Murdoch University offers Peel students a WA first in counselling education

Murdoch University offers Peel students a WA first in counselling education

HEALTH professionals and educators in the Peel region can take advantage of a first in WA counselling education.

Murdoch University’s Creative Arts Therapies course is the only university level arts therapies qualification offered in WA at the Mandurah campus.

The Graduate Diploma in Creative Arts Therapies is part of a growing suite of counselling courses on offer through the School of Health Professions.

Counselling lecturer Brenda Bentley said creative arts therapies was an ideal post-graduate choice for allied health professionals and educators who counselled people regularly in some capacity of their work.

Art practitioners were also well suited to this professional training as it drew on their skills in the arts to extend and develop themselves in the arts therapies field.

Dr Bentley said counselling was a way of dealing with stresses faced by people every day such as work stress and relationships.

“Creative Arts Therapy is a way to practice counselling through expressive arts such as move, painting or drawing,’’ she said.

Arts therapies have been successfully applied in a range of areas including intellectual and physical disability, schools, hospitals, out-patient clinics, psychiatric and mental illness, addictions, cancer treatment, palliative care, refugees, trauma, chronic pain, veterans, dementia and aged care.

One of the first students to embark on the course, Catherine Cresswell, chose the degree to support her work in a wellness centre.

“I began my career in education and found art was an important way for children to express their feelings without having to find the right words,” she said.

“There is a really important counselling aspect embedded in the arts therapies and I am keen to incorporate back into my profession.”

“Eventually I would like to work with children in this therapy area.”

The Creative Arts Therapies group will work from a purpose built facility next year.

Dr Bentley said it was an exciting step for Murdoch’s Mandurah campus and there was plenty of demand for such education in the region.

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