B.A. Grad. Dip. M. Psych
Counselling, Educational/Developmental and Clinical Psychologist
Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society
Recipient of the Award of Excellence from the College of Counselling Psychologists
A profile often just gives the history of where the person has been in their professional life, which I feel is limiting. My professional life is motivated by WHO I am - my beliefs, my values and my life experiences. It is because of these that my first question is not usually “What is in it for me?” when I participate in professional and personal matter.
My focus here is how I have expressed myself in my professional life. My personal definition of success is “the Absence of Boredom”. It is this understanding of what success is that has helped define and shape the many aspects of my career.
I began my professional career as a primary school teacher. I enjoyed teaching and still have a love of the profession. More recently I have found myself educating teachers, psychologists, doctors, other professionals as well as anyone else that will listen.
Teaching Special Needs children motivated me to study psychology and consequently began my career as a school psychologist in 1976. Whilst in the role of school psychologist I listened to the concerns of teachers who sought help with students that were experiencing academic, and/or behavioural problems and felt there was a need to develop an appropriate intervention program to assist these children at risk. After 7 years of research and trialling different methods, I developed a group program that seemed to have positive outcomes for the participants. This was re-enforced through positive feedback from the teachers at ground level on how they were observing positive changes in the behaviour and academic standards of the students that participated in the group program.
In 1986 I returned to university to complete a Masters of Psychology with my main aim to test the program I had written under more rigorous experimental conditions. I purposely chose to study Counselling Psychology rather than Clinical Psychology because I was concerned I would become rather bored. Counselling Psychology offered me something new, exciting and diverse.
I have never been a good spectator of life. I would rather be on the field and playing than cheering in the side lines. To this day I am still a participating on the hockey field. This is also true for me in my profession. I believe strongly in being a participator in my profession. I have served as Chair of the Counselling College of Western Australia, Chair of the Perth Branch and now State Chair. I have been an Australian Psychological Society committee member for most of my professional life as a psychologist.
I chose Counselling Psychology as my post-graduate studies deliberately because of its humanistic philosophy. I believe in working together. Over the years I have tried to build bridges with the medical profession through teaching them mental health skills and above all by modelling the importance of healthy interpersonal skills.
Initiating the Unity in Diversity Conference in 2010 was another way that I have tried to create bridges between the different colleges and generalists. I firmly believe that we are all psychologists that have more in common than we have differences. I am a member of three colleges and yet I am still the same kind of psychologist.
I have run a thriving practice for the last 35 years and have supervised and mentored many psychologists, now I am trying to slow down and smell the roses.