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AUT to teach mental impact of adoption

AUT to teach mental impact of adoption

New Zealand has a long history of child adoption, but many health professionals are not fully aware of its psychological impact.

This is about to change with a new paper, The Psychology of Adoption, starting at AUT University next semester (July 17). AUT is the first university to offer a postgraduate paper dedicated to this subject.

The postgraduate course is designed to help practitioners and professionals understand and better support people affected by adoption.

AUT School of Psychology senior lecturer Dr Rhoda Scherman says it is particularly suitable for psychotherapists, mental health workers and clinicians.

“However, people involved in other health and social services such as nursing, social work, criminal justice and education will also benefit from this paper,” she says. “It will begin to address the lack of training for professionals who work with individuals whose lives are touched by adoption.”

As well as looking at the psychosocial impact of adoption, the paper includes the history of adoption and the social forces behind it. It reviews the many different types of adoptive placements and relationships, cultural, political and legal aspects and associated ethical dilemmas.

“Domestic adoption rates have decreased dramatically in the past two decades, creating the illusion that adoption is no longer an important social issue,” Dr Scherman says.

“But the reality is the impact of adoption is lifelong. With New Zealand’s long history of adoption and the ever increasing rise in adoptions from overseas, it continues to be an important area to study.”

The paper will primarily involve lectures, group work, discussions and guided activities. It will be held at AUT’s North Shore (Akoranga) campus.

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