News > MHPN in conversation with Matthew Povey

MHPN in conversation with Matthew Povey


The MHPN podcast ‘Transitions’ is hosted by Dr Monica Moore (General Practitioner) and Julianne Whyte (Social Worker) in conversation with each other and guest experts, as they reflect on the relationship between life changes and emotional wellbeing. The series explores the impacts of major life changes and events on mental health and wellbeing across ten episodes, from a reflective, interdisciplinary and collaborative perspective.

We recently spoke with guest expert Matthew Povey on his involvement in episode 7 of Transitions 'The Cumulative Trauma of Drought, Bushfires and a Pandemic'. Read on to hear more from Matthew about his practice and work in the mental health field; his experiences of podcasting with MHPN; and his thoughts on how practitioners can better support individuals and communities in