Coffee with….Mandy Taylor, Director of Clinical Services, Cairnmillar Institute

I am the Director of Clinical Services at Cairnmillar Institute. Cairnmillar is a not-for-profit charity organisation, established in 1961 by Professor Francis McNab. It is now under the leadership of Professor Kathryn von Treuer and has evolved into a highly regarded teaching institute offering short courses and higher education programs.

One of the key things that makes Cairnmillar an industry leader in psychology and counselling training is our approach to treatment; Cairnmillar Clinic offers psychology services and counselling at clinics across Melbourne. We offer fee-based psychology services with registered and clinical psychologists, as well as providing EAP services and professional supervision to our industry partners.

Cairnmillar Community Clinics also offer $20 sessions with postgraduate provisional psychologists. The Community Clinics offer an opportunity for people wanting to access care with no limits on session numbers, and people who might not be eligible for a mental health care plan, have used up their allocated medicare sessions, or want to engage psychology services for family support and intervention, or for wellbeing support.

My role involves supporting the psychologists and provisional psychologists working in the Cairnmillar Clinics. I also provide psychology and professional supervision within the clinic and to colleagues in the community, and work with families, adults and children. In my spare time, I like to offer guest lectures in the Cairnmmillar school, and provide ASIST and Mental Health First Aid training  (Cairnmillar Short Courses program has all kinds of interesting courses – have a look!).

What sort of work were you doing prior to starting at the Cairnmillar Institute?
I started with the Cairnmillar Institute in 2017 and am about to hit my 12-month anniversary. Before I started with Cairnmillar, I worked with Eastern Melbourne PHN as the Senior Manager of Mental Health and AOD. Prior to that I have worked in public mental health across Monash Health and Eastern Health, working with children, young people, families and adults.

What excites and motivates you in your role?
What I love about the work I do is the capacity to use both my psychology skills and delve into the world of business development. The capacity to work for an organisation that is small enough to be agile and responsive, but big enough to offer a range of expertise within its workforce, offers a unique opportunity to respond to new initiatives. That said, I feel grounded again when I work with clients; it reminds me why we do the work we do. Having a role where I can be both a clinician and a leader is my ideal role.

What is most challenging about your work?
When I said the role allows me to engage my business development skills, I am still working on my business development skills! Cairnmillar offers such a range of treatment, training and education opportunities to the community; our challenge is to let the community know that!

What strengths do you see in the Hawthorn Community?
Cairnmillar moved to Hawthorn in August 2017. The Hawthorn community offers so much scope for community activities, particularly through the Boroondara council. With activities and support for our mature population as well as family services, Hawthorn offers many opportunities for community engagement.

Where do you recommend in Hawthorn East for Coffee/ Lunch/ People Watching?
I am typing this sitting in The Baker’s Wife and looking longingly at their selection of muffins and croissants! Close to our office, I love a coffee from Sweet Temptations or Parkers, and love the sense of community around Hawthorn East.

If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
That’s such a hard question. Climate change would be on my list; watching our government play politics rather than work to useful targets with effective strategies is just heartbreaking.

If you weren’t working at the Cairnmillar Institute right now, what would you be doing?
I would love to be an incredibly witty, quick, astute and creative person who would write incredibly insightful books that provoke thought and reflection, and motivate people to action around world-changing issues such as climate change, equality, diversity and chocolate, whilst making people laugh and feel connected. And I’d be doing that on a tropical beach, in a hammock. With a drink with an umbrella in it.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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