I am an academic, a psychologist and a food addiction, impulsivity and reward sensitivity researcher. It has long been a goal of mine to be a clinical psychologist. I knew from the age of 9 that this is the career I belong in. Simply put, I really love to help people. I am motivated to help those experiencing poor mental health because I believe as humans, we cannot fully function and experience life when we are experiencing mental illness.
My area of research was not what I initially envisioned myself doing. I was always interested in personality research, and during my Honours year, I was set to examine personality traits, (i.e., Costa & McCrae’s Big 5 Model). I was particularly interested in the life outcomes of individuals with “extreme” personality traits (e.g., extreme extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism etc). However, after some calamities early in my Honours year, I wound up researching disinhibition/rash-impulsivity, the components of Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) and primed responses to stimuli. Rather idealistically, when I thought about my PhD research, I always thought I would invent some kind of new therapy or discover some amazing treatment for a psychopathology! But, once you go RST, you don’t go back! I first stumbled upon the role of RST with eating behaviour when I was preparing my literature review for my Honours year. And I was hooked! Currently my research is examining the contribution of reward processes and impulsivity to food addiction and addictive-like eating. I am particularly interested in these processes in families. It is somewhat ironic that the girl who, as a child, would always ask her parents when we were going out, if there would be food there, and what I would do if I got hungry, is now researching food addiction in children. We’ve come full circle!
I thoroughly enjoy research, and the combination of research and the practice of psychology. In the long term future, I would like to work in both in a clinical and academic setting. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I was employed in child-care. I absolutely loved working with children, and eventually, I endeavour to work primarily with children and adolescents as a psychologist. Additionally, during the course of my postgraduate studies, I have worked as a Sessional Academic. I relish in the opportunity to teach the next generation of psychology students, and to share knowledge and wisdom with my students. The combination of these experiences has taught me that I belong in the classroom. It is a goal of mine to be an exemplar of the Scientist-Practitioner: to practice, teach, and research, and to continually improve my knowledge and skills in these domains.
|Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology| | Conferred April, 2021|
|Thesis: Factors that increase the risk of addictive-like eating in children|
|Supervisors: Dr Natalie Loxton, Dr Elliroma Gardiner & Dr Mandy Cassimitis
School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
|Bachelor of Psychology with Honours (IIA)| Conferred December, 2015|
|Thesis: An Investigation into the Influence of Fixed Feedback on Disinhibition|
|Supervisors: Dr Elliroma Gardiner & Dr Natalie Loxton|
School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
I have taught as an academic tutor across first and second year courses. I have consistently achieved ratings above 4.3/5. Student feedback regularly identifies that I am an engaging, enthusiastic tutor with a passion for teaching. I place great importance on the feedback I receive from my students, as the feedback is integrated into my reflective practice. Each semester, I aim to improve my performance as an academic, and strive to provide my students with the best possible teaching I am capable of.
I have worked as a sessional academic on a number of courses, including:
1008PSY Interpersonal Skills (Semester 1, 2016)
1002PSY Introductory to Individual & Social Psychology (Semester 2, 2016)
2016PSY Personality Psychology (Trimester 1, 2017)
1002PSY Introduction to Psychology II (Trimester 2, 2017)
2016PSY Personality Psychology (Trimester 1, 2018)
1002PSY Introduction to Psychology II (Trimester 2, 2018)
2016PSY Personality Psychology (Trimester 1, 2019)
Clinical Masters Internship
Through my experience throughout my clinical psychology training, I have developed a range of applied skills. I am adept at being able to use a range of interpersonal and micro-counselling skills to effectively build rapport and the therapeutic alliance with clients across the life-span and from different multi-cultural backgrounds.
I have worked clinically with a range of clients including children, adolescents, families/parents, and adults. Throughout my training, my child clients have consistently presented with behavioural issues accompanying diagnoses of ASD, ADHD and ODD. I have treated a variety of presentations including behavioural issues, depression, anxiety, emotional dysregulation, self-esteem, and with a range of other co-morbid problems. Though, my primary mode of treatment has been cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), I am willing and keen to learn new treatment modalities, particularly acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and schema therapy.
