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Home arrow Testimonials arrow College Newsletter - Winter 2010

College Newsletter - Winter 2010 Print E-mail

karla.jpgHaving graduated from the ACCSP, I am developing a private psychotherapy practice in parallel with my 42 year career in Corporate IT.  My psychotherapy training has not only been valuable to me personally, but has allowed me to apply psychotherapy skills in a corporate work environment.

In my work role I am responsible for overseeing and supporting up to 50 project teams of varying sizes to achieve their goals. While my years in IT are an asset, my new found psychotherapy knowledge, understanding, skills and personal insights have significantly enhanced my ability to relate to these generally ‘left brained’ people, of all levels, with ‘right brained’ care – that is, skills like attunement, empathy and active listening.

My awareness of attachment theory, trauma and anxiety, affect theory, neurobiology, mirror neurons, developmental deficits, intersubjectivity, existential phenomenology and somatic awareness are but some of the informed nuances that have been invaluable in my IT work.

With integrity, trust, confidentiality and respect, these skills have made a huge difference for me to be able to work with people to resolve daily life issues of conflict, uncertainty, poor communication, unrealistic expectations and stress at work and, for some employees, in their personal lives. This has even led me to be called the “pastoral care” manager!

- Gerry Barber




karla.jpgAs a registered general nurse for almost forty years, I have been working in a private psychiatric hospital for the past five. Since beginning training as a psychotherapist at the ACCSP, my way of working with patients has changed quite markedly.

A recent compelling example of this was with a patient I found in a heightened state of distress. She was in paranoid psychotic state that had apparently been going on since her admission the previous night. As she screamed and thrust herself about, I used deeply empathic techniques I had learned in my training. I responded to her emotionally and physically perturbed state with a close attunement, of the kind one uses in the therapy environment.

I spent time with the patient in this way, on and off throughout the day. As she began to relay various aspects of her past experience and trauma, I continued responding in the profoundly validating way I had learned.

The patient had caused concern and distress among staff and other patients. Under normal circumstances, it is likely this patient would have been ‘scheduled’. During the patient’s assessment however, the psychiatrist consulted me - and it was decided not to schedule her.

Over the following days and with ongoing therapeutic intervention, the client’s psychotic behaviour began to diminish significantly. The patient reported clearer thinking and a sense of being more in control.

Within four weeks the patient was discharged. Although she could not remember much of what had happened in the first days of her time there, she said her experience of me during that time was one of total acceptance, of feeling deeply understood. She appreciated that I hadn't ‘put her in a box’ by judging or labeling her in any way and that I had not further triggered her psychosis – something that was a new experience for her.

I have experienced many patients like this, with evidence of trauma in their early lives. Traditional psychiatric methods like medication and electroconvulsive therapy have in many cases not made a great difference to them. Some patients report feeling unable to connect or feel safe with the hospital psychologists or community counsellors.

My training at ACCSP has given me skills and a way of working with such patients, that I never dreamed possible. What I have gained I can say is immeasurable. I now have the confidence, theoretical knowledge and personal capacity to continue this very valuable work for the rest of my life.

- Karla Neeson



SheriOne month after graduating, I was employed as a School Counsellor and Special Needs Coordinator by a private college.

The ACCSP training prepared me to work with people one-on-one, in small groups, and to present to a larger audience. I am now able to use these skills in working with students, target groups and to provide educational seminars for both parents and the wider community.

Having worked in this field for the last three years, I’m often in contact with clinicians at hospitals. I co-manage many cases with psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors and welfare workers. The training I received at ACCSP has provided me with the language required to communicate with these health professionals. My assessments are appreciated and supported by specialists in the mental health field, reflecting the high quality of the training.

The course structure supported me to take the learning and directly apply it with confidence within an environment that has a high demand for psychological intervention.

I was once an art student and my medium was my canvas. I now realise we are all individual works of art. We are both artists and works of art.

I encourage you to take the leap and make the change as I did. Work no longer feels like work, I love what I do!
- Sheri Ucar

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