Ellen Jackson:
Hello, welcome back to the podcast. This is episode 57. I'm Ellen, and I'm kicking off with a question for you again because that seems to be a thing right now. And my question is, have you studied psychology formally? Or have you thought about studying psychology? Do you know what it takes to become a registered psychologist in Australia?

Ellen Jackson:
Many of our listeners have told me that they love psychology and human behavior. And this makes perfect sense because you are listening to a podcast pitched squarely at understanding human wellbeing and flourishing. But we've never really discussed on the show what it takes to become a psychologist in Australia. Who is it who takes their interest in human behavior through to create a career from it and why? And what does it take to get there?

Ellen Jackson:
These are the questions I am asking today's guest, an early career and recently registered clinical psychologist. Let's have a listen. With me today is Glen Tanner. Glen is an early career psychologist, and we'll explain what that means in a moment. Working in clinical psychology in New South Wales, he is a listener to the show, which is wonderful. And he's here to talk to us about the ins and outs and ups and downs of training as a psychologist and what it's like to commence your career in the field in Australia. Welcome, Glen.

Glen Tanner:
Thanks, Ellen. Thanks for that. It's a pleasure to be on the show.

Ellen Jackson:
I'm excited to have you here. And I'm really excited about this topic because I did my training as a psychologist. I did spread it out over a period. But I started with my undergrad in 1992, which is a very long time ago. And I have now been registered, I think since 2000. So, that makes it coming up to 20 years as a registered psych. And I have absolutely no doubt, in fact, I know, although I don't know the ins and outs of it, that training as a psych and what's required of you to get your full registration in Australia has changed enormously in that time. So, I'm really keen to find out more about it, not just the nuts and bolts of it, but also what it's like. So, can you just tell us a little bit more about yourself to begin with? What did you do prior to studying psychology? Because this is the second career for you, isn't it?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, that's right, it is. And I guess I started out in wine production and sales. I was right into the wine industry at the time. You know, I was quite passionate about becoming a wine maker, and I thought that was the career for me. It was a glamorous job. Like, it was really exciting, really good job. Not a lot of jobs where you can say that you get to have a glass of wine in the morning on the job. So, there was a lot of perks.

Ellen Jackson:
Legitimately.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, so there was a lot of perks to it. And yeah, it was wonderful. I still have that passion with me today. So, I'm still very passionate about wine. And yeah, that was where I started out. And then, I guess getting towards when I was sort of 27, 28, I started thinking about what next? What comes next? And I guess I was just hitting the age where it just wasn't substantial, you know? I was coming home, I had a great day at work, I enjoyed all my duties. I certainly enjoyed the tank sampling. But there was just a little something missing.

Glen Tanner:
And I was thinking, "Well, what can I do? What's going to give me that missing piece?" And that's when I started to explore a little bit, and psychology was one of the things that came up.

Ellen Jackson:
Okay. How did it come up? Because I know for some of us we're drawn to it. Was that what it was like for you? Was it an interest in human behavior? Or was there something else that triggered this as a possibility?

Glen Tanner:
Good question. I was asked this question recently on another podcast. And I've been thinking about it a little bit ever since. And I think that the answer I gave them was right, that was probably the main factor. But just in the last sort of two months I've been reflecting on that.

Glen Tanner:
And I suppose I'll start with the main factor, and that was when I was sort of ... Just before I was in my late 20s, a family member got quite ill. And they got physically ill and they also got ... they suffered pretty serious depression and other things as well. So, I guess looking after that person, becoming a carer for that person, it just sort of opened my mind to a different world.

Glen Tanner:
And also, I began seeing a psychologist to sort of deal with my own stress, what I was going through caring for that person. And also, it was really good to be able to use some of those skills and strategies I learnt with psychology in my role as a carer for that family member. So, that's probably the main reason.

Glen Tanner:
But I've just been reflecting on that, and I think I was always a little bit of a weird kid. So, I was also quite a curious little kid, you know? And I was just drawn to human behavior, always thinking, "What makes people tick?" Where a lot of the other guys my own age, they were sort of into things, you know? They were into cars and they were into basketball and everything like that. Where I found I was just getting more fascinated by people.

