Wednesday, 20 November 2013


On Friday 15th November, UoN School of Psychology successfully hosted and co-organised with Hunter New England Health the biggest Psychology Professional Day in the Hunter in history. More than 230 psychologists gathered together on campus from the Health Service (50%), the University (20%), private practice (15%), government agencies (14%) and NGOs (2%) for a day of professional development on promoting clinical excellence and culturally respectful practices.

Aboriginal psychology was the key theme of this year’s conference. The key note speaker Professor Judy Atkinson has been a ‘big draw’ card for this year’s conference. She is a very experienced and respected clinician and academic in the area of working with Indigenous clients, particularly children who have experienced trauma. She has an extensive track record in research on transgenerational trauma, which the school has actively incorporated in its undergraduate curriculum for first year psychology students since 2011.

The key note speaker: Prof Judy Atkinson

Several members of staff, postgraduate, and undergraduate students attended and played an active role in the day. Stuart Marlin and Sean Halpin welcomed the conference delegates on behalf of the school and psychology clinic at the beginning of the day. Stefania Paolini, as active member of the conference organising committee, acted as a key conduit between HNE and UoN; on the day she convened a stimulating symposium on Newcastle-led research on Aboriginal wellbeing with Dr Mark Lock and Dr Jo Gwynn from the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health Research which has attracted the participation of a group of very diverse researchers from a variety of disciplinary areas. Sean Halpin has run a well-attended interactive workshop on assessment and diagnosis and Tony Kemp has offered continuous AV assistance on the lead to the conference and on the day and assisted a long list of speakers and workshop facilitators involved n the day. 

The conference showcased the great talent of psychologists we have locally, demonstrated the varied areas of clinical excellence in practice, and stressed the importance of effective interaction between educators in the school, psychologists working in the community, and the needs of culturally diverse clients.

This year’s event has been a nice demonstration of the psychologists from HNE Health service and The University of Newcastle working together. We look forward to newer opportunities in the future!