Clinical Psychologist Dr Kirsten Hunter jumped at the chance to participate in #loveyourcareer week. This is what she had to say about her profession…
I regularly share that I believe I have the best job in the world. People ask me, as a Clinical Psychologist, ‘how do I manage it, how do I spend my time listening and talking about the darker side of life’s struggles? When a builder walks into a fixer upper, they can see its potential, the beauty that can be reached with mindful and skilled dedication. So too with Psychology. I get excited when I can see how people’s lives can launch forward in health. What can be more meaningful than helping people heal and watching them become more grounded in confidence and richer in their relationships and a sense of purpose.
Tell us about clients who have turned their lives around.
I could literally think of hundreds of examples of scenarios where people are able to turn their difficult times around. Perhaps it is the couple who are lost at sea. They do not have understanding of one another. They are in their corners with their walls up, they are continually causing more harm to each other. This negative spiral can be turned around when they can learn to listen and study each other. When they can learn to take pride in understanding each other and communicating this understanding (paraphrasing). When they both feel heard and they have a shared understanding then they can experience the amazing rewards from creatively finding win:win outcomes.
Another example may be through the use of EMDR with trauma. A client may have had an acute traumatic incident happen to them, a medical crisis, and car accident, a sexual assault. EMDR is a fascinating specialised treatment where the person can release the hold their trauma has over them and create distancing from their hot emotions and their PTSD symptomatology. They can experience healing that they had never dreamt of.
Perhaps my favourite example of people experiencing a turnaround is when they come into session and develop a genuine understanding of their hot issues, there dysfunctional emotional and thinking patterns. They never knew that they were dragging around this anchor and they are able to choose to release themselves from old dysfunctional habits. Liberation from the inside.
How can quality of life improve for a client?
Clients can learn to have compassion for themselves through having genuine self-understanding. They can learn to work with themselves rather than just being down on themselves. Clients can learn to have self-love and confidence, they become their own caring friend rather than their own bully. Clients can learn to love and be loved, perhaps our ultimate human calling. Clients can learn the personalised formulas that makes them thrive. They can learn to have passion and purpose in their moment to moment functioning. It is often as if client come from being on automatic pilot and living on the mouse wheel, to becoming alive to what matters. True improvement in quality of life.
Tell us about wow people define what happiness is for them and then find it within themselves.
All of us want to be happy. Research has found that what people most want in their lives is personal happiness, it tops the list every time. Most of our major decisions we make, from our relationships, to our jobs, and other big life choices are made in the hopes of increasing our happiness. By increasing our happiness in a meaningful way, we can in fact benefit our health, our relationships, our job performance, and our emotional well-being in dramatic and life-altering ways. Furthermore, research shows that happy people live longer, have better marriages, are more creative, and are more altruistic than those who are less happy. In short, happiness doesn’t just feel good; it is good for us.
What is happiness? Most people would define it as a positive mood state, but it really is a sense of contentment, inner calm and peace, and a sense of purpose. Most importantly, I would argue that it is a safe and meaningful connection with others. And with all this comes joy. After all, mental health is playfulness in the moment. What better definition is there for happiness!
Dr Kirsten Hunter
The Toowoomba Specialist Centre
Suite 5 / 9 Scott St
Ph: +61 7 4637 9991
Dr Kirsten Hunter is a Clinical Psychologist with 20 years of experience. Through her Private Practice she works with children, adolescence and adults across the breadth of clinical areas. Website: kirstenhunter.com
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