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Home arrow Latest News arrow College Newsletter - Autumn 2011

College Newsletter - Autumn 2011 Print E-mail

Jo Harris

2011 Graduate - Jo Harris

"The graduation event was a meaningful opportunity to celebrate with my peer group, who have shared such a rich learning journey over the past three years with me.  
The training has been provocative intellectually, with exposure to insightful and cutting edge therapeutic thinking and reading. It has been provocative emotionally, with the opportunity to engage in my own therapy and gain insight into my own ways of being in the world. And it has been provocative relationally, as within the course my fellow students and I explored what relationship means theoretically and also through our relationship with each other.  

We learnt critical skills such as the value of responsiveness and of our attention to ours and others’ affects - and we have brought those skills to how we are in the world - not just as beginning therapists but also as human beings in our lives more broadly.

I work in the corporate sector in organisational development. The course has enabled me to work in a deeper way in my professional life and has also given me a career path that enables a more flexible way of working in the future. This is critical at this point in my life, as I began the journey of parenthood in the third year of the course.

Now I am also volunteering as an intern at the Victorian Aids Council this year and am enjoying the opportunity to apply the learnings from our last three years with the clients there. I also intend to set up my own psychotherapy practice later this year.

The most unique thing about the ACCSP training is the rare combination of cutting edge theoretical learning in areas such as intersubjectivity and self psychology, together with a highly experiential learning environment and the requirement for one's own personal therapy. The training is exceptionally robust and designed to build the potential for becoming a therapist at a variety of different levels.

If you are looking for a learning program that will fundamentally challenge the way that you see the world and exist within it, then this program is it. You will have the potential to become a therapist at the conclusion of the training if you so choose. However, you will also have much deeper self awareness and an entire set of new frameworks from which to think about therapeutic practice."

- Jo, Melbourne


Alan Tinker 2010 Graduate - Alan Tinker

"When I first enrolled for this course I did so under two misapprehensions. The first was that after having done a lot of personal development work, I thought knew what the content would be. The second was that I thought I was doing the course to broaden my knowledge and understanding of others - rather than for any significant impact it might have on my own life.
What I found was a course that not only provided a broad coverage of various psychotherapeutic modalities, but one that was also able to map their separate contributions to, and inclusion in, what we know as contemporary somatic psychotherapy.
Although I have not yet started in private practice, my work places me with people experiencing bereavement and grief, trauma and emotions, on an almost daily basis. I can honestly say that the theories and techniques I learnt on this course have deeply influenced my way of being with the people I see.
The benefits from the course also flow through to personal and family life. With grandchildren ranging from toddler to teenager, the material we covered on attachment theory, early childhood brain development and life span development, provided me with appreciable insights on what might be happening emotionally and psychologically for them.
What I found unique about this course was the structure of the weekend workshops and the depth and quality of relationship that develops between students individually and the student group and teachers.
This is not a course for sitting quietly in a chair writing furiously, with facts pouring forth from an academically arrogant lecturer! The learning structure in the course is more about reading the theory, discussing it in your own small support group and then bringing all of that to the weekend workshop and discussing it again. It is through this type of discussion that the relationship with the group develops and, away from the group, it is the openness of these discussions that can be missed most.
This is a course as much about knowing yourself as it is about knowing and understanding others. For anyone in the areas of social work, mental health or the “helping’ professions, the course offers great benefits. This is a course about relationships that exist between people, how they form, how they play out, how they cause damage and how they are repaired - and as such it is a course that can be used by anyone."

- Alan, Sydney

Sounds interesting? Further testimonials from our graduates can be found here.



Graduate profile: Margie BraunsteinMargie

* When did you graduate from the college?
Our graduation ceremony was in 2006. I began seeing clients in my third year of training. I am now in my seventh year of private practice.

* What led you to study somatic psychotherapy?
My personal development started in 1988 and led to me becoming a senior teacher with a personal development organisation deeply rooted within a somatic framework. I completed a certificate of somatic therapy in 1991, then gave birth to my two children. In 2003, I enrolled in the ACCSP diploma program to complete my studies as a psychotherapist.

* How did you find the three years of training?

Academically rigorous and deeply challenging on a personal level. It was a wonderful continuation of my personal and professional development which prepared me well to commence my psychotherapy practice. 

