A desire to develop her communication skills, a better understanding of people’s mental health and her own mindset were the key motivators that led Alison Crooks to enrol in the Graduate Certificate in Counselling at Excelsia College.
Deciding to re commence her studies in 2020 as a mature age student was a daunting prospect for the mother of two. Alison was working as a Foundational Skills Lecturer within the Army Indigenous Development Program (AIDP) in Darwin, teaching literacy and numeracy skills to army trainee cohorts.
Despite the new season of change, Alison was able to smoothly transition back into the study environment. ‘Excelsia offered so much support – there was workshops on how to do the assignments and lots of help if I needed it. I also had counselling from the free counsellors that Excelsia offered, as it helped me learn the skill of counselling.’
Whilst Alison completed her course 100 per cent online, she appreciated being able to learn in real time, foster friendship with her peers and feel supported by her lecturers. ‘The students at Excelsia were some of the friendliest people I have met. I still have friends that I made during this course. There were a lot of people in the course who were in a similar situation to mine – they wanted to improve their position in their job or transition into a new line of work. I also found the teachers at Excelsia so amazing. They had practical knowledge of what it was like to work as a counsellor.’
In her studies, Alison not only learned how to counsel others, but also how to understand her own mind and way of thinking. ‘In the course we constantly practiced our communication skills, not just what we say but how we say it. I’ve never really had that before. We are often too focused on learning information, but the Excelsia course really helped me apply the knowledge as well.’
After completing her studies in 2021, Alison moved into a more senior position within AIDP, working as a Program Coordinator and helping Indigenous recruits to meet the Army entry requirements. Alison has been able to see a direct correlation between the skills she learned in her study and in her interactions with others. ‘The skills I learned at Excelsia have been important in helping people deal with the stress that they experience coming into the course and any mental health or trauma issues they are dealing with. The skills I learned during this course will stay with me forever.’ As for describing Excelsia, she was attracted to the inclusive learning environment and describes the College as ‘loving supported education.’
Alison also appreciated the intersection of faith within her studies. ‘I think Excelsia has a really important place in teaching counselling that acknowledges and respects the role that religion has in helping people deal with their mental health issues.’
If you’re interested in working as a counsellor and learning practical skills to help you relate to others in your workplace, why not explore Excelsia’s counselling courses? You will learn not only the theoretical knowledge but also the practical skills within a Christian worldview. https://excelsia.edu.au/study/counselling/