The trip so far…

Acknowledgement of Country
I acknowledge the Darug people as the Traditional Owners of the land upon which this learning journal is informed and written. I recognise that I live on stolen land. I embrace the learning opportunities that I've had the good fortune to be given in the years leading up to today and into the future by the Elders and friends from the Booroberongal People, whose relationship with Mother Country, water, sky, and the Animals and Plants of this Country endures.

So, today, as a student of Psychological Science who is quite near graduating, I resume my university learning. The coffee’s hot, I’m on NO sleep, my husband – my sweet, delightful, delicious, debugging, de-lovely husband – is in his bedroom office working away at his job as a software engineer, and the dogs are piled like saggy cushions on their putrid “dog couch”, being useless, as usual.

It would appear that I have won life-lotto.

It didn’t come easily, and the gamble was undertaken almost entirely by my husband, who beat my ex-husband with his own ridiculous lawsuit (tra-lol! Suck eggs!), fought to be allowed to enter Australia during an almost total international lockdown for everyone (except Chris Hemsworth), funded his own migration to Australia after living an American life as a mature age student of engineering for six years (that is, with hardly a dime to his name he worked his arse off to save enough to come to Australia for a new-life-new-wife-new-strife sort of deal), to finally sweep into my driveway with his little bags and marry me.

Anyway, aside from the obvious shock that I married again and that it was a man (and pretty much the loveliest one in the galaxy), I’ve suddenly found myself in this situation where all the roadblocks I had previously encountered in life have been swept aside. I’m free of Centrelink. I’m free of misogyny and abuse in my home. I am over forty, and suddenly learned the word, “no”. And I have learned not to let PTSD run me ragged; my biggest, most perpetually-present danger lies like a ditch running alongside my days. It is the compulsion to help others so busily and so frantically that I have no time or resources left for myself. My O.D. of choice is always burnout. In 2018, it nearly killed me. Yet, I remain prone to it. Living with someone who cares if you’re healthy and happy is such a protective factor in that area. Somebody notices that you’re letting people enslave you to their relentless Facebook messages and phone calls and neurotypical need for many coffee dates and objectiveless meetings. They notice that you’re sick because of it. They love you enough to tell you. If they love you most, they’ll prompt you to ask yourself why you’re always doing things that make you sick.

I am free to make goals again. Not just goals like, “Find a safe place to live”, or “find enough food for my children this week with only $4 to spare after rent and bills”… they are esteem and self-actualisation goals. Before 2022, I really only lived my life blundering around on the two bottom stripes of Maslow’s Pyramid.


By the way, if you’re new to the hierachy of needs and have often wondered why so many in your community don’t progress through life the way you have, have a look at the video I linked to in the previous paragraph. Anyone working with children and families in particular must understand why it is wrong to use terms like “dole bludger” and they must begin to start thinking more in terms of risk factors or protective factors. Trauma-informed practice is a big learning curve which should immediately follow.

There’s so much more to my story but you shall have to wait for my book. I continue to work on that book, in a way that I don’t enforce any sort of time pressure on. I work on it when I feel I’m able to, and it may take another five years to actually finish it, because I am waiting for a little bit of hindsight perspective to come, now that my domestic violence and religious trauma has largely completed its sequence. Some part of me also feels that the story of a domestic violence survivor is probably best authored under a name that precedes a string of those silly little letters. I remain determined to obtain those letters; not the easy way, but the hard way. The slow way. The way that makes you a better therapist, rather than a speedily-qualified therapist that was good at exams but still can’t talk to families or deliver a real-world service to the community.

My reading and self-directed experiential learning, since 2012, has sought to accumulate “slow” knowledge and harmonious skill in the area of autism. The diagnostic skills are covered via university learning, but the knowledge for what is best said and unsaid is founded in experience. The knowledge of how to have a two-way conversation with someone who does not use their voice the same way as a neurotypical client is something that you have to work on over decades; not for “credits” or “recognition of prior learning” or even for some sort of “good for the resume” boxticking exercise… but because you want to be someone who can cut the crap and deliver for families who have gone begging from door to door for years and been let down, only to be faced with a long waiting list to get into your clinic. We’ve got to be the best doctors we can be.

Fuck the Lexus. Build a sensory room for your clients. Take a year off and write a book that actually uses real terms that families can understand and put into practice the following day. That takes time. It takes unpaid time. It takes collaboration with families, researchers, clinicians and community based workers. Above all, it takes patience.

If you get something out of reading my learning journal, that pleases me. However, this online journal’s primary purpose is for enriching my learning, making informal records of references and pop culture and conversations, and more formal critiques of the readings and viewings and research I’ve been prescribed at Edith Cowan University. For someone so determined to graduate at a high level far beyond undergrad, I sure don’t know what I’m doing. For an academic, I make a pretty good dishpig. As a dishpig, I’m good at motivating, comforting and listening. One day, I’ll remember that I was once a professional musician, and bring my quals and experience of musicanship to my clients as a Registered Psychologist and play-obsessed helper who supports families. I want to support those families affordably and with the sort of care they’re really after.

Follow along. Or don’t. Whatever.

Also, I swear. Deal with it, Stacey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



%d bloggers like this: