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Victoria launches psychology clinic

13 September 2004

Victoria launches psychology clinic

Postgraduate psychology students, researchers and the wider Wellington community will all benefit from Victoria University's new Psychology Clinic.

The Victoria Psychology Clinic will be officially launched by Bob Henare, chairman of both Mental Health Commission and Capital & Coast District Health Board, at 5.30pm on 14 September at the centre's premises in downtown Wellington.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the Clinic would provide wider training options for clinical psychology students, who were required to complete internships with registered mental health providers, while also providing another option for people seeking psychological help.

"As awareness and attitudes towards mental health have changed for the better in recent years, the demand for assistance to help with such problems has grown. While New Zealand invests heavily in publicly funded care for the very small minority who are chronically ill and are a danger to themselves or others, those with mild to more moderately severe conditions often miss out.

"This clinic will provide a much-needed community resource by offering psychological care for those who do not qualify for publicly-funded assistance but who cannot afford the full cost of private therapy. It will also provide another option for general practitioners who shoulder a heavy burden in caring for people with mental health problems. We see the Clinic as complementing rather than competing with the range of public and private mental health services that already exist."

Professor Susan Schenk, Head of the School of Psychology, said the Clinic would add to Victoria's research strength in psychology.

"The recent Performance-Based Research Fund exercise highlighted our strength as a research leader in the discipline, with Victoria a close second in the psychology subject area while the School achieved the highest rating within the University, when adjusted for the number of fulltime staff. The Clinic will provide an excellent venue for a host of research possibilities while allowing postgraduate students to directly apply the theories and education they receive in lectures."

Professor Schenk said all students undertaking training in the Clinic would work under the supervision of registered clinical psychologists. To be registered as a clinical psychologist, students have to complete 1,500 hours of supervised clinical work and the public hospitals have struggled to provide sufficient placements.

Professor Schenk said it was common for universities to operate a Clinic to provide placements for clinical students and the School had consulted with other university clinics, the New Zealand Psychological Society, Capital & Coast DHB and private practitioners.

Dr Mary Miller, a registered clinical psychologist with a PhD from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, who has extensive experience in public and private practice both in New Zealand and Canada, will be the Clinic Director.

In 2003, the number of students studying psychology at all levels at Victoria rose 16 percent to 1,644 compared to the year before while the number of postgraduate students rose 16 percent to 151.

Media are invited to the launch of the Clinic at 5.30pm on 14 September at Level 3, Fulbright New Zealand House, 120 Featherston St, Wellington.


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