About the Department of Psychology, Counselling and Therapy

The Department of Psychology, Counselling and Therapy is committed to promoting and improving wellbeing, inclusion and equitable mental health outcomes nationally and internationally, including in regional and rural communities. 

We offer education programs in Psychology, Rehabilitation Counselling, Art Therapy and Clinical Family Therapy.

We have a long history of success. We produce outstanding graduates and research outcomes that make a significant contribution to the communities we serve.

Our undergraduate, postgraduate, Research Higher Degree and continuing professional development programs are student-centred, flexible and foster lifelong learning.

Our staff have won national awards for teaching excellence and our professional programs team has been recognised for supporting students to achieve successful outcomes.

We also have strong partnerships – locally, nationally and globally – with research institutions, public health organisations and industry. These enrich student learning and provide opportunities for high-quality research and practice.

Our Department is part of the School of Psychology and Public Health.

Photo of Professor Pauleen Bennett

Our programs attract students who care deeply about understanding and promoting mental health. They develop skills that are in great demand and lead to jobs that are very rewarding.

Professor Pauleen Bennett
Head, Department of Psychology, Counselling and Therapy

Real world learning

Our undergraduate courses, accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, specialise in the scientific study of human behaviour.

Our majors, minors and individual subjects help students to understand human cognition, development, emotion, performance, close relationships and behaviour – and lead to a range of fulfilling careers.

We focus on real world skills including teamwork, oral presenting, data analysis, report writing, critical thinking, counselling, interviewing and interpretation of research findings.

Our postgraduate programs train scientist-practitioners who engage in clinical research and evidence-informed practice. We equip graduates with the practical skills needed to become effective psychologists, counsellors, therapists, or mental health care workers.

We also offer specialist degrees in Rehabilitation Counselling, Art Therapy and Clinical Family Therapy, each accredited by relevant professional bodies.

Find out more about our courses and our distinctive student experience.

Research with impact

Our Department is home to an engaged and committed group of scholars who conduct research with real world impact. We make meaningful discoveries in our discipline areas and build evidence for best practice counselling and therapy interventions.

We have a strong history of interdisciplinary collaboration, working together with national and international partners to produce high-quality research.

Our contributions are diverse and include clinical and health psychology; sport and performance; developmental psychology; neuropsychology and neurodiversity; eating disorders; cognitive and behavioural neuroscience; art therapy; social, cultural and community psychology; rehabilitation counselling, and animal assisted therapy.

Our long history of excellence in research includes a high level of success in attracting Higher Degree by Research students and competitive grant funding.

We are rated at well above world average in Excellence in Research for Australia and produce significant outputs in the form of publications, presentations and media engagement.

Our research is grouped into eight key areas:

Our researchers specialise in psychotherapy, evaluation of couple counselling, domestic violence and health, and art and mental health. Our research work has received awards and grants, and opportunities for student projects.

Our researchers examine the psychological processes that cause and maintain challenging health and emotional problems. We use these understandings to develop effective change approaches including online therapies, psychological interventions, couples therapy, groups, self-help, education and public health initiatives.

Our research is interdisciplinary, spanning molecular/cellular through to behavioural and cognitive neuroscience. Our researchers specialise in interactions between the immune system and behaviour, the biological basis of neuropsychiatric illness, neuronal circuits controlling emotional behaviour and visual neuroscience.

Our research examines the cognitive, social and emotional development of individuals across the lifespan in the general population and specific clinical groups. We also seek to understand the aetiology and trajectories of mental health problems and develop and trial intervention programs.

Our researchers are world leaders who investigate the cognitive, emotional and behavioural sequelae of a wide range of clinical conditions. We conduct clinical trials evaluating neuropsychological interventions for people affected by acquired brain injury, and make ground-breaking discoveries about the biological mechanisms underpinning neurological and psychiatric disorders.

We are a leading authority on research related to rehabilitation counselling and enhancing rehabilitation outcomes. Our researchers have expertise in transitioning out of work and sport; behavioural change in rehabilitation settings including physical activity; motivational interviewing; rehabilitation from injuries; culture and health; facilitating outcomes for new mothers; and behaviour change in sports settings.

Our researchers investigate sensory and perceptual processes relating to the visual system. We specialise in attention and vision, vision and perception, action and object size, consciousness and vision, and how vision is processed by different hemispheres and neural channels in the brain.

Our researchers specialise in interpersonal, intergroup and cultural processes. Research often crosses disciplinary boundaries, both within psychology (to areas like health, clinical, social and cultural neuroscience, or cognitive psychology) and within academia more broadly (to areas like sociology and cultural anthropology).

Research centres

Our staff make key contributions to several of La Trobe University’s research centres.

The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society conducts world-class research and education on the social dimensions of sexuality, gender, health and human relationships. The Centre works collaboratively with other researchers, communities, community-based organisations, government and professionals to advance knowledge and promote positive change in policy, practice and people’s lives.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research is at the forefront of alcohol research. The Centre’s discoveries are used to promote and inform the development of evidence-based, effective alcohol policy in Australia and internationally.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation is a National Health and Medical Research Council-funded centre that aims to transform the health and wellbeing of people with aphasia and their families. The Centre’s research program champions enhanced, cost-effective and sustainable interdisciplinary aphasia rehabilitation and community service.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Centre for Sport and Social Impact is shaping the future of Australian sport and physical activity through research and engagement with industry and government. Its research addresses significant health and social issues including physical inactivity, social exclusion, physical illiteracy, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and gambling. The Centre supports its research partners to develop and deliver policies, strategies and processes to address these critical social issues.

Find out more about the Centre.

The John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research leads research and innovation related to rural aged care workforce and health delivery initiatives; promotes interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration in developing, testing and implementing evidence-based health care delivery solutions for older people in rural areas; and serves as a rural centre for honours and postgraduate research training in rural aged care workforce and health delivery initiatives.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Judith Lumley Centre conducts interdisciplinary, applied research to improve the health and wellbeing of women, children and families. The Centre leads research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family health; breastfeeding; child, family and community health; mother and infant health and maternity services; reproductive health and planned parenthood; preventing and reducing violence against women and children; transition to contemporary parenthood, preparation and support; and work and family.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre work with autistic people and their families to produce high-quality research to facilitate positive developmental outcomes in the lives of autistic people, from infancy through to early childhood and beyond; enable autistic people to realise their full potential throughout their life course; and support families as their young autistic children grow and develop.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Bouverie Centre is an integrated practice-research organisation that draws on our history of bringing family therapy to Australia to promote healthy relationships in families, organisations and communities.

Find out more about the Centre.

Meet the Department's leadership and find out more about our research.

Find out more about the School of Psychology and Public Health's Statement of Strategic Intent.