- First Class Wealth Insights - Rhonda Miller

Following on from last week's article about R.M. Psychological Solutions, we sat down with Rhonda Miller, psychologist at R.M. Psychological Solutions to give us an insight on her career journey.  

1. Run me through your career up until this point.
After completing my university studies I commenced work with the Government working in Acute and Chronic Adult Mental Health within the community.  Within this role I saw a range of clients dealing with multiple mental health issues, including but not limited to, depression and other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, phobias, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, bereavement and peri and post natal depression.  Within this role I developed and implemented individual and group treatment programs for a range of psychological disorders.

After working in the government sector for several years I moved over to the private sector and I started my own practice R. M. Psychological Solutions.  Within my private practice I expanded the areas of expertise to include Life Coaching, Acute and Chronic Pain Management, Acute and Chronic Illness and Conflict Resolution.  

In my private practice I receive referrals through a range of pathways including: 
General Practitioner
Law Firms – to provide assessment, treatment and reports
Work Cover – I am an Approved Provider
CTP and Motor Vehicle Accidents
Department of Veteran Affairs – DVA
Private clients

I work closely with other treating health professionals involved with clients, such as General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and other Allied Health Professionals i.e. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists to ensure my clients receive optimal care and treatment.

I participate in continuing Peer Supervision and ongoing professional development and education.

2. Why did you choose to be a psychologist?
I chose to be a psychologist, as I wanted to work within an area that specialized in assisting individual’s deal with a diverse range of issues on a daily basis to improve their overall functioning and lives.
3. Take me through a typical work day
A typical day would involve seeing multiple clients and providing a range of treatment: assessments, assisting clients to gain insight into their presenting issues, develop an understanding of their diagnosis, treatment options, assist clients with the development of therapeutic goals and provide ongoing reviews of treatment outcomes.  I utilize evidence-based treatments including but not limited to: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Brief Solution Focused Therapy and Mindfulness.

I work collaboratively with other treating health professionals, such as General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and other Allied Health Professionals i.e. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists to ensure my clients receive optimal care and meet their therapeutic goals within their treatment plans.  I am an Approved Work Cover Provider and I liaison with multiple insurance companies to provide treatment and return to work options for my clients.

4. What has been the most challenging part of your job?
For me the most challenging part of my job would be when a client is referred by the Court and Family and Community Services (FACs) for treatment. These clients are often resistant to engaging in the therapeutic process.  These clients often do not think that they need to be in treatment and engage in avoidance strategies to hinder their treatment and outcomes.  

5. What was your experience of your first ever session as a registered psychologist?
My first session as a psychologist I was nervous for the first 15 minutes but my client and I quickly developed a therapeutic relationship and my nerves settled down.  My client was a first time new mother who was dealing with postnatal depression and had no family support network.  My client had brought her six-week-old daughter to the initial assessment and we created a nurturing environment where my client felt comfortable talking about her issues and developing goals to work towards.  My client attended 10 sessions at that time and since then we have worked together as she extended her family with another 2 children.

6. For people who are thinking about studying psychology at university, are there any qualities they should possess to succeed in this industry?
To succeed in this industry a person would need to be able to have empathy for others, be able to communicate well and have the ability to direct a client towards success without being too forceful.  A person would also need to be logical and analytical to be able to provide individualized treatment to clients.

7. Is a Masters degree essential for a career in psychology?
A Masters degree is not essential for a career in psychology but if the individual wants to be a Clinical Psychologist then they would need to complete a Masters degree.

8. Do you manage a balance between your personal and work life?  If so, how?
A balance between work and personal life is essential to have. I have created a balance between the two by making time to engage in activities that are relaxing for me such as swimming, movies, coffee with friends, exercise.  I also engage in Peer Supervision which allows me to deidentify clients for debriefings.

9. Any advice for people who want to become psychologists?
Being a psychologist is a rewarding and challenging job but you need to make sure that you are able to develop and maintain the balance between work and personal life.  Also engage in Peer Supervision, as it is a way to debrief over clients and it provides an environment where you can obtain different ways to engage and treat challenging clients through discussing issues with your peers and colleagues.  I would also recommend the individual engages in ongoing professional development such as attending workshops, seminars, individual research and journals as this keeps a psychologist up to date with the latest treatments.

For more information about Rhonda and R.M. Psychological Solutions visit their website at rmpsych.com.au