What implications for counsellors lie in the stories of Indigenous adults, who as children, were awarded scholarships and left their home communities to attend school?


Access to a ‘good’ education is often argued as deserving of the highest priority. The available research and policy literature pertaining to the educational experience of Australian Indigenous students, however, too often reflects a pattern of profound disadvantage, particularly in comparison to their Non-Indigenous counterparts. One contribution towards enhancing the prospects of educational attainment of young Indigenous students has been the initiative of a number of prestigious schools that have offered places/academic scholarships to intellectually able Indigenous children. For some students, accepting these offers has entailed leaving their families and home communities, so the opportunities promised may also have a ‘shadow side’.

This paper describes a study currently being undertaken to discover what implications for counselling practice lie in the self-report of the ‘lived experience’ of an adult sample of participants who, as children, experienced leaving home to attend school. Through the use of semi-structured, in-depth, one-on-one interviews, the researcher obtained the authentic view of eight participants interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the data. IPA is a qualitative research methodology appropriate for exploring in detail how participants are making sense of their personal and social worlds.

The desired outcome of this study is to enhance the counselling profession’s ability to develop interventions to strengthen the social, psychological health, and educational attainment of current and future Indigenous students.


Poster presentation


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The Author:

Ms Suzanne Jenkins