We’re so excited to profile Premium member Christie Arbuckle, a psychologist, founder of Growth Pursuit Consulting and also the brains behind The Compassionate Parent app. We wanted to know more about how a psychologist launches an app and also pick her brains on taking a holistic approach to health. This is Christie’s story…
We’d love to hear a bit about your career so far…
I started off working as a psychologist in schools and soon after moved into a more clinical role working with patients in mental health hospitals. I have been very fortunate in my career and had many opportunities to develop skills across numerous clinical areas including postnatal health, trauma recovery and eating disorders. In 2018, I opened Growth Pursuit Consulting and now work clinically in areas such as individual therapy with executive teams in leadership skill development and understanding mental health in the workplace.
You’ve just launched The Compassionate Parent app. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to create it?
Over the past few years, people in my professional and personal circles were increasingly talking
about how they were searching for evidence-based and professionally written apps, blogs and social media pages on parenting. So, The Compassionate Parent app uses strategies based upon principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology to assist parents in building strategies to help maintain perspective and manage expectations throughout their parenting journey.
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The app is broken into three key sections and allows parents to set reminders and link their favourite tools on the home page:
- Self-Help – With a focus on connectedness it identifies ways to strengthen the parent-child connection through play and activity offering suggestions for newborns through to one-year-olds.
- Self-Reflection – Offering strategies for managing mood and acknowledges the mix of emotions parents can experience, which may range from anxiety to tiredness while offering coping strategies for these if they are experienced.
- Personal Growth – Offering strategies and exercises that are influenced by evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology principles to offer manageable tools for busy parents across the domains of keeping positive, looking after themselves, managing expectations and maintaining perspective.
Building an app is little bit different to your day job as a psychologist! How did you create the app and what have you learned along the way?
It is very different! It was something I had thought about for quite a while and I realised it would take a team to bring the vision to life; providing therapy was my background but tech areas felt far from my strengths! I feel very fortunate that I found the team at Hitori Inc who worked with me to bring the app from concept to product.
The learning curve has seen me developing new skills, however the most important lesson has been learning how to work with feedback and turn it into app functions to get the best app version to the stores.
Beyond the app, you’re also passionate about people taking care of their wellbeing ‘domains’. Could you explain a little bit about the domains?
Wellbeing is important across so many areas. Often, we are great at remembering to get enough exercise and sleep, to eat healthy and ‘take care’ of our health. But what about the other elements that make up overall wellbeing? At times we forget that wellbeing has many domains – emotional, social, societal and workplace, not just physical. Wellbeing isn’t simply the absence of illness – we need to be looking after ourselves across each of these domains.
At different stages in life one area may be more of a priority than another and that’s okay as each contributes to good overall wellbeing. During a stressful period at work we might need to put more energy into workplace and emotional wellbeing and, in contrast, we might find that a month later we are focussing on social wellbeing and reconnecting with friends more.
Think of wellbeing as a compass; we want to head due north overall but from time to time we may find we are off course slightly and heading in a different direction. Checking in to recalibrate can keep us on track and remind us which area of wellbeing we may need to focus on.
What would you say to someone who says they don’t have time to practice some of your tips?
We are all busy – we all manage to fill our 1440 minutes every day, often wishing we had more to allocate to the tasks we are yet to complete or observing the guilt at not being present enough with our loved ones. This is where non-negotiables support our wellbeing intentions. Non-negotiables teach you to make time for yourself in a way you value and that taking care of your wellbeing is a priority. Your non-negotiable may be to start the day with a meditation, a hug from your partner or child for connection or to eat a good breakfast to nourish your mind and body. Ideally, it should relate to one of the wellbeing domains of physical, emotional, social, societal or workplace, and be small enough to fit into a busy day.
Okay, last question! What are you most excited about for the upcoming year?
I can’t wait for the unknown – I have spent so long planning the app developments that I am looking forward to seeing where it leads. I am typically someone who is well-planned and considered so I look forward to seeing what the year ahead brings, and maybe 2020 might also involve a holiday to a sunny destination for a little rest and relaxation!