I was working with children with developmental delays and their families and was affected by the resilience of parents in adapting to their child’s problems and their strength in seeking support and advocating for their children. I became very interested in how to assist parents to manage their children’s behaviour and assisting them to promote their child’s learning. This led me to return to university to complete my post-graduate training in psychology.
A good clinical researcher understands the importance of the scientist-practitioner model. That is, good research is built both from the existing research and clinical wisdom. Clinical research should be (wherever possible) embedded in the systems in which the clinical work will occur, should involve consultation and collaboration with the proposed consumers of the outcomes from the research (e.g., clients and practitioners who will use the research outcomes in practice) and should include a dissemination plan for the future.
I am interested in research relating to supporting parents who are parenting in vulnerable or complex circumstances. In particular, I am interested in the impact of life-threatening illness in children (e.g., cancer, cardiac disease) on parent wellbeing and parenting practices and investigating the role of parenting interventions in improving health outcomes for seriously ill children.
I also have an interest in parenting during the adolescent years. In particular, I am interested in the role of parents in preventing adolescent mental health and anti-social behaviours.
I am currently involved in research looking at parenting in the context of childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses (e.g., cardiac disease, traumatic brain injuries) and the role of parenting interventions in child and adolescent mental health settings.
A further area of interest is the role of psychological flexibility in parents on their own and their adolescents’ behaviour and wellbeing.
I have authored or co-authored three parenting interventions, and a manual for alcohol and other drug workers: