BodyMatters is proud to introduce our newest provisional psychologist, Jennifer Poynton. To help you get to know her a little better, we have asked her a few questions about herself:
NICKNAME: Just ‘Jen’.
QUALIFICATIONS: BSc (Psychology) (Honours), Minor in Addiction Studies.
ACHIEVEMENTS: Attaining registration as a Provisional Psychologist was one of my biggest achievements, after commencing Psychology in my 20’s, I returned as a mature age student. My greatest achievement has been blending families with my husband to bring together our two small families. Together, we’ve raised 5 amazing adults who value kindness, integrity, and social justice😊.
WHY DID YOU PURSUE PSYCHOLOGY?
I was often the support person for friends and family members, and like many others, I have family who have struggled with their mental health. Coming from a family of scientists, I was also hooked by the why and how of our behaviour, and the external and internal influences that impact our responses to life experiences. Through my own experience and therapeutic work, I recognised that life includes joy, achievement, pride, but also everyday work, struggles and times of despair, and grief. I believe most people benefit from professional support during hard times. The privilege of hearing a person’s story and the opportunity to support them in recovering, and creating a life that nourishes and fulfils them is incredibly rewarding.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK AT BODYMATTERS?
BodyMatters was a natural progression for me as I near finishing my internship. In past work with young people I saw how promotion of set ideals around appearance, shape and weight in our society, contribute to the development of eating/body related issues. Food has been labelled as bad, good, healthy, evil, addictive, instead of being seen as a source of nourishment, of pleasure, and a symbol of cultural rituals, celebrations, and time with family. People are congratulated for losing weight, and thinness and athleticism are valued above other bodies. We are all urged to conform to one ideal. The pervasiveness of these shared rules and ideals around bodies, appearance and food even encourages the denial of internal physiological needs and cues for nourishment. Those who don’t comply with this ‘ideal’ are subject to stereotypes, stigma, discrimination, which can often lead to a sense of failure, self-loathing, shame, and despair. I want to work in an organisation that supports individuals to move away from appearance and weight as measures of their value and supports them to be free of associating food with value labels and guilt. I am passionate about changing the discourse around weight and shape and support the weight natural approach and Intuitive Eating.
YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE: For now – “One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist”― Stephen Hawking.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS: Working therapeutically, travelling with my husband, children, and grandchildren. Living close to a beach to walk on; or on a property with dogs and chooks to watch from the verandah 😊.
FAVOURITE SPORTS OR ACTIVITIES: Mid-morning beach walks with a swim in the ocean on a warm day, and a dog beach nearby to watch and laugh at doggie antics.
FAVOURITE HOBBIES OR INTERESTS: Travelling to new places, and rediscovering past ones. My husband, children (one is a Chef) and I enjoy cooking together. I love combining these all together; family, travelling, and cooking.
WHAT IS YOUR SECRET SKILL: Not sure if I have one, any skill I have is probably not a secret 😉
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU: Stan Grant (Journalist), Tracy Westerman (Clinical Psychologist and Philanthropist), and Gina Williams (a Noongar singer who sings in language) – Aboriginal people who have excelled in their careers and now advocate for Indigenous Australians. Intelligent female journalists like Laura Tingle, and Katharine Murphy. Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins for their bravery. My Mum who completed university entry units at age 61.
WHO WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD HEROES: My much older brothers who were travelling, independent, and living in shared houses with people from all over the world. I wanted to be like them.
3 THINGS YOU WOULD TAKE ON A DESERT ISLAND: Holiday – my husband, books, good food, coffee and wine. Stranded – not a fan.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE INDULGENCE: Belgian chocolate, sleeping in, a good restaurant meal, snuggling next to a wood fire on a rainy day with my dogs, having fun around a pool with family/friends in summer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE: I like those weird, arty movies with abstract endings that drive everyone else nuts 😊.
FAVOURITE PLACES TO TRAVEL: France, and Spain – but I have loved travelling Europe. There’s many places I haven’t been yet! Portugal, Greece, Scotland, Ireland, US, Mexico, South America, Canada, Vietnam, Japan – all on my list.
IF YOU DIDN’T PURSUE PSYCHOLOGY, WHAT OTHER PROFESSION WOULD YOU PURSUE: A journalist or a florist. I had dreams of being a war correspondent when I was a teenager, so a journalist was my dream. Now I like the idea of a florist – simply because I love flowers and colour.
You can read more about Jen here!