Attuned Psychologists out from behind closed doors – National Psychology Week reflections for 2013

Well National Psychology Week has finished for 2013, but what a great event at the North Adelaide Village Shopping Centre for Attuned Psychology this year. National Psychology Week is about educating the community regarding the role of psychologists and allowing people an opportunity to attend community events around the country designed to improve public awareness. This year we thought we would bring the team out into our local shopping centre, a hub of activity for all ages.

We enjoyed creating a stand to attract attention and provide resources to read and take home on a broad range of issues from managing stress, anxiety and depression to parenting. Our psychologists were all there to meet and enjoyed sharing the responsibility of being the face of Attuned Psychology as we caught the attention of the public.

The balloons and stress balls from the Australian Psychological Society  (APS) were a definite hit, particularly with kids and parents and provided the opportunity to start the conversation as people were curious as to what this was all about. People shared their stories, learnt what we offer people and took the opportunity to ask us any questions without having to enter our practice or make an appointment. We also took the opportunity to showcase a few You Tube videos addressing stress management and mindfulness including a video that was created for this event to illustrate mindfulness that you can see the link for below. The video was produced by Leonard Choice of My Best of Photography Publications and Mindful Images:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF9M78azK4Y[/youtube]

I have always believed that the stigma about mental health and the concern about admitting that we might need a psychologist is a barrier to accessing services. This exercise proved to me that we have a responsibility to break down these barriers, give back to the community at times like this and educate them about what we do and don’t do. There is still so much misunderstanding about how we work therapeutically, so National Psychology Week gives us a vehicle as a profession to reach out to the community in creative ways and bring our knowledge, expertise and care to them. It is great to get out from behind closed doors and address some of the mysterious aspects of what we do through events like this. We had a mixture of reactions from those people who were curious to those who had genuine and specific needs for information and to those who walked on by when we caught their eye and they read the signs.

What does that say to me? National Psychology Week is an important annual event for us to commit to as a profession as there is a long way to go in terms of improving education, addressing stigma, increasing accessibility to services and improving awareness. Beyond National Psychology Week we should be more sensitive to the barriers that make that initial contact hard for people and do our best in all of our interactions with our clients to make them comfortable, explain what we do and how we can benefit them. We also need to be sensitive to the privilege we have in offering our professional support to others at the most vulnerable times in their lives.

Today we had a phone call from a mother who was pleased to have found an avenue of support for her child as a result of our stand. I’m sure that the accessibility of the information and the psychologists to talk to made this process much easier for her.  We had a number of other people who were planning to share resources with loved ones and shared stories of stress, anxiety, grief, depression and family breakdown. It was a good feeling to be thanked for our presence and for taking the time to dedicate to reaching out to community members who may not have known we were just down the road.

Sometimes I think we forget how hard it is for people to find the right person for their needs and to make that important phone call to start the process. Hopefully we helped a number of people become more aware of one of their local psychology practices, and made it that little bit easier to reach out for help.

We look forward to planning another creative event next year for the community. Each year National Psychology Week has been a highlight in our practice as it has been a fulfilling way to give back to the community and reach a broader audience than we could ever do behind closed doors.

Attuned Psychology looks forward to continuing to provide innovative events educating people on topics of interest such as Mindfulness and ACT, relationships and family issues, parenting and performance psychology in National Psychology Week and beyond. We have a long way to go to educate our community about our profession and 10 years of National Psychology Week is just a start…..

If you are feeling in need of support from a psychologist or know someone who may, we have a range of psychologists with expertise in varying areas to address your needs professionally. To make an appointment and get started  contact us today…….

 

 

 

 

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