Glen Tanner:
So, I didn't really care that much for a lot of these material things. What I was really engaged in and interested in was people's behavior, what made them tick. I was interested in learning about stories about people. So, I think it's sort of a combination of those things. I was always curious, always interested in human behavior. But then when I had that first hand experience with a psychologist and I saw just how much they can make a difference in someone's life, or a family, an entire family's life, then that was it. I was soul searching and that was the way to go for me.

Ellen Jackson:
A confluence there perhaps of an inner desire to understand that kind of get inside people's head. I think curiosity is a great word for it. And then obviously exposure, which is the bit that probably a lot of people lack especially. And I know for a lot of students, you might go into the field, and I know this was certainly my case, you go into the field, but you've never actually had exposure to the work itself. So, you were able to kind of see it from that side as well. What do you think it was? Was there a precipitating moment? Because to make a big career jump at that age when you've got used to having an income, you've got used to having your life back after perhaps initial study and training, what was it that really said, "Right. I have to do this. I have to make this jump into another life."

Glen Tanner:
That's a really good question. I think it was a lot of different factors, you know? Firstly, I wasn't that good as a wine maker. I wasn't really that good. And I suppose, what really made the jump was I just wasn't enjoying it. It just wasn't giving me what I needed. And I don't know, I suppose just as you hit ... you come towards the end of your 20s, I don't know how it works for everyone else, but for me, I just started reevaluating things, you know? "Where do I want to be when I'm 30? Where do I want to be when I'm 35, 40?"

Glen Tanner:
So, I sort of sat down ... It was quite a weird thing, actually. I took a week off work and I thought, "I'm going to just sort this out. I'm going to sort out my life. I'm having some sort of existential crisis here. I want to know where I'm going." So, I took a week off work and I got out the pen and paper. And I did basically ... I didn't know it at the time, but I was doing a lot of that sort of goal setting and getting to know my values and looking ahead to the future.

Glen Tanner:
I thought, "Well, look, where do I want to be when I am 40? And what do I have to do when I am 40 or when I'm 50 to be able to come home at the end of the day and say, 'I'm happy.' I'm doing something that I care about and I'm passionate about. I'm inspiring others, I'm coming home with energy. I'm not coming home exhausted." And for me it came down to two things. I was interested in psychology and the law. And after the experiences, I thought, "Look, it's got to be psychology."

Ellen Jackson:
Wow, so some real meaning and purpose stuff in there, that real question around, "Who am I? And what am I going to contribute to the world? And what's going to fulfill me as a person?" And it's fascinating that you say that about turning 30 because many, many years ago, I actually wrote a book with a coauthor. It was published here in Australia and the UK and in the States and in Holland strangely. And it was called Turning 30, How To Get The Life You Really Want.

Ellen Jackson:
So, it was actually that very kind of existential crisis of approaching your 30th birthday and saying, "Is this really what I want? Is this who I am? Is there more?" So, you're a wonderful case study there of something that I talked about a long time ago.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah. I don't know what it is about that age, you know? And I don't know if everyone's the same. But for me, that was a magic number. It was sort of saying goodbye to adolescence. It was saying goodbye to having a lot of fun in my 20s. And it was just at the age where I was starting to think about what next. And yeah, for everyone it's different, you know?

Glen Tanner:
I suppose I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was sort of 16, 17 all the way up until I was 24 really when I just sort of fell into the wine industry. So, then I knew that the next decision was an important one. I knew it was vital. And I didn't want to not take it as seriously as I had the 10 years before. So yeah, I think it is an important age. And that's probably why you see a lot of people changing careers around that age and going back to school, you know?

Ellen Jackson:
So, you made the big decision and obviously enrolled therefore at university. Did you start with an undergraduate degree in psychology?

Glen Tanner:
I did indeed, yeah. So, I thought online was definitely the way to go. So, I researched. I had a look around at all the different courses that were available. And the one that worked well for me was The Australian College of Applied Psychology. They were offering an online degree, undergraduate. And yeah, so I started that in late 2011. And yeah, away I went.

