Life after Graduation: Will Bonney, Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Our Life After Graduation series showcases personal stories of our graduates who have made the transition from student to professional.

Join us as we interview Will Bonney, a graduate of our Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy program. Learn about his experience leaving his corporate job to start a rewarding and meaningful career as a Psychotherapist.

What were you doing before you started studying at Torrens? What attracted to you to a career in counselling?

I was the Managing Director of a national organisation in the non-profit sector. I had moved from Corporate Finance 10 years earlier in search of meaning and purpose. Even though I was working for a ‘for purpose’ organisation, I was still not feeling authentic meaning. I was motivated to make significant changes and seek out a new way of being. I have found that being of service to others as a therapist and having rich interactions is delivering the meaning and purpose for which I was searching.

Tell us about the very moment you decided to enroll. How did you feel? What was at stake?

By the time I enrolled I had been working with a career counsellor for some months and had considerable evidence that I was suited to work with people in a healing capacity. I was very excited to be putting a transition into action. While I still didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go, I felt I was moving in the right direction. What was at stake was the loss of income because I was committing to full-time study, and loss of extrinsic validation because I was walking away from a career that was respected and well paid. This meant I felt some trepidation, but it was outweighed by a sense of excitement about the new opportunities for my future.

Were there any barriers you had to overcome before commencing this course? Or any barriers you had to overcome while studying at Jansen Newman Insititute?

Financially I had to determine how I could afford the course, and how my family could afford to have me not earning an income for the duration. While studying at JNI, I had to overcome my need to have nothing less than HD grades. I also had to come to terms with the constant balancing act of learning and reflecting, and integrate greater levels of personal insight which was, at times, painful.

Did you study online, on campus or as a hybrid?

I studied full-time on-campus. This was my preference as I knew I would need interactions with other students on the same pathway to better learn and integrate. I also needed a sense of network/community which I found at JNI. I was focused on moving through efficiently, so carried a heavy workload in every term except the last.

What were some of your favourite things you learnt while studying your Masters?

The first most favourite thing I learned was the techniques of the various counseling modalities, particularly existential and narrative therapies. My second favourite was learning the psychological development theories which provided insight into why people develop with different levels of self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

How did on-the-job training with real clients and clinics improve your employability?

The on-the-job training with real clients was the “Rosetta-Stone” of my learning experience – this is where the skills and theories came together and my self-confidence took root.

I know that I made a difference in the lives of a number of my clients, big and small, but all important to the individual. The most significant was picking up on the symptoms of schizophrenia in a client who I referred for assessment and was diagnosed with that condition. In all circumstances, I felt privileged to be on a journey with my clients.

The on-the-job training with real clients was the “Rosetta-Stone” of my learning experience – this is where the skills and theories came together and my self-confidence took root.

While you were studying, did you have your own success coach?

The Success Coach role is new to Torrens, so there was no such support when I was a student. I did, however, have someone in my professional network outside of JNI who provided similar support and guidance.

That individual once reminded me of the “marathon versus sprint” paradigm when I was struggling with self-imposed expectations of my performance. It is very powerful to have an objective observer point out our blind spots.

Why did you choose Torrens University to excel your career?

I researched various courses and education providers before committing. That included talking with a number of therapists from various institutions about their educational experience. As personal growth was a high priority for me, a number of them recommended JNI as best suited to my needs, even those who had studied elsewhere. That was the reputation of JNI.

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