#137 Michelle Reid – Learning from Cultural Transition   

Follow a fascinating story of cultural transition as well as deeper insight into the world of clinical and neuro psychology with Michelle Reid.

Michelle grew up in Papua New Guinea with only black boys as friends, learning how to fight to make her way in the world, until she was shipped off to an all-girls white boarding high school in Queensland, which made for an abrupt transition.

Wanting to make further sense of the world, Michelle studied behavioural science at university which has led her where she is now being both a clinical and neuro psychologist.

She talks about how focusing on attachment styles and thinking patterns is central to her approach and how treatment follows 3 levels – developing coping skills, going into a trauma and future templating.

It is super rare to meet someone with such a unique background and listen to how that transition became the basis of her vocation today.

 

Read Full Transcript

Bryn 

follow a fascinating story of cultural transition, as well as deeper insights into the world of clinical and neuro psychology with Michelle Reid. Michelle grew up in Papua New Guinea, with only black boys, his friends, learning how to fight to make her way in the world. That was until she was shipped off to an all girls white boarding High School in Queensland, which made for an abrupt transition, which is fascinating to hear about. Wanting to make further sense of the world. Michelle studied behavioural science at university, which has led her to where she is now. Being both a clinical and neuro psychologist. She talks about how focusing on attachment styles and thinking patterns is central to her approach and how treatment follows three levels, developing coping skills going into the trauma, and then future templating. It’s super rare to meet someone with such a unique background and listen to How that transition became the basis of vocation today. So enjoy, Michelle.

 

Bryn 

Hello, and welcome back to WA Real. I’m your host, Bryn Edwards. Today, my guest is Michelle Reid. Michelle, welcome to the show.

 

Michelle Reid 

Thanks.

 

Bryn 

And thanks very much for coming and making time to be with us today. One of the questions I like to open up with the start is how people came to be in Western Australia. Okay, which, huh? No, no, normally, this is a small part of the podcast. Today is gonna be a larger part, isn’t it?

 

Michelle Reid 

Well, if I start from the beginning, yeah, but if you want to just the part that got me over here, but smaller,

 

Bryn 

let’s start with the beginning. Okay.

 

Michelle Reid 

Okay. Oh, well, I was born and raised in Papua New Guinea. I grew up there. I didn’t do primary school because there were no schools. So my mum taught me at home I guess, the first five years so I was in town, so got sent to a kindy and lots of kids, you know, black, white, brown, brindle, yellow, red. The whole lot. Yeah. Yeah. But the people around me were mainly boys. So I had a few friends or only only boys cuz that was my age group. Yes, so I played with them. Somewhere along the line, my father decided that I needed to know how to fight. So that I would have friends. And certainly that was a big large part just for fun, really, you know? So how

 

Bryn 

did fighting equal friends

 

Michelle Reid 

People just used to wrestle as that was one of the past times through wrestling. Yeah,

 

Bryn 

yeah. More like roughhousing?

 

Michelle Reid 

Yes. Yeah. Throwing someone on the ground and pinning them down and, you know, stuff like that. So that was just seem to happen all the time. I don’t know if it’s just. Yeah. So. And it was just sort of fun thing to do for everybody. And that’s what people did. Yeah. Yeah. So that, you know, there were little tackers Yeah, so that was just how I grew up. Yeah, yeah. I could tell you a lot about that.

 

Michelle Reid 

And

 

Michelle Reid 

then, yeah, went out to the bush. My dad had some land there. He was growing, growing stuff. He was in the First World War and stayed on my second world war and stayed on in New Guinea and my mom went up there for holiday 1948 she was a dietitian. And they didn’t have a dietitian. So somehow her job got made for her. And yes, so they met in that time, and yeah, so by the time I came along there, I think my dad was about 40. So, my mom was 37. So, yeah, so they had their careers or what they were doing before they sort of got married and had kids. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yes, I grew up in

 

Michelle Reid 

you, yeah. Papua New Guinea. My mum taught me at home. My sister and I, she’s two years younger. And,

 

Michelle Reid 

and.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, and then I had all my playmates or or boys, or, or, or, you know, kids from the village tribal kids are here. Yeah. So that’s how I grew up. Yeah. And then, so the things we do we play a form of soccer. That was if we didn’t have a ball, we sort of played anyway. So with someone, if you were, if your team was in possession of the ball, and you had the ball, well, you became the ball, basically. Yeah. So your job was to duck and wave and get to a tray, which was a goal. And if I touched you in any way, then I was a ball. And it was stuck in your waving. And if you wanted to pass he touched one of your team, or they touched you to take it on. Yeah. And so that that was set game until we got a ball. Yeah, yeah. And then yeah, building Can I hats, spearfishing climbing trees, all that that sort of things to do. And you you sorted out fights, you sorted out disagreements. And that was the same when I was little by who won the fight.

 

 

Right? Yeah. Simple as that.

 

Michelle Reid 

As simple as that. So, going back to when I was little someone asked me a question, if it rains, if it’s raining here does it rain all over the world? And I hadn’t even thought of that. And I said, Yeah, I suppose so. And then this person came back and said, Well, my mum reckons that’s not right. You know, so, I don’t think we had a fight about that. Chris. I went in and asked my mom, but if you if you know you’re going to stick to your guns, it would been mean a fight. So, yeah, so there are lots of fights and there are a lot rules, you know, nice and simplistic. Yes or no? No kicking? No bye. pinching pulling hair and stuff. Yeah, but yeah, no one was really ever hurt. So

 

Michelle Reid 

apart from your

 

Michelle Reid 

pride here

 

Bryn 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then how long did you stay

 

Michelle Reid 

during Yeah. So so they’re back up to five because I was the only girl and the other thing is similar to New Guinea in New Guinea they have if you’re having a fight if you were disagreeing with your fellow down the road, then it was okay to you know if you saw their kids going by to just give the kids a hiding or worse. You know, tribalist, so

 

Michelle Reid 

so I’ve been the elephant Female I guess I was caught lots of people wanting to fight me because, you know, if Andrew who was a couple years older than me if he was having a disagreement with someone, then suddenly I found myself attacked because I was seen as being. Yeah, one. Yeah. Mike’s with him. So, so I ended up

 

Bryn 

with stuff.

