Dedicated students contribute to new anxiety research

Students at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences treat clients and contribute to research projects - and they love it. According to the researchers responsible for the project, research-based teaching benefits all areas of research.

2012.01.06 | Martin Strandby

Every year, twelve Master's degree students in psychology are given the opportunity to participate in a special one-year Master's degree seminar. The students take lessons in the latest cognitive treatment methods and apply them in the treatment of the clinic’s 7 to 17-year-old clients. The students' client cases form a constituent part of the data basis and are used directly in the clinic's research projects studying the effect of different methods of treatment.

- The students are a great asset to the clinic, as they also participate in the research work. Their seminar assignments are used in the continued work of the clinic as part of the research database, which means that they contribute directly to creating new research knowledge, says Associate Professor Mikael Thastum, initiator of the project and head of the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents.

Students pleased about practical experience
Twelve Master’s degree students are in the process of finishing a one-year seminar at the clinic. A survey among the students shows that they are thrilled to have participated in the project and appreciate the practical experience that they have gained:

- It's good to be able to apply theory in this way, and I feel much better equipped now. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in such a seminar, says one of the students.

The students have also gained a new perspective on research and a deeper understanding of how research is conducted in practice:

- It has been an eye-opening experience to study things that cannot be understood just by reading textbooks. Being a part of the research and working with it in practice has made a big difference, says another student.


Research-based teaching has potential
According to Mikael Thastum, others will be able to exploit the potential of research-based teaching. This also applies to areas of research that, in contrast to psychology, do not involve clinical treatment:

- I’m convinced that other areas of research could also benefit from involving students more directly in the research. What matters is the underlying idea, namely to use the students' work in the research, which means that it can easily be implemented in different areas.

Students recommend research-based teaching
The twelve Master's degree students at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic also encourage other researchers and students to engage in research-based teaching. But they also have some clear recommendations for ensuring a mutually successful process; for instance, it is a good idea to be part of a team.

- It's been a very challenging year, which is why communication with the researchers and practicing psychologists has been crucial in order to work hard. Sometimes there have been too many tasks and poor division of work, but because we have received feedback on our work, and because we have been listened to, problems have been solved quickly, says one of the students.


FACTS:
The Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents is located at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, University of Aarhus, and last year, it received an additional grant of DKK 4.5 million from the Tryg Foundation. The clinic has two permanent clinical psychologists, who supervise the students' treatment of clients. The psychologists are funded by a 2-year grant from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration and Aarhus Municipality.

Further information:

Mikael Thastum, Associate Professor
Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents
Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences
Tel.: +45 8716 5846
E-mail: mikael@psy.au.dk
Web: au.dk/mikael@psy

Marianne Bjerre Madsen, Secretary
Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents
Tel.: +45 8716 5849
E-mail: marianne@psy.au.dk
Web: psy.au.dk/angstklinik/

 

Tina Clausen, student of psychology
Master's degree student at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents
Tel.: +45 5053 5049
E-mail: tina_clausen288@hotmail.com

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