School of Psychology
College of Humanities & Social Sciences
In Search of Healing Narratives Amongst Warriors: Exploring the Lived Experience of New Zealand Defence Force Service-Members Seeking Mental Health Support
The conflicts in the middle east of the last 20 years have drawn attention to the psychological impact of service in the military. A non-trivial number of military personnel with diverse mental healthcare needs go untreated - approximately 1 in 4 personnel (in western militaries) do not seek help when they need it - or those that do seek help are under-served by current systems and structures and either drop out of treatment, or fail to receive adequate care. The New Zealand Defence Force/ Te Ope Kātua O Aotearoa is a unique biculturally orientated military with unique needs for mental health support for its personnel that require deeper understanding. My primary focus is on the experience of making the decision to seek help for mental health distress to understand how service members negotiate approach factors (e.g., desire to improve quality of life) and avoidance factors (e.g., anxiety around stigmatisation). My second focus is on the narrative description of going through the mental health system, in order to understand how members tell the story of their healing journey.
My DClinPsych research aims to contribute to improving mental health care accessing and outcomes in NZDF service members.
My NZDF career informs my motivation and passion for this research. I have served 19 years in the military and have deployed to East Timor, the Solomon Islands, and Afghanistan, first as a helicopter pilot and later as a military psychologist. I received my BA in Psychology from Massey sometimes studying in tents extramurally whilst deployed in the early 2000s. I pursued my MSc in Psychology at the University of Canterbury where I experience sampled daily activities to identify different aspects of wellbeing. Pursuing my DClinPsych is a tremendous privilege which I hope will positively contribute to my military community.
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Last updated on Monday 04 April 2022