Meet Our Students

  • Meet Our Students
    • Claudia Beinhoff
    • Bachelor of Counselling
  • Former naturopath Claudia completed one of her two ACAP counselling placements at Mosman Private Hospital, in Sydney, where she ran group sessions for patients. Before the internship was complete, Claudia was offered a job as an Allied Health Assistant.

    What inspired you to study counselling?

    I had studied the Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and found when I began working in the field that one of the major skills I was lacking was counselling. Most clients are at the end of their tether and naturopaths are the last people they visit, after seeing every type of specialist. I thought in most cases they probably needed a counsellor, rather than a naturopath.

    What did you do during placement?

    I participated in staff meetings, where we discussed all the patients and what was needed for the day ahead. We got all the patients together for the group sessions, wrote case notes and briefed supervisors or psychologists afterwards.

    It was a rich learning environment on so many levels. The hospital was a perfect learning ground, with many experiences available in the one place.

    My placement went very smoothly at Mosman Private Hospital and I felt well-supported. They wanted you to learn and made sure it was an engaging experience. The supervisor was hands-on the whole way through. Everything was explained.

    How did placement lead to your job offer?

    A placement officer put me forward for the job of Allied Health Assistant. I was originally meant to be doing administration, but my supervisor realised my talents were wasted in filing, and from then on I ran groups.

    ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from diploma to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date.

  • Meet Our Students
    • Deborah Martinez
    • Bachelor of Counsellor
  • 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.

    ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from diploma to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date. 

  • Meet Our Students
    • Lisa Wilson
    • Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Lisa delayed her start to a counselling and psychotherapy career, but the rewards of her studies have been swift. She was employed by her placement agency, Mosman Private Hospital (MPH) in 2016, in its Mood and Anxiety Disorders Unit. Her multi-disciplinary role includes counselling, clinician work and outpatient therapy. Lisa’s Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy degree from ACAP is an addition to prior psychology qualifications.  

    What inspired you to study counselling and psychotherapy?

    I have held a lifelong passion to work as a mental health therapist but was unable to pursue this career until the last ten years.  Now I have graduated with an honours psych degree, however I felt the need to develop the person-centred counselling skills integral to the helping profession.

    What did you do at placement during your Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy studies?

    The Mosman Private Hospital placement provided a healthy balance of supervision, individual and group assessment and intervention. A typical day included one to two individual counselling sessions of a morning; in the afternoon I would facilitate a group session or two. Throughout the day I would write notes and conduct unstructured clinical interviews.

    Within this supervised environment, I often operated independently in the provision of high quality care for the attending clients. I am forever grateful for this chance afforded me through my Master’s degree. I really believe that the subject matter, in conjunction with my placement module empowered and informed my growth as a mental health therapist.

    How did the practical experience complement your theoretical studies?

    Just being in the counselling environment and being afforded the privilege to care for others inspired me and provided me with the confidence to deliver what ACAP had taught me. ACAP provides an amazing array of placement opportunities rarely seen in educational institutions. I am extremely fortunate to have been a student at ACAP.

    The content in my Master’s degree covered a broad array of intervention and assessment strategies. We have learnt the case conceptualisation model through ACAP, which coincidently is the exact model practised at my placement.

    Developing the self of the therapist was a valuable subject to complete in conjunction with placement which helped me transform from a novice therapist to a competent practitioner. The group and individual therapy subjects cemented my practical skills. Placement and theory go hand in hand in this ACAP degree.

    How does your current work situation fit to your career aspirations?

    My titles, along with provisional psychologist, are group counsellor, individual counsellor, TMS clinician and DBT outpatient therapist. These are my goals as a professional healthcare provider and I anticipate being fully registered in a short time.

    ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from Diploma to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date. 

  • Meet Our Students
    • Sara Bertolini
    • Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Meet Sara Bertolini

    Good people skills came naturally to former beauty therapist, Sara. She enrolled to study the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy at ACAP, to apply her interest in helping others to a new profession. Sara’s commitment during her dual placement at Mosman Private Hospital (MPH) – as a counsellor and provisional psychologist – resulted in her appointment as an Allied Health Officer at the facility in 2016. She is also continuing her study pathway to become a provisional psychologist.

    What inspired you to study counselling and psychotherapy?

    As a qualified beauty therapist, I found myself counselling clients every day. I really liked listening to the stories of others and found myself thinking, ‘how can I assist?’ So I pursued a degree in psychology, then a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

    How did placement match your career goals?

    Being exposed to a hospital setting for placement afforded me the practical experience I needed to work in the hospital system. I just hit the ground running and thought on my feet. It was fun and exciting and I loved the clients’ positive feedback.

    What was your reaction to the job offer made during work placement?

    The job offer was a pleasant surprise. In saying this, I worked really hard during my placement and my supervisor was a great mentor. I also didn’t shy away from the challenges she presented to me.

    What are your main duties? 

    My role at MPH consists of conducting the outpatient Alcohol and Other Drugs group as well as the Solution Focused outpatient group and one-on-one counselling. Because I have a qualification in psychology, I was also involved with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) sessions.

    I believe my previous skills managing staff and dealing with clients have given me a good foundation for this position. I still have further study to do, to develop my key interests. I am looking at becoming a relationship psychologist and counsellor.

