Graduate story: Alira Bayndrian
Australian Psychology and Welfare Centre
Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours, now Bachelor of Psychological Science (3 years) plus the Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours (1 year)
First Class Honours - Australian Psychological Society prize winner 2007
After gaining her psychology qualifications, Alira Bayndrian moved to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to work for the Department of Health, providing therapeutic services to children, young people and their families with moderate to severe mental health issues.
"I worked primarily as a clinician for the first 12 months before taking on the management of the Child and Youth Mental Health Team. For the next four years I managed the team while maintaining my clinical role seeing clients. It was my first management role and the experience was extraordinary. We created a team culture of collaboration and putting our clients first. We saw children up to 18 years of age who had experienced significant amounts of trauma, often related to neglect, social and economic difficulties, poverty, mental health issues and self-harm. The position also incorporated remote work, flying or driving up to 800 kilometres to visit families in remote Aboriginal communities.
"You often see young people in a high level of distress, not knowing what to do or how to cope. They're looking for validation and support. It's a good feeling knowing you've been able to offer strategies to assist these young people and families to make behavioural change."
Since returning home to the NSW Mid North Coast, Alira has maintained her links with the Indigenous community at Coffs Harbour's Galambila Aboriginal Health Service Inc, where she provides a child psychology clinic once a fortnight.
Alira also works at the Australian Psychology and Wellness Centre, where her client base includes adults as well as children.
"Building a strong therapeutic relationship with my client is the most important part of what I do. Then the work around behaviour change can start."
As a graduate of the University, Alira jumped at the opportunity to support a psychology Honours student in the SCU Bright Futures Alumni Mentoring Program.
"One of the best things you can do is support people coming along the same path as you. It's rewarding, not just because you're able to provide information, insights and advice, but you can learn a lot from mentees.
"SCU is a good learning environment because it's not intimidating and there are modern psychological science facilities and equipment. The statistics units proved useful when I was managing the mental health team in the Northern Territory. I was able to interpret data and report to management. A good size cohort of students means you get to know everyone. In my Honours year I developed good relationships with my supervisors, who were very supportive and accessible."