Ellen Jackson:
And that in itself is a very different way because that was the kind of option that did not exist when I did my undergraduate psychology. I was in a lecture hall with ... I think there was about ... I was at The University of Melbourne, and I think there was about 800 first year psychology students. So, we all rocked up, all 800 of us, and sat through those lectures. And we'd have ... I don't know, maybe I think one or two one-hour lectures and then a tutorial or a lab session. I don't know. It was too long ago to remember. But to be able to do it online, aside from the huge quantity of fascinating work in psych that has occurred since I started, which is not to say there wasn't heaps of fascinating stuff when I did it, because there was, you know? We've got 100 years of the field. But a lot has changed in that time too. So, what was it like studying it online?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, it was great. I really enjoyed it actually. A lot of people were telling me, "Don't go online. Go into class and really get ensconced in that experience," you know? That sort of face to face experience that you get. And I was thinking, "Is this the right decision? Am I making a mistake here? Am I going to miss out on certain skills?" But it was quite the opposite, in fact. I really enjoyed it. The classes were great.

Glen Tanner:
So, they sort of divide you up into small classes maybe of sort of 20 or 30. And you get to meet people. And back then, it was still new and exciting, online degrees. So, everyone was just really enjoying it. And you could sort of attend a lecture or tutorial whilst at the beach. You could attend a lecture whilst on a train. I don't want to repeat this, but you could even enjoy a lecture whilst having a beer. You probably won't remember too much about it.

Ellen Jackson:
Well, some of it's is to suggest that a small amount of alcohol might enhance creativity. So, maybe that might ... I don't know, open up some of the neural pathways to let the information in. We're not advocating it.

Glen Tanner:
No.

Ellen Jackson:
So, that was your initial experience. It obviously caught your attention because you continued on from there, didn't you?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, that's right. So, for me, it was ... I was just enjoying learning about psychology. I just found it fascinating, you know? And just learning about all those theories, learning about all those little theories that hook you in. And for me, it was just like being a kid in a lolly store, you know? I was like, "Wow, that all makes sense now." I was just connecting the dots. And I just loved it so much.

Glen Tanner:
So, yeah. And I was getting good feedback. I was getting good grades, whereas I started a degree before and that wasn't necessarily the case, you know? My writing wasn't so good. I found that when I was writing for psychology, I was putting in that extra effort. So, it really reflected in the grades. I got that really positive feedback. And I thought, "Yeah, I can do this." So, onwards and upwards after that.

Ellen Jackson:
So, tapping into something that was meaningful to you that just creates that intrinsic motivation, makes it much easier to do the work.

Glen Tanner:
Yep.

Ellen Jackson:
Fantastic.

Glen Tanner:
That's right.

Ellen Jackson:
And were you working to create an income during this time? Were you juggling the two together?

Glen Tanner:
I was indeed. I was working several jobs at once. So, I was still working and living in the Hunter Valley. So, working as wine production, wine sales and management. I was balancing that with starting to work as a disability support care worker as well. So, two jobs, very different jobs. But I was picking up really good transferable skills in my role as a disability support worker. You're really in the firing line there. So, you're learning things like ... You just get to experience things that set you up so well for later in your career.

Glen Tanner:
So, it was tough, you know? It wasn't necessarily easy. I had to learn how to balance my time. I had to learn self care early. I had to budget my money and make sure that all those things were in order. And I know that's not necessarily the experience for all students, you know? But for most of the mature aged students I've spoken to, it tends to be the way things are for them.

Ellen Jackson:
Yeah, there's definitely pros and cons. I was a mature aged student when I went back to do my Masters Degree, and I did it while ... So, that was part-time while working full-time and renovating a house with my partner at the time. So, kind of full on. I think back now, I think, "My god, how did I even do that?" But I think when you were speaking before about that intrinsic motivation and that experience of being able to understand theories in the context perhaps of actual experiences you've had, do you think that having a bit of life experience helps when it comes particularly in this field?

Glen Tanner:
Definitely, you know? Absolutely. We're working with people, and people that have had full lives. Some people have experienced some awful things in their life. So, if you've ... I don't mean to put a dampener on it, but if you can experience something that's not so good, it gives you that extra level of compassion and understanding, you know? So, I think it's very important, definitely. Yeah.

Ellen Jackson:
And you were getting both working there in the wine industry and management roles and sales roles. So, all very people focused tasks, but also working at disability support, that's giving a real breadth of different ways of relating and interacting with people.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, that's exactly right, and all different types of people, as you said. So, working with a population that might have intellectual disability and then going in to work and having to deal with customers and clients and people that can be quite demanding. So, you're having to use your negotiation skills and conflict management skills. It really was ... I'm really very thankful for having done that sort of work. I don't know how much it's helped me in the present in my present role, but I'm sure it must be a lot because when it came time to go out on placements, I felt a little bit more confident, you know? I thought, "Well, I've done this sort of stuff before. I can probably do okay here." It wasn't necessarily the case, but I certainly felt confident and I felt like I'd done that before. So, it definitely comes in handy.