 

Michelle Reid 

No, no, no, it wasn’t.

 

Michelle Reid 

It’d be a bit surprised sometimes. And if they were bigger than you, yeah, you might just get an up momentarily, but you just did what you did you know, so I ended up having lots of practice.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, so

 

Michelle Reid 

and then my father had taught me

 

Michelle Reid 

and give me lots of confidence by losing to me. Yeah, you know, those sir wrestles? Yes, a kid and I’m him losing tears. So you have lots of confidence. You basically learn about your, you know, your whitened stability and stuff. It was mainly just wrestling and throwing someone on the ground and pinning them down. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I usually say give up. That was how it went. Yeah. As little kids and then that was it. That was done.

 

Bryn 

Yeah. And then so you didn’t go to primary school?

 

Michelle Reid 

So no. So yeah, when I was between five and six we moved out to the bush dead have built a house there. And he was leased some land and was growing. Growing. Yeah. Peanuts at the time. So we all moved out there. Yeah. And and then I just got friends with the local kids and again, boys because as I found out later, that girls weren’t taught pigeon. I had the local lingo but they didn’t speak Pidgin. Boys were taught to speak Pidgin. So I saw I played with Yeah, yeah. And then you can eat this about 860 different languages. So you know, I might have learnt some some of that local lingo but you’re not like lots and lots because kitchen was the way you went. So that’s how I grew up with those boys. Yeah.

 

 

Yeah. Wait,

 

Bryn 

where did you go for high school?

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So when it came to high school, my there was no school surrounds, I would have to be sent to boarding school. So my parents decided I need a bit of white white culture. And so my mom gave me a choice of two schools which I went and visited her old school in too long, and a school where other New Guinea kids were going in Queensland. And so I just chose the one in the warmer, warmer, warmer weather and I thought closer to home, you know, with an idea of trying to get home maybe. Yeah. Yeah. So that was an interesting experience. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Go from spread all your time in. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then also in Europe to Queensland.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So we did come down a couple of times on the holidays, you know, to visit rallies and stuff. But, yeah, you know, like for, for some weeks some things I think twice before then. Yeah. But no, one I can hardly remember. I was too young. And when I was probably about nine or 10 when a lot of the boys were being sent off for the initiation. So I, my parents took me down on holidays to Australia. I assume that’s what it was about. Yeah. When I look back here, yes. So coming to, to, basically to an going from mainly all black boys to all white girls overnight was an interesting

 

Bryn 

Tell me about Okay, so

 

Michelle Reid 

the first night I was there I I thought I could speak English but I had my words mixed well. I had a lot of Pidgin words that I thought was English. Yeah. So I asked this girl I said, What’s the chi? She said what? And I said, What’s the chi? And she said, What? What’s the chi and it sort of and I thought to myself, she’s having a go at me, you know? She knows what I’m saying. She can hear me. What, what is for Chi? Yeah, and so I just went bang I’m Viktor. And in a couple of days later, I discovered that Chi was not an English word.

 

Bryn 

So we actually asked him

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, what’s what’s the eight? What’s for dinner? Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. And so there was a few times. You know, when I talked about Greece, people didn’t know what I was talking about, which is earthquake. So there was a few instances and I would never know what word it wasn’t English until someone didn’t. Yeah, yeah. I didn’t that didn’t hit anyone again.

 

Michelle Reid 

After that, as far as that was concerned, yeah,

 

Bryn 

right. Yeah. I was gonna say, how did you go with tempering down the fighting?

 

Michelle Reid 

Well, if the other thing I didn’t understand was sarcasm that took me two years. Took me one year to hear the two messages and another way to put it together. But if I Notice anyone you know how go goes on and I’d never run across it. Tina, did I use a mouse a lot to try and hurt people? And if I often I didn’t even understand what that was saying. Yeah, but if I did understand it, and I found it offensive, then I just knocked them down. Because I didn’t know how to use words like that. Yeah, yeah. I’d never heard them. I just put them flat on the back, which would give them a bit of a thought.

 

Bryn 

Must not necessarily you’ve done not very often to you then.

 

Michelle Reid 

No, it was a good thing in some ways. Yeah. I didn’t get to hear too much. Too much senior nasty stuff. You know, so that kept that away. Yeah. So

 

Bryn 

I do miss home during that

 

Michelle Reid 

time. Yes, I used to count the days to get home. I made sure I worked hard because I knew my dad had taken out loans to get keep me at school. So I thought Yeah, well, I better not waste this money. Do the right thing there. But yeah, so I remember this girl coming to me. She wasn’t one of the nasty girls. And sign off. You know, this is, you know, other girls are saying you’re a bush connector. You live in a grass hut your way grass skirts and you’re eight people you know she wasn’t signed in a nasty way but she’s trying to let me I Well, you can just let them know that, you know, they can thank their lucky stars. Or thank God that they’re not they don’t get put beside me in the dormitory next to you know, because you know, I might not wake up in the morning if I get a bit hungry so by that I’d learnt enough to say something like that. But

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah, so there was

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. Thomas on detention a lot. Yeah, one reason or another, which I can’t even remember.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, so what else was?

