Why did you choose psychology as a career?
From the time I was 10 years old, people spoke with me. E.g. at 11 years of age, an 18 year old man told me he killed his father (DV) and had to go to court. He wasn’t coping and I helped him. Over the years all my friends, friend’s parents etc. all came to see me. I also had a lot of relatives with mental illness, schizophrenia mostly.
I was intrigued by the manifestation of mental illness, and understanding root causes, so began extensive reading of many books and case studies. While I initially studied pure science and worked in medical laboratories, it was the psychiatric patients that I developed great rapport with, listened to 100s of stories, early onset, experiences and treatments, what worked and what didn’t.
Eventually studied psychology, graduated in 1996. During this time, I was searching for a worldview theory of the human mind that would explain the continuum between an unhealthy mind through to healthy mind and onto expanded consciousness which could be explained by neurobiology of the brain.
How did you get into your current area of work? What drew you into this area?
My first job after graduating was designing innovative health programs in the South West of WA. Several of my program designs went national and the youth suicide prevention program became the basis for the AIFS best practice guidelines for youth mental health. I was also responsible for negotiating the first MOU between GPs and a mental health service in Australia. As the only non-medical person selected to be on state primary mental health research, strategy and treatment groups I was head hunted to be the state advisor for National mental health care policy in Canberra, which I declined to start a private practice.
My focus was on changing systems to achieve outcomes. Be that of the GPs, the public mental health system (in the MOU) or creating capacity in the community to prevent youth suicide. I started to build up models of human systems, that would explain the continuum between unhealthy human systems through to healthy and onto systems that enhance human capacity.
I wrote a couple of books, started a private practice, became a specialist in complex trauma and abuse. I was accredited by the department of child protection to provide clinical services, while still a provisional psychologist. Working in a regional area, I had great working relationships with the GPs, NFPs, other mental health professionals, the public mental health services and the schools. This enabled autonomy, but also if I needed someone hospitalised, I could get it done in one phone call. Now that I have moved to the city, there is hardly any integration and it is impossible to get someone hospitalised without sending them to ED where they often wait 2 to 3 days for a bed, unless they have private health cover. I see how broken the system is, and so many people falling through the cracks.
After 10 years of private practice, I started a PhD, with the aim of developing a unifying theory of psychology. An influential book Brain and Being: at the boundary between science, philosophy, language and arts. (2004), Pribram argues the further you go into the human mind the closer you are to quantum physics and the physicists argue the further you go into quantum physics the closer you are to human consciousness. Therefore, my research started in worldview human consciousness but lead me into quantum chaos, (scientists agree that any natural system adheres to the laws of quantum chaos) and infinite mathematics. Due to the breadth of the work, I was not able to complete my PhD in psychology. The university decided that there was too much mathematics and physics for psychology, too much psychology for physics or mathematics. However, from this research I knew there was a meta-pattern (theory) derived from laws of nature, based on scientifically established principles of quantum chaos with applications and tools, but the theory is of all natural systems, not just human systems. The mind, human life and human systems all adhere to this.
I presented the initial framework at the International Congress of Psychology in Berlin, worked with a Professor of Psychology and Physics from Brazil, and eventually wrote Realm Theory, a mathematical proof for a meta-pattern. Furthermore, I developed a range of visual therapeutic frameworks which I use and teach. These frameworks simultaneously provide assessment and measure outcomes and have coherence between law, theory, application and instrumentation. As each tool follows the laws of quantum chaos, they are simple, yet complex within. I am currently developing a range of resources including a visual cultural audit tool to measure corporate integrity with the view of creating corporate cultures that enhance human beings.
Realm Theory exists in all natural systems including the human mind. The human mind is a fractal of the universe, i.e. the human mind adheres to all the scientific principles of quantum chaos, as does family systems, a community or any organisation. By understanding this pattern and the scientific principles it is not only possible to treat mental illness but to prevent mental illness and enhance human wellbeing through developing human systems that serve humanity and NOT the system.
During this period, approximately 50% of my work was within Aboriginal communities. This work showed me that Aboriginal Culture is a living practice of quantum chaos for over 70,000+ years and has so much to teach us in applying Realm Theory to human systems. In fact their Eldership relies on developing the human mind to see way beyond what we currently believe is possible. So I am now in partnership with an Aboriginal leader and we run WISDOM in Your Life; a Cultural Psychology and Training organisation, all our profits go to eliminating Aboriginal disadvantage.
This is why now I call myself a Cultural Psychologist.
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY is the impact our culture has on the mental health of individuals.
Every workplace has it's own culture. Every family/community has it's own culture.
When family/community culture doesn't match that workplace culture, people have to live in two worlds. The result is poor mental health.
Yet most services and interventions focus on 'fixing' the individual.
Creating cultures that enhance mental health is the way forward.
These cultures need to be based upon Collective Circular Collaborations as opposed to Individual Competitive Hierarchies.
What should people know about the work you do?
My work uses art, song, dance, story and language to connect and integrate the human mind to heal, and then expand the human mind or connect and integrate human systems. We have won international, national and local awards, and meet best practice standards.
My work is ground-breaking, challenging, award winning and sometimes dismissed as simplistic or unscientific by professionals; until they experience it. To understand my work requires three paradigm shifts:
1. From an independent viewpoint to an embedded experience
2. From a single frame of reference to three simultaneous frames of reference
3. Consideration of the negative space.
For example; one of the tools I developed can be explained to a client in five minutes, yet training to use this takes three days, and about five years to master. A psychology doctoral thesis by Dr Beth Jackson shows over 30 psychological theories are within this simple picture and professionals use this for therapy to decision making to corporate integrity to strategic planning and education.
Realm Theory provides coherence between theory and practice in psychology.
I strongly believe that psychologists need to be at the centre of mental health and wellbeing. And as a profession, psychology has been sidelined, especially within the public systems. Our training is risk aversive, with too much focus on inputs (educational) and not enough focus on outcomes for the people we work with. Basically, there are many psychologists that are achieving great outcomes with their client group but because they do not have the requisite inputs they are perceived as less than.
In addition, as a profession we lack unity and diversity both within the profession and within our training. When I attended the International Congress of Psychology, it opened my mind to how narrow Australia’s training and practice of psychology is and this unconscious bias of ‘one way’ of working, leads to many of the peak organisations having a narrow focus on the practice of psychology. I have seen that AAPi is working to both unify and diversify psychology. The manner in which the open forum is respectful, and inviting members to contribute is a strength.
You play a role representing AAPi, can you tell members what it is you do for AAPi?
As I have a quantum chaotic world view, which enables me to see simple solutions to complex systemic issues in addition to my 25+ years experience on the frontline of psychology and primary mental health, in both metropolitan, rural and within Aboriginal communities, I have been asked for comments/feedback/input on submissions by the AAPi. In addition, as I am a director of an Aboriginal cultural psychology and training company, we have extensive networks across the state of Western Australia, so can gather feedback from Aboriginal communities.
For more information on Roslyn, visit her website.