My name is Monique Beglinger and I am a psychologist based in Sydney, Australia. I currently work in two primary schools and one high school across Western Sydney. Prior to this I worked in child protection, out-of-home care, intensive family support, disability support and domestic violence. So overall, I have been in the human service industry for over ten years.
Working with children, adolescents and parents, I utilise many modalities including cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, solution-focused brief therapy as well as art and play therapy, to name just a few. All my work is attachment- and trauma-informed.
I first came across St Luke’s Innovative Resources whilst working in a child protection intensive family support program in 2012. The first resource I ever purchased was a card set called The Bears. From there I bought a barrage of St Luke’s resources—you can never have too many, right?! (I have shared all of these on my Instagram page @the_mindful_psychologist.)
About 2 years ago I started using the Strength Cards ® for Kids 3rd Edition and just love this card deck! I really enjoy using these cards because the focus is positively geared. In therapy, it is easy to focus on what is not going well and on problem-solving solutions. These cards help provide a visual cue for children to recognise their strengths—a task that can be extremely difficult for many to do.
I work with children and teens impacted by a variety of presenting problems such as complex developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, bullying, peer conflict, complex family dynamics, self-harming, suicidal ideation … and the list goes on. We know from research that trauma shapes the way children see the world, often not having trust in adults and holding negative views of themselves. This can lead to children being unable to identify and verbalise any quality in themselves that they see as a strength.
This is when utilising the Strength Cards as a practical and tangible tool to help guide identification of personal strengths is helpful. I had a student who for a long time held a deep negative self-evaluation, however when I introduced these cards they were able to select one single card of a strength they recognised. This was significant progress after months of work!
I consider the work I do a privilege and an honour. Children, teenagers and families share deeply sacred stories with me and I’m lucky enough to witness transformation on a very personal level. Each small step is progress and I enjoy being able to use the engaging and creative resources from St Luke’s in my work.
By Monique Beglinger