Growing up in Canberra, Monika was surrounded by family who worked in the industry, which gave her a clear idea of what she wanted her career to look like. 

“I have been steeped in it since I was a kid. Dinner conversation was always interesting,” said Monika.  

Monika made sure to take her time with her study, knowing there was no rush on her pathway into the psychology field. After relocating to Melbourne for her undergraduate studies at the age of 18, she discovered a newfound love for the outdoors and rock climbing. With patience and dedication, Monika graduated with her Master of Clinical Psychology in 2022, embarking on her first year of professional practice, marking the culmination of an eight-year journey. 

Monika sees the field of mental health as a unique blend of her analytical, scientific side, and her more empathetic, creative and down-to-earth self. In the realm of psychology, she found a canvas where she could blend these two dimensions, allowing her to connect with clients on a deeper level. 

Monika sees her role as creating a safe and nurturing space where individuals can find solace and healing. “This profession allows you to be a real human being in your job. That is the work in mental health.” 

What sets Think Mental Health apart, in Monika’s eyes, is the sense of community and family. She acknowledges that psychology can be isolating at times, but Think Mental Health emphasises the importance of being part of a cohesive team. The team’s shared commitment to learning, breakfast outings, and unwavering support has created an environment where Monika feels connected to her colleagues. 

One of Monika’s favourite techniques is from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT ) – defusion. This method can involve visualising your feelings as a character, even naming them. For example, you may name a feeling of anxiety, “Nancy”, in order to further understand her and what she wants for you. She recalls a heartwarming story of a 13-year-old girl who adopted a similar technique to deal with her worry monster. This approach not only made a difference in the girl’s life but became used within the family as a shared way to discuss their feelings. 

“You have to really have to love what you’re doing, and it has to be able to fill you up at the end of the day.” 

Monika is just one of the people you may encounter at Think Mental Health and Canberra Head to Health. To make an appointment with one of our psychologists, give us a call.


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