“I have great colleagues, a challenging and stimulating environment and a supportive work culture.”
Kerrie is the Practice Specialist, Therapeutic Services at RANSW and, as a member of the Practice, Quality and Innovation leadership team, she is responsible for the clinical standards of individual and couple counselling and family therapy conducted in the organisation. She regularly meets with team leaders and supervisors to provide clinical supervision and to oversee standards of practice. She might observe counselling or supervision sessions, provide feedback and skills training. Kerrie contributes to the development of clinical policies including those related to the safety of clients in relation to domestic and family violence.
- Could you tell us a little about your background and career?
When I was about 14 one of my friends was seeing a social worker for therapy. Immediately I knew that I wanted to be a counsellor or therapist and decided that social work provided the best base for this career. After I left school I worked as a psychiatric nurse before I commenced a Bachelor of Social Work. This experience enabled me to work as a nursing assistant throughout the four years of the degree. During the degree, I had specialised in group work and upon graduation I became involved in encounter groups and psychodrama for personal growth and to develop my group work skills. I worked for a few years as a couple counsellor for Marriage Guidance Council NSW (now RANSW) and also as a social worker in a community health centre. After traveling, I enrolled in a Masters of Social Work at the University of Calgary, Canada during which I undertook a 6 month practicum at the Family Therapy Program where I learnt to provide counselling to couples and families. Upon returning to Sydney, I commenced work as a family therapist with the Marriage Guidance Council NSW (MGC). MGC was setting up a family therapy training program and I was involved in both developing and teaching this course. In 1986 I became the Clinical Director and was in this position until 2004 when I moved to teach social work counselling and group work at UNSW. While at RANSW, I had contributed to the development and teaching of the Masters of Couple and Family Therapy, a joint program between RANSW and UNSW. During my years teaching at the university, I became involved in the Centre for Refugee Research and worked with refugees in New Delhi, India. With colleagues and students, I provided counselling, trauma, domestic violence and sexual assault training to refugee leaders, refugee communities, UNHCR staff and implementing partners. The refugees we worked with were from Myanmar, Somalia and Afghanistan. During my career with RANSW and UNSW, I had a small private practice and it was to this I turned when I left university in 2015. In 2017 I returned to RANSW to temporarily fill the clinical practice lead role and two years later I am still at RANSW at the Practice Specialist Therapeutic Services.
- What do you enjoy about working at RANSW?
I have great colleagues, a challenging and stimulating environment and a supportive work culture. I really enjoy that we are striving for diversity within the group of practitioners employed by the organisation and the organisation’s commitment to providing quality services to a diverse range of clients. Finally, RANSW’s openness to feedback and that we are striving for continual improvement in everything we do.
- What gets you out of bed in the morning?
- What do you think RANSW is doing that is really important or cutting edge for the industry?
It is the only, or one of a few, agencies that specialises in assisting a diverse array of clients with their intimate relationships and it does this through the provision of a range of interventions.
- Why should other people want to work at RANSW?
For professional stimulation and development opportunities and to develop practice expertise in a variety of interventions including group work, mediation, counselling couples and families and trauma based interventions.
Also to develop skills in working with different population groups and practice areas e.g. post-separation couples and families; domestic violence including elder abuse; families with multi-generational challenges; families with adolescents; people who have experienced trauma in relation to institutional care, people from the LGBTIQ communities.