Hello! Could you introduce yourself and what motivated you to join the MINDS Psychology team?
Hello! My name is Jesselyn. MINDS offers me the opportunity to be a psychologist for our clients who face real constraints in flourishing as individuals.
Prior to working in MINDS, I worked with families that could afford one-on-one therapy sessions for their children. In that setting, with an abundance of resources, the children could make much progress. However, I often wondered if they would be able to continue to thrive in the “real world” where resources are rarely unlimited. Working in MINDS offers me this grounded perspective of our friends with intellectual disability.
My job as a psychologist challenges me to push the envelope, to find ways to enable our clients to go back on the path of thriving when they seem stuck.
As a Psychologist in MINDS, have you encountered any challenges and how have you addressed them?
The main role of a psychologist in MINDS is to address behaviours of concern that our clients face, and this includes sleeping issues, disruptive behaviours, aggression, and mental health issues, to name a few. Every individual and family is different. Hence, every case has to be managed differently. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, which is what makes this job both challenging and exciting. Most importantly, all relevant parties must work as a team. Though I may be the one recommending interventions as a psychologist, it would prove pointless if these interventions cannot be practically carried out by the family or Training Officers. All interventions and decisions need to be carefully discussed with the relevant parties, including other Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), to ensure that our efforts bear fruit. In essence, I would say that teamwork is indispensable in the work that we do in MINDS!
Having attended a training programme on Mindfulness-Based Positive Behaviour Support (MBPBS), how would you describe your learning journey and the relevance of MBPBS?
Mindfulness-Based Positive Behaviour Support is an approach where Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is undergirded by one’s personal practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us to manage our stress better and enable us to respond rather than react in a high-stress situation, which is a scenario often faced by direct care staff in MINDS.
How has the training helped you in your work?
An element of mindfulness that I have found very helpful is the concept of the ‘beginner’s mind’. A beginner’s mind is essentially to approach a person/situation by seeing them with fresh eyes, putting aside all historical information and preconceived judgments of the person. I find this practice very useful as a psychologist. When cases are referred to us, we often receive a trove of information about the person and their behaviours of concern. The load of information that is passed on to us includes both objective and subjective information, and if I am not mindful of the way that I take them in, I may inadvertently adopt other people’s perspectives and judgments of the individual, which may blind me to the client’s other qualities that could be important for me to see. When I began to apply the concept of ‘beginner’s mind’ at work, I was able to listen and empathise better with staff, clients, and caregivers.
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