Research and collaboration

Open Arms contributes to a wide range of research projects in Australia and around the world, as well as funding professional development for counsellors.

At the forefront

Open Arms collaborates with international experts, universities, non-government organisations and other providers to use cutting-edge counselling techniques across our service. Involvement in research also enhances the skills and knowledge of our counsellors, supporting them to provide best practice treatment for our clients.

Using Open Arms means you will receive treatment at the forefront of grief, trauma and relationship counselling.

Recent research programs

  • Stepping Out: Attention Reset trial (SOAR) Open Arms has commenced a trial of an innovative attention control training program – using computer-based attention control training. Open Arms is working with Phoenix Australia and Tel Aviv University to conduct a randomised control trial to evaluate the efficacy of attention control training to prevent and reduce existing anxiety, and traumatic stress symptoms in this high-risk cohort.

  • Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery (RESTORE) Trial: In partnership with Phoenix Australia, Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Open Arms is seeking to confirm that intensive exposure therapy for PTSD is as effective as prolonged exposure therapy.

  • Project Synergy Technology Trial (Sydney region): In partnership with the Department of Health and InnoWell Pty Ltd, Open Arms is leading a trial to assess whether an internet-based platform – ‘The InnoWell Platform’ – will assist our service to deliver person centred care to our clients as well as allow our clients to better manage their mental health.

  • Townsville Community Engagement Pilot (North Queensland region): Open Arms trialled a program which involved the coordination of mental health care for clients who need additional support. The pilot aimed to assist clients in holistically managing their mental health supported by case management throughout the recovery process involving the client, their family, clinician and lived experience workers. This pilot has now concluded and is being rolled out at a National level.
  • Townsville Suicide Prevention Pilot (Operation COMPASS): Open Arms is supporting a project run by the North Queensland Primary Health Network, which aims to reduce the incidence of suicide among ex-ADF members and their families.
  • Operation Life Suicide Prevention Pilot Workshop: In collaboration with DVA, Uniting Care Community and Australian Health Care Associates, Open Arms is assisting the research and design of a suicide prevention program for the ex-service community.
  • Development of a Moral Injury Scale: In partnership with the Department of Defence and Phoenix Australia, Open Arms is sponsoring a study to develop a new moral injury outcomes scale to potentially be used by Open Arms and the ADF as part of routine mental health assessment and treatment, and to assess the outcomes of care delivered to address moral injury.
  • Transition Wellbeing and Research Program: Open Arms is working to implement the findings of the the largest and most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia by the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The study examined the impact of contemporary military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.
  • PTSD Coach Evaluation: Open Arms is supporting a collaboration between the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Queensland University of Technology to conduct an evaluation of PTSD Coach Australia mobile phone application, to assess whether the app is meeting the needs of ADF members, and identifies any ways the app may be improved.


All research projects undertaken go through rigorous research ethics processes.

Apart from the research requirements for specific universities or research institutes, all research proposals need approval from the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Human Research Ethics Committee (DDVAHREC).

Open Arms is required to ensure participation in research is confidential, securely stored and de-identified.

Research proposals thoroughly address:

  • client confidentiality
  • options for participation
  • ways to withdraw from research participation
  • best clinical practice to ensure the safety and anonymity of our clients.