“Getting to meet, spend time with and help grow, the most resilient, brave and all round awesome children and young people is what keeps me coming in to work each day,” Bianca, a child psychologist at Act for Kids said as she summed up why she loves her job.
1. What inspired you to become a psychologist?
I have always been interested in people and the psychology behind why we do what we do. During my university days, I completed a course in child psychology. From that moment, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I just loved the field so much and still do!
2. What are you most passionate about in your role?
I am incredibly passionate about working with foster carers. These compassionate individuals have one of the toughest jobs around. I help them make sense of what their child has gone through and how this impacts how their child functions in their world. I’m also passionate about education around what child abuse and neglect can look like, so that every child and young person we see at Act for Kids feels understood and accepted.
3. How does your profession help children?
Helping a child or young person process trauma and integrate it into a ‘life story’ is a very important part of a psychologists work at Act for Kids.
My role is to assist in identifying what makes a family’s life difficult and why. I am able to support families and children by conducting assessments and developing individualised intervention plans that target these difficulties. This process often helps families, children and young people feel understood, accepted and validated. It also helps families understand what is causing the issues and creates the ability for families to move forward.
I help children learn about feelings, social skills and emotional and sensory regulation. I also provide help with sleeping issues, behavioural control issues and cognitive issues, such as attention, executive functioning and learning difficulties. I educate caregivers and families on trauma, attachment, play skills and information specific to their child’s difficulties. I also educate children and young people on personal safety skills. For example, learning about the warning signs to feeling unsafe, differentiating between safe and unsafe secrets and understanding the difference between public and private parts.
4. What does your day involve as a psychologist working at Act for Kids?
It’s a real mixture because my role covers team leader duties along with providing therapeutic services. It changes from day to day. However, a typical day often involve seeing children, both in the office and in other locations, such as a school. Some of our families have financial and transport difficulties, so holding appointments at a school for example means that appointments can be consistent and in an environment where the child feels safe. I also talk with caregivers to get an update on how their child is progressing at home. I talk to them about different strategies and any useful information that will help support both the caregiver and their child.
I often collaborate with people who work with the same child or young person as I do in order to determine the best approach in supporting the child. My day also involves talking with referrers about the service, running supervision for staff, regular case discussions with the team and overall just making sure the services are running smoothly.
5. Why did you choose to work for Act for Kids?
Prior to working at Act for Kids, I had heard about Act for Kids’ excellent work culture. I did some research and found out about the inspirational work they do for such an amazing cause. As this was the space I had always wanted to work in, it really was a no-brainer for me! I kept my eyes out for jobs and when one came up I just had to apply and was lucky enough to be successful. Now I tell everybody about how great Act for Kids is to work for!