This week's guest blog comes in the form of an interview I conducted with a Sydney Psychologist, Michael (Mike) Charles of MC Psychology.
Michael has been a great supporter of the work of Mr. Perfect and is looking forward to helping us to spread a message about the importance of mental health (for all genders):
I am a registered psychologist and have been in private practice in Sydney for the last 4 years. Apart from gaining a degree in psychology I was born with a passion and curiosity for human behaviour.
After graduating in 2009, I moved to New York city for 3 years where I interned at NYU as a psychology research associate, worked in a bar, dabbled in film, and did some documentaries on the street to test the theory by asking New Yorkers if they were in fact crazy.
My client type is extremely broad. I work in general practice, run a weekly drug and alcohol group but I am particularly passionate about Men's mental health. The statistics on violence and suicide are alarming and this affects each and every one of us. I would consider my approach a general holistic one. When I'm not working I can be found cooking and doing bad karaoke.
Tell us something about you that is not on your CV/resume.
I've done stand up comedy.
Why did you become a Psychologist?
I always want to know what people are thinking.
What do you love about your vocation?
I get the chance to make real change in people's lives.
In your opinion what would the most effective Psychologist do for a Client?
To help the client formulate and achieve their goals in order to make real change. Oftentimes this does not mean sitting there and just listening.
Do you enjoy working with one more than the other or are there any “specialist” areas you practice?
My ideal client is someone who wants to investigate who they are as a person in order to operate more fully in the world in the face of their adversity.
You mentioned you were involved in Men’s Groups in New York when we met for coffee (my joint favourite place in the world). What was so special about that experience?
I love the vibrancy of New York. It is obviously a melting pot of many different types of people where you can learn and do things you could not do anywhere else.
In your words what exactly are Men’s Groups and why do you think they are effective?
Men's groups are support groups where men can feel safe to express and support other men who are brave enough to show up in order to better themselves and the lives of other men.
Why do you think men allow mental health issues to fester?
In particular, Australian men have always needed to be seen in a particular way; to not be vulnerable or look at oneself on an emotional level. This is obviously detrimental in many ways but the tide is turning slowly but surely.
What is your advice to the Psychology vocation as a whole?
Think outside the box. Relate to the client as a person, a human being.
What is your advice to a person struggling with their mental health and looking for a Psychologist for the first time?
Try and ask yourself what you would like to get from the experience (it is common and ok if people don't know exactly). My tip would be to avoid someone who just sits and listens as you could get that from friends or guys at the pub. You need a point of difference.
What drew you to find out more about Mr. Perfect?
I respect people trying to improve mens health. I am very happy to support people working on making improvements in this amazingly powerful and important field.