Ellen Jackson:
So, placement was part of your undergraduate degree?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, placement started in Masters.

Ellen Jackson:
Okay.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah. So, in the way it's structured at the moment, I think it's about to change, but it's sort of three years undergraduate. And then you go and do an Honors, and then you start with the Masters program. For me, it was a clinical psychology Masters. And that's when I first sort of went out into the world and started to see how things actually go.

Glen Tanner:
So, it took quite a long time, you know? And I remember thinking ... Second year, I remember thinking, "All right, this is great. But when do I get to go?" You know? Like, "I'm ready, let me at them." And then year three came around and there was no sort of face to face contact. Then Honors, there was nothing there as well. And then finally in the fifth year we were able to go and work with the public.

Glen Tanner:
And in hindsight, I can kind of see why there's such a long time to build up those skills, to build up your confidence, to train you because it's an incredible position that has an enormous amount of responsibility attached to it, you know? And you need to make sure that you're ready. And by ready, I felt ready, but I probably wasn't ready until sort of the fifth or sixth year.

Ellen Jackson:
Ignorance is bliss.

Glen Tanner:
Indeed. Indeed it is.

Ellen Jackson:
So, you're up to year five. So, this is a clinical Masters degree. Now, can you just briefly explain ... I know we have discussed this on the podcast before for our listeners, but perhaps not everyone's heard it. What does clinical psychology mean? What does a clinical psychologist do that another type of psychologist might not do?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, well, I guess they sort of specialize in assessment, formulation, diagnosis and psychotherapy. And I'm not specifically sure if that's altogether too differentiated from other specialties, but it's certainly in the training, that's really a part of what you do. So, we're taught how to do a good psychological assessment, we're taught how to diagnose various mental disorders, whatever you'd like to call them. And you really learn how important that is, you know?

Glen Tanner:
And it's sort of like, I feel that those are invaluable skills because as Carl Jung said, "The shoe that fits one, pinches the other." And that's where these formulation skills come in handy. So, you get to go into the person's history, you take into account all the precipitating factors and all the individual factors that have led to a person perhaps feeling down or just maybe not flourishing and just not going where they'd like to go.

Glen Tanner:
So, for me, clinical psychology made sense. I understood that that was so important to understand a problem wholistically. And yeah, so that's for me what I really took from the training program. I really enjoyed that.

Ellen Jackson:
So, it's really, I suppose, geared towards working with those people who are struggling in some domain of their life. So, whether that's at the level of a diagnosable clinical illness or just somebody who really does not feel that they're thriving and flourishing or there's something that they're struggling with and they're wanting to work through that with a professional.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

Ellen Jackson:
Okay, because I know we use and we get used to these terminologies. But I know it's not necessarily common language, common parlance for perhaps everyone in our audience. So, that's another five and six years full-time training. Or not five and six, sorry, one and two to make years five and six in total.

Glen Tanner:
That's right. So, it's only really in those two years that I really came across any of these sort of skills. And this was incorporated into the training. So, during the Honors, I had to do a thesis. And then, also I think it was four or five units as well. But there was never any sort of training unless you opted to do your own private training. Like, you know, some of those people listening that are perhaps doing their Honors, I can highly recommend doing something like the Lifeline counseling program. It really teaches you those skills which are invaluable later on.

Glen Tanner:
But in the fifth and sixth years, that's when it all happens. That's when you really learn to bring all that information together and all that theory, all that knowledge. And then be able to put it together into practical clinical use. And for me, that was very exciting. I was like, "Oh, okay, now I get it. Now I get how all this psychological theory over the last sort of 200 years has come together, and it all makes sense." So yeah, those two years, just so, so crucial.

Ellen Jackson:
And it doesn't quite end there. So, you do a Masters degree-

Glen Tanner:
Unfortunately it does not.