    How would you describe your learning experience at ACAP?

    The instructors and ACAP supervisors are amazing. It is a great place to further the study experience. The placement and supervision was the best part of the course.

    ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from VET to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date. 

  • Meet Our Students
    • Tony Johannsen
    • Bachelor of Counselling
  • Meet ACAP Graduate, Tony Johannsen

    Tony began working towards his career change by enrolling in the Bachelor of Counselling at ACAP. The course content matched his desire to help others in a professional capacity, as well as satisfying his personal curiosity about psychotherapy and sociology. The turning point for Tony’s new vocation came during placement in his final year of studying when he was offered a job as an Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Clinician at TaskForce Community Agency in Melbourne. Tony graduated from ACAP in late 2015 .

    What inspired you to become a Counsellor?

    For 15 years I had been owner-operator of my own garden maintenance and landscape gardening business. For the most part I loved being self-employed and working outside every day. However, the work was very physical and was taking its toll on my body. I knew that sooner or later I would need to think about entering into a more sustainable career.

    All I knew was that throughout my life, people had always confided in me. This was never more evident than in the running of my gardening business. Almost without exception my gardening clients would share their frustrations and current life challenges with me. This was a space I always sat comfortably in. There was something strangely familiar about the counsellor’s role.

    What did you do during work placement?

    I worked as an AOD counsellor for my entire placement. I was counselling clients within my fourth day of placement. I had a very high degree of autonomy, which suited my placement needs and my personality perfectly.

    I had finished all the other academic requirements of my Bachelor, including the AOD counselling unit, and therefore had a very good theoretical understanding of several counselling modalities. I was also still running my own business during this time and consequently had a robust understanding of risk, consequence and personal accountability. My supervisor recognised these qualities instantly.

    How did it feel being offered a job while at placement?

    AOD was a natural fit for me and my colleagues and I knew it. Most of the other counsellors in the agency had suggested to my supervisor that he should offer me a job at the end of my placement. Being offered a job therefore was not a surprise but it was a relief.

    I started paid work at TaskForce the week after I finished student placement. It was a very satisfying feeling to be offered a counselling job the day I finished my counselling degree! I worked part-time at TaskForce for the remainder of 2015 whilst still running my business.

    In January 2016 I closed my gardening business and began working full-time at TaskForce, as an AOD Clinician. I now work almost exclusively with forensic clients. This means that the majority of my clients are mandated to see me for AOD counselling as part of their corrections order, bail conditions or as part of their parole order. I have become very passionate about working with this population.

    How did your studies qualify you for your new occupation?

    All aspects of my placement helped prepare me for employment. While the training I received at ACAP had given me the skills to be an effective student counsellor, it’s not until you’re sitting in front of your first client that you really get a taste of what being a ‘counsellor’ means. One-on-one, without a lecturer or supervisor watching over your shoulder and with nowhere to hide; this is how you learn your craft.

    Undertaking placement is perhaps the most poignant aspect of the entire educational process at ACAP. It is ‘where the rubber hits the road’. During my time at TaskForce, I have observed several students from various universities undertake student placement. I can state without hesitation; that no student group in my opinion is better prepared for meeting the challenges of student placement, than ACAP students.

    What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

    I am a proud advocate of ACAP and encourage anybody thinking about a career in counselling to seriously consider studying there. I think the lecturers at ACAP are second to none. The depth of their academic knowledge combined with their field experience makes for a very well-rounded educational experience.

    ACAP offers Counselling courses from Diploma to postgraduate level in a trimester structure. Our flexible learning options include full-time, part-time, on-campus, online or mixed-mode study. Contact us with questions about enrolment requirements, or for the next available intake date. 

  • Meet Our Students
    • Sarah Corkran
    • Graduate Diploma of Counselling
  • Meet Sarah Corkran

    Sarah was nearing completion of her Graduate Diploma of Counselling studies in 2015, when she accepted a job offer as an alcohol and drug counsellor from her placement agency, SalvoCare. Her position at the facility combines face-to-face counselling, agency networking and care and recovery coordination. 

    What inspired you to become a counsellor?

    As a teenager I had a few family members experience post-natal depression. My interest in counselling grew from wanting to understand their experience, and finding out how to support others who may be experiencing difficulties with their mental health.

    How did placement complement your theoretical studies?

    Being face-to-face with clients and implementing different treatment models was the most rewarding experience, and certainly gave me insight into what employment in the field would be like. Liaising with external agencies that were referring clients was also valuable, and allowed me to develop skills in treatment planning.

    Working with clients who are high-risk or in extremely vulnerable situations will always involve challenges. I found supervision and self-care to be extremely important and can’t emphasise enough how important these practices are.

    What led to the job offer?

    Both of my managers were supportive mentors and they encouraged me to apply for a position when it came up. I knew I wanted to continue with the agency even if it meant volunteering, so the job offer was an added bonus. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity.

    What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

    ACAP was a really supportive place to begin my journey as a counsellor. Placement especially, was crucial to learning what it was really like to work in the field, as well as for discovering which area of counselling work suits you.

