Spotlight Interview with Team Member: Claudia Farnsworth, Psychologist and Clinical Psychology Registrar

How did you know you wanted to become a psychologist?

From as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a psychologist. I remember from a young age, I was always very interested in people and what makes them behave in certain ways. I also love helping people, so this job is perfect for me! My aunty is a psychologist, so I used to talk to her about what it was like. 

What inspired you to work with young people?

I’ve always believed that if we can intervene early in life, this will set us up with the right tools to cope with all the challenges and difficulties that life throws at us. Young people are such a delight to work with, we can be playful and creative when working together. I can also easily empathise with the difficulties that they experience, and love helping them develop skills to cope.

What is your typical therapy mode and why do you find it to be so helpful?

I primarily use cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) with an integration of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills. Depending on the age of the young person, I also believe that incorporating the parents or carers into the session by helping them to develop skills to manage can be very powerful. They are the experts in their children’s lives!

We all feel stressed sometimes, including psychologists! What helps you to manage your own stress?

I always try to get out most mornings into the fresh air before work. Exercise helps clear my head and sets me up well for the day. I also make sure I socialise during the week with friends or colleagues. If I have had a particularly stressful week, I make sure I schedule in some solo time on the weekend to rest and recover. Who doesn’t love a nap and some Netflix?!

If you could have given your teenage self any advice – what would you have said?

I remember finding the teenage years quite challenging! The social, family and academic pressures are very real. I would tell my teenage self that it is normal to not have complete self-confidence in yourself and your abilities. Self-confidence comes with experiences, challenges and change.

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