Role of Psychologists at Sacred Heart College

School psychologists apply their psychological and educational expertise to support students in striving for academic success, psychological health, and social and emotional wellbeing. To achieve these outcomes, school psychologists engage in a range of activities which include counselling, consultation, assessment, implementation of prevention and intervention programs, referral processes, evaluation and, when required, the management of critical incidents.

At Sacred Heart College, the psychologists endeavour to work in a consultative, resourceful and supportive manner with parents/guardians, teachers, Deans, school administrators and external health service providers. School psychologists always work with the primary purpose of achieving the best outcome for students.

When a student experiences significant mental health issues, it is envisaged that they will be linked up with an external health provider, eg the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) or a private Clinical Psychologist. Sacred Heart College Psychologists may then provide a liaison service, where appropriate, to support any recommendations or interventions while the student is on campus. Given the range of duties covered by the College Psychologists and the number of students enrolled, it is not possible to guarantee the College Psychologist’s availability at any given time or the high degree of contact that some students may require.

For concerns with regard to learning and academic progress, the psychologists can work closely with students, teachers, Learning Support staff and parents. On occasion there may be a need to undertake psychometric assessments. Proceeding with assessments at the College will be decided upon on a priority basis with school-initiated concerns taking precedence. Further information on this is available on request.

The College Psychologists aim to contribute on a systems wide basis, as well as working with individual students, to support student wellbeing and learning. Parents will be kept informed of programmes being offered to students.

Accessing the Psychologists

In order to provide the most efficient and effective support for students, where we minimise the possibility of students “falling between the cracks” it is important that a process of referral is followed.

Wherever possible, all concerns regarding a student should initially be raised with the Pastoral Care Group Teacher (PCGT) and the appropriate Dean. Strategies to support the student can be discussed and introduced. Depending on the progress of the student, the Dean may then consult with the psychologist and appropriate further interventions can be agreed upon. Building relationships between families, PCGT and Deans is regarded as being a strong protective factor for students within the College. To further build relationships, the psychologists will be working in alignment with the House system – with each psychologist working primarily with students and PCG teachers from certain Houses.

Consent and Confidentiality

School psychologists follow the strict guidelines that cover ethical responsibilities and confidentiality. Ethical codes have been developed by the APS and Psychologist Registration Boards to safeguard the welfare of recipients of psychological services and to protect the integrity of the psychology profession. 

Psychologists

  • Jannine Johnston, Educational and Developmental Psychologist
    MAPS, MSc. Ed Psych, BA (Hons) Psych, Grad Dip Ed

  • Jessica Fitzsimmons, Counselling Psychologist Registrar
    MAPS, MPsych(Couns), BA, BPsych, PGDipSocSc(Couns), PGDipComm&Cult, AdvDip Holistic & Classical Yoga Practices

  • Sonia Sumich, Educational and Developmental Psychologist
    M Psych, BSc (Hons) Psych, Grad Dip Ed

Useful Resources

APS Fact Sheet – Role of Psychologist

Beyond Blue – Preventing Anxiety and Depression in your Teenager

Useful Websites and Apps – collated by Youth Focus and HeadSpace

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