Psychology for living
Penny is a Clinical and Educational & Developmental Psychologist (endorsed with
AHPRA – the registration body) with over 30 years’ experience, initially in schools
as a teacher and then Guidance Officer (teacher-psychologist) followed by independent
practice with adults, adolescents and parents. She completed her PhD in family trauma,
Parenting subsequent to stillbirth, recognition of her contribution to the profession
in this area leading to her being made a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society.
Undertaking Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training she was part of a group (Australian
Institute of Rational Emotive Therapy) that developed the profile of this approach in
Australia, training many psychologists and counselors from the1990s into the 2000s.
Through her clinical experience she recognized that the view of Self was the core of our
cognitive-emotional experience with its role in driving behavior. While we all know and
endorse the universal truth that all people are equal this is frequently not integrated in
our way of living. She noticed that the common focus on viewing the self as ‘how we feel
about ourselves’ resulted in the drive to seek constant approval and validation to promote
feeling good as ‘evidence’ of our worth and that when this failed the outcome was
typically depression – this striving and its failure reflecting the core of
all emotional and behavioral problems.
As a result, Penny has developed a dynamic model she has regularly presented
at academic and professional forums, which demonstrates the outcomes of these
two ways of seeing ourselves – contrasting the experience of i, what we know is true
about ourselves, with the experience of our minds, what we feel to be true,
providing an explanation for the evolutionary and developmental context of our
human-only awareness of ‘self’. This Self model was similarly described by
Dr Karen Horney in 1950 and is further confirmed by the wisdom of the ages reflected
in the core understandings of spirituality from both Eastern and Western traditions.
Over the last 15 years Penny has been developing focused treatment consistent
with her understanding of human behavior drawing relevant techniques from many
approaches to enable clients to shift towards living more consciously through their
valid Self with greater experience of freedom and happiness – moving away from
being trapped in the automatic emotional experiences created from the
stories their minds make up about themselves.