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Snapshot: Karen Tepper

Consultant Psychologist, Macquarie Psychology, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Snapshot: Karen Tepper - NewsI am a Psychologist, working in private practice at Macquarie Psychology in Hobart, Tasmania. Macquarie Psychology specializes in the practice of MiCBT and is associated with the MiCBT Institute. I have not always lived in Hobart. My husband and I decided we wanted to make the move here after living in warmer climates for the past ten years or so. We decided this was the time for a “tree change”. Before moving here I was in Townsville completing the final practicum for my Masters in Clinical Psychology. Although only my husband had secured a job when we moved to Hobart, the leap of faith has paid off. I wanted to work in private practice and I wanted to specialize as a MiCBT practitioner.

I began my professional life as an intern Psychologist working for Centrelink in Darwin. This was an interesting and challenging job working with clients who had complex needs. A few years later, I transferred to the Sunshine Coast, where the job at Centrelink just wasn’t the same. The demographic was completely different and not so challenging. Consequently, I resigned and went on to work for various departments within Queensland Health, including Adult Mental Health and Child & Youth Forensic Mental Health. Over the years I had been using an “eclectic” approach to therapy that had mainly consisted of the “Sparkly Eye” technique! However at this time, my practice was not informed by the Mindfulness approach.

While on the Sunshine Coast, a colleague suggested we attend a 4-day workshop on Mindfulness integrated CBT, facilitated by Dr Bruno Cayoun. At the time I had not heard of Bruno but agreed to go with my colleague because of my interest in Mindfulness. I had meditated occasionally before attending this workshop. I learned a framework of psychological practice that made sense and the therapist in me was immediately intrigued. I learned to pay attention to my breath, and return to the present moment whenever I got caught up in my thoughts. At first, when I arose, I felt as anxious as I had before, but something else had shifted. I had stopped struggling with the anxiety and started accepting my feelings as my condition at that moment in time. Moreover, the mindfulness felt helpful to me in a larger sense, even though it did not remove my anxiety that day. I began seriously studying MiCBT and the knowledge base that had been built up over 2500 years by Buddhist practitioners watching their own mind experiences.

I have tried to go where my energy is. If something has been of interest to me, I have explored it. I also like this quote from the movie, “Men Who Stare at Goats”, “Bob, have you ever heard of optimum trajectory? Your life is like a river and if you are aiming for a goal that is not your destiny, you will always be swimming against the current. Young guy who wants to be a stock car driver — it’s not going to happen. Little Anne Frank wants to be a high school teacher — tough titty Anne, it’s not your destiny. But you will go on to move the hearts and minds of millions. Find out what your destiny is and the river will carry you”.

In accord with my need for authenticity and presence, my goal has been to work within a theoretical framework that resonates with my beliefs and values. My experience working with clients using MiCBT has been positive and extremely rewarding. Clients, who engage with the model and commit to practice, demonstrate quantifiable evidence that the model has been fundamental in symptom reduction and behaviour change. Inherent in this process is what I bring to the therapeutic relationship as a therapist. I continue to train in MiCBT, which involves a commitment to Mindfulness practice.

As well as working full-time in private practice I am also completing the final component of a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. I am currently completing a thesis which aims to investigate emotion regulation and how this contribute to the difficulty individuals have in being able to maintain healthy lifestyle behaviours. I am in the process of collecting data for this research. Subsequently, I would welcome participation from anyone interested. This would involve volunteering 25-35 minutes of your time to complete questionnaires.

I accept referrals of clients and I can be contacted at Macquarie Psychology Monday to Thursday or by email: karen.tepper@macquariepsychology.net.au

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