Dr Judith Ayre began teaching in the Master of Counselling program at La Trobe University in Melbourne in 2003 whilst simultaneously working as an individual, child, couple and family counsellor in the public health and welfare sectors in Victoria.
In 2005, Judith introduced Emotion-Focused Therapy as an 80-hour counselling specialisation into the Master of Counselling at La Trobe University. There are now more than 200 La Trobe University graduates practising EFT in Victoria.
Over the past 15 years, Judith has taught counselling at post-graduate and undergraduate levels, written curriculum for all levels, and has maintained a clinical practice in both Emotion-Focused Therapy and Jungian Sandplay that includes the clinical supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists.Judith’s Story
My attraction to La Trobe University arose through my contact with a number of the academic staff at that university who had either worked personally with Carl Rogers, developer of ‘Person-Centred Counselling’, or had an in-depth involvement in the area of person-centred and experiential therapies. These factors had led to Person-Centred and Experiential (PCE) philosophy, theory and practice becoming central to the curriculum and teaching in the faculty of Counselling and Psychological Health. I continue to be grateful for the mentoring I received in humanistic practice within this faculty, both in my teaching and in my doctoral studies, and I carry those principles over to my work as a teacher of counsellors and as a clinical supervisor and therapist.
In the 1990s, the La Trobe faculty became interested in the emotion process work of Robert Elliott, Leslie Greenberg and Laura Rice, and Robert Elliott was invited to Melbourne to speak about their new model of Process-Experiential Emotion-Focused therapy, as it was then known. Friendships developed and a continued interest in the growth of the new model ensued. Manuscripts for chapters for the 2004 EFT manual by Elliott, Greenberg, Jeanne Watson and Rhonda Goldman, which came to be titled ‘Learning Emotion-Focused Therapy’, were sent to Melbourne, to keep the La Trobe staff up to date with developments. Faculty members also began practising and supporting each other in the implementation of the method. In 2003, the faculty established a single EFT subject in the Master of Psychology. The Master of Counselling students heard how exciting the subject was and demanded that they also have the opportunity to study EFT. And so it was that I was given the task of developing a two-unit (80-hour) specialisation in EFT to begin in 2005. Flowing from my experiences with developing and teaching EFT at La Trobe, I completed a Doctorate of Clinical Science (Counselling and Psychotherapy), which explored the experience of students learning EFT with a strong experiential focus.Professional Affiliations