* What were the key things you took away from the training?
My empathic stance, which I believe is at the core of some deeply attuned states I have been fortunate to experience with some amazing and courageous clients. It has been moving to collaborate in the illumination and transformation of long held patterns for these people. Also, the training strengthened awareness of my own process within the therapeutic encounter; how to work with trauma; the neuroscience of relationships;how to use touch and body focus; being gentle on myself as I practice and learn…

* Since the training, how have you applied what you have learned?

I apply my learning in every session I conduct in my private practice, in my professional counselling work with the Quest for Life Foundation and with the Cancer Council as a member of the Cancer Counselling Professionals. I recently completed a two year contract with a health centre where I was employed 30 hours per week as a counsellor and facilitator while maintaining my private practice two days per week. My ACCSP diploma was a very suitable qualification for gaining this rewarding employment.

* How has the training supported you to work with people with life threatening illness?

They are dealing with a broad range of issues like loss, cancer, grief, depression and trauma. So my skills of empathy, attunement and presence are fundamental to my approach. The neuroscientific perspective is very contemporary and I have continued to develop my knowledge in this area and integrate more neuroscientific information and mindfulness practices into my one-on-one and group work. I am particularly interested in psychoneuroimmunology, as I develop my interest in cancer counselling.

* Why is it important for a therapy or counselling training to be body-inclusive?
It never ceases to amaze me how intelligent our bodies are. The simplest process of leading a client into an awareness of their body sensations can lead to a profound intensification of emotions,followed by the resolution of deeply held tensions and old patterns of holding. I also use touch (when appropriate) with a client, to offer another means to experience relationship with me - at times this leads to deep attunement between us, which can be profoundly healing.

* What are your goals and aspirations for your future work as a psychotherapist?
I am content combining employment as a facilitator/counsellor with my private psychotherapy practice at present and continuing my professional development in areas that interest me. I intend to add hypnotherapy training, so that I can offer another method for clients to experience soothing of the nervous system and release of body/mind tensions.

* What would you say to someone considering the ACCSP training?
Consult your intuition and listen to your heart because your body/mind is a profound source of information, which can offer you richness and honesty about whether or not this is the path for you. On a more cognitive level, I think this training is professional and thorough and will form the foundation for a psychotherapy practice should you choose this career path. The training will probably be challenging both cognitively and emotionally but you will know you are alive!

* Anything else you would like to add?
I feel very grateful to the college director Jeff Barlow, for his dedication and determination to share his passion and intelligence; to all my wise teachers; to my brave peers who engage, as I do, in this adventurous work. And to each unique and beautiful client who inspires and moves me with their trust and vulnerability as they grow and explore the depths of their being.



Note from the Director

The graduation of our students is a deeply fulfilling experience for everyone at the college. It is a privilege to engage with the students over the three years of our program and to witness the extraordinary development that takes place in each of them.

By the time they finish the training, our students graduate not only with an academic Diploma, but with a great deal more besides.

Our wholistic psychotherapy training has been designed specifically to ensure that on graduation, our students have all the ingredients they need, to become a psychotherapist of the highest order..

The first ingredient is an extraordinarily sound academic understanding of the theory and professional literature of contemporary psychotherapy. This provides a solid academic foundation from which our graduates can continue to develop professionally throughout their career. Our dedicated team of teachers – each an expert in their field – brings the breadth and depth of theory to life. Our graduates are able to engage with confidence in clinical discussion with professionals from a wide variety of theoretical orientations.

The second ingredient in developing our graduates is personal development. Students embark on a profound journey of self-enquiry and understanding through participating in the interpersonal process of their training group, through verbal and body-based skills practice and through their individual therapy. This self-development process is critical in developing in our students a robust capacity to remain present with and helpful to clients, through a great diversity of emotional states.

Finally, the third key ingredient is the way in which our training brings both the academic and the personal development together through our unique experiential learning process. Through the continual interweaving of theoretical understanding with our students’ actual experience in the training, our graduates end their training not just with a cerebral ‘knowledge’, but with deeply embodied theoretical understanding, practical skills and emotional capacities – all of which are vital in the development of an empathic and effective and truly professional therapist.

I wish our 2011 graduates all the very best in the future!

Jeff Barlow