In 2008 I was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Prize for the most meritorious Psychology student across James Cook University Cairns and Townsville Campus. I was offered a scholarship to undertake a PhD which I completed in 2017. My PhD was on the neuroscience of emotion. This topic took me on an extraordinary journey including two episodes of Psychosis.
I taught Psychology for several years at James Cook University Cairns Campus: Introduction to Psychology I and II, Sensation and Perception, Memory and Cognition, Psychopathology, and Theoretical Foundations of Modern Psychology. I teach students any genuine education leads to humility, compassion and purposeful action. Students are also my teachers.
I have co-developed and co-facilitated psychosocial intervention programs for mental health, dual diagnosis and family domestic violence. I have spoken at many high schools across Far North Queensland under the Living Proof program with the Mental Illness Fellowship North Queensland to inspire recovery. I have volunteered at Lifeline for individuals at risk of suicide.
I have worked as a Psychologist for First Nations people living in Cape York communities, in Far North Queensland, Australia. I have supported children, adults and families who continue to experience ongoing systemic oppression, injustice and intergenerational trauma. My education, lived experience, and countless stories point to the need for human rights and a trauma informed Australia if we intend to embrace life fully.
In October 2020 I joined Twitter to share my education for human rights and social change. From there I was asked to be the Psychologist for over 35 Indigenous Health experts at the 2021 Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health Conference. I was also asked to be on an expert panel to help select the best organisation for a new Adult Mental Health Service in Queensland.
I was also invited to be interviewed on Brainwaves 3CR Community Radio to share my lived experience of Psychosis to inspire recovery. I was invited back to share the vision for a trauma informed Australia: You and I breaking the cycle of injustice and trauma together by turning Trauma Informed Care into a mindset for personal, social and political change. You can listen to my first interview with Brainwaves here:
Human rights are vital for survival and wellbeing. I would like the Australian Government to implement all recommendations from the 2021 Human Rights Watch World Report: Australia and partner with Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma for a trauma informed Australia. You can add your name to this call if you are an Australian:
My lived experience story of Psychosis has since been published in Mad In America: Science, Psychiatry and Social Justice. I was also invited to speak at the 2022 Australian Youth Defence Forum about Trauma Informed Care for Survival and Wellbeing. You are welcome to listen to Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM, the President of Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, and I chatting together with Brainwaves 3CR Community Radio about the value of Trauma Informed Care here:
It is time for a trauma informed Australia.
For the First Nations people of Australia who are still subject to ongoing oppression, systemic injustice and intergenerational trauma.
For Tharnicaa, Kopika, Priya, Nades. For each person who sought asylum in Australia and are instead being held in indefinite detention.
For everyone one of us.
Dr Louise Hansen
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist
#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong
Doctor of Philosophy, Psychology (2017)
Bachelor of Psychology, 1st Class Honours (2008)
Bachelor of Education-Bachelor of Psychology (2007)
Privilege allowed my personal dreams to come true. My passion is to facilitate the development of a trauma informed world to allow that to become a reality for anybody. Since I was born in Australia, my primary focuses include supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the need for human rights and climate action, and trauma informed systemic changes that are culturally safe.
My Lived Experience of Psychosis
My lived experience of Psychosis was the single most important thing to happen to me. If I had not become unwell I would not have had to recover and understand the difference between knowledge, experience and wisdom.
My Experience of Diagnosis
The first Psychosis I had I was terribly paranoid because I had been trained in Psychology to question everything including the strengths and dangers of a diagnosis. The second Psychosis I was more trusting because I had an established relationship with a medical team and there was more of an emphasis on the principles of trauma informed care. I also had more insight to understand what was happening to me so I was more willing to trust other people to take care of me in a situation where I was clearly unwell.
My Current Role
My passion today is sharing education freely for personal, social and political change. My experience is that the current systems we have include historical timelines based on oppression and injustice that have been and still are largely traumatising. I would like to see systemic changes that include what we know works well from science as well as acknowledging the limitations of using the scientific method alone for survival and wellbeing and why wisdom traditions have existed for so long and continue to endure today and how both converge to establish a sense of safety, truth, freedom, health and wellbeing.
Application of Lived Experience
Today I focus on supporting a persons’ needs at the time and sharing Trauma Informed Care, trauma informed tools, and harm minimisation, so that they can establish a sense of stability, clarity, the ability to regulate their emotions, and a sense of connection and belonging. I share my lived experience openly if I feel it will benefit the person. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it does not. So I have learnt over time if it is appropriate to share, then it is okay to share. If it is not necessary then it is more beneficial to focus on the person’s immediate world and how to support them to establish a skill set for survival and wellbeing.
What Have I Found Most Embraced
Being real, honest, down to earth, curious, interested, willing to listen and learn from the person experiencing trauma, explaining the principles of trauma informed care, trauma informed tools and harm minimisation, in a culturally safe way, and why our systems ultimately require systemic change.
What Have I Most Embraced
I have come to accept the strengths and limitations of my own profession and I am now focused on learning what works from a diverse range of people based on their own lived experiences. I would like to take people outside of Psychology and back into reality and their own world and what they are capable of rather than simply seeing themselves as a diagnosis. I still stick to key trauma informed frameworks. However, the beauty of Trauma Informed Care is that it is incredibly versatile and will vary from person to person, country to country and culture to culture. I acknowledge that there are some non-negotiables in life that are universal to us all for survival. However, once these are tended to on a daily basis that we are unique human beings which means we will express ourselves in undefined ways and this is something I am very passionate about supporting in a safe way. This is also why I am strongly passionate about the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the need for human rights and climate action and our systems becoming trauma informed since it is my understanding that this is what will be required within Australia to ensure that survival and wellbeing becomes a shared reality for us all.
Global Health and Pharma Mental Health Awards: The Most Dedicated Website for Wellness and Social Change – Australia (2023)
Filipino Martial Arts – Gold Champion at the Kali 3D International Training Camp in Batangas Philippines (2017, 2019)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Quadruple Gold Champion at the Queensland State Championships (2017)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Double Gold Champion at the North Queensland Championships (2016, 2017)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Double Gold Champion at the Far North Queensland Championships (2016)
Australian Postgraduate Scholarship to undertake a PhD in Psychology at James Cook University Cairns Campus (2009)
Australian Psychological Society Award for Cairns and Townsville Jame Cook University Campus (2008)
Indigenous Mental Health First Aid (2021)
Dr Janina Fisher – Transforming Trauma Related Stuckness (2019)
Inner Engineering with Sadhguru – Meditation, Postures, Breathing (2019)
Isha Yogasanas with Sadhguru – Meditation, Posture, and Breathing (2019)
Alcohol Tobaccos and Other Drugs Service – How to work with clients who misuse Alcohol and Other Drugs (2018)
Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma: Level 1- Trauma Informed Care for Domestic and Family Violence (2018)
Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma: Level 2 – Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (2018)
MAYBO – Conflict Management & Resolution (2018)
ASK Disability Support Training – St John’s Community Care (2017)
Dr Greta Holloway – Child and Family Assessment and Intervention Training (2015)
Lifeline Telephone Crisis Support Course (2015)
Assist Suicide Intervention Training (2015)
Mental Health First Aid (2015)
Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo
You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation on my own healing journey, training and study and how it has informed my work and advocacy for a trauma informed world here:
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