Group therapy facilitation:
Throughout my clinical psychology training, I have also facilitated many child therapy groups at the Griffith Psychology Clinic, namely Recognising Emotions and Establishing Friendships (REEF) and Regulating Overload and Rage (ROAR). A core component of these programs is to help children develop emotional regulation and provide strategies for these children to utilise when they feel themselves becoming dysregulated.
I have also facilitated three parenting workshops at Southport State High School as part of my clinical training. These workshops aimed to help parents understand the challenges their children face as adolescents. The three workshops addressed the following: 1) Developmental aspects of adolescence (cognitive, biological and emotional/ social); 2) How to connect with teens and 3) Talking to teens about risky behaviour.
In addition to these workshops, I am currently facilitating the ‘Lights Out’ program. The ‘Lights Out’ program is a parenting program designed to target sleep problems in children prior to beginning preschool. This program uses a cognitive behavioural approach to address issues with sleep routines in young children, specifically transitioning to sleep and staying asleep.
Clinical Masters Externship
I have also completed external placements as part of my clinical training. The first placement was at Robina Private Hospital’s Eating Disorder Day Unit. This is an intensive 8-week group therapy program that targets the mechanisms contributing to disordered eating (i.e., perfectionism, low self-esteem and self-worth, body image, anxiety, lack of emotional awareness and regulation etc). The facilitation of this therapy involves use of many different treatment modalities, including MANTRA, CBT, ACT, DBT, IPT and compassion-based therapy. Upon reflection of my placement experience, I have a newfound appreciation for the complex presentation of patients with eating disorders. I have also worked towards managing the delicate balance of managing group processes with articulating the content in a way that is respectful of the patients’ individualism. The learning experience I have gained from this placement in terms of different treatment modalities; knowledge of eating disorders and the variance in presentations of patients with similar diagnoses; and managing process issues has been invaluable.
The second placement I completed as part of my externship was at St Francis Xavier, Runaway Bay in a School Guidance Role. As part of this placement, I worked with children and families in a one-on-one sitting; facilitated group therapy across Prep to Grade 6 for anxiety, lack of resilience, confidence and self-esteem; and conducted cognitive and learning assessments using the WISC-V; UNIT-2; The Test of Word Reading Efficiency- Second Edition (TOWRE-2) and the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing- Second Edition (CTOPP-2). I gained a great wealth of experience regarding cognitive and learning assessments, and further polished my intervention and clinical skills.
Allied Health Psychologist at Robina Private Hospital
Following my externship experience at Robina Private Hospital, I have continued to work in the Eating Disorders Program as a Psychologist within the outpatient and inpatient eating disorders groups. Across these groups, I have drawn from a wide array of therapeutic orientations, including MANTRA, ACT, DBT, CBT-e and CFT. I am also seeking to engage in professional development workshops throughout 2020 for eating disorders in FBT and CBT-e so that I may be eligible for the new Better Access scheme for Eating Disorders under Medicare. I am also the lead practitioner on the soon to be implemented Binge Eating Day Program, a stepped-care outpatient program at Robina Private Hospital. If you are a patient, or an interested party wanting to know more information regarding the Eating Disorder Programs at Robina Private Hospital, please see: https://robinaprivate.com.au/specialties/mental-health-2/eating-disorders
Psychologist in Private Practice
Beginning in January, 2021 I will begin a Private Practice position at InMind 4 Health on the Gold Coast. I work primarily with eating disorder presentations, including Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, OSFED, ARFID and body image issues. I also work with children and adults who present with a variety of mental health concerns, include anxiety, depression, low self-worth, trauma and attach ment issues, Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. To found out about referral information, please contact the Clinic on (07) 5627 1382, or visit the website for more information: https://inmind4health.com.au/