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, the clouds. I just didn’t have a clue. No, like, it was miniskirt era. I looked at that, you know, I saw how they were into their clouds and my captain falling in love with some bloke and then next week not being and I found that really strange. Yeah, I didn’t understand that at all. So, you know, I never wore shoes. So the school took me down to put some shoes on to me. And I worked up the length and our damn and comfortable and I expected them to be yeah But what I didn’t expect to set a couple of days later that I could hardly walk, because I hadn’t got the width. Correct? Yeah. And it was question. Yeah. So and then they were telling me I have to wear them. So I thought I can’t wear these shoes and they weren’t listening. So I thought, I’ll go up to the principal. So I went, knocked on her door and said, I find I’ve got to wear these things, but I can’t because you know that I can hardly walk in them and my feets hurting all the time. And yeah, and she was sitting there bigger feet than me in a sudden shifts. And she said, My played a bigger than yours. Anyway, she sent me away. But the interesting thing was, about a week later, she changed the rules and I picked up on that because I knew then she’d hurt me. But she just didn’t want people coming over teachers hits too. So then I didn’t have to wear them anymore. I’d got it wrong with the with the, the width and yeah, eventually I found a pair of shoes that were been exported to New Guinea.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, wide, the front side.

 

Michelle Reid 

I like to wear shoes. Yeah, any other thing is I just couldn’t do the whole is you know, my mom actually sent me down with her woollen skirts and I’ve never worn skirts. I was just, you know, shorts and that sit basically or a pair of jeans. Yeah, that’s it. And,

 

Michelle Reid 

and so,

 

Michelle Reid 

and she, you know, she was born in 1923. So can you imagine Nice big, long, thick skirts it.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

So somewhere along the line, I’m not quite sure it was early on, I sort of made that decision that, well, I can’t go down that track. So, and you know, I’ve had enough stuff saying, you know, putting me down from because of where I came from. Yeah. And I heard enough of that. So somewhere along the line, I made a decision that I was going to be proud of where I came from, and who I was. And if people didn’t like that, that was their problem. So I think that helped me in really good stead. It wasn’t till probably my 40s or 50s that I learnt the wisdom to actually hold my tongue when I knew that it wasn’t going to get any way.

 

 

Yes. But

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah, but anyway, it’s I’ve made a lot of the NX 10 bullying. A lot of kids would have.

 

Bryn 

Yes, yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So or from hearing, you know, getting bullied by other kids with the nasty Word says what girls do? Yeah. And if I’d been in a bought Boys School probably would have been just yet wrestling and fighting and stuff. And done with Yeah, that was much easier for my point.

 

Bryn 

Yeah. So how did you end up coming to Western Australia from there?

 

Michelle Reid 

Hmm. So

 

Michelle Reid 

I had

 

Michelle Reid 

got into motorbikes and I travelled,

 

Michelle Reid 

you know, just as soon as I got some money back in the 80s, you know, well, I actually got into the work I do from that time in, in New Guinea and that cross cultural thing? Yeah, and just seeing how people are different different perspectives. And, you know, they see this is this is how it is, but I didn’t have that perspective. So and and then when I think it took about two years before I got any friends at school so I set in one place I could see a distance and I read every animal book in the library. And if no one gave me cheap I gave them a Heidi gone with my work, but some reason they picked me for the sports teams, even though I wasn’t a fast runner.

 

 

And

 

Michelle Reid 

where do we go from there? So

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah, and then people started asking me somehow or other I ended up being like a guy between between people who were I got who were fighting and right and so you know, given In a different perspective and giving the difference, and that seemed to work a lot.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

And the first friend I got at school was by giving this girl a good whack and making her nosebleed. She became my friend. Yeah. So I think that was in the second year, obviously, there was a time Whitlam. Whitlam had been given a sec, I think Courtney Whitlam had just come into power. Okay. And there was a girl there whose father was in cabinet, right? She was standing there in front of the library, you know, looking down her nose at me, sort of saying, you can use going to get independence, you know,

 

Michelle Reid 

in two years,

 

Michelle Reid 

or in now, I can’t remember, but she was wrong. So you can eat was getting self government which was an independence Yeah. And I explained that to her I said no, you can use getting yes self Gov. gov governments not independent sets later down the track. So she was Pooh poohing me. Yeah. As much as if I didn’t know about my own country and then all her friends with their backing her. Yeah, and I just thought How dare someone try and tell me they know more about my country than I do. Yeah. And I just yeah

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah. So she ran off with the blood nice.

 

Michelle Reid 

And I heard the commotion of the teacher coming out to see what was going on so I had to sit down quickly. Just hope no one would dump me in. I thought if they do I’ll just have to give them a hiding. Okay want to know indeed did teach it took me a next then inch I was set by myself on the bus. On Fridays, they used to take us out for geology or geography, experiments and stuff so, so I sit in on my own. And so got this little night passed through. You know, is anyone sitting with you on the bus? I just sit in my back saying, Can I sit beside you on the bus message? And that was the girl that I just clocked.

 

Michelle Reid 

So I’ve got my first sprint.

 

 

So,

 

 

yeah.

 

 

When you left school

 

Bryn 

you’re now clinical psych. Yeah. Is that something you went to straight away? Or?

 

Michelle Reid 

Um, yeah. So I guess part of what informed me is just how the different different perspectives and different value systems and you know, not understanding sarcasm in the humour and sort of coming through all that. And so that piqued my interest. Yeah, so I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I didn’t know exactly what I did want to do.

 

Bryn 

So I was studying psychology an effort to try and make more sense of the world.

 

Michelle Reid 

Well, it was sort of

 

Michelle Reid 

was the last day that I had to get all our preferences in I knew I had to go to uni, more or less because the things I might have done otherwise like mechanics or whatever, yeah, somewhat ghosting back the news not avenues. So So and yeah, in R Us. I just saw I just hit up, buddy, how, what am I kind of do? I’ve looked through the whole book. And I said, you know, If there’s a God, just give me the Just tell me what? Anyway, I had dropped the book and I picked it up and this thing just went hit me whack behavioural science. I didn’t even know what it was. Yeah, but it just hit me like this jumped out at me. I said, Oh, that’s it. So and it just fit it in with that with you know, so fit it in with my previous experiences and yes, I did better than getting carried on. Yeah. So that was just a three year course. And then of course, the whole course ended up being 10 years, but I didn’t do it all at once.