Ellen Jackson:
And then what happens after that? This is to give everyone just a feel for the rigors of the training particularly at present. When I did it, we could do what we called the four plus two. So, I did an undergrad degree, an Honors year, or an equivalent. And then I did two years' supervised training. So, I actually worked with a psychologist and had extra supervision on top of that, that I usually completed on the weekends. And that was kind of it. Now, I went on to do a Masters degree, but I was already a registered psychologist at that point. It's a little different now, isn't it?

Glen Tanner:
It is indeed. Well, the four plus two program's still there. It's just that from what I saw, there wasn't a lot of positions going, you know? I did think about that because at the end of the Honors program, I was really tired. I was exhausted. And the idea of going to Fiji or Bali forever, or at least for a little holiday was very appealing. And then maybe taking a year off, spending nine months working as a wine maker again and enjoying that and then coming back was very appealing.

Glen Tanner:
And so was the idea of maybe becoming a provisionally registered psychologist, finding a supervisor, going down that way. But there was nothing out there as far as I could see. So, these positions are few and far between. So, yeah. The Masters was the only way to go. But what people probably may not realize, some of your listeners may not know about this ... Well, particularly the ones that have gone through the program in the last 10 years can testify to this, that it's actually quite a challenge doing a psychology degree.

Glen Tanner:
I'll put it this way, it bottlenecks a lot, you know? Sorry to use another wine analogy. But I remember when I started out in my first year. And I remember there just being so many students, you know? It seems like ... It must have felt like there was 500, 600 students. And the second year, there'd be less. And the third, there'd be less. And then, going for that Honors, that's not an easy thing as well. You might have something like a couple of hundred people trying out for 20 positions.

Glen Tanner:
And then when you get to the Masters, it's even more difficult. So, there might be people ... I think there was around about 800 people, I heard on the grapevine, that applied for my Masters program, which only gave about 20 spots. So, very competitive and quite stressful along the way. So, even before you complete a Masters, you've gone through a lot. So, you really need to manage yourself and self care is really vital. And then you're finished, and you have a little bit of a party. Out comes the champagne.

Glen Tanner:
But it is quite short-lived as well, you know? You have to then think about the next step. That's getting registered as a psychologist, and then also finding work. And then, also getting on the Clinical Psychology Registrar program as well. So, finding a supervisor, finding a good job, and then setting yourself up for the next sort of at least two or three years. So, a lot to think about.

Ellen Jackson:
Yeah. And so that supervision process to get registered, so you get registered as a psychologist. But then you also need to get registered as a clinical psychologist as it's an area of specialty. How long does that tend to take people?

Glen Tanner:
Yep, good question. So, two years. Yeah, if you do it quickly, if you find a good supervisor, you're in a good role whereby you're getting a lot of the face to face hours. And also, you're doing all your required continued development. And if you're on top of that, two years.

Glen Tanner:
Some people stretch it out a bit longer. Some people go into different roles as a clinical psychologist and they're not getting their face to face hours up. So, it can stretch on. But hopefully for me, it'll be two years.

Ellen Jackson:
That's what you're on track for. That's your target.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah.

Ellen Jackson:
So, eight years then, really, from the beginning of an undergraduate degree until the completion of your supervisory period in order to get registered, we're looking at eight years of commitment, which is not insubstantial.

Glen Tanner:
Indeed, it isn't. It's a very long time. So, when I started, I was sort of in my 20s. And I'm now 37. And it's just been a very long time. But you really do feel confident at the end of that, you know? You feel, "Wow, I've really learnt a lot." And all you have to do is get out your old academic transcripts and wow, I've done over 55 units. And I've done two theses. And I've also done all this other stuff. And so, it is an achievement. And you really do sort of start to feel confident. And you start to sort of trust your abilities at the end of that sort of six or eight years. But there's nothing quite like it.

Glen Tanner:
A lot of my friends at uni were doing law. And they've been out the other side for about four years now. And they're constantly ... Throughout my Honors degree and throughout my Masters, they were constantly saying, "Come on out with us on the weekend. And let's go out and party. What's wrong with you, Glen?" And I was like, "No, you just don't understand. You really have to be dedicated and passionate with this degree." It's not something that you can take lightly. And there isn't really that ability there to party on weekends, you know?

Glen Tanner:
You think, "Well, I've got a weekend off, what can I do with my time? Well, how about I read some Egen or I read up on those micro counseling skills and prepare for my session next week?" So, there's always something you can do.

