Luvena Natasia Susanto from Indonesia has always wanted to understand human behaviour. The 24-year-old Indonesian often wondered why people did the things they did and thought the way they thought. If only she could explore the power of therapeutic relationships, she would be able to answer these questions for herself and others.
“I was motivated to pursue psychology as a professional so that I can help others with their own mental health struggles, empowering them to cope with life’s challenges,” she shares.
Today, she’s realising her mission at The Cairnmillar Institute. Founded in 1961, The Institute has decades of experience in pioneering counselling and psychotherapy in Australia.
When it comes to psychology education and training, Cairnmillar is an industry leader. The psychology courses are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). Counselling and psychotherapy programmes are accredited by the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia (PACFA). All courses are university-equivalent and informed by evidence-based research and clinical practice.
For Luvena, however, the best part about her Cairnmillar education is The Institute’s distinctive combination of hands-on learning and personalised support. As she pursues a Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) here, she’s making a lifetime of memories and friends, alongside a connected community that uplifts one another every step of the way.
“Every lecture and discussion is engaging, collaborative, and stimulating,” Luvena enthuses. “There is always an opportunity to practise the knowledge and theories we are grasping — particularly through roleplay.”
As a result, Luvena is growing more competent by the day. She’s mastering how to counsel, make clinical assessments, formulate cases, intervene, conduct research and provide psychometric testing. She’s better at empathy, cultural competency, ethical decision-making, professionalism, and reflective practice.
“All of these skills will help me tremendously in my career to form a collaborative and therapeutic connection with my clients, assess clients’ mental health problems and needs for treatment, apply appropriate and evidence-based interventions, establish professional relationships with my colleagues, and ensure my own mental wellbeing,” she explains.
For Charlene Tan from Singapore, her two Cairnmillar degrees — Master of Professional Psychology and Master of Professional Psychology Practice — provided a “smooth progression.” The latter fully incorporates the 5+1 pathway to general registration as a psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). “Once you’re done with a year of theory, taking on the MPPP means immediately putting fresh knowledge into practice,” she explains.
Cairnmillar’s staff hold high level qualifications, clinical experience and a commitment to educating future practitioners. Charlene saw the impact of this unique combination first-hand.
At Cairnmillar, her supervisor guided her every step of the way. Having worked in Singapore, Charlene’s supervisor could understand her cultural background in ways others could not. The guidance, support, and encouragement have made all the difference.
Cairnmillar staff also provide relevant, challenging workplace experiences with excellent supervision. These field placements can be in one of its internal student clinics or in an external agency, including schools, public health psychiatric services, community health centres and private practices throughout Victoria. For example, the second year of the Master of Professional Psychology Practice comprises the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) Internship (+1), during which students develop therapeutic skills, professional knowledge, and experience of psychological practice.
All of this ensures Cairnmillar graduates are ready for the workforce. “I think these programmes have not only provided me with an understanding of psychological theories and literature, but have also equipped me with a skillset to apply in the workforce,” shares Master of Professional Psychology Practice student Julian John Motha. “The use of roleplays and practical assignments bridged the gap between theory and practice and helped me apply what I have learned with clients and colleagues.”
As part of his programme, he is working with Gladstone Park Primary School. He has also secured a placement with Healing Minds Psychology in Glenroy, where he sees clients across different age groups and co-facilitate a mindfulness workshop with another Cairnmillar student. “As part of my role, I now have individual sessions with students, as well as mindfulness and social skills groups,” he shares.
To learn more about The Cairnmillar Institute’s outstanding higher education offerings, click here.