Offering Professional Support, Genuine Care for your Mental and Emotional Well-being [Interview][Transcript]

Gregg_Chapman_Strategic_PsychologyGuest: Gregg Chapman
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Gregg Chapman began work-life as a secondary teacher after graduating Sydney University, worked ten years as a teacher in public and private schools in Sydney. He studied his second degree at Macquarie University to qualify as a psychologist. He trained full-time for a year with NSW Department of Education to become a School Counsellor, attained post-graduate qualifications as an external student in Special Education Charles Sturt University District School Counsellor in NSW 1978-1987, School Counsellor, Regional Education Assessment Counsellor in Canberra, ACT 1988-2005. He attained post-graduate qualifications in organisational psychology University of Canberra, qualified as certified psychotherapist from the William Glasser Institute of Los Angeles USA. He won the Australian Human Resource Management Institute Award for Excellence in HR Studies in 2001. He was the Senior School Psychologist Canberra Grammar School 2005-2015. He is the Clinical Manager of Strategic Psychology since 2015. He is a father of three, and also a grandfather of three.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome Strategic Psychology Clinical Manager Gregg Chapman here to discuss the services they provide. Among the services they offer are supportive, understanding counselling for adults across a wide-range of presenting issues. Strategic Psychology offers psychological therapy; psychological assessments; some training; and, consultancy advice. They provide a broad range of psychological services to clients across the life-span. Our practice specializes in an increasingly popular form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).

They assist with difficulties such as depression, anxiety, work dissatisfaction, interpersonal difficulties amongst many others. All of their registered psychologists are members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Their practice is located in the heritage listed Sydney building in the heart of Canberra city.

Health Professional Radio – Mental and Emotional Well-being

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and joining me today is Gregg Chapman. Gregg’s the Clinical Manager at Strategic Psychology in Canberra. Gregg welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Gregg Chapman: Thank you very much.

W: Now Gregg, before we get on to the kind of product and services you do, can you give us an idea of what geographic footprint you service and maybe a sense of the size of the firm?

G: Yes, certainly. Our practice Strategic Psychology services the ACT and the…we have referrals from as far as Darwin. We consider that just up the road, it’s about an hour as fast drive of course. The south coast to be at south Wales as far as Dubbo and …We employ nine psychologists entitled that includes our Managing Director, Nesh Nikolic and myself as a Clinical Manager. With some of our psychologists working some evenings a week and we also have three reception staff and we’re in a participating team of Psychologists shortly the business is expanding.

W: It’s always nice when a business is expanding

G: True.

W: Gregg, give us a sense of the products and services if you like. I know it’s odd to talk about products in terms of psychology practice but I’m just trying to get a sense of what is you do and in particular, many of our audience are clinical staff of one kind or another. What’s the message you’d like clinical staff and patients to know about the practice?

G: Well, Strategic Psychology, naturally we offer psychological therapy that’s kind of the standard with a psychological assessments. We do some training in acceptance and commitment therapy which is our favorite therapy and we do some consultancy advice. With my Masters in Human Resource Management, I also do some executive coaching from time to time. Our practice specializes in that increasing popular form of cognitive behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy that was in part popularized by the bestselling book, The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris…may have seen on the bookstands or read. We also undertake rehabilitation work, national disability assessments, insurance claims and compensation work and we have referrals from a number of private schools, businesses and…spectrum counseling and of course naturally the GPs, Pediatricians and Psychiatrists are referrers. We offer a range of therapy for an age where a client can sustain their focus and engage meaningfully, talk about toddlers and psychological assessments throughout the lifespan.

W: Now I know that you mentioned Pediatricians there and it’s one of our particular interest. What’s the most common issue that Strategic Psychology deals within the child and adolescent area, I guess?

G: I suppose that would be behavioral disorders, parents come in with and seeking help from us and that’s by far, you see a certain attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit disorder and they’re commonly accompanying co-morbid disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. We also work a bit with teenage lack of engagement and motivation, this is my…phrase, we’re talking about beyond the standard teenage lack of engagement and motivation for some and school refusals, the satisfaction with school often feature for us as well.

W: Now, ADHD is an interesting topic. How is it identified?

G: Normally it’s done by taking a history and looking at current reports and care givers administering semi-structured interviews or structured interviews, check listing on the rating scales like the common in a brown ADD scales or the standard built system scales and the Conners rating scales and clinical observations. The symptoms and signs our listeners would probably know at being a clinical audience. For ADD and ADHD are clustered into the three inattention hyperactivity and impulsivity domains and they generate three forms, the condition that predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and a combined and we try to move to a differentia; diagnosis that better guide their interventions where possible.

W: Now in working with children, adolescents with ADHD, is there a particular, I guess I don’t know the right word, work philosophy, a clinical practice, model that you follow?

G: Yes, we do. We offer advice in behavior management teaching strategies beyond personal skills, they’re willing to accept it. We offer parenting advice, naturally that’s a large component of our work and we work with the referring GPs, Pediatricians and other allied health professionals like, perhaps in some cases, Speech pathologists or Occupational Therapists with their co-morbid conditions there on a case by case basis. In some cases we even offer individual primary therapy to the sufferer of the condition, the young child or adolescent. But our main focus is probably on training parenting skills.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, it’s Wayne Bucklar. I’m in conversation with Gregg Chapman, Clinical Manager of Strategic Psychology in Canberra in Australia and we’ve been talking about the practices work with children and adolescents and in particular with ADHD. Gregg, you mentioned there that you give advice to schools, how does that play out?

G: Really well usually unfortunately being a private practitioner there are time and cost in terms of travel and wait times at schools foregoing sessions in the practice but I’d like to do more in that area as a form of School Psychologist for many dear I say decades. I got…at schools and was able to revisit them and see what’s going on and I think we’re possible absolutely unique in their efforts to liaison work with the young client school to the extent we’re trying to develop this consistent approaches if possible across the context as a child or as an adolescent leaves their homes and school. We’re following back the parents and the schools to pre-set the communication and then later on, hopefully collaboration and cooperation on management.

W: Have you formed a view, Gregg, given your time and skills and your history about how schools can best cope with students with ADHD?

G: Yes. So my thing is that as your listeners are probably aware that many text addressing this, most notably, probably Russell Barkley in the US, the world, the international guru in the area but essentially I think it helps to accept that for schools that ADHD is really often times we get a denial of the condition and it’s just naughtiness or poor parenting. By understanding the disorder and also understanding the uniqueness of the child in that context because there’s a saying in ASD…as when you’re seeing one child…disorder you’re seeing one child with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, it’s the same applies to ADHD to some extent. We want to encourage and support the child’s strengths and to facilitate the reasonable adjustments that are required by law these days and the disability standards through education back in 2005. In terms of therapeutic approaches to behavior management, in my opinion the reality therapy approach of the world renowned US psychiatrist William Glasser, the work of Australian professor Bill Rogers, the world renowned in schools was possibly implement and the behavior analysis, applied behavioral analysis approach which can be quite tricky to apply in schools but sometimes can be applied with the willing and consistent teacher. So we’re looking at also at the moment how acceptance in commitment therapy may apply to ADHD as well, we’re working at a platform for doing that.

W: You have a very comprehensive view about that, it’s nice to hear the experience coming forth when you’re talking.

G: Thank you, yeah.

W: Tell us, we’ve been talking about the services that you have and we’ve kind of strayed into children and adolescents to some extent. Gregg tell us a little bit about what it is about your products and services you’d like clinical staff and patients to know about.

G: We have a mission statement, corporate statement that says we listen, we understand, we care, I suppose that’s quite a nice thing to put forward in all sincerity. In the cognitive behavior therapy skill, our favorite foremost therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy is our therapy of choice and mind therapy and I think that it’s nice that people to begin to understand this is not relatively new of form of therapy in Australia it’s been around for about 30 years with the start to penetrate here in more of the last decade or so well we favor that because that’s such impressive improved of support base of so many years and since it’s a cognitive behavior therapy, there are research supporting cognitive behavior therapy also applies to acceptance and commitment therapy but we tend to find that it tends to achieve more satisfying, stable and lasting results that’s been in literature as well which is quite nice without the approval and support there. We treat a very wide range of psychological and immersion challenges across the lifespan as I’ve said earlier and our clinicians have undertaken the level 1 Gottman marriage and relationship counseling training which is another world renowned approach to relationships counseling. We’re quite keen about expanding the use of that area of team…went on a course and under took a 2-day course and then found out very useful and we’re now implementing that with our clients and we’re finding initially quite a lot of success very rapidly, very encouraging.

W: Interesting to hear. Gregg in every interview my favorite question always comes down to misconceptions and in every field of endeavor there are misconceptions. What’s the biggest misconception about your products and services that keeps you awake at night?

G: Well, Strategic Psychology always trying to be better, I think our staff all sleep well at night and particularly since I’ve done qualifications sleep psychology I was able to assist there I suppose if there were any problems. But we spend a lot of time analyzing the quality of our processes and client satisfaction and the outcomes, we’re constantly striving to improve. Possibly the biggest misconception about in our services the notion of wanting difficultly fixed and fixed fast. There some things that cannot be changed, if the change is possible and functional we could have our clients in this. The fact is there are also some things that cannot be changed and then resulting dysfunction and the actual worsening of the situation of change we’re attempted that client attempts to struggle with the problem and thereby reinforces it and the actual fact it makes worst. But acceptance and commitment therapy as I mentioned earlier we have favorite therapy… if you were to change that which is dysfunctional in terms of impeding our goals and living our values. Also we have to learn to function as much as possible with those difficulties. We have done unchangeable and still live a rich, meaningful, enjoyable life in accordance to our values. In our culture, it’s often expected that we can always be happy, not experience pain, living a good life, that’s a common illusion unfortunately struggle to work on and we know it here in the practice that in life, an old saying from the east “Pain is inevitable, but suffering now that’s optional”.

W: Yes, very true. Gregg it’s been a pleasure having you here with us on Health Professional Radio. I do appreciate you’re giving up your time today.

G: Thank you very much for contacting and spending your time with us too.

W: It’s been our pleasure and listeners if you’ve missed my conversation with Gregg Chapman, then you have missed a very interesting chat. Gregg, as I mentioned earlier, is a Clinical Manager of Strategic Psychology in Canberra. But the good news is we have a transcript of the interview on our website, or you can listen to the audio archive which is available on both YouTube and SoundCloud and you can find links to all of those resources at If you’d like to get in touch with Gregg Chapman the Clinical Manager at Strategic Psychology, you can visit the website, it’s, all one word or you can give the clinic a call at 02 6262 6157. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, thank you for being with us today. My name is Wayne Bucklar.

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