A commitment to supporting mums and dads to be the best parent for their children is a driving force for new University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) psychology lecturer Dr Carolina Gonzalez.
“I am a parent and know the theory, but I also struggle with the practice. I want to encourage parents like me to reach out, support others and support each other,” said Dr Gonzalez, a clinical psychologist whose research focuses on the early engagement of parents with parenting programs.
“We all have some access to evidence-based support in Australia, but I still find parents who are not using that support.
“Parenting is not one or two people’s responsibility; it is our responsibility as a society because we are raising the next generation.
“I’m interested in building evidence to improve access to appropriate support for parents and their families.
“What we think, feel, and do affect how we parent; let's open the conversation.
“If parents are open about themselves, we will be role models for our children, teaching them that it’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to be frustrated, it’s okay to be scared, we just need to reach out to others and seek professional support if needed.”
Born and raised in Chile, Dr Gonzalez has worked in clinical, community and forensic psychology for the past 15 years overseas and recently as a clinical psychologist in Australia.
She joined UniSQ after more than a decade at the University of Queensland, where she earned her master's degree in mental health and PhD in psychology and launched her research career.
“I want to give myself the best opportunity to take my career to the next level,” Dr Gonzalez said.
“I have consolidated my research profile and clinical experience in the last few years.
“UniSQ provides me with the right environment to connect with researchers from national and international universities and relevant stakeholders from industry and agencies.
“I was recently selected for the 2023 Early Career Academic Women's Development Program, which will be a great opportunity to consolidate my profile and define strategic career goals.”
Dr Gonzalez, who first arrived in Australia in 2011, is involved in many professional organisations locally and internationally.
“I can only create change with others,” she said.
“Working with others already paving the way is a golden opportunity to contribute from the inside.
“It is about contributing my skill set to common goals and leading initiatives that benefit not only our members but the broader community as well.”
One of the organisations Dr Gonzalez is a member of is the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy, which celebrates World Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy Day on Friday (April 7).
The event is timed to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s World Health Day and to reflect the importance of the behavioural and cognitive therapies to global health.