This week, a new centre will launch to provide much-needed community counselling services and training opportunities for students wishing to enter the field.
Counsellor Anne Smith, from the School of Education, explains how The Bounds has been a long-held dream which is reaching fruition despite the difficulties of the Covid pandemic.
“I spent the early part of my career in primary education but decided upon a career change and have worked in counselling since 2006.
“Since completing my training/MSc at the University of Aberdeen, I’ve taken an active role volunteering with agencies in Aberdeen as well as running a private practice and working as a counselling service manager.
“Over the years I’ve become increasingly aware of the significant demand for counselling in our area, brought into sharper focus by Covid, as well as the challenges often faced by students in finding suitable placement opportunities within the local community.
“When I joined the University as a tutor on our Person-Centred Programme, I shared a vision with senior colleagues of a way forward to address some of these challenges and to strengthen the quality of research being conducted in our field at the University.”
The idea for The Bounds was born and this week it becomes a reality, launching initially in a virtual manner with plans for in-person services once restrictions allow.
Named after its location in the Humanities Annexe on College Bounds, the new centre will be run by staff from the University’s School of Education’s Person-Centred Counselling Programme, providing a free service to the local community with appointments available through GPs or self-referral.
It will be supported by student counsellors, providing placement opportunities for assessment for MSc students as part of their degree programme, and will also enable the University to build a research foundation for the counselling discipline.
Anne says they are delighted to be able to bring the project to fruition at a time when the need for counselling support has never been greater.
“It began as an idea but has been able to grow thanks to the fantastic support with the School of Education and the University.
“Spring 2020 brought us significant demands, affecting all our lives, but this did not deter the commencement of the work to make the vision a reality. With support from many quarters at the University, challenges were tackled head on and in an incredibly short period of time we had physical space, policies and procedures in place and now are launching our service.
“Lots of hard work and devotion over the past year to achieve this dream, which feels very timely for our community.”
Further details about The Bounds is available at www.abdn.ac.uk/the-bounds