‘You will never stop learning’: Clinical Psychology student tackles the big issues head on


Master of Psychology (Clinical) student Phoebe Hocking has been working with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Burn service to implement measures to assess the level of psychological care families require when their child has sustained a burn. She aims to help hospital staff identify individuals who may be at risk of ongoing distress after burns so that adequate and timely support can be provided.

“This research is important to me as I am a huge advocate for early intervention and preventative programmes”, says Phoebe. “Throughout my training I have seen firsthand the impact that early traumatic experiences can have on an individual in later life. If we can identify those individuals who are more likely to develop difficulties early on, then we can put interventions in place that minimise or even prevent the risk of developing persistent psychological difficulties.”

Growing up in a rural environment exposed Phoebe to the need for her industry to be present in communities.

‘I grew up rurally, where the demand for psychosocial support was high but access to psychosocial services was relatively low”, says Phoebe.  “I think growing up and seeing people in my community struggle without appropriate support pushed me to consider a career that had a focus on helping people, and psychology seemed like a good way of doing that.”

Phoebe has almost completed her third clinical placement, with her highlight being the clients she’s been able to work with and the learning opportunities.

“I have had the opportunity to work with such a diverse range of people, whose hard work, motivation and courage continue to inspire me every day”, says Phoebe. “There are so many things that excite me about the industry, but one of the biggest is that you will never stop learning. Whether it be new research, your supervisors, your co-workers or your clients, every day you take away something new you can implement into your practice.”

Phoebe’s research and hard work are setting her up for success as she begins to transition from student life into the workforce.

“I am just about to start a role at the Department for Education, which has been a dream of mine”, says Phoebe. “I am super passionate about healthy child development and wellbeing, so being able to work in collaboration with parents, families, and educators to support children at school is something I am really excited about.”

Phoebe has also secured work next year and hopes to one day use the skills she will learn in that role in a rural community similar to where she grew up.

“Early next year, I will also begin work at a private psychology practice, where I will be able to work with both children and adults, so I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work across the lifespan”, says Phoebe.  “Long term, I would love to return to a community similar to where I grew up and work in rural and remote mental health.”

Learn more about Psychology at Flinders.

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