  • Meet Our Students
    • Karen Hazell-Raine
    • Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Master of Counselling
  • Meet ACAP Graduate Karen Hazell-Raine

    Karen studied a Graduate Diploma of Counselling via blended delivery at ACAP's Sydney campus.

    Today she works as the Perinatal and Infant Program Manager of Mental Health - Children and Young People, which is part of the NSW Ministry of Health's Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office.

    Why did you choose ACAP?

    I chose ACAP because of its student-centred philosophy: ACAP offers flexible study options, small class sizes, convenient CBD campuses and teachers with a wealth of professional experience.   

    Describe your ACAP experience.

    When I was studying my Graduate Diploma of Counselling in the mid-1990s I hand-wrote all of my papers and had them typed up by a local administrative service. (There's been a lot of technological change since then!)

    I really enjoyed coming in for the face-to-face components of both courses - they were practical and allowed me to develop relationships with my peers and teachers. The ACAP teaching staff were a wonderful guide and influence for me at that time. 

    Whilst studying at ACAP I was working full-time in specialist areas of NSW Mental Health. I organised and completed three specific student placements within my workplace - allowing me to gain experience in Family Therapy; Child, Adolescent and Family Therapy; and Adolescent Psychotherapy.

    How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

    Studying at ACAP fostered not only my skills, but a sense of confidence, which have been the foundation of my further work, studies and practice. ACAP's hands-on, student-centred education helped me to integrate a focus on being client-centred into my own practice. The values-based mindfulness that I first learnt at ACAP continually helps me to reach and refine my professional and personal goals.

    I now work as the Perinatal and Infant Program Manager for Mental Health - Children and Young People where I specialise in the mental health of infants as well as parent-infant therapies.

    Following my studies at ACAP, I have also completed a Master of Infant Mental Health and I am now a PhD candidate within the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney.

    What are your plans for the future?

    I plan to complete my PhD and to continue working in my role within the Mental Health - Children and Young People.

  • Meet Our Students
    • Dianne Spencer
    • Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)
  • Meet ACAP Graduate Dianne Spencer

    Dianne graduated with a Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) in 2013 through a combination of online study and on-campus study in Brisbane. She runs the Breaking Free Healing Centre on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

    Why did you choose ACAP?

    I chose ACAP after much research because of the flexibility it offered; I was impressed by the range of options which enabled me to study online at my own convenience whilst still providing me with the opportunity for peer-interaction and support services. ACAP was definitely the right place to study for me. 

    Describe your ACAP experience.

    Studying at ACAP was everything I expected and so much more. The online modules were easy to access and the online forums allowed me to discuss topics and ideas with my classmates. The support from the administration and teaching staff was fast and efficient.

    I really enjoyed having the ability to attend summer school on campus, which provided me with the full tertiary education experience. It provided me with hands-on experience that was an invaluable part of my studies and gave me the reassurance that I was, indeed, gaining the competencies I needed in my chosen field.

    I graduated in May 2013 and since then I have been delighted by all of the ongoing Professional Development Workshops offered. I have attended every workshop offered in Queensland! I have learnt so much and gained many new skills and helpful industry information from these that I now use in my work on a daily basis.

    How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

    I established Breaking Free, a non-profit community organisation offering a range of counselling services and recovery programs, in 1997. Studing the Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) complemented my previous studies and provided me with new skills which have helped me to run Breaking Free.

    I started studying at ACAP just before a very unexpected and challenging period in my life began. However, studying gave me a sense of purpose and clarity amidst the chaos of my life at that time. It enabled me to find a central focus which helped me harness my energy levels which, in turn, benefited all areas of my life.

    Soon after graduating from ACAP in 2013, I was awarded the Open Minds Mental Health Week Achievement Award and was a finalist in the Origin Energy Queensland Regional Services Awards. In 2014 Breaking Free has been voted by the Sunshine Coast community as the winner of the Channel 7 and Red Rooster Community Hero Competition. 

    What are your plans for the future?

    I plan to expand Breaking Free's services and to increase our profile and public awareness across Australia. Breaking Free is also planning to secure funding to enable us to offer and expand our services to the wider community and to provide sponsorship to those who are unable to pay for the services we provide.

    What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

    I think lots of people are afraid to make the decision to study and keep putting it off because they are afraid of the extra pressures and stress that they believe study will place on their lives. If you have a goal or desire to achieve that diploma or degree and you want to make a difference in the world, then give it a go. Don't let anything stop you; do not let your doubts and fears control your decision.

  • Meet Our Students
    • Callie Hooper
    • Bachelor of Counselling
  • Meet ACAP Graduate Callie Hooper

    Callie graduated with her Bachelor of Counselling in May 2016. She began the course at the Brisbane campus part-time while working in an unrelated industry, and later switched to full-time study. After her placement at a charity that counsels children through grief, loss and illness, Callie decided to stay on as a volunteer. Soon after graduating she was offered the role of manager. Callie credits her successful application to the combination of her prior career skills in business, familiarity with the centre through placement there and her new Counselling degree.

    Why did you choose ACAP?

    I chose an Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) course after looking into a few different options because it seemed to be the most suitable since it offered smaller class groups on campus.  I also loved the idea of being able to work closely with the teachers as opposed to some other institutions which seemed to be impersonal by comparison.