 

 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

So, yeah, and that’s exactly. Yeah, I, I see it as a vocation. You know, I love what I do. Yeah. I’m glad on day, and it’s my profession, but also my vocation. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

And this brought you to the Kimberley region.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So I’ve come I’d gone travelling.

 

Michelle Reid 

When I first graduated, I just had four years of psychology. So working as a psychologist, and you know, I’ve been working around various areas in Queensland, and but I’ve just had this big push to go travelling so it’s inside, and I I got into motorbikes and got into that stripe at uni, you know, it was cheaper than a car. Yeah. So, so as soon as I’ve got any money in my pocket, and I just got a ticket and headed over. And yes, and pick up a motorbike and just sighs when written basically through Europe, and Through Britain and Ireland and Scotland, I went back, keep going back whatever I hadn’t done in, you know, when I ran out of money I came home got work. So on this occasion, what you’re mentioning,

 

Bryn 

I had kind of a long distance even those trips. That’s a long way from a girl who grew up in puffery. nigger

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So, so yeah, I just had this burning urge to go exploring. Yeah. Best way to do it was on a motorbike. And so that’s what I did. So, as soon as I saw that, you know, first I actually when I decided what bike I’d really like to bring home, I’d done my research. And so, first I went to America, I had a girlfriend there. And then I got work there with the horses and grew up growing up with horses and you know, on our side I bought racing stables and you know, just gets enough money to get a ticket to the next place and and then I wanted to get to Italy to get an Italian bike and meta. Si St. Australia moto Ngozi. Yeah. And I arrived in Italy and saying we’re way smarter, gassy factory and two days later, no one could understand me. And then someone said, Oh, no, no, Moto Guzzi. Yeah. Okay. And then so I changed that Moto Guzzi. Then name your I was talking about electric today. And then I found out where the factory was and I went there and they interviewed me and decided that I was for real. And then my the bike so I wanted to buy my for Australia.

 

 

Yeah, yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

So yeah, Greg thought I was going for an 800 but it was discontinued that and I was at Awesome. See, see. That was great. Even better. Yeah, yeah. So waited for them to do that. And yeah, and then just decided on which way should I go north or south or north? In a moment? Yeah. And then I had lots of adventures. made lots of friends are still friends, you know?

 

 

And

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah, but I came back on that occasion how I got to Western Australia without money and looking for work. And something had come up in Queensland, but it wasn’t happening. And it was for you to find a job with family and children services there. And then suddenly, I discovered that people were ringing me up because I knew people and the whole team had quit. So I knew there was something seriously wrong there. And I thought, well, I can’t wait for that. I just looked in the paper. And I thought, Oh, they said drop into Kimberly, I haven’t been there. That’s another new area to explore. And so I just applied for that. And then they rang me up for interview. And I didn’t take it too seriously. I was just in my mom’s house, you know, lying there on the floor, doing an interview. The next thing they wanted me over this. So, that’s how I got to Western Australia. Yeah, I landed in the Kimberley. But

 

Michelle Reid 

I paid for whatever I had to come over

 

Michelle Reid 

which includes my bike and just a few things really, I could fit on the bike. And so I say for four years and loved it up there.

 

 

Yeah. So

 

Michelle Reid 

as sort of, you know, smile goes a long way you walk down the street, you smile at people, and that goes a long way in the, you know, with people and this fella turned up at my house and And he also work the same family and children’s services. They change the name so often, and he has Aboriginal blight in the Kimberley. And so sit down and give him a feed and just he was so hungry, just so I know, a week’s worth of food. Fine. Not a problem. You know? And I didn’t know, but he was checking me out. So, you know, see what kinda what fell on might have been? Yeah. Then he decided that that was probably more black than white.

 

Bryn 

Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So after that, if they were having any meetings of sunny include the black fellas. I was always invited along. So and he’s to say that to people that’s just been white.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, and I had a Maryland to complain about that.

 

Michelle Reid 

At one stage, you know, a small black and white Ah, he was many, many as a put down, but I actually took it as a compliment. So yeah. And it was, it was very familiar in lots of ways to New Guinea I, of course unconscious different but you know,

 

 

some other roles. So

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah, let’s, uh, you know, you stop and pick someone up if they’re walking somewhere and maybe in the lifting you’re in some condition mention of a vehicle. The government didn’t like that very much. I guess their insurance didn’t cover it. But in our house living in this town, you’ve got to make connections if you’re doing that kind of job. I noticed that that that sort of thing. So kind of give people a lift, you know, just treating people as people, you know. So yeah. And like, they want me to Do law business, which I said no to. Because some in your guinea that wanted me to do law business too. But I said no to that. I didn’t want to have all the tattoos on my face when I knew that, you know, I was coming. spending a lot of time in Australia. Yeah. So I thought now I can’t do that. Because that would be disrespectful to any people. Hmm. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

So what is the was the work you do now?

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So I, I clinical psychologist and back in the old days and also neuro? Yeah, yeah. So very few. And yeah, the combination is very rare in western

 

 

psychology.

 

Michelle Reid 

So so that’s a difference. Everyone does the same for years. So to become a psychologist, and after that this different areas You can move into and clinical psychology as one in your psychology is another. And I’d actually started work at Fremantle hospital as a clinical psych. And they wanted someone who was also a neuro psych. And they offered me a scholarship to go and do the neuro psych, which was a Master’s for masters plus, plus a supervision back in those days. It was two years. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

I got one year off

 

Michelle Reid 

because of prior experience having a doctorate in clinical psychology. So I got me off. So it was a three years full time, and I did it half time across five years, basically. And the health service gave me five hours a week to 10 lectures. Yeah, yeah. So basically, there was a there’s about four of us from the health department across various areas. Hoo hoo bit the bullet and did that.

 

 

Yeah, yes. took that what is the difference between clinical psychology in yours?

