Why did you choose psychology as a career?
I was a registered nurse for many years. While I loved nursing, the thing I enjoyed most about it was connecting meaningfully with patients and through this coming to understand that many times people’s physical health issues were connected to their mental health and/or deeper ‘spiritual’ health. Throughout my nursing career I strived to better understand these links and find space to attend to patients’ physical health and emotional, social, and spiritual health. In a health system that was fast becoming busier and with less time to ‘connect’ it seemed natural at some point (I’m not sure of when that was), to turn my attention to finding a way of connecting with people where the focus was on emotional health. I became a psychologist to allow me to more fully explore and journey with people toward healing and health. I have never looked back.
How did you get into your current area of work? What drew you into this area?
I run a small private practice which works predominantly with older adults. At the end of my nursing career, I was working in aged care, and it seemed natural to use this experience and knowledge to set up a practice in a space that not many psychologists were working. I quickly realised that it was hard for residents in aged care to access psychology services and that working collaboratively with staff to identify residents who required psychological therapy as well as improving the general home environment was key to improving the mental health of residents. I did my provisional internship for two years volunteering in a residential aged care facility and absolutely loved it!
Since its early days my practice has expanded to focus on disability as well as older adults and we (me together with my small team) receive referrals from allied health, hospitals, community services and aged care facilities as well as GP’s.
What should people know about the work you do?
This quote from Viktor Frankl expresses how I feel about the work I do…
Life holds meaning for each and every individual, and even more, it retains this meaning literally to his last breath...Even the tragic and negative aspects of life, such as unavoidable suffering, can be turned into a human achievement by the attitude a man adopts toward his predicament...transforming despair into triumph.
Viktor Frankl, The Will to Meaning (1969)
Our focus is on working with all people to engage and help them continue to live with joy and meaning. We use a tailored, creative, and integrative approach. Our services combine psychology, arts, and nature. We provide individual therapy both in the general community and residential aged care, "Walk (or sit) (outside) & Talk" therapy as well as creative projects for residential aged care that provide a bridge between the everyday and therapy. Our current groups include Meaning Centred Psychotherapy for individuals (MCPT) and Meaning Centred Group Psychotherapy.
You play a role representing AAPi. Can you tell members what it is you do for AAPi?
My recent role in representing AAPi has been to take part in a consultation opportunity to provide feedback around psychological services in residential aged care. This was such a great opportunity to provide my perspective to hopefully assist in making some changes in this area.