    The ACAP course was my first time in academic study as I had only completed schooling up to year 10.  I have had a long career in the finance industry, working in administration, as well as being an Operations Manager and a Client Relationship Manager.  Starting academic study as a mature-aged student was a big step for me, but ACAP was very welcoming and supportive in so many ways.

    Describe the job you accepted from your placement provider after graduating.

    It is a senior leadership role, managing and leading the team to maximise services to our community by developing and expanding the existing services, and to develop effective marketing strategies and achieve government funding. I was able to secure this position as I have a unique blend of skills that fitted perfectly - my corporate/business skills, which will serve well as I begin building relationships with the relevant government personnel to achieve funding; and my counselling degree, which incorporates my placement experience in the organisation. So I deeply understand our programs, services and mission and was able to hit the ground running.

    My goals became clear during my studies and soon after I began my placement: to actively make a difference in the lives of children and families in the community. Through expanding our programs into our community and achieving government funding to support this, I will certainly be succeeding in my goals.  

    How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

    My expectations of ACAP as a course provider were exceeded. The small class learning environment is invaluable in gaining a deeper insight into the counselling sector and the support of the educators was amazing.  I experienced a great deal of personal growth during my studies and I will remember this for many years to come.

    To others thinking about studying counselling at ACAP I would say – do it! They have excellent student support services and are always willing to help or guide you in the right direction.

    ACAP offers Counselling qualifications from Diploma to Masters level. Study options include full-time, part-time, on-campus and online or blended delivery, with three annual intakes in February, May and September. 

  • Meet Our Students
    • Josephine
    • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)
  • "I chose to study at ACAP because I didn’t want to be just ‘another number’ and I really want to help people in need and advocate for justice."

  • Meet Our Students
    • Youssy
    • Diploma of Counselling
  • "ACAP is a place where theory and practice meet. Real life experience complemented the theory I learned."

  • Meet Our Students
    • Georgina
    • Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)
  • "The teachers are approachable and the small class sizes make a more intimate learning experience possible."

  • Meet Our Students
    • Craig Arnold
    • Bachelor of Applied Social Science
  • “ACAP gives you every chance of success – you are studying with like-minded people and you don’t have the distraction of other courses like at a big university.

    Everyone is very passionate and professional and The small classes make it very personalised and interactive. All the teachers are credible and can relate to their students.

    ACAP also has great facilities – close proximity to everything – so it’s very effective for time management.”

  • Meet Our Students
    • Lara Kocijan
    • Master of Psychology (Clinical)
  • “ACAP is in such a fantastic the location, with wonderful staff and students.

    A strong skills base means there is more focus on discussing real clinical cases and experiences. Having to complete clinical placements in a variety of settings, means there is an amazing opportunity to experience working with interesting and complex clients.

    The academic and clinical staff have extensive experience in a variety of areas, so we get a diverse perspective on theoretical approaches and career prospects. The clinical supervisors and teaching staff are very committed and remain actively involved in clinical practice and research.

    The staff and students are all really helpful – it’s great to have such a supportive network.”

  • Meet Our Students
    • Alanoof Idris
    • Graduate Diploma of Counselling
  • “ACAP is a very friendly environment, and I like that the new skills I am learning are helpful to have in everyday life – I am actually using the skills that I have learned which is great.

    The practical component was definitely the selling point for me. I love the method of group work and discussion in class.  Working together helps us to understand the concepts better.”

  • Meet Our Students
    • James McElroy
    • Bachelor of Psychological Science, Diploma of Counselling
  • I am now studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science after graduating from a Diploma of Counselling.

    The big thing for me at ACAP is that age is not a barrier, it's how much you enjoy and appreciate what you're doing that makes you a success.

    Before I began my studies at ACAP, I was a volunteer counsellor for Lifeline. I was enjoying that so much I just wanted to go further. So when I saw what ACAP was all about at an orientation night for my son, my interest was piqued and a seed was planted. About two or three weeks after that night, after meeting an ACAP representative and talking about the possibilities, I decided to give it a try.

    I'm now a paid counsellor, whereas before I was a volunteer. The fact that I was studying for a diploma was accepted by Lifeline as a career progression.

    The main reason I decided to continue with further study at ACAP was that I had such a good time that I thought, 'I've got to do more of this'. The Diploma of Counselling activated parts of my brain that I hadn't used for 30 or 40 years. And that in itself was incredibly satisfying.

    If you're interested in the human condition, this is the place to be.

  • Meet Our Students
    • Isaac Siduna
    • Bach of Applied Social Science, Grad Dip of Psych Science
  • I am now studying the Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science after graduating from the Bachelor of Applied Social Science.

    I finished high-school in Zimbabwe and was a little nervous about going to university in Australia. ACAP appealed to me with its small classes, and welcoming environment. I felt that everyone was accepted here. For me, it was a great choice.

    At ACAP, I enjoyed learning and applying theory with practical exercises and work placement while doing my course. It is a really practical approach to learning, and I got a lot out of my student placements, which helped me decide what I was most interested in. I got an insight into different sides of the social science world as I worked with Hillsong City Care and the Department of Community Services in Parramatta.

