Issue 1
Monday, 02 March 2020
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Associate Professor Maria Hennessy aims to embed positive psychology into a restructured Psychology program
Associate Professor Maria Hennessy aims to embed positive psychology into a restructured Psychology program

Positive psychology builds on strengths

The new Head of Psychology, Associate Professor Maria Hennessy aims to embed “positive psychology” and a distinct Territory flavour into a restructured Charles Darwin University Psychology program.

The program would be restructured in line with new Australian Psychology accreditation guidelines and international models that provide greater flexibility and potentially reduces the number of years of study to become a psychologist.

“I have a vision to develop a program that works with the unique opportunities that exist in the Northern Territory,” Dr Hennessy said.

“There’s an opportunity to have meaningful cultural experiences and cultural learning given our location. We hope to work more closely with Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to give back to communities based on their needs,” she said.

“It’s about building on our strengths.”

Dr Hennessy is an experienced academic, clinical neuropsychologist and clinical psychologist. With a resume including Queensland Health and academia, postgraduate clinical and undergraduate programs in Brisbane, Townsville and Singapore, Dr Hennessy said she was excited about the potential for innovation in program delivery at CDU.

“I’m also keen to embed positive psychology into the program. There is high demand for positive psychology but limited courses in Australia.”

While mental health treats psychopathology such as depression by focussing on relieving symptoms, positive psychology brings a balance by also focussing on improving wellbeing, life balance and resilience.

“There is a strong community interest in health and wellbeing that good training and research can support. I’m looking forward to working with (College Dean) Professor Dominic Upton and my colleagues in the College of Health and Human Sciences to lead the way,” she said.