I’m Bernadette McCarthy – Psychologist
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to learn more about me. All psychologists have their own personality and style of working that suits some clients better than others and research tells us that a good ‘fit’ can significantly improve your likelihood of success. I want to attract the types of clients that I am the best fit for but in order to do that I have to share a little about myself so that you can make an informed choice.
Am I qualified?
I have almost 20 years experience working with adults, families and children in various mental health settings. I completed six years of study which included a two year internship and formal supervision. My qualifications include BA (psych), Dip (psych), PGDip (psych). I am formally registered as a Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and I am an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society. I have also recently completed studies with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in order to improve my skills in nutrition and health coaching.
What do I believe?
A big part of who I am and how I work is tied up in the things I believe. For example, I believe that many of us are ill-equipped to deal with the current pace and expectations of our modern lives and are developing some mental health issues because of chronic stress. I believe that many of us are living the life we think we should rather than the life we are best suited to and this incongruence is causing life pain, anxiety and depression for some. I also believe that if you are in touch with your values, play to your strengths and listen to your gut then you will find the right path for you. Of course, I also acknowledge that adverse life events, faulty thinking styles and biology play a role in mental health.
Something else I believe is that we probably only have one life and we should use it wisely. We always seem to be waiting for the perfect constellation of factors (read, ‘when I’ve lost the weight, found the right partner, finished paying off the house….’) before we give ourselves permission to take control of our lives and our dreams.
I may not be your typical Psychologist!
I am a bit different to many of my colleagues because I believe that not all psychological problems have a psychological cause. I have a growing suspicion that some of the issues I see in my practice are actually caused by or aggravated by lifestyle factors such as sub-optimal eating habits, lack of exercise or poor stress management. I want my clients to have the very best chance of recovering from their distress or reaching their full potential so I try to work as holistically as possible within the areas of my expertise. This means that if you come to see me I will ask you about your physical health, your diet, whether you exercise and how you manage stress as well as asking about your mental health.
I haven’t come to this set of beliefs randomly. Much of it comes from my own life experience and observations of many clients over time. I have struggled with a number of health and mood issues which have improved dramatically with better nutrition and self-care in recent years. This got me thinking about how similar issues could be contributing to the psychological distress of some of my clients. Now, much research is coming to light on the powerful role that food plays in influencing our mood, the crucial role of the gut microbiome and the damage that processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars do to us. All of these factors and many more are now being shown to substantially influence our emotional and mental wellbeing.
With this new awareness comes responsibility and I now feel ethically bound to improve my knowledge of these additional, non-psychological lifestyle factors so that I can explore these avenues with my clients. This lead to my current studies and my evolving practice with clients to work more holistically.
Hopefully by passing on my learnings and expertise I can help make somebody else’s journey out of difficulty quicker and less painful. I believe that everybody has gifts they bring to the world and consider that this is the contribution I am meant to make in my time on this earth.