Ellen Jackson:
So, a long journey, and it doesn't actually really stop. I mean, I hate to say it, but it doesn't stop there, the learning years. And one of the fascinating things about interviewing colleagues, fellow psychologists on this podcast is ... and I don't know whether it's because we're the type of people who want to keep learning or whether there's part of that long journey of training that embeds this in us, plus there is a requirement, you know? We still need to maintain a certain number of hours of professional development training. We still have to have supervision. There's a lot that continues on indefinitely while you maintain your registration as a psychologist.

Ellen Jackson:
But certainly, whenever I ask people about books they might recommend, they're always like, "So many books. There's so much I want to read. There's so much I want to learn." I'm intrigued to know whether or not it's kind of a natural interest that leads us down that path or whether or not it's kind of been pummeled into us. What do you think? Is this love of learning part of who you are?

Glen Tanner:
It is. It is, you know? And I think that's a really good point. I don't ever want to stop, you know? And I think I've almost ... Last year I said to myself, "I'll never pick up another textbook. I'll never publish again, or I won't go back and study anything at least until I'm 50." And that lasted about six months. And now I'm interested, you know? I just find that I'm just gravitating to certain topics, you know? And I'm a massive podcast fan. So, I love listening to podcasts. I always have my headphones on and I'm listening to podcasts when I jog, when I go to the gym, when I lie in bed.

Glen Tanner:
I mean, I could listen to podcasts whilst I'm swimming if Apple could just make the ear pods waterproof. But they haven't yet. So, there's a lot of different ways to learn, you know? You don't necessarily have to open a book. You can learn by listening, all right? You can learn by attending groups and developing new skills. But I think it really is in me to do that. And I think it's really important to stimulate your mind and learn new skills.

Ellen Jackson:
And I wonder whether ... Just as you were talking, I'm thinking maybe it's just that the people who have that natural love of learning, that curiosity, are the ones that actually manage to stick the whole eight years to get through. Perhaps if you haven't got that as an intrinsic driver to keep going, maybe that's when you go, "I don't know if this field's for me." I'm not sure, maybe someone's done study on it. Who knows?

Ellen Jackson:
Glen, tell me a little bit about the work that you do now. You are practicing as a registered psychologist. You don't need to give away too many details because I know we can't talk about our clients. But what's the type of work you're doing now? And what do you enjoy most about it?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, really good question. Yeah, first of all, I love my job. So, I absolutely love my job. And I had no real clue where I wanted to go when I finished. It was a time of a fair bit of anxiety for me when I finished the Masters and I was like, "Well, I'm done. But what now? What next?" You know? And I just remember thinking, "I don't want to spend the next four years doing something I'm not going to enjoy."

Glen Tanner:
And I remember thinking it through quite logically. And once again, I sort of sat down and thought, "Well, look, how am I going to do this? What are my strengths? What are my values? What do I really enjoy?" And I knew even though I did that, I could end up somewhere that wasn't for me. And I'd have to then change in a year or so. But for me, it was private practice, you know?

Glen Tanner:
I just thought, "This is a great opportunity to learn. This is a great opportunity to grow." You're seeing more clients than what you would in other scenarios and other situations, I guess. And I've absolutely loved my experience doing so. Overall, it's been a wonderful experience.

Glen Tanner:
The type of clients that I see, these might be clients that might have anxiety, depression. And also a part of my job is going out and promoting the EAP program. So, one of the things I've really enjoyed doing, which I was involved with recently, was going out and talking to miners in the Hunter Valley. And I'd spend 15 minutes with each worker, and I'd just tell them about mental health. I'd tell them about the EAP program. And just provide them with some assistance if needed. And I've really enjoyed that role. So, I think private practice is for me.

Ellen Jackson:
Fantastic, excellent. So, within that context, is there somewhere ... And this, I know is a huge question. But if there was kind of a legacy that you wanted to leave at this point, given that you're only new and I've been doing this 20 years and I'm still working it out for myself. But at this point in time, if there was somewhere that you wanted to take your career, some passion that you wanted to fulfill, or some legacy that you wanted to be able to create, what do you think that would be?

Glen Tanner:
That's a really good question. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I guess I'm never going to be like a Martin Seligman or Carl Jung or anything like that. I don't want to aim that high. And I'm not right into sort of academia. But someone who I'm inspired by is someone like Fred Hollows. So, someone who's really passionate and who really cares.

