Counselling graduate gains research role | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Counselling graduate gains research role

Clinical research might not seem like the most people-centred discipline, but University of the Sunshine Coast graduate Laura Adams credits the skills she learned studying a Master of Counselling with helping her to secure a position in the field.

Laura graduated from USC in April 2014 and now works as a research assistant at the University of Queensland’s School of Medicine in Herston, where she is currently running a clinical study into the use of nutraceuticals, or natural supplements, to treat depression.

As well as preparing her to work with confidential information, Laura said her background in counselling had been of great benefit when engaging with study participants.

“The target group we are looking at is people suffering moderate depressive disorder, who might often have a comorbidity of anxiety as well,” she said. “So I am dealing with a sensitive population.

“I believe the micro skills I learned during my counselling studies, such as attending behaviour and the empathetic style of talking with clients, has helped me build rapport with participants.

“Some people may be too unwell to participate in the research, so my counselling experience has also helped me deal with post screening ineligibility and allowed me to direct people to other services that might better assist them.”

Prior to commencing her studies at USC, Laura was working for Queensland Health as a nurse in an acute psychiatric inpatient setting.

She initially enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Psychology) at USC before transferring to the two-year Master of Counselling based on her extensive industry experience.

Laura said the support of USC staff, including Lecturer in Counselling Neil Mellor, had inspired her to consider pursuing a PhD in mood disorders.

— Jarna Baudinette

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