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Bridget Fink - Clinical Psychologist

4 July 2022
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When Bridget Fink was first considering moving to New Zealand from the United States, part of what drew her in was Aotearoa’s welcoming reputation. When joining Ara Poutama Aotearoa’s Psychology team, the recruitment company described New Zealanders as good hosts.

In Bridget’s experience, we’ve lived up to that reputation. She’s now been here three months and has had a very positive experience.

“New Zealand is such a beautiful country and known for being very welcoming… And honestly, I've had that experience. When I first moved here, people were checking in, ‘how are you settling in? Do you need help finding groceries, clothing for work?’

It’s things you don't even think about [when you first move], but everyone was really open to having those conversations.”

Bridget says this warm welcome extended to her team at Ara Poutama Aotearoa, who have been ‘very supportive from day one.’

“It's definitely been a privilege to walk into this team. Everybody wants each other to be successful, there is no judgment about any questions asked. There’s a recognition that everybody's going through a different process, and a valuing of everybody's unique experiences.”

Coming from a background working in forensic psychology, Bridget is enjoying the variety that comes with working for Ara Poutama Aotearoa.

“There's the individual therapy piece, which involves treatment planning - doing some research beforehand and thinking: what has happened in this person's life that contributed to the offence and where can I intervene to be helpful? Then there’s actually meeting with the person and having those discussions.

There’s also record reviews for parole assessments - doing a deep dive into what happened to the person that contributed to that offence, and how we can support the person reintegrating in the community. And I think that's really important work, because the ultimate goal is balancing individual rights and community protection.”

She also appreciates that there are opportunities to hone her craft through training and development.

“The Department of Corrections gives a certain amount of money for training for the year, which you can tailor to your needs. Recently I've been looking at training for informing trauma care.

In addition, there's trainings all the time that are ongoing and you can take advantage of if you can fit it in your schedule.”

Bridget says she feels lucky to be working in a job that she loves, noting that with each person, there is an opportunity to learn, grow and help people.

“The job involves so many things that I personally value - like ongoing learning, connecting with others.

It’s not always grand shifts, but when you see little changes in people - that’s what’s most rewarding, I think.”

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