Glen Tanner:
So, I guess if you're going to leave a legacy, I guess one I'd like to leave is someone who genuinely cared about what he did and was seen as someone who was passionate, dedicated, thorough. And look, if you're going to leave a legacy, that's a hell of a legacy to leave. So, I'd like to do that. And I do that in any way I can. So, whether that be in my role as a clinical psychologist in private practice, or that might even be promoting mental health to the public.

Ellen Jackson:
So, making a difference I suppose perhaps underscores a lot of that, doesn't it?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, it really does. And that's sort of something that inspires me.

Ellen Jackson:
And the wonderful thing about psychology is ... and certainly something for me even that continues to unfold is that there are so many opportunities out there. I think one of the things that I've found fascinating is I've watched colleagues and fellow students set out on different paths has been that everyone's kind of found there thing hopefully. I think they've all found their thing. And those things can all be different on the surface, in terms of whether you work in private practice, whether you work with individuals, whether you work with groups, whether you work with organizations, whether you're working with the public and the ways in which that happens. But now, of course, technology allows us to do it in all different ways as well, you know?

Ellen Jackson:
I wouldn't have fathomed even five years ago that I could have a podcast where I would talk about these sorts of topics with people and spread the word of psychology that way. It just ... Well, for starters, podcasts weren't really a thing, or if they were, they weren't a terribly known thing. So, having the flexibility to know what those drivers, what those passions are. So, for you, that making a difference. I really love that you have periodically considered your values in part of this decision making process, "Who am I? What's important to me? Where could that take me?" Because I think that's so fundamental to those sorts of life decisions. So, I'll be intrigued to see where that takes you from hereon in.

Glen Tanner:
That makes two of us. Yeah.

Ellen Jackson:
Glen, have you got any tips for anyone who might be either on that journey, that long arduous eight year journey or considering embarking on it? And I hope we haven't scared them off by this stage, as to how to get through it, what helped you?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, that's a good question. And look, it's really important to maintain self care, you know? And it's not just a cliché, it's not just something people throw around, it's so important. It's a long journey to become a registered clinical psychologist, you know? It's sort of six to eight years. So, I'd say, get into good habits. Get into good daily habits. Get into good study habits. Get into relaxation habits where you're doing something every day and looking after yourself because you want to be in the fifth, sixth year and you want to have the energy to get through. So, self care, be kind to yourself, and develop really good habits is what I'd say.

Glen Tanner:
And if you need to go and see someone to help you through that, do it. Don't think about it, just go and do it. It'll make a world of difference.

Ellen Jackson:
And a wonderful experience too, and a wonderful opportunity, I think, for people. And I suppose what we really want to encourage, certainly what I want to encourage, and I'm quite sure you'd be on board with this too is to not allow yourself to get to the point of burnout and completely depleted before you go to seek some help in that regard. I think that's probably one of the perhaps still a bit of a stigma or a bit of confusion around seeing a psychologist is that, "I have to be broken before I go." But of course, there's an awful lot that you can do with a psych to help you with that self care, even those habit management, sleep and relaxation and those sorts of things, you can actually work with somebody to get that embedded and help to support you before or instead of things going wrong.

Glen Tanner:
Exactly. No, look, that's so true. And I guess it's sort of knowing yourself. It's knowing your limitations. And some people, they're much better at looking after others, caring for others, treating others better than they treat themselves. So, I'm guilty as charged. I am one of those people, or was one of those people, I'm proud to say.

Glen Tanner:
So, for me, it was about other people telling me, "Look, you're not doing too well here, mate. You don't seem yourself." And I was like, "Really? Okay. All right. I better go and speak to someone and see if I can get on top of my stress." And it was so good. It really turned things around. So, it could be the difference between getting through the degree, you know? So just making sure that treat yourself as you'd treat others. Think about yourself as you'd think about others. So, that's think about yourself fondly.

Glen Tanner:
And if you can't pick it up in yourself, then ask others. Ask your partner, ask your parents, ask a supervisor, "Hey, I just don't think I'm doing well. What do you think? Can you give me any advice? Is there anyone you can recommend I go talk to?" So, self awareness. And if that doesn't work, ask somebody close to you.

Ellen Jackson:
Which is wonderful advice. I think that is something that we can all learn a little bit from. Pay attention, that self awareness I think is a fantastic point, you know? Pay attention, but also ask others and be open to what they tell you.

