Tara is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with over 20 years’ experience in Clinical Dietetics. She is also a professional Counsellor and Psychotherapist and Clinical member of PACFA Psychotherapist and Counsellors Federation of Australia. Tara has specialised her practice to assist people with chronic dieting and disordered eating since 2004 and manages a successful private practice in Sydney. She works exclusively in the HAES paradigm. Tara publishes a monthly e-newsletter for health professionals interested in building a client centered orientation into their practice called Practice Pavestones. She runs training for Dietitians wanting to develop competent counselling skills and provides clinical supervision and mentoring for skill integration and professional development.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
I work three days a week in my specialist practice in Gordon Sydney. A typical work day for me starts with the usual early morning juggle of pets and children and a load out on the line, if I’m doing well a stint on the yoga mat fits in here somewhere! I am blessed with a beautiful office space a short distance from my home where I consult with clients. My clients attend for assistance with disordered eating behaviours and also for general counselling and psychotherapy. My sessions are one hour and consist of about 90% curious listening and 10% advising. I always stick to my rule of an hour to myself in the middle of the day. If there is time or energy to spare somewhere, I will squeeze in work for Practice Pavestones, which is my counselling skills training business; writing, reading, imagining and planning.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I am incredibly fortunate in being able to work in a vocation I love and believe I was ‘meant’ to do. It has been very hard work combining my professions of Dietetics and Psychotherapy but the rewards have been rich and many. I particularly appreciate being able to hear what sits behind a client’s eating behaviours and assist them in a way that really makes a difference for them. My supervision and training work is also a real passion and it is so exciting to be active at a time in our profession where Dietitians are asking more about the ‘how’ of their work and not just the ‘what and why’.
Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics thus far and/or why did you chose dietetics as a career?
I chose Dietetics as a default! My Careers advisor told me I wouldn’t get the marks to study vet science which was my first choice (I did BTW so Mrs Napper if you are reading this – busted!) By the time I finished school Dietetics was my goal; I liked the combination of science and helping people. My career was a many splendid thing at first – lots of locums and a stint in the UK. I settled down in Australia with my Scottish husband in the mid 90s and specialised in Oncology and Palliative care. It was after a few years in this area that I experienced a serious burn out which informed my second career choice in counselling and psychotherapy. Along the way a colleague pointed out that my skills were a perfect mix for working in Eating Disorders. I picked up a job in the area and the rest is history! I took the bold step of launching Pavestones in 2013 and my dream to teach and supervise has since manifested.
What would be your number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics?
Learn about HAES. And subscribe to my newsletter (oops that was two!)
What is one interesting fact about you?
Apart from not being good at counting to one! My name means ‘Star’ in Sanskrit and is the Seat of The Kings in Ireland. It was a name born by a Hindu god also known as Devi. Despite all that I still forget to floss and am a bit cranky without enough sleep.