Podcast episode 25: from female naval commander to mental health social worker- a conversation with Suzanne Smith

podcts whit text psdFrom humble beginnings in the Royal Australian Navy, Suzanne Smith rose to a number of Naval Base leadership roles, being the Commanding Officer of HMAS Harman,  the Commanding Officer of HMAS Penguin, and Officer in Charge of the Royal Australian Naval College, succeeding in an era when discrimination against women was rife, both in the community and in the armed forces.

She then went on to be a senior public servant in Defence, ending her public service career as the Director of National Programs, delivering the National Family Support Service for Defence.

But Suzanne had always harboured the ambition to be a social worker- and she did just that- studying part time and also completing a masters of counselling and psychotherapy to complement her social work degree

Suzanne is now an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, counsellor and trained teacher in Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. She specialises in the integration of mindfulness approaches to the treatment of trauma, PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Our conversation covers her Navy career, her thoughts about leadership and her passion for social work and psychotherapy.

I asked Suzanne for some book recommendations- and those are as follows;

‘Your Life Matters’ by Petrea King,

‘An Intelligent Life: A Practical Guide to Relationships, Intimacy and Self-Esteem’ by Julian Short,

‘An Authentic Life’ by Caroline Jones ‘Healing the Heart and Mind With Mindfulness’ by Malcolm Huxter,

‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’ by Thich Nhat Hahn,

‘Present Moment Wonderful Moment’ by Thich Nhat Hahn,

‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Love, Parent and Lead’ by Brene Brown,

‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles,

‘The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living’ by the Dalai Lama.

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One Response to Podcast episode 25: from female naval commander to mental health social worker- a conversation with Suzanne Smith

  1. An excellent interview with a truly inspiring woman. As an accredited mental health social worker and practicing psychotherapist myself, I was particularly delighted to hear Suzanne expressing gratitude for the underlying social construction of reality from her basic SW training, as well as her delight at learning about mindfulness and self compassion. While I have only a fraction of the energy and range of experiences she embodies, it was so good to hear her valuing so many of the values and elements of practice that guide my own practice. Thank you for sharing this interview with us.

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