Alan Richardson is a psychologist, psychotherapist, educator and supervisor based in Brisbane, Australia.
He is an accomplished therapist and educator who teaches relationship therapy, counselling, and supervision subjects in university and courses internationally.
He has been closely associated with several process work schools around the world.
More recently he developed an essential approach in ethics-informed practice for both counselling and supervision interventions.
His therapeutic approach stems from building relationships – relationship with the self, relationship with people, relationship with the world, and the expression of the self in the world.
Qualifications and Experience
- Registered Psychologist in private practice
- Clinic Director – Centre for Psychotherapy, Couples Counselling & Research
- Accredited Supervisor of Australian Psychologists
- Trainer member of the Australian Association of Supervisors
- Lecturer of counselling & supervision subjects at Masters level
- International Trainer in Process-oriented Psychology
- Developer of Process-oriented Ethics – a therapeutic basis for Ethical Concerns
- Member of the International Psychotherapy Ethics Board
- Convenor of International Training Council (IAPOP)
- Governance Council for Gestalt Therapy (Australia)
Author of a book chapter on Process-oriented supervision:
- Richardson, A. & Hands, P. (2002). Supervision using Process-oriented Psychology Skills. In M. McMahon & W. Patton (Eds.), Supervision in the helping professions: A practical guide. Melbourne: Pearson Education Australia.
Alan has more than 40 years of clinical experience working with individuals and relationship counselling. He worked in Youth Refuges while he studied both Community Welfare and Psychology. He experienced his first therapy weekend with James Oldham in 1980. He trained as a Gestalt therapist during the 1980’s with Yaro Starak and Eileen Wright in Brisbane. He used this experiential approach in working with individuals while learning from Michael White in developing skills from family systems therapy and the early development of narrative therapy as a way of working with relationships and family dynamics. He began studying Process-oriented Psychology in 1988 with the visit from Dr Max Schupbach at the International Experiential Psychotherapy Conference.
It was from this background that Alan developed a shared meta-understanding to reframe conflicts and issues within relationships and ways to promote systemic change. He established unique ways on creating an alternative and therapeutic understanding of relationship issues. During this time, Alan worked with the Family Court of Australia as a Court Counselling with people mandated for counselling prior to their application being processed by the Court. It was an extreme challenge to work with people who went from being lovers to just being parents, from hurt individuals to high levels of co-operation in their parenting. This is an extremely difficult journey and especially important for the children of the marriage. While working with these couples, Alan developed the intervention he called the “The Stuffed Kid – the Trophy in the Battle to Separate”. He wrote up this approach in his Masters of Counselling thesis. This proved to be very useful with highly conflicting parents.
Parenting and Grief
Counselling parental grieving is an untaught expertise for therapists. Loss of a baby and/or the suicide of a son or daughter challenges the parent to continue to love regardless of death. This deep emotional journey creates selflessness and eldership within our world. Alan’s dog – Rufus sometimes comes and sits near clients who are in need of a support. Rufus gets paid with some extra treats for his help in the therapy sessions.
Individuals Big Dreams for themselves
Alan moved to working within Universities as a Student Counsellor and conducted research on “The Incidence of Student Attrition and Positive Impact of attending Counselling”. Later, he become interested in the career influences that motivated students, which led to the development of the Career Dream intervention – an individual’s dream for themselves.
The Career Dream intervention was taught and researched in Australia and Ireland. Since he was working within universities, it helped him to research student motivation and subsequent performance and their capacity to turn university taught knowledge into workplace skills.
While working at QUT (Queens University Technology), he used the graduate feedback given to the university as available source to understand how tertiary studies contributed to developing the students’ professional identity and employability.
Today, the Workplace Relevance Scale (WRS) is used as a performance indicator for Australian universities and is pivotal in quantifying the relevance of the curriculum and quality teaching as mediators in a student’s academic success and employment outcomes. Thanks to the Vice Chancellor Prof. Dennis Gibson, a PhD scholarship was awarded to conduct further research in this area.
In 1997, he commenced teaching post graduate students in Counselling. Currently, he works with several training institutions in Australia and overseas. His use of a 3-step model of teaching – by firstly outlining the Scope of the topic and theory, then a demonstration of the skills, and finally the students practicing the skills with their colleagues help make study come alive. This model also works well with online teaching.
Developing Counselling Project for Ukrainian Civilians
The war in Ukraine presented a need for therapists in Ukraine to support the Ukrainian civilians, while managing their own personal and changing world. As technology shrunk the world, making it easier to work with people around the globe, it also presents a challenge to therapists to be able to adapt to these changes.
My dream is to create a world-class team of therapists and counsellors who are able to hold their own with compassion and integrity.