The Hub Ethical tensions in sex-addiction counselling… in just three minutes

Ethical tensions in sex-addiction counselling… in just three minutes

What would it be like for a mental-health counsellor to work with a client who is using child pornography? This is just one of the ethical tensions that makes sex-addiction counselling a hot topic.

Dustin Purnell presenting his 3MT about sex addiction counselling
Dustin Purnell

Athabasca University master of counselling student Dustin Purnell looked at this issue in depth for his graduate thesis, “Ethical Tensions in Sex Addiction Counselling.” It’s not easy to turn years of work into a three-minute talk, but he did it so well that he won Athabasca University’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition March 22, hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS).

His win earned him a spot at the 3MT Western Regional Competition April 17 hosted by the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, where another win could see him present his 3MT at the national competition later this spring.

“I was pretty hesitant to enter the competition, and waited until the last minute to actually register,” Purnell said. “I’m glad a few people from FGS kept encouraging me to enter! Now that I’m going to the Western Regional Competition, my participation in 3MT is going to be a fantastic piece to add to my resume.”

Anyone interested in following the April 17 event, and supporting graduate research across Western Canada, can find more information on UNBC’s 3MT Western Regional Competition website. You can also show your support for Purnell by casting a vote for the People’s Choice Award.

Fourteen competitors from across AU’s graduate programs presented their theses in a three-minute timeframe to a panel of judges, other students, AU staff and faculty. Purnell beat out the competition, including runners-up Tina Shaver (MN, second place) and Sabina Staempfli (MN, third place), but the experience was a good one for everyone involved.

“What I did not expect, however, was how privileged it felt to be included in, and compete among, a group of such talented and passionate scholars from whom I learned so much,” Shaver said of her experience.

The 3MT competition was founded by the University of Queensland during a time of severe drought. Inspired by the egg timers used to encourage people to save water and time their showers, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson created the 3MT competition, which is now held at over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.

This competition is a great opportunity for students to share their research with their peers and the academic community. AU’s students presented on a diverse range of topics and shone a spotlight on their exciting work.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies would like to thank the Athabasca University Research Centre for sponsoring the cash prizes and supporting this wonderful event, and Dr. Pamela Hawranik, Acting AVP Research. We also want to thank Erin Stevenson, Director of Marketing, Kim Jones, EdD Candidate and 2018 AU 3MT Winner; and Ryan King from the Edmonton Eskimos for their input and thoughtful adjudication of the presentations. Last, but not least, a round of applause to all our competitors for their participation in this event and for sharing the meaningful research going on at AU.

  • April 16, 2019