Meet a LiveBig Team Member – Jay, Team Leader

We sat down with our new Team Leader, Janelle 'Jay' Kumar, to discover her experience as a Psychologist and what motivates her in her role at LiveBig.

Here’s what Jay had to say: 

I completed my training as a counselling psychologist in New Zealand and soon after moved to Melbourne, Australia. Throughout my career I’ve worked with a range of people from individuals who have experienced mental health concerns to families looking to reach quality of life goals. I enjoy working with clients of all ages, but specifically have an interest in working with those who are going through life-stage developments. I pride myself in being able to adapt and create a safe, non-judgemental, and open reflective space for all my clients. 

Can you outline your experience and background in Psychology?  

Since gaining my registration in New Zealand, I have worked in non-government organisations, where I have worked with individuals who have experienced mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression through to concerns around life stages where social and resilience building skills have been required. I have worked with clients from 5 years old to 65 years old. I pride myself on being culturally sensitive and inclusive, which plays to the strengths of multi-cultural cities like Auckland and Melbourne.  

What inspired you to pursue a career in Psychology? 

I recall wanting to originally be a doctor as I always wanted to help people. But realised quickly that I didn’t hold the disposition required to become a doctor as I tended to faint around the sight of needles and blood. Luckily, when I was 14 years old, I crossed paths with a psychologist. This clinician’s ability to connect and relate to me as a teenager was remarkable, but I recall thinking it wasn’t what she said but how she made me feel that made an impact. Also, knowing that she could help people but without having to engage with the medical disposition was instrumental in my decision to become a psychologist.  

What type of patients are you most interested in working with, in terms of age and type of disability? 

I enjoy working with clients of all ages, but specifically have an interest in individuals who are going through life-stage developments. For example, those leaving primary school and going into secondary school, or individuals leaving secondary school and entering the work force or deciding on university. These pivotal points in each individual’s life can be instrumental in their character development and the way they engage with their environment. I have a special interest in working with individuals who are on the Autism Spectrum, who have an Intellectual disability and non-verbal presentations. However, no two individuals are the same and I find learning alongside each person and presentation is most interesting to me. 

What, in your opinion, are the most important qualities for a Psychologist? 

That’s a hard one! I think the main quality is a desire to understand what your client needs, followed closely by genuineness and authenticity. As each person requires different skills and qualities, it’s imperative to be flexible and know your limits on what you can provide, which is where the authenticity portion is important, as it ensures you’re doing your best to support your clients with what you have.  

How would you define a successful Psychologist? 

I would define a successful psychologist in two stages the initial from a clinical perspective and the consequential success of the clinician on the client’s life. The initial success from a clinical perspective would be a psychologist being able to hold their authentic-self alongside their therapeutic engagement with client. The latter success in my opinion is the mark of a successful psychologist, which would be that a client is able to live their fullest life, with no knowledge that the clinician was ever there. 

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