    I decided to continue my studies at ACAP after I completed my undergraduate degree as I wanted to learn more about the mind! I felt that ACAP's high quality of education and great environment made this the best place to continue my studies. At the moment, I am working as a case worker at Marist Youth Services.

    After I complete my Graduate Diploma, I am considering continuing my studies further and enrolling in a Masters degree. Ultimately, I would like to open my own practice, specialising in rehabilitation or therapy.

Claudia Beinhoff

Former naturopath Claudia completed one of her two ACAP counselling placements at Mosman Private Hospital, in Sydney, where she ran group sessions for patients. Before the internship was complete, Claudia was offered a job as an Allied Health Assistant.

What inspired you to study counselling?

I had studied the Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and found when I began working in the field that one of the major skills I was lacking was counselling. Most clients are at the end of their tether and naturopaths are the last people they visit, after seeing every type of specialist. I thought in most cases they probably needed a counsellor, rather than a naturopath.

What did you do during placement?

I participated in staff meetings, where we discussed all the patients and what was needed for the day ahead. We got all the patients together for the group sessions, wrote case notes and briefed supervisors or psychologists afterwards.

It was a rich learning environment on so many levels. The hospital was a perfect learning ground, with many experiences available in the one place.

My placement went very smoothly at Mosman Private Hospital and I felt well-supported. They wanted you to learn and made sure it was an engaging experience. The supervisor was hands-on the whole way through. Everything was explained.

How did placement lead to your job offer?

A placement officer put me forward for the job of Allied Health Assistant. I was originally meant to be doing administration, but my supervisor realised my talents were wasted in filing, and from then on I ran groups.

ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from diploma to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date.

Deborah Martinez

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.

ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from diploma to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date. 

Lisa Wilson

Lisa delayed her start to a counselling and psychotherapy career, but the rewards of her studies have been swift. She was employed by her placement agency, Mosman Private Hospital (MPH) in 2016, in its Mood and Anxiety Disorders Unit. Her multi-disciplinary role includes counselling, clinician work and outpatient therapy. Lisa’s Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy degree from ACAP is an addition to prior psychology qualifications.  

What inspired you to study counselling and psychotherapy?

I have held a lifelong passion to work as a mental health therapist but was unable to pursue this career until the last ten years.  Now I have graduated with an honours psych degree, however I felt the need to develop the person-centred counselling skills integral to the helping profession.

What did you do at placement during your Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy studies?

The Mosman Private Hospital placement provided a healthy balance of supervision, individual and group assessment and intervention. A typical day included one to two individual counselling sessions of a morning; in the afternoon I would facilitate a group session or two. Throughout the day I would write notes and conduct unstructured clinical interviews.

Within this supervised environment, I often operated independently in the provision of high quality care for the attending clients. I am forever grateful for this chance afforded me through my Master’s degree. I really believe that the subject matter, in conjunction with my placement module empowered and informed my growth as a mental health therapist.

How did the practical experience complement your theoretical studies?

Just being in the counselling environment and being afforded the privilege to care for others inspired me and provided me with the confidence to deliver what ACAP had taught me. ACAP provides an amazing array of placement opportunities rarely seen in educational institutions. I am extremely fortunate to have been a student at ACAP.

The content in my Master’s degree covered a broad array of intervention and assessment strategies. We have learnt the case conceptualisation model through ACAP, which coincidently is the exact model practised at my placement.

Developing the self of the therapist was a valuable subject to complete in conjunction with placement which helped me transform from a novice therapist to a competent practitioner. The group and individual therapy subjects cemented my practical skills. Placement and theory go hand in hand in this ACAP degree.

How does your current work situation fit to your career aspirations?

My titles, along with provisional psychologist, are group counsellor, individual counsellor, TMS clinician and DBT outpatient therapist. These are my goals as a professional healthcare provider and I anticipate being fully registered in a short time.

ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from Diploma to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date. 

Sara Bertolini

Meet Sara Bertolini

Good people skills came naturally to former beauty therapist, Sara. She enrolled to study the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy at ACAP, to apply her interest in helping others to a new profession. Sara’s commitment during her dual placement at Mosman Private Hospital (MPH) – as a counsellor and provisional psychologist – resulted in her appointment as an Allied Health Officer at the facility in 2016. She is also continuing her study pathway to become a provisional psychologist.

What inspired you to study counselling and psychotherapy?

As a qualified beauty therapist, I found myself counselling clients every day. I really liked listening to the stories of others and found myself thinking, ‘how can I assist?’ So I pursued a degree in psychology, then a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

How did placement match your career goals?

Being exposed to a hospital setting for placement afforded me the practical experience I needed to work in the hospital system. I just hit the ground running and thought on my feet. It was fun and exciting and I loved the clients’ positive feedback.

What was your reaction to the job offer made during work placement?

The job offer was a pleasant surprise. In saying this, I worked really hard during my placement and my supervisor was a great mentor. I also didn’t shy away from the challenges she presented to me.

What are your main duties? 

My role at MPH consists of conducting the outpatient Alcohol and Other Drugs group as well as the Solution Focused outpatient group and one-on-one counselling. Because I have a qualification in psychology, I was also involved with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) sessions.

