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Meet The Psychologists: Janet O’Donnell

Janet O'Donnell

When did you start at NBP?

I started at NBP in February 2020…about 3 weeks before COVID hit big-time, which made it challenging, but being part of a really supportive team helped immensely. I have spent a lot of my career in private practice before, so getting back into private practice was really exciting. In the end, working with the new restrictions wasn’t that bad.

What is something interesting about you?

Wow…that question is really hard! What I think is interesting about myself may not be for others but here goes: I can have a conversation with anybody. I have been told, and I agree, that I always look beneath a person’s exterior, irrespective of race, profession, social standing, clothing, education or gender. 

Why did you get into Psychology in the first place?

I was working as an Emergency Nurse in the Emergency Department of Royal Darwin Hospital in the early ’90s. The health precinct at that time consisted of a Psychiatric Unit that was attached to the ED. So a lot of mental health patients would present to Triage seeking help. I spent two years treating and seeing a lot of trauma while working as a nurse in Darwin, and eventually I became burnt-out. Therefore, when I left and came to Brisbane I had to focus on a new career. I knew I had a passion still to help people, so I gravitated to mental health and psychology. The rest is history.

What would you have done if you didn’t become a Psychologist?

I have already had a successful career in Nursing. If life opportunities had been different, I would have had a career working with animals. I have had the privilege to own a hobby farm in the past, and I still take great pleasure in being around animals. 

What do like best about your job?

The main thing I love about my job is that I get the privilege to be welcomed into strangers’ lives every day. It is the most wonderful feeling when another human being is allowing you to be part of their life. Then to be able to assist them to work toward a happy and fulfilling life is awesome.

Which are your favourite therapies to draw from and why?

After practicing for 20 years, I find that I tend to pull from different therapies that I believe best suit the client’s needs. Some of my favourites  that tend to overlap are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). 

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

A typical day would be to spend my mornings with mindfulness, gratitude and a cup of tea. I like to come to my practice with a clear and open mind, curious to speak and listen to my clients. Other than face-to-face, there is a lot of paperwork that we need to do as psychologists. This is probably less enjoyable for me, but I get it done!

What activities do you enjoy outside work?

Activities I enjoy outside of work are the self –focused ones. I try to only do activities that give me joy and pleasure. That includes lying on a couch curled up with my dog and a good book or watching 1950’s Film Noir movies with a glass of wine. Laughing out loud every day is a must, whether laughing at myself, or with family and friends. Not taking myself too seriously keeps me grounded. 

Janet sees clients at our Aspley clinic. Book in to see Janet today.

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