You have a lot of experience working with both adults and children, over 20 years, can you tell us a little bit about this experience and what brought you to Psychology?
In my late teens I experienced a number of significant losses. Whilst my friends were supportive, they didn’t really know what to say or do, as they couldn’t relate to my experiences. During this time I spent a lot of time talking with a teacher who I looked up to and whose support I found invaluable. Talking to this teacher didn’t change my circumstances, but it helped me understand and process my grief. Through this time I started to see the value in seeking support outside of friends and family. I learnt a lot about grief and I started to think perhaps I could be like the teacher I admired and help others also. I started studying Psychology, and then later wrote my thesis on how people understand and make meaning out of grief and loss experiences.
Over the last 20 years I have worked with a diverse range of clients in private practice, for not for profits, crisis services, community services, bushfire recovery, primary schools and employee assistance programs.
You are very passionate about working with new parents and helping with the stresses associated with birth and child rearing which can be so tough in our modern world, but you also focus and work with people struggling to conceive or who have gone through miscarriage. This can be a very isolating situation for people can you tell us about your work in this area?
I worked in two different locations that were co-located with Maternal and Child Health Nurse Centres (MCHN’s) and I often received referrals from them. Most of those referrals were for isolated Mums adjusting to parenthood, post-natal depression, anxiety and secondary infertility. Over time, I started to become known for my work with the local GP’s and started to receive referrals for clients who were struggling to conceive, undergoing fertility treatments and who had experienced miscarriage and/or birth trauma.
With all your experience in working with a wide range of people, can you tell us your top tips for wellbeing and mental and emotional health?
My top tips would be:
- Exercise – our bodies release endorphins when we exercise which is helpful in managing depression and anxiety.
- Don’t isolate yourself – we’re fundamentally social creatures and we need connection. Whilst it can helpful for introverts to spend time alone to recharge, if you notice you’re avoiding more and more social situations or dread dealing with others, have a think about talking to a Psychologist.
- Practice gratitude – it can be helpful to spend some time each day thinking of three things you’re grateful for in your life. It could be anything – that the sun is shining, the sound of rain on the roof, the absence of physical pain, anything that you are grateful for. Whilst it may sound like a minor thing, practicing gratitude has been shown to produce neurological changes and increase happiness.
- Access support – life can be hard, but you don’t need to struggle on your own. I think most people don’t hesitate to see a GP or other health professional when they notice changes in their bodies, and yet they hesitate when they notice changes in their thinking or mood. We need to start to treat our psychological and emotional health as important as our physical health, and seek further support when needed.
Fiona Dixon works on Thursday & Friday at Kundalini House
Fiona is a registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (PBA)/ Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
Call Insight Psychology Centre on: 0476 131 281
Or the clinic: 9482 4325