 

Michelle Reid 

So neuropsychology is mainly the assessment of brain damage. So in a hospital I work with older adult in mental health section, but sometimes it the psychiatrists just can’t work out what is actually going on? So you might there might be a question of differential diagnosis and some of the questions might be, is this a dementia? Or is it a late onset schizophrenia, so then it might come to me, or we think this is a dementia but what kind comes to me and mostly if it’s clear that nothing comes to me in that in that regard, and sometimes and I do the capacity assessments as well you know, this this person have the capacity to refuse medical treatment or decision per person have capacity to live independently at home. And mostly the GPS or the psychiatrists can can make those assessments. But if it’s a bit on the borderline and they, they look okay, and they do well on some of the basic, like many mental states, which isn’t very sensitive to do badly on net, you have to be probably a moderate dementia to start getting bad on those tests. And if you had a good education, you’re probably going to blitz so so anyway. So if it’s a little bit on the borderline, or they can’t quite work it out, then they’ll ask me to do further cognitive assessment or neuro psych assessment to work out. So we look at them the behaviour and how they do on all those tests, you know, like intelligence tests, memory tests, cetera and look at the behaviour, what are the mistakes? So make the history and, and get all in, put it together and try and make that answer those questions.

 

Michelle Reid 

And a clinical psychologist

 

Michelle Reid 

is doing the therapy, the talk stuff. Yeah, to help people who have who are hurting, yes, you know, emotionally or sometimes, you know,

 

Michelle Reid 

physically but it might be

 

Michelle Reid 

basically based on their emotion. So, so yes. So that’s basically the difference. So a clean site will do their assessment, but it’s a different kind of assessment.

 

Bryn 

Yeah. So,

 

Michelle Reid 

so working out what the actual problem is, you know, what’s, how much you know, if you’re working from an attachment perspective, which is great. I do as far as a claim sight hearing about that. So you know where some of the vulnerabilities might be looking at their thinking patterns, looking at how they cope and the behaviour in the patents and then try and find in a way to help that person

 

Bryn 

has been by their attachment.

 

Michelle Reid 

So, you know, when you’re little, there’s a lot of research now to show that what kind of parenting your head can influence the rest of your life. So, and this is where the neuropsychology helps to inform me as well.

 

Michelle Reid 

So

 

Michelle Reid 

little kids, you know, I like babies and, you know, toddlers, young toddlers, they can’t self soothe so that when when they’re upset, it’s the parents job to pick them up and give them a cuddle and self help themselves. So So That actually stimulates a part of the brain to grow that will eventually help them to self soothe themselves. Yep. Yeah. So, and if people don’t get that, then they never really learn how to soothe themselves when they’re really upset. And then they have all sorts of difficulties through life. Yes, I lose a job. You know that the relationships don’t last. You know, they can find themselves in trouble with the law. They can find themselves. Yeah, wanting Chris. I haven’t got that ability to self soothe. Yeah, so that’s just one example. But there’s lots of different examples, you know. So you get a good idea. You know, if something horrible happened, you know, if something’s happened, Mom or Dad, you is gone into a depression, you know, and it’s not available emotionally. And depending on where. So that first sort of seven or eight years is really critical for that. And all little kids sort of centre of the world, because I don’t have a frontal lobe. So when things go wrong, they think it’s their fault. Yeah. So parents are having an argument. They’ll think it’s their fault, and I’ve got to fix it. Yeah. And like, it’s got nothing to do with them. Yeah, a friend of mine who was going through a separation. You know, I said to him, you better check with your little girl. Because she’s probably thinks it’s her potluck. No, that’s just you know, but join us. And I said, No, God, go and check with her. And he came back to me said, You know what, you’re right. You’re right. You know, so. So, in in you know that so you’re the centre of The universe so it’s your fault if things go wrong. And the positive side of that is give you an example is I was visiting my sister, and she had a young son. He was about seven, maybe eight. And I could hear him or so much like a prayer. Now she’s a atheist. So there was none of that in an hour. He hadn’t learned to do that. So he was saying, I believe in fairies, I believe in fairies and went on and on for about 10 minutes, which is quite a long time for such a young kid. And then he went off to play and I went and had a look in his room and his mum had been reading him Peter Pan and are up to that part where Wendy was saying, you know, various are dying because little kids are not believing in them anymore. So he was saving farriers lives and it worked hard to Do that, you know, 10 minutes is a long time for us at night. Yeah. And so that then is like a positive thing. I, it gives him a sense of agency in the world.

 

Michelle Reid 

Hmm. But when that goes wrong,

 

Michelle Reid 

then they’re thinking it’s their fault. You know, parents are fighting, and I’ll try to fix it and it doesn’t work, you know, and I get left with this sense. So, you know, so you can and yeah, and people deal with it, different coping strategies, you know, some people become, you know, they try and overcompensate for that sense of not being good enough yet so they they become the super helpers jumping in to help everybody where they need help or not. And then yeah, so, then not getting the love that they Nate.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, it’s still trying to get mom’s lap or whatever. Yes.

 

Bryn 

But you know, if I do this, then I’ll get the stuff I want.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. Yeah. It’s such. So yeah, yeah. And I’ll feel good about myself. But in the never works, you see? Yeah. And then yeah. So it’s that constant reinforcement thing that they are not good enough. So, and so you see, so that’s someone who’s trying to overcome it. And some people just say, I am not good enough.

 

Bryn 

And I fall into a hole and then they start believing that yeah, that story. Yeah. Yeah. I think the whole

 

 

I’m not good enough. I’m not deserving

 

 

of that.

 

Bryn 

Having listened to a number of people on the podcast, you hear how one of the biggest things I hear is people buy into that story. Yeah. Until this epiphany and then they have to do a lot of hard work. Yeah. But they have to make the choice. Okay. I’m gonna stop believing that story. Yeah, I’m gonna start paying.

