I'm a sociable person — I enjoy meeting and learning about new people — and I suspect that's the primary reason why I entered the field of psychology. However, my role today, as a Psychologist, is a far cry from what I wanted to be as a teenager. I secured a scholarship to study aeronautics at High School. I believe that my career preferences shifted when I received the unconditional support of close friends while navigating some very personal challenges. I was amazed by the ability of different perspectives, ongoing encouragement, and the use of humour, to help me keep moving forward through adversity.
I didn't become a Psychologist straight out of university. I was tired of being a broke student. So I jumped into a job at the workers’ compensation claims department of a self-insured supermarket chain. My time in this role gave me a real sense of the competing demands, and expectations, that numerous parties have in regards to claim management. It helped me understand the confusion that can ensue when there is an injured worker (who is often very distressed), the employer, the insurer and the medical providers, all delivering advice and direction. I quickly discovered that clear communication and collaboration was an absolute necessity in order to reduce uncertainty, and promote wellbeing, for the injured worker.
As my career progressed, I was able to secure a split role, using my injury management and workers’ compensation experience, working for an Employee Assistant Program provider. This is where I gained a much deeper exposure to private therapy and organisational wellbeing initiatives. At this time I also completed my provisional registration as a psychologist, and delved deeper into corporate wellbeing challenges – learning from both client, and employer, perspectives.
Working in both injury management, and as a therapist, has given me a very broad range of skills, some that are often not within your ‘typical’ psychologist’s remit. This enables me to educate and assist clients to navigate an array of challenges – be it an injury, interpersonal issue, workplace matter, trauma, mood concern or other complex problem. I have noticed across my career that wellbeing challenges have such a pronounced affect on our ability to cope with anything that life throws at us. None of us are immune to these challenges.
My work at Painless is particularly rewarding, given the devastating effect of pain that I have witnessed, on so many people, firsthand over the years. Pain invades just about every aspect of one’s life – the quality of activity one can engage in, our sense of purpose and meaning we derive from such things, our interactions with others, where our attention goes, and how one may judge oneself. It's my hope that my time at Painless will result in deeply collaborative, holistic and team-oriented engagements with people in pain. Engagements that become partnerships through quality communication, mutual trust and ongoing support.
I like to take a patient-centred and interpersonal approach to all my patient relationships – building trust and working in collaboration to resolve challenges as a team. Yes, great clinical skill helps, however I believe that without strong rapport and mutual understanding, success is often limited. I would hope that any patient who attends Painless and has me as their treating Psychologist, experiences a therapist who is validating, focused on developing skills and supportive of their strengths.
I enjoy working with all clients and any presentations. Though I have a particular "soft spot" for working with those people who may not have had great experiences with health care providers in the past. I find it rewarding to surpass their expectations and restore their sense of optimism about their future.
I do not believe that there is a one size fits all approach to therapy. Adapting and remaining flexible to changing circumstances is pertinent to providing the best care, at the right times. I see my role as assisting my clients to make me redundant. My aim is always to move my clients towards self-management. I have seen, all too often across my career, health service providers working in isolation, with minimal communication around shared clients. Painless overcomes this limitation, with our structured, person centred, and integrated approach, to whole-person care.
I would hope that all my clients, after spending time with me, feel a sense of empowerment and ability to change their circumstances. But even more important than that, I hope they know that someone truly cares. It can make all the difference.