I believe my previous skills managing staff and dealing with clients have given me a good foundation for this position. I still have further study to do, to develop my key interests. I am looking at becoming a relationship psychologist and counsellor.

How would you describe your learning experience at ACAP?

The instructors and ACAP supervisors are amazing. It is a great place to further the study experience. The placement and supervision was the best part of the course.

ACAP offers Counselling courses ranging from VET to postgraduate level. Contact us for more information or to find out the next available intake date. 

Tony Johannsen

Meet ACAP Graduate, Tony Johannsen

Tony began working towards his career change by enrolling in the Bachelor of Counselling at ACAP. The course content matched his desire to help others in a professional capacity, as well as satisfying his personal curiosity about psychotherapy and sociology. The turning point for Tony’s new vocation came during placement in his final year of studying when he was offered a job as an Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Clinician at TaskForce Community Agency in Melbourne. Tony graduated from ACAP in late 2015 .

What inspired you to become a Counsellor?

For 15 years I had been owner-operator of my own garden maintenance and landscape gardening business. For the most part I loved being self-employed and working outside every day. However, the work was very physical and was taking its toll on my body. I knew that sooner or later I would need to think about entering into a more sustainable career.

All I knew was that throughout my life, people had always confided in me. This was never more evident than in the running of my gardening business. Almost without exception my gardening clients would share their frustrations and current life challenges with me. This was a space I always sat comfortably in. There was something strangely familiar about the counsellor’s role.

What did you do during work placement?

I worked as an AOD counsellor for my entire placement. I was counselling clients within my fourth day of placement. I had a very high degree of autonomy, which suited my placement needs and my personality perfectly.

I had finished all the other academic requirements of my Bachelor, including the AOD counselling unit, and therefore had a very good theoretical understanding of several counselling modalities. I was also still running my own business during this time and consequently had a robust understanding of risk, consequence and personal accountability. My supervisor recognised these qualities instantly.

How did it feel being offered a job while at placement?

AOD was a natural fit for me and my colleagues and I knew it. Most of the other counsellors in the agency had suggested to my supervisor that he should offer me a job at the end of my placement. Being offered a job therefore was not a surprise but it was a relief.

I started paid work at TaskForce the week after I finished student placement. It was a very satisfying feeling to be offered a counselling job the day I finished my counselling degree! I worked part-time at TaskForce for the remainder of 2015 whilst still running my business.

In January 2016 I closed my gardening business and began working full-time at TaskForce, as an AOD Clinician. I now work almost exclusively with forensic clients. This means that the majority of my clients are mandated to see me for AOD counselling as part of their corrections order, bail conditions or as part of their parole order. I have become very passionate about working with this population.

How did your studies qualify you for your new occupation?

All aspects of my placement helped prepare me for employment. While the training I received at ACAP had given me the skills to be an effective student counsellor, it’s not until you’re sitting in front of your first client that you really get a taste of what being a ‘counsellor’ means. One-on-one, without a lecturer or supervisor watching over your shoulder and with nowhere to hide; this is how you learn your craft.

Undertaking placement is perhaps the most poignant aspect of the entire educational process at ACAP. It is ‘where the rubber hits the road’. During my time at TaskForce, I have observed several students from various universities undertake student placement. I can state without hesitation; that no student group in my opinion is better prepared for meeting the challenges of student placement, than ACAP students.

What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

I am a proud advocate of ACAP and encourage anybody thinking about a career in counselling to seriously consider studying there. I think the lecturers at ACAP are second to none. The depth of their academic knowledge combined with their field experience makes for a very well-rounded educational experience.

ACAP offers Counselling courses from Diploma to postgraduate level in a trimester structure. Our flexible learning options include full-time, part-time, on-campus, online or mixed-mode study. Contact us with questions about enrolment requirements, or for the next available intake date. 

Sarah Corkran

Meet Sarah Corkran

Sarah was nearing completion of her Graduate Diploma of Counselling studies in 2015, when she accepted a job offer as an alcohol and drug counsellor from her placement agency, SalvoCare. Her position at the facility combines face-to-face counselling, agency networking and care and recovery coordination. 

What inspired you to become a counsellor?

As a teenager I had a few family members experience post-natal depression. My interest in counselling grew from wanting to understand their experience, and finding out how to support others who may be experiencing difficulties with their mental health.

How did placement complement your theoretical studies?

Being face-to-face with clients and implementing different treatment models was the most rewarding experience, and certainly gave me insight into what employment in the field would be like. Liaising with external agencies that were referring clients was also valuable, and allowed me to develop skills in treatment planning.

Working with clients who are high-risk or in extremely vulnerable situations will always involve challenges. I found supervision and self-care to be extremely important and can’t emphasise enough how important these practices are.

What led to the job offer?

Both of my managers were supportive mentors and they encouraged me to apply for a position when it came up. I knew I wanted to continue with the agency even if it meant volunteering, so the job offer was an added bonus. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity.

What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

ACAP was a really supportive place to begin my journey as a counsellor. Placement especially, was crucial to learning what it was really like to work in the field, as well as for discovering which area of counselling work suits you.

