Helping cool kids cope
In a therapy room on campus, a clinical psychology postgraduate student unpacks a bag of ‘feeling stones’ - ceramic pebbles with stylised faces that show emotions like anger, joy, sadness and fear - as she waits for her clients.
Behind her is a board noting the group rules for the session, including ‘Keep other peoples’ secrets safe’, and ‘Do not talk when someone else is talking’. These rules were drawn up by primary school pupils participating in the 10-week ‘Cool Kids’ group anxiety treatment program. While the children are treated in one room, their parents attend separate sessions where they learn how to manage their children’ s anxiety.
The program is among the treatment services offered to the community by the University’ s Psychology Clinic. The aim of the Clinic is to provide a supportive learning environment where students can develop clinical skills and gain research experience.
The Clinic offers individual treatment sessions for a wide variety of psychiatric disorders and psychological problems. It specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy for clients suffering from anxiety, stress and phobias, as well as depression. The clients range in age from five to 74.
Dr Rosemary Webster, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Clinic, said 16 to 20 postgraduate clinical and health psychology interns completed a placement at the Clinic each year.
Depending on whether they are doing a masters or doctorate, students need to do between 1,000 and 1,500 hours of placement for their degrees. Working under supervision, each intern undertakes 250 hours work at the Clinic.
Housed in the Behavioural Sciences building on Callaghan campus, the Clinic has a separate entrance and a relaxing waiting room separate from general student areas. The ‘Cool Kids’ program is conducted in a cheerful children’ s therapy room, complete with posters, soft toys, puzzles and games.
Find out more about the Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research