy workbooks as part of the facility’s set-up.

A highlight for the 2012 cohort was facilitating the first group sessions at the then brand-new clinic. Binge eating and anxiety disorders were the topics chosen for the earliest sessions open to the community.

“What was really exciting was that we found the majority of eating disorder outpatient groups in Sydney at the time were focused on anorexia and bulimia,” said Pei.

“There were only a few groups for over-eaters, but they were mostly support groups that didn’t use evidence-based interventions with measured efficacy. Though this was only a few years ago, binge eating was still a suggested research criteria in the DSM IV. Now it’s included in the DSM V as an actual eating disorder diagnosis. I think we might have been the first to run an evidence-based binge-eating group with pre- and post-measures, combining cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness skills, which is all the rage at the moment.”

After graduating, Pei was employed at a clinical forensic private practice where she had completed an external placement. She has since completed her registrar program and regularly presents papers at local and overseas conferences. Pei is now planning to do a PhD in Law.

“Three members of my cohort are specialists or experts in their own right in the field of eating disorders and body image now,” she said.

“And it all started at the ACAP Psychology Clinic where we gained the skills to compile evidence-based manuals for running groups and to evaluate programs and policies. Those abilities are invaluable now, because I have colleagues who don’t know how to do it, because they didn’t have the exposure to learning about these skills, as we did at ACAP.”