Karen Hazell-Raine

Meet ACAP Graduate Karen Hazell-Raine

Karen studied a Graduate Diploma of Counselling via blended delivery at ACAP's Sydney campus.

Today she works as the Perinatal and Infant Program Manager of Mental Health - Children and Young People, which is part of the NSW Ministry of Health's Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office.

Why did you choose ACAP?

I chose ACAP because of its student-centred philosophy: ACAP offers flexible study options, small class sizes, convenient CBD campuses and teachers with a wealth of professional experience.   

Describe your ACAP experience.

When I was studying my Graduate Diploma of Counselling in the mid-1990s I hand-wrote all of my papers and had them typed up by a local administrative service. (There's been a lot of technological change since then!)

I really enjoyed coming in for the face-to-face components of both courses - they were practical and allowed me to develop relationships with my peers and teachers. The ACAP teaching staff were a wonderful guide and influence for me at that time. 

Whilst studying at ACAP I was working full-time in specialist areas of NSW Mental Health. I organised and completed three specific student placements within my workplace - allowing me to gain experience in Family Therapy; Child, Adolescent and Family Therapy; and Adolescent Psychotherapy.

How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

Studying at ACAP fostered not only my skills, but a sense of confidence, which have been the foundation of my further work, studies and practice. ACAP's hands-on, student-centred education helped me to integrate a focus on being client-centred into my own practice. The values-based mindfulness that I first learnt at ACAP continually helps me to reach and refine my professional and personal goals.

I now work as the Perinatal and Infant Program Manager for Mental Health - Children and Young People where I specialise in the mental health of infants as well as parent-infant therapies.

Following my studies at ACAP, I have also completed a Master of Infant Mental Health and I am now a PhD candidate within the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to complete my PhD and to continue working in my role within the Mental Health - Children and Young People.

Dianne Spencer

Meet ACAP Graduate Dianne Spencer

Dianne graduated with a Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) in 2013 through a combination of online study and on-campus study in Brisbane. She runs the Breaking Free Healing Centre on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Why did you choose ACAP?

I chose ACAP after much research because of the flexibility it offered; I was impressed by the range of options which enabled me to study online at my own convenience whilst still providing me with the opportunity for peer-interaction and support services. ACAP was definitely the right place to study for me. 

Describe your ACAP experience.

Studying at ACAP was everything I expected and so much more. The online modules were easy to access and the online forums allowed me to discuss topics and ideas with my classmates. The support from the administration and teaching staff was fast and efficient.

I really enjoyed having the ability to attend summer school on campus, which provided me with the full tertiary education experience. It provided me with hands-on experience that was an invaluable part of my studies and gave me the reassurance that I was, indeed, gaining the competencies I needed in my chosen field.

I graduated in May 2013 and since then I have been delighted by all of the ongoing Professional Development Workshops offered. I have attended every workshop offered in Queensland! I have learnt so much and gained many new skills and helpful industry information from these that I now use in my work on a daily basis.

How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

I established Breaking Free, a non-profit community organisation offering a range of counselling services and recovery programs, in 1997. Studing the Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) complemented my previous studies and provided me with new skills which have helped me to run Breaking Free.

I started studying at ACAP just before a very unexpected and challenging period in my life began. However, studying gave me a sense of purpose and clarity amidst the chaos of my life at that time. It enabled me to find a central focus which helped me harness my energy levels which, in turn, benefited all areas of my life.

Soon after graduating from ACAP in 2013, I was awarded the Open Minds Mental Health Week Achievement Award and was a finalist in the Origin Energy Queensland Regional Services Awards. In 2014 Breaking Free has been voted by the Sunshine Coast community as the winner of the Channel 7 and Red Rooster Community Hero Competition. 

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to expand Breaking Free's services and to increase our profile and public awareness across Australia. Breaking Free is also planning to secure funding to enable us to offer and expand our services to the wider community and to provide sponsorship to those who are unable to pay for the services we provide.

What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

I think lots of people are afraid to make the decision to study and keep putting it off because they are afraid of the extra pressures and stress that they believe study will place on their lives. If you have a goal or desire to achieve that diploma or degree and you want to make a difference in the world, then give it a go. Don't let anything stop you; do not let your doubts and fears control your decision.

Callie Hooper

Meet ACAP Graduate Callie Hooper

Callie graduated with her Bachelor of Counselling in May 2016. She began the course at the Brisbane campus part-time while working in an unrelated industry, and later switched to full-time study. After her placement at a charity that counsels children through grief, loss and illness, Callie decided to stay on as a volunteer. Soon after graduating she was offered the role of manager. Callie credits her successful application to the combination of her prior career skills in business, familiarity with the centre through placement there and her new Counselling degree.

Why did you choose ACAP?

I chose an Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) course after looking into a few different options because it seemed to be the most suitable since it offered smaller class groups on campus.  I also loved the idea of being able to work closely with the teachers as opposed to some other institutions which seemed to be impersonal by comparison.

The ACAP course was my first time in academic study as I had only completed schooling up to year 10.  I have had a long career in the finance industry, working in administration, as well as being an Operations Manager and a Client Relationship Manager.  Starting academic study as a mature-aged student was a big step for me, but ACAP was very welcoming and supportive in so many ways.