 

Michelle Reid 

But then when it keeps getting reinforced in nice ways, so then it’s about giving the education Yeah. And looking at their thinking. And, you know, people believe their feelings are the reality. So, you know, having a few mantras like, you know, feelings are not a good indicator of reality. Yeah, it might feel that way. Yes, you need to go and check the evidence. And sometimes, you know, they say, Well, where’s the evidence? You know, cuz it’s never worked and people just got cross with me. Yes, I, you know, it’s about, you know, helping them through that and seeing how they’re making those

 

Michelle Reid 

mistakes of thinking mistakes, I guess.

 

Michelle Reid 

And you know, that may be They’re actually not helping. Yeah, you know, by jumping in, and people can wear themselves out doing that. So that would be one example.

 

Bryn 

You said where people can wear themselves out

 

Michelle Reid 

by helping everyone else and taking care of their own needs, you know, so like, they say, on an aeroplane, you’ve got to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help your kids. No. So you see people then just wear themselves out and then fall into a depression because it is

 

Bryn 

emotionally fatigued. Yeah, yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. And I was listening to another colleague and who said, you know, these people who are the super helpers, I often say, they got big issues with osteo arthritis, you know? Yeah. So I guess that’s his, I don’t know. They actually might be some research on that. And some preliminary research, but yes, so Ready to light

 

Bryn 

Chinese medicine or something? They’d probably be a link.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So but Yeah, there is. So you know, you can go in and sort that out that issue out and osteo arthritis will

 

Michelle Reid 

clear up.

 

 

So

 

Michelle Reid 

you Yeah, so there’s always that overlap too. That’s fascinating between the physical and psychological.

 

Bryn 

Yes. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

See, so I usually start from the attachment point of view. And then there’s all sorts of different ways one serves.

 

Bryn 

Yeah, thank you. comparison’s.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. And I look at all that and there are different ways. So depending what the issue is, you know, if it’s a simple strike depression, you know, you might be able to sort it from a top down approach, you know, from the thinking and work down. But if it’s more, if there’s like, complex trauma and years of abuse, just changing someone’s think thinking is not going to cut it. Yes, no. So there’s a lot of other work that you might try other ways of going. So you learn different strategies. But you know that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a good starting point. Yes. It’s like the the began to take a dive. That’s a good springboard to Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So and then, a great thing that I love about psychologies, you never stop learning. Yeah, yeah. And it’s more stuff to learn. And it’s a neuro science stuff comes in you can fit it in with the psychology. Yes. And make more understanding of it. Bigger framework. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

That’s what Why I love it. And, you know, the other great thing that I love, probably the most important thing is, you see people get better to see people get better when they never thought they will. Yeah, and I can enjoy life, you know, and I work a lot with older people. So, you know, to see some 75 year old for the first time in their life is brought up kids without feelings, who’s you know, walk down the street, feeling that the world’s a dangerous place and, and if they didn’t know the person, I’d be like running, but putting on a face, you know, just to get the shopping done. But to see those people just come out of there themselves and start to just

 

Bryn 

live their lives. layers of anxiety would just drop off.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah, you know, that sort of work if you’re dealing with them. That complex drum it can take many years. And you know, there are some, some people that you know, if you go right to the extreme, you know, they they are in there for decades doing the work. So, yeah. So I, these days, I was full time in the hospital and now half time in the hospital or outpatient and inpatient and at Alma street with older adults, and I’m half time privately so I do some of the neuro psych medico legal reports. And yeah, and see people from a therapeutic perspective.

 

Bryn 

You’ve always been doing this over many years. Do you see Have you seen a change in in the sort of things that are presented over the years. I read it I read an interesting article not too long ago about how the cluster of issues that are presented to psychologists are almost linked to where society is moving and flowing.

 

Michelle Reid 

In some ways, I guess I remember reading for the first time back in the 80s, about sexual abuse, you know, and that book, probably written by a social worker from here was groundbreaking because it was kept under wraps, you know, and now as societies moved on, you’re getting more and more of that and, you know, mental health people are now becoming trauma informed. You know, so I know on our team at free mental hospital, you know, these days didn’t used to be the case. But the people who go out to psychiatrists usually, to see someone and either a nurse Social Worker, they do their interview. And they you know, and now they’ll note that or say that was never asked previously about any kind of, you know, what was life look like when you were little? So that, you know, they understand now that that attachment yeah inside now a lot of my referrals that come in all about that, you know, the complex trauma stuff. And you know, people have been in his cut from the hip type days, like all his adult life have been in and out of hospital. And finally, and no one’s touched that because in the old days, that wasn’t seen or asked about and what was driving all the issues was probably

 

Michelle Reid 

unresolved stuff I mean,

 

Michelle Reid 

and it’s about so

 

Michelle Reid 

help helping them with that and this new therapies coming up because you know, Cognitive behaviour therapy on its own, the way I was taught isn’t going to help too much with that kind of stuff. So other types of therapies and in I get the evidence for it so then you got got to go and learn all that sort of stuff. Yeah, so it just gives you a small tools and then you can chop it here in a bit and everyone’s different, you try and get together and work in with the person at their pace. And, you know, some of that work can even be done with people who are mildly demented. Yeah, yeah. So if you’ve got me up work with people who are, you know, grown up in orphanages abused within the Catholic system, and

 

Michelle Reid 

or it’s not just the Catholics but yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

And you can because a lot of the work is done. With the emotions, you can get some of that sorted, you know, even though they don’t remember the information. They do, do remember, emotional sense, you know, someone who you know, at the age of 70 something, it’s never been able to sleep in a bed can now actually fall asleep and have a decent sleep. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s a biggie, you know, it’s a big one.

 

Bryn 

Because I guess I recently came across moreso, that complex trauma and how it’s not necessarily one individual event,

 

Michelle Reid 

not so complex. usually that means over years,

 

Bryn 

yeah, yeah. So when triggered, you don’t it’s not like you go back to an event, you know, a man with a gun and you know what, yeah, you know, it’s more Emotional flashback

 

Michelle Reid 

Yes. Yeah, flashbacks can happen Yes. And that’s not going to be conducive to living a nice happy life because yet so yeah, trying to get back yeah it’s about tape for me you know I try and teach them all the skills to type and then we might process it trauma but I need them to have the skills first.

