2019: A year to concentrate on the bigger picture

New Year is a time for reflection for me. Instead of partying on New Year’s eve like so many million other people, I prefer to spend the time in quiet reflection of the year just past, in the context of my life as a whole, and put a bit of thought into planning the year ahead. And I cuddle up with the cats under a blanket, hiding from the party crowds and snap-crackle-pop sounds of gunpowder in the night sky.

Since moving my practice to Melbourne in early 2018, I’ve had the opportunity to engage in some bigger picture work as well, through my work at Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, where I translate trauma research findings into policy, best practice guidelines, and training program design. Some of the highlights of 2018 where I contributed to some bigger picture solutions included:

  • Guidelines and a suite of resources to support responses to occupational violence and aggression in the healthcare services
  • A resilience training program for children and teenagers from Defence families
  • A post-disaster trauma recovery program for children and teenagers
  • A review of Queensland’s worker compensation scheme for psychological injury in emergency service workers
  • Development of a suite of group programs for veteran mental health
  • Development of  a resilience training program for the child protection workforce

And some of the exciting projects I’ll be contributing to over the year ahead included:

  • Development of a mental health framework for the NDIA workforce
  • A resilience training program for court service workers in the children’s court
  • Development of an outcome measure for moral injury
  • An online training program for responses to traumatic incidents in the rail industry
  • A  Delphi Review to develop international guidelines for best practice in the compensation sector following mass-scale traumatic events

I’ve also been fortunate to work on some other exciting research projects, one of which is likely to dominate 2019, as it takes me in search of a circuit-breaker for one of society’s more complex mental health and behavioural predicaments: family violence.

As it’s destined to be a year of hard yards and emotional investment, I’ve decided to take a hiatus from private practice so that I can put 100% into what I do. I realise that I can’t offer the best of me to my clients if my mind is elsewhere, and I can’t fully invest my mental energy in my research if I’m doing the right thing by my clients. So I’ve wound down my practice, and won’t be seeing any new clients in 2019. I can, however, respond to email requests for information and referral to alternative support services, and am always happy to point people in a direction that will help them get on the right track. I’ve still got your back.

So, I promise to keep you posted about where I’m up to with my work, and how the pieces of the larger puzzle are coming together. Wish me luck in making the difference I so want to make!

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