Jess Ekserdjian and Sophie Curtis

Clinical Psychologists

Profile

Jess and Sophie are both clinical psychologists and co-founders of ensō Workplace Wellbeing. After completing their clinical masters degrees at universities in Melbourne, they spent the early parts of their careers working with both individuals and groups in the public mental health setting. This allowed them to develop a broad spectrum of specialised mental health experience across a wide variety of presentations.

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jess and Sophie transitioned into working in the area of workforce wellbeing in one of Melbourne’s largest hospitals. In this role, they regularly delivered educational workshops on a range of topics, facilitated critical incident support for staff who had been exposed to traumatic events and provided leadership support to managers regarding the best ways to support their staff. Through this experience, Jess and Sophie quickly understood the importance of effective workplace wellbeing strategies and the benefit of utilising a proactive approach to support the mental health needs of large staff groups.

Jess and Sophie have since contributed to the initiation, development, implementation and evaluation of large-scale workforce wellbeing programs and have developed a passion for creating safe and positive work environments. They bring a breadth of mental health knowledge and facilitation experience to their work and enjoy actively engaging employees in important conversations about wellbeing in the workplace.

Alongside this work, Jess and Sophie both run successful private practices where they continue to develop their clinical skillset and passionately support individuals to thrive.

Topics and Workshops

Beyond Resilience: The importance of mindset in times of both stability and adversity (90 mins or 3hr option)

The term ‘resilience’ has become a bit of a buzzword in the post-covid era and is often used to refer to an individual’s ability to “bounce back” from a challenging event.

In this workshop, we investigate different theories of resilience and consider how we might apply the concept to the everyday experience of the workplace. Importantly, we explore resilience, not only as a protective attribute in times of crisis but also the ways in which it can enable us to be proactive when things are going well. Through these discussions, we highlight the important role that mindset plays in enabling us to overcome challenges and cultivate personal and professional growth.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Understand different ways of defining ‘resilience’
  2. Develop an awareness of the ways in which resilience can apply to periods of stability as well as adversity
  3. Understand the role of mindset in cultivating optimism
  4. Apply psychological frameworks (such as cognitive behavioural therapy and self-compassion) to develop skills to identify and reframe negative automatic thoughts
  5. Engage in discussion and experiential activities in order to apply the aforementioned theories to practice in a workplace context.

** 90 min workshop will involve learning outcomes 1-3 only

Safe, Supportive and Sustainable: How psychological principles can be used to address the proposed amendments to the OH&S regulations (60 mins)

Under the current OH&S Act (2004), an employer has obligations to provide a workplace that supports employee psychological health. The Victorian Government has announced a plan to amend the regulations in order to improve prevention of psychological hazards and injuries in the workplace.

In this workshop, we provide an overview of the proposed amendments and what this means for employers. We also consider the ways in which psychological principles can be applied so that workplaces not only meet their reporting requirements but also cultivate a sustainable culture of safety and support throughout the process. 

Learning outcomes:

  • Define and identify psychosocial hazards in line with the proposed amendments 
  • Understand employer obligations under the proposed amendments 
  • Think creatively about the ways in which psychological principles (such as values, boundaries, self care, problem solving, compassion and perspective taking) can be applied in the context of the proposed amendments  
  • Develop an action plan specific to your workplace

Reflective Practice (60-90 mins)

Reflective Practice is the process of learning that occurs when employees take the time to stop, think, challenge and change their work. It’s an important process that has been linked to increased team cohesion, engagement and productivity. 

Stepping away from a didactic teaching method, this facilitated group discussion aims to enhance group connectivity and collegial perspective taking. 

The space will support participants to: 

  • Describe challenges that arise in their work
  • Explore the impact of stress on themselves and their team
  • Enhance collegial empathy and the ability to see situations from their colleagues’ perspectives
  • Identify the strengths and protective factors within themselves and their workplace
  • Consider solutions using a team-based discussion model

Coping with Loss at Work (60 mins)

The experience of grief and loss are well understood. However, they are rarely discussed in an organisational context despite being inherently present in a modern and dynamic workplace. Organisational restructure, employee resignation and role changes are common experiences that may evoke a sense of loss and contribute to reduced psychological stability and safety at work.

Using psychodynamic and psychological models of grief, this workshop explores the ways in which the experiences of pain, fear and loss can be effectively navigated in a workplace context. 

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Explore and understand the concept of grief in an organisational context
  • Identify and re-connect with personal experiences of and responses to loss at work
  • Develop skills to assist with the effective management of grief and other complex emotions at work

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