 

Bryn 

You don’t go into the detail

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah because you don’t want to re traumatise them. No, yeah. And then you know so they talk about the three phases of treatment which is so you know, getting them skilled up, you know, increase their tolerance for distress because a lot of people we’ve had that their tolerance for distress quite quite yet. And I have a whole lot of views about the distress that might That might might make them even scared more scared of that. Yeah. So getting them skilled up in a whole lot of what we call coping resources. Yeah. And then getting into the trauma with and now that’s the second so the first phase is the coping, coping skills. The second phase would be the processing of the trauma. And there are a number of ways you can do that or mix and match. And then the third phase would be like, setting up a future a future template. Yeah, in the eye is am Dr. I’ve movement desensitisation and reprocessing. I talk about future templates. Yeah. Yeah. So you still have the memories, hopefully. But

 

 

yeah, flashbacks.

 

Michelle Reid 

But the emotions around them are significantly richest. And I still think to a slick position, somebody years ago, and he was saying that’s what REM sleep is about. To reduce the emotions around a memory, hmm. And to process whatever happened yesterday. But if your brain keeps reoccurring bad dreams, nightmares or flashbacks, your brain can’t process it. So there’s various ways that people work to do that.

 

Bryn 

It’s almost, it seems to me almost like mental health and developing coping tools is becoming more and more widespread, more and more discussed.

 

Bryn 

Yet, we still individually collectively have a long way to go.

 

Michelle Reid 

Ah, sure. So and that’s hard. Work and it can be scary work to end. Yeah, yeah. So and it takes a few years. Yeah. So, you know, we might, might take a year, two years to get the coping skills on board. And they’re coping with stuff and I can get on with things. And then you can do the processing stuff. And then you know, and then you know, getting so you know, you might not finish a session, so you have longer sessions. I don’t want anyone to leave, you know, all over the place. Yes. You know, they’re not going to be safe driving. You know, they’re going to go out and shoot up. Just to get themselves calmed down. Yeah, you’ve got to get all that happened in the session.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So

 

Michelle Reid 

and, you know, you might say,

 

Michelle Reid 

Hi, I haven’t done for hours myself, but I do know of other colleagues. Much more expert than myself, who have done up for hours. Just get to that point where they can feel that the person is safe to go home. Yeah, well, and then you can’t charge for that if you’re a problem. So, great thing about working at the hospital is I can do that work. It’s not just 10 sessions. Yes. You can’t do that work in 10 sessions. Yeah, like with the Medicare and a lot of these people don’t have the money, you know, to to do the work. Yeah, that so that’s where the, you know, the health system comes on board doing some of that. And the more trauma informed they become, yeah, then. And in the past, there have been people who have been traumatised by the health system who hasn’t recognised what’s going on. Yeah, yeah. And sometimes people you know, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a bipolar and a complex trauma. And they get labelled with bipolar

 

Bryn 

and treated

 

Michelle Reid 

and treated accordingly. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Or they get someone gets told they’re got some cognitive problems in memory isn’t so great. But it’s not actually a problem with their memory. It’s just that they’re dis dissociating. Yes, yeah. And then I get put on drugs that might help with, say, a dementia, but actually makes make see the dissociation worse. Mm hmm. So, yeah.

 

 

Yeah. So.

 

Michelle Reid 

So we have good psychiatry, arranger stuff. Yeah, who can pick up on that sort of stuff? But yeah, so

 

Bryn 

How incumbent Do you think it is upon? Even just like everyday folk to invest in their coping tools? Ah,

 

Michelle Reid 

I think it’s critical. Everybody I thought all the time myself. No, dude. Oh, well, first thing I learned was certain, you know, looking at your thinking and getting that sorted and so I that just becomes a habit for me. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s a habit and you know, you’re

 

Bryn 

you’re dealing with almost like the, the lagging end of it all, where people have had the exposure, they haven’t had the coping mechanisms. It’s been ingrained in grade ingrained that thinking becomes,

 

Michelle Reid 

yeah, I see a lot of younger people privately. And so I see people who are at you know, coming with issues like And it’s great, because then you can get in a bit early so they don’t start making all the mistakes and have a whole lifetime of, of pain. Yeah. So, unfortunately, then you’ve got 10 sessions to get them get some coping skills on board. And that’s about what she can do. Yeah, in that 10 sessions. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And yeah, so yeah.

 

Bryn 

Because it strikes me that we’re almost apexis point where things are pace of changes. So things that are almost very stable institutions and things that we could navigate our way by, even they’re moving or degrading or eroding or changing face. Yes. Like that. And the more we progress and the faster things speed up, the more we need to invest in our coping skills.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yes. And learn to jump out of that and have time to slow down. Yeah. And so what is one way of working? It’s called internal family systems. And I like that, in that it teaches people to do that. Yeah, you know, so it’s talking about, you know, we, we all have parts of us. And I haven’t met anyone yet. When I asked him, whether it’s a colleague or anybody, friend, you know, in your quiet moment. Do you have a vulnerable little child inside that you’re aware of? Hmm, I haven’t met anyone who is not, you know, so I’m saying we all have parts, you know, the other day are sitting with one of the psychiatrists and this lady was trying to understand about what parts and I said, Well, here he is. Who you see today? It’s not the person who, who is at home. And he just started laughing. He said, Ah, you’re absolutely right there. Yeah, you know. So we all have parts of us and you can sit and if you learn to go inside if you like feel a little bit of emotion, you can go inside with curiosity, be a bit curious. You can like cake that where you feel that most. It’s here you can get in touch with it. It’s a bit of a intimate thing to do. And just be curious and compassionate to that part of you. And see, when you see what happens, you know, like I was saying with the arthritis, you know, someone who is doing that, not not one of my cases someone else’s and He said to the lady, she just couldn’t move from arthritis side and say, you know,

 

Michelle Reid 

what’s your notice?

