An innovative therapy service is making a difference to the lives of those in Port Augusta who have been receiving Tele-web psychology counselling sessions from clinical psychology students in Adelaide.
UniSA’s Psychology Clinic has been collaborating with Country Health SA over the past year, to provide weekly psychology counselling sessions to clients in Port Augusta and surrounding remote regions.
Last week those students visited Port Augusta to meet their clients face to face for the first time and to assess how the service has benefited the local community.
Team leader for Port Augusta Community Mental Health Shirley Rochford said the partnership was a pilot study involving final year psychology students and patients.
“It’s a win-win situation for the students and the clients of Port Augusta,” she said.
“In conjunction with Mental Health Services and Psychology we’ve seen fabulous patient outcomes.”
Psychology Clinic director Dr Susan Simpson said that for many clients this type of service was the first type of therapy they had received in their lives.
“It has had a transformative effect and the use of this technology has assisted in providing a level of health care in rural and remote areas, which is in demand,” she said.
“Video link ups remove the need for clients to travel vast distances to receive therapy and clients usually feel this type of counselling is more anonymous.
“In areas where the population is small, they are assured that they won’t be bumping into their therapist in the supermarket or down the same street.”
Psychology student Sally Skewes, who has been counselling her client for the past year, said the sessions helped their clients while developing their own therapeutic techniques despite being 300 kilometres away.
“Video therapy does require clients to be motivated, but this service is a huge assistance to their recovery,” she said.
“We will continue our work together by helping our clients to find ways of remembering the techniques and strategies they have learned in therapy and to apply these to their day to day lives.”
Dr Simpson said the success of the of the service in Port Augusta meant the clinic was now seeking to expand out to other areas, including Roxby Downs and Coober Pedy.