Describe the job you accepted from your placement provider after graduating.

It is a senior leadership role, managing and leading the team to maximise services to our community by developing and expanding the existing services, and to develop effective marketing strategies and achieve government funding. I was able to secure this position as I have a unique blend of skills that fitted perfectly - my corporate/business skills, which will serve well as I begin building relationships with the relevant government personnel to achieve funding; and my counselling degree, which incorporates my placement experience in the organisation. So I deeply understand our programs, services and mission and was able to hit the ground running.

My goals became clear during my studies and soon after I began my placement: to actively make a difference in the lives of children and families in the community. Through expanding our programs into our community and achieving government funding to support this, I will certainly be succeeding in my goals.  

How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

My expectations of ACAP as a course provider were exceeded. The small class learning environment is invaluable in gaining a deeper insight into the counselling sector and the support of the educators was amazing.  I experienced a great deal of personal growth during my studies and I will remember this for many years to come.

To others thinking about studying counselling at ACAP I would say – do it! They have excellent student support services and are always willing to help or guide you in the right direction.

ACAP offers Counselling qualifications from Diploma to Masters level. Study options include full-time, part-time, on-campus and online or blended delivery, with three annual intakes in February, May and September. 

Josephine

"I chose to study at ACAP because I didn’t want to be just ‘another number’ and I really want to help people in need and advocate for justice."

Youssy

"ACAP is a place where theory and practice meet. Real life experience complemented the theory I learned."

Georgina

"The teachers are approachable and the small class sizes make a more intimate learning experience possible."

Craig Arnold

“ACAP gives you every chance of success – you are studying with like-minded people and you don’t have the distraction of other courses like at a big university.

Everyone is very passionate and professional and The small classes make it very personalised and interactive. All the teachers are credible and can relate to their students.

ACAP also has great facilities – close proximity to everything – so it’s very effective for time management.”

Lara Kocijan

“ACAP is in such a fantastic the location, with wonderful staff and students.

A strong skills base means there is more focus on discussing real clinical cases and experiences. Having to complete clinical placements in a variety of settings, means there is an amazing opportunity to experience working with interesting and complex clients.

The academic and clinical staff have extensive experience in a variety of areas, so we get a diverse perspective on theoretical approaches and career prospects. The clinical supervisors and teaching staff are very committed and remain actively involved in clinical practice and research.

The staff and students are all really helpful – it’s great to have such a supportive network.”

Alanoof Idris

“ACAP is a very friendly environment, and I like that the new skills I am learning are helpful to have in everyday life – I am actually using the skills that I have learned which is great.

The practical component was definitely the selling point for me. I love the method of group work and discussion in class.  Working together helps us to understand the concepts better.”

James McElroy

I am now studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science after graduating from a Diploma of Counselling.

The big thing for me at ACAP is that age is not a barrier, it's how much you enjoy and appreciate what you're doing that makes you a success.

Before I began my studies at ACAP, I was a volunteer counsellor for Lifeline. I was enjoying that so much I just wanted to go further. So when I saw what ACAP was all about at an orientation night for my son, my interest was piqued and a seed was planted. About two or three weeks after that night, after meeting an ACAP representative and talking about the possibilities, I decided to give it a try.

I'm now a paid counsellor, whereas before I was a volunteer. The fact that I was studying for a diploma was accepted by Lifeline as a career progression.

The main reason I decided to continue with further study at ACAP was that I had such a good time that I thought, 'I've got to do more of this'. The Diploma of Counselling activated parts of my brain that I hadn't used for 30 or 40 years. And that in itself was incredibly satisfying.

If you're interested in the human condition, this is the place to be.

Isaac Siduna

I am now studying the Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science after graduating from the Bachelor of Applied Social Science.

I finished high-school in Zimbabwe and was a little nervous about going to university in Australia. ACAP appealed to me with its small classes, and welcoming environment. I felt that everyone was accepted here. For me, it was a great choice.

At ACAP, I enjoyed learning and applying theory with practical exercises and work placement while doing my course. It is a really practical approach to learning, and I got a lot out of my student placements, which helped me decide what I was most interested in. I got an insight into different sides of the social science world as I worked with Hillsong City Care and the Department of Community Services in Parramatta.

I decided to continue my studies at ACAP after I completed my undergraduate degree as I wanted to learn more about the mind! I felt that ACAP's high quality of education and great environment made this the best place to continue my studies. At the moment, I am working as a case worker at Marist Youth Services.

After I complete my Graduate Diploma, I am considering continuing my studies further and enrolling in a Masters degree. Ultimately, I would like to open my own practice, specialising in rehabilitation or therapy.

Study with us

ACAP’s unique combination of theory and practical work – including student placements – provides an opportunity to excel in your chosen field, and our small classes, group discussions, simulations and role-play activities allow you to really get to know your fellow students and teaching staff. Apply now

About ACAP

The Australian College of Applied Psychology has been delivering specialist courses in applied psychology since 1983 and is a leader in the field. We cover a broad range of courses including counselling, psychology, case management, coaching, social science, social work and elite athlete mentoring.

Talk to us

1800 061 199

61 2 8236 8071

info.acap@navitas.com

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