 

Michelle Reid 

You can I worry feel it. My little short story is She then went inside and she said, Ah there’s a part of me that says, I’ve got to stop and have a rest, huh? And she was one of these incessant helpers. And because she hadn’t been listening to herself

 

Michelle Reid 

a part of her knew that she needed to have a race not running around looking after everyone else. Sort of this is where the psychology and biology interface and so that part said to her, Well, you’re not listening. I’m gonna have to shut up. I’m gonna have to draw attention from And then when she started to listen to that, and to take a rest, it disappeared. That went away. So sometimes it’s pure biology. Sometimes it’s pure psychology, but the two Can, can interact.

 

Bryn 

It’s funny you say that I read an interesting book several years ago about backaches and how a lot of physios a spot noted that shift in mind or remote most 80% Hmm. And and it’s almost things are brewing up. And then the minds been busy to like, oh, we’ll deal with that later or this that the other dah dah, dah. And so some of the partner bangers Okay, well, we’ll shut the oxygen flow down over here in your bank now. Or, as you know, it was more cases we’ll shut the oxygen flow off down here and then we’ll give you something else to think about. Rather than the actual thing that you got to get into. Yeah, that’s where we can get physically uncomfortable before we go into the bigger trauma that we want to go.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. And sometimes it’s about picking up on the early warning signs. And we bought mine. I’ve made that mistake with pain. No, you push short. And then suddenly. Yeah. And I had an interesting experience. When I was learning hypnosis. I had some pain that was actually waking me up. And I was learning to do this hypnosis, and we had to practice on each other. So I said, Yeah, so in 20 minutes, I’ve had that pain for years. And in a 20 minute session, it was gone, just through hypnosis. And then took about 12 months. I feel a bit of a nickel, but now I pick up on early warning signs. Yeah, yeah, do my stretches to whatever. And yeah, so again, there’s a lot of Evidence with hypnosis in its effect on its positive, you know, effect on dealing with pain. Yeah. And in fact, there’s hospitals over in Italy, in Denmark who just use hypnosis for their operations. Yeah, yeah. So, and then again, you’re using dissociation. Yeah, in a positive way.

 

Bryn 

Or have you learned about yourself in this journey?

 

Michelle Reid 

I think as a human being all human beings, we were wonderful. We’ve got so much potential for, for healing, and for good stuff, but also for horrible stuff. Yes. And I think, given the circumstances, we you know, people say I could never Do it that horrible stuff. But given the circumstances, I don’t think Well, me personally, you know, if you saw your kid about to be raped, you’d be in a put a cave, the blocks heading to stop it from happening, if that’s the only chance you’ve got, I have people cite, prints out I could never kill us as well. depends on the circumstances. Yeah, you know, so I think we’re amazing, you know, creations as such, and we’re still learning about ourselves. Now, there’s still so much more to learn. And if you do that, you know, a lot of the spiritual practices, you know, that teach you to go inwards, you know, everyone will have a different experience, but when I go there, it’s bigger than the universe. You’re not going to Explore all those parts of you know, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing anything else.

 

 

Yes.

 

Michelle Reid 

So I guess a chick is about getting a balance between inner and outer what you got to do enjoyable stuff. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

Yeah. So that that is

 

Michelle Reid 

so yeah, the spiritual side can come in. I think, you know, you can use that also very positively for people so they’ve got a belief if they have a belief you can if they have a Christian belief in you’ve got some nice some of that you can use that to help them actually progress further. Yeah, man I was talking to a psychiatrist A while back. And I think I’m not sure where, you know, but his sign Yeah, he finds his nada. I don’t think it’s a Christian but there might be other police To all learn main belief systems are pretty similar in their teaching, you know about what they teach.

 

 

Yeah. So

 

Michelle Reid 

rather than not go there, yes.

 

Michelle Reid 

A lot of people don’t? Well, I hear, I always ask this question and see if there’s anything there that deck can be useful to help the person move on. They believe that this,

 

Michelle Reid 

that there’s a loving God,

 

Michelle Reid 

you know, that wants the best for them,

 

Michelle Reid 

that wants to have a personal relationship with them, then, then we can use that and, you know, if they can start doing that for themselves, they can ask that to flow through them, you know,

 

 

so,

 

Michelle Reid 

and if you’ve got someone who with those sorts of beliefs, and they can do that That compassionate focused therapy quite well. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Well, the last questions I asked all my guests is as hypothetical one, but we find it fun. And if you could take a little nugget of information and upload it into the collective consciousness, everyone just hold it, hold it by

 

Michelle Reid 

approach. Approach yourself and all the parts of you and other people with curiosity and compassion.

 

Bryn 

Hmm.

 

Michelle Reid 

So curiosity means you’ll find out what’s going on without jumping to judgement.

 

 

Yes.

 

 

And,

 

Michelle Reid 

and,

 

Michelle Reid 

and then a compassion is you see the pain and Whether it’s in yourself or parts of yourself or in something else, and you make a commitment to either reduce it or alleviate it. Yeah.

 

Michelle Reid 

That’s what I would

 

Michelle Reid 

upload if I could. Yeah.

 

 

Lovely talking to you.

 

Michelle Reid 

And it’s been nice chatting to you. If people were to come find you

 

 

where can they find you?

 

Michelle Reid 

I have. I can find me at Fourth Street unit. 325 four straight, not far from here, just across the road. Yeah, I’m a part time. And I have mobile 04 double 915 double 819 privately. That’s a private work. And otherwise it’s through a GP referral to Fremantle all the adult mental Health Services. Yeah. And then if they need psychology, it will come through to us. But there’s a team there that will go out and find out whether they need psychology or not. Because other things that could be done that don’t need that intensive work that can be helpful. Hmm.

 

Thank you very much. You’re welcome.

 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, new guinea, thought, learn, kids, years, grew, friends, work, girl, fight, bigger, sorted, taught, psychiatrists, thinking, psychology, trauma, coping, find

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