You’ve lead a pretty diverse life, prior to being a psychologist what did you do?
I have been keen enough on psychology to have done fourth year psychology twice in my life! After the first time I worked as a change management consultant, working with public sector, manufacturing and finance industry clients on cultural change and large scale program implementation.
After doing FIFO for too long, I decided the corporate life was not for me, and quit to start a dance studio. For close to a decade I was a performer, dance teacher, and business owner. I ran a dance studio and entertainment agency with another dancer, that started on St Georges Road before moving to Fitzroy.
And then what lead you to want to become a psychologist?
After I had children I continued to do freelance event management and dance teaching. My children went off to school, and I thought about the fact that I had done four out of six years study in order to be eligible to work as a psychologist.
I was very interested in the way that dancing and music had served myself and others therapeutically. I was also interested in the absorption and flow that I experienced when I was performing. I was aware however, of the challenges of the entertainment and creative industries - crazy hours, highly competitive, and a very high level of personal investment and often perfectionism on a product that was subjected to major critique. I wanted to finish what I had started and to somehow apply psychology to the experience I had gained on the scenic route I had taken since I first finished fourth year.
I looked into completing the six years and found that too many years had passed and I was required to start from the beginning again! I don't regret that at all though, as it exposed me to new ideas and directions that I have since pursued.
Psychology is a growing field that has evolved a lot since Freud was talking about people’s mothers. How do you see Psychology fitting into the people that suffer in contemporary society?
Psychology is an amazing field for its breadth. You could choose to study the minutiae of perception, attention, sensation and cognition or you could look at how people behave in groups. You could study personality, psychopathology, or under what conditions humans thrive and flourish. These are broad strokes and I have excluded many fields of psychological study here. You could apply this knowledge to the design of artificial intelligence, improving educational outcomes, alleviating distress on an individual level or examining the social systems that contribute to distress.
I like doing both research and therapy. I like big, abstract ideas and understanding issues at a population level, but I also love the opportunity to understand how individuals experience life and how to apply psychology to their specific issues.
What areas of mental health do you help manage? And are there any that you are especially interested in?
I have worked with clients to manage depression, anxiety, grief and adjustment issues. I am especially interested in working with artists, performers and creative people on the issues particular to this lifestyle and type of work.