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, indeed. Indeed, yeah.

Ellen Jackson:
Glen, any other resources, strategies, tips, books, things that have helped you before we close off?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, definitely. Look, in terms of psychological texts, start reading about psychotherapy early, you know? So, you can get Beck's book. There's plenty of fabulous books about CBT. So, start reading about these, how to do this as soon as you can. And also, read outside of the course material. Psychology is such an incredible field. And there's just been some wonderful books that have been written. And there's just so many great psychologists over the years.

Glen Tanner:
I started reading some Carl Jung. And that certainly wasn't the required text, but just became an inspiring experience just reading. This man's just got staggering genius and that was really inspirational. So, I'd say get onto texts as quickly as you can, text on CBT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, or whatever you're interested in. And also, read outside of the course material.

Glen Tanner:
If I had to recommend a book, I'd recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Ellen Jackson:
Do you know how many people have recommended that book to me lately?

Glen Tanner:
Yeah, it's great. It's so good. It's really a way to break down your vision and your longterm goals into simple little strategies and systems. So, we all have goals. Some of us don't necessarily get there. And usually what that's about is we just don't have the right systems in place. So, a really good book for students to get organized.

Ellen Jackson:
Wonderful. Glen, thank you so much for today. It's given me a bit more insight into the modern ... Call it that way, the contemporary, perhaps, makes me feel less old, training program for psychologists, just what is involved, the level of commitment, but also the level of rigor. It's heartening to see because I think we're turning out some wonderful psychologists. I really appreciate your time. And for anybody listening and who'd like to know a little bit more, we're going to put all of Glen's details, including contact details if he's happy with that, as well as some of those resources that we have mentioned in the show notes for today's episode.

Ellen Jackson:
And of course, I am very happy, but I'm sure Glen would be very happy too if you have questions about the psychology program, about how to get registered, about the experience of it if it's something that you're considering because I know we do have listeners who like the idea of getting into the field or who are on that journey at the moment, and we'd both be more than happy to help.

Ellen Jackson:
Thank you again, Glen.

Glen Tanner:
Thanks, Ellen. Thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Ellen Jackson:
Are you feeling inspired or maybe a little terrified after that conversation of early career and psychology training with Glen Tanner? Glen and I had a short further chat after that interview, and we both hoped that we've successfully walked the line between creating an awareness of the rigor and commitment of psychological training. So, eight years and onwards is really nothing to be sneezed at. But also the joy and satisfaction and the real privilege of working in this field.

Ellen Jackson:
It comes with a lot of inspiration that not only gets us all through our training, but I think it also gets us through the many years that follow. So, I hope we did that well. If you'd like to get in contact with Glen to discuss any of the topics we raised today, we've put his details in the show notes for the episode, along with the resources that he mentioned and some other resources on training as a psychologist in Australia. And I hope you find all of those helpful. They are at potential.com.au/podcast.

Ellen Jackson:
And if you'd like to keep in touch with the podcast more generally and everything that's going on in the world of Potential Psychology, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter at potential.com.au/subscribe. And of course, if you think there's someone else who'd love the show and our guests, please tell them about it. Maybe you know someone who's either training as a psych right now or is looking at training as a psych. They might find this episode helpful. Please share it around, tell them about it. Better yet, email them a link to the show or share it on social media. And let's see if together we can help more people, including our psychology students to thrive and flourish.

Ellen Jackson:
Next week, we're exploring a bit more brain tech. So, if you listened to last week's episode, James Garrett and I discussed the neuro tech that he has been experimenting with as part of his year long adventure in brain hacking and his project known as The Deep Change Project. And I've also been doing a little dabbling in neuro tech myself using a brain sensing headband for better meditation and relaxation. And next week, I'm talking to Ariel Garton, who's the co-founder of InterAxon who makes that very headband. It's called The Muse, you may have heard of it. And Ariel's mission is to help you to do a deep dive in understanding your brain, how it makes you who you are, and how to help manage the crazy that resides in all of our minds. So, I'm really looking forward to that conversation. That is next week on the Potential Psychology Podcast.

Ellen Jackson:
As always, thanks for being here with me. I really appreciate it. I look forward to talking to you again soon. But in the meantime, go forth, thrive, flourish, and fulfill your potential.