#22 – Clinical Neuropsychology in Mental Health Settings with Bedrija Parsons

Bedrija Parsons is a Clinical Neuropsychologist who currently works at the new Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, Western Australia. Bedrija's role is diverse and includes covering the Mental Health Assessment Unit, Mental Health Consultation Liaison, Youth Mental Health and the Mother and Baby Unit.

Bedrija completed her Master of Clinical Neuropsychology at Latrobe University, Melbourne Australia in 2012. She has since worked at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre's Acquired Brain Injury Unit, the Royal Melbourne Hospital including working with inpatients and outpatients, and at Eastern Health in a community based rehabilitation program.

Bedrija is an early career Clinical Neuropsychologist currently in her 4th year of working .  She discussed with me how the role of Clinical Neurospychology is still fairly new in mental health settings, and how much of her current role at Fiona Stanley Hospital has been about flying the flag for Neuropsychology and educating other practitioners about her role and purpose.

I was inspired by our conversation.

Bedrija's Best Self-care Tip

  • Pilates 3 times a week (“It's my reward for moving to Perth”!)
  • Walking dogs daily (“I have two lovely sausage dogs that keep me sane or insane – I walk them everyday!”)
  • Leave work on time and take your lunch break! Bedrija suggests finding a way to separate yourself from your job.  For example she leaves her work site everyday for lunch and never eats at her desk!  She reminds us that what you don't do today will be there tomorrow.
  • Take time to focus on yourself – Picnics and days at the beach are great!

Feedback

Leave me a comment or some feedback about this episode in the comments section.  I’ll respond to everyone!

 

Amy Felman

Amy Felman

Amy has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Deakin University and is a working psychologist. She also has a Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies) where she majored in radio. Amy is the host of the "We All Wear It Differently" podcast, where she hopes to entertain and inspire her fellow psychologists.
Amy Felman

7 Comments

  1. Validation on May 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Bedrija is truly a gift. My husband had a grade 5 brain tumour which thank goodness was successfully removed. We are now 11 years clear which is an amazing feat in and of itself. However…much like the patient Badrija was speaking of in the podcast, there was not a whole lot of psychological support. Certainly no mention that behavioural issues or depression were a possibility. I have battled on many fronts in order to help my husband who was quite seriously watching things unravel before his eyes. The psychologist he was seeing almost pushed him to the brink by suggesting he not share with family and friends because as a psychologist it was his role to sort it out and family could best help by making cups of tea and offering hugs, telling us that CBT is pointless and that medication won’t work.
    A change in GP made all the difference. Hubby is now on an SSRI which has really made a profound difference. He has changed his work situation to something much more organised and structured. He was also asked to take supplements and this too has had an enormous impact.
    These are just some of the reasons why I am now working to become qualified. Patients need an advocate and the people at Fiona Stanley are very blessed to have someone like Bedrija working there.

    • Amy Felman Amy Felman on May 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Thanks for your post. I have passed it on to Bedrija. It’s really interesting hearing your lived experience after interviewing Bedrija. I’m so glad your husband remains well and that all those years ago you ended up getting the support you needed. Great neuropsychologists are invaluable. How fantastic that you have decided to become qualified based on your own life experience. Good luck with it! And I hope you keep enjoying the podcast.
      Amy

    • Bedrija on May 16, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you so much for your post. It made my day!!

      It is true that sometimes the emotional/psychological effects are overlooked when the situation is basically life or death. I am glad that your husband found the support he needed along the way. I know it can be difficult to access or even know where to look for help. I’m glad that you have decided to become qualified and I’m sure your lived experience will give you a special insight into what others are going through. Good luck and all the best for the future.

      Bedrija

  2. Nicole on June 16, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I loved this podcast! Bedrija answered so many questions I had about neuropsychology. I am currently studying psychology and I am leaning towards doing a masters in neuropsych when the time comes. The work Bedrija did in the ABI ward is something I am very interested in doing also. I have heard though that there aren’t many job opportunities for neuropsychs and am curious if Bedrija had found this a challenge since completing her studies?

    • Amy Felman Amy Felman on June 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Hi Nicole,
      Bedrija was fabulous wasn’t she!! I will alert her to your post and wait for a response. If you have not done so already, the Episode with Edmund Tsang was also about Neuropsychology and great. Let’s wait to get a response from Bedrija, and I’ll see if Eddie can answer your question too. Where are you based?
      Glad you’re enjoying the podcast.
      Warmest,
      Amy

      • Nicole on June 17, 2016 at 9:10 am

        Hi Amy, thank you for your quick reply! Yes I listened to Eddie’s interview yesterday and really enjoyed it also! Both Eddie and Bedrija gave wonderful insights about the reality of working as a neuropsych. I think Eddie mentioned that positions in neuropsychology are pretty scarce, so I was wondering why that is and if it is a common experience for most people who have studied neuropsych?
        I have heard people say it would be more beneficial to do a masters in clinical psych because it is harder to find neuropsych positions and you have the potential to earn more etc. But I’m not really concerned about the money side of things, I would rather just be doing something that I have a passion for. It’s a bit disheartening though when you hear there aren’t many jobs around.
        I am based in Ballarat, Vic and will be finishing my degree at the end of next year. Look forward to hearing more! 🙂

    • Bedrija on July 20, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Dear Nicole,

      I apologise for my delayed response. Thank you so much for listening to my podcast. You’re right, it can be difficult to find a full time permanent position following your studies. However, this is not a unique issue for Neuropsychology. One of the biggest concerns at the moment is the ever shrinking health budget which often results in cuts and reduced opportunities to increase the number of staff. Most people do eventually find work, but often it is part time and maybe even fixed term. It can take some time to get a more permanent position.

      The best advice I can give is to look broadly for jobs. Doing a Masters in Neuropsychology gives you many skills, not necessarily just in cognitive assessment. The key is to get as much experience as you can working with people and in an area closely tied to Neuropsychology. This will assist you in getting the next job that comes up as you will have great experience to add to your CV. I also know many people who have gone on to create a role for themselves in various departments such as Disability and Employment Support.

      Don’t be disheartened if it takes a little while to get into the area that you think you might like to work in. The key is to get your foot in the door and slowly work your way towards your goal. However, as I have realised over the years, sometimes the right opportunity finds you.

      I wish you all the best of luck with the rest of your studies.

      Bedrija

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