Once described by a client as “Formal, Professional, and Good Fun” Julia is not your normal run of the mill psychologist.
There are many reasons for this. Following secondary school Julia did not go straight to university to study psychology. In fact, she had never heard of such a subject, let alone such a profession. Back in her day where she grew up there were limited opportunities for female school leavers. For example, there was teaching, typing (Yes you read that right, there used to be a career path for typists.) and nursing. Julia chose nursing, but not the general kind. She had always had a curiosity for how people’s minds work. Sparked from a year 11 assignment where she had to ask 5 people 3 questions to which she knew the answer (or thought she knew) she was astounded to learn 15 different answers!
Another curiosity that captured her was how was it that a perfectly normal person who functioned well in life could have this all turned around and end up in a psych ward. This is what she was working with in the 1980s in her psychiatric nurse training (now called mental health nurse) at both Aradale Mental Hospital in Ararat Victoria and Larundel Psychiatric Hospital, Bundoora. Both hospitals have since closed down.
Believing that prevention is better than cure and wondering if she could help people better if she caught them earlier, she re trained in counselling and community development work at University (now RMIT) in a course called Welfare Studies. It was during that course that she discovered the subject matter, psychology. So, following completion of her Welfare Qualification in 1986 Julia enrolled in the psychology undergraduate course at Swinburne University, Hawthorne, with a double major of psychology and sociology. The welfare qualification enabled her to work as a counsellor where she gained real life counselling experience whilst learning the academic work alongside it. Her post graduate study was in Behavioural Studies in Health Care Psychology at La Trobe University Bundoora Vic. Her published thesis was “Psychological Variables Associated with Spinal Disability.” Julia has been working as a psychologist since 1995 by which time she was well in her 30s.
Following the formal qualifications required to be a registered psychologist Julia has undertaken further studies in psychotherapy, trauma and couples’ therapy at the Cairnmillar Institute, Camberwell; relationships counselling at Relationships Australia; Hypnosis with many organisations; EMDR and Neuro Feedback.
So why is Julia not your normal run of the mill psychologist? Probably because she didn’t take a direct path to university and by the time she finished her qualification she had already had a lot of life experience. Additionally, Julia has been working with all sorts of people since 1980 (almost 40 years). There is not much that will phase her, or that she hasn’t heard. And as she learned in year 11, not everyone thinks the same way, so she has learned a number of different therapies for helping people. She still believes prevention is better than cure or at least early intervention is key. She is a big fan of breaking down the barriers and seeing a psychologist sooner rather than later. After all, there is nothing to fear – it’s just another, maybe different, set of skills.