I recently reflected on my experience of working in Australia as a psychologist. We have now been here 3 years and worked for about 2 years and a half (it took around 6 months for me to register as a provisional psychologist and designed this website and wrote this blog in the meantime). A few developments about work opportunities made me think about a few things I wish I had known.
I went to the APS Congress in Sydney and met a number of psychologists there. I remember thinking I could not really afford the conference the first year I was here, but now I really wish I had known how important these professional connections are. Working as a psychologist can be very isolating particularly if there is a team around, or when one is part of a multi-disciplinary team, or one is on the road for home or school visits. Connecting with other like minded psychologists is so important for professional practice as well as self-care. As someone new in the area, I found it difficult to know where things were, how to connect and where to find information. Many commitments meant that ‘Finding my Tribe’ was not so on the cards initially. I have realised recently how important that is as significant feelings of loneliness crept in. Some people were particularly amicable in inviting me to be part of a group. The gesture was so natural and easy done with a significant impact on my wellbeing as a professional. A sense of belonging is found to be important in terms of wellbeing, participation and engagement. I certainly felt this important feeling and hope to grow these connections further.
I thought I would write a few top tips here in terms of finding connections as these could be highly beneficial in settling in Australia as a newcomer and psychologist.
- Connect with psychologists locally. Ask about local groups. Visit other psychologists in their clinic or ask to meet them.
- Join a Networking Group either on social media or in person. Help create a peer support group.
- Join a professional body and attend specific events and conferences. Connect with people sharing a similar interest as you.
- Ensure you communicate your needs with others and be firm about how it is important to you to be able to connect with others.
- Take time to reach out, find out what other psychologist do. This can be done through messages on social media initially. We never know how a few connection can evolve in other opportunities.
- Take time to find a supervisor who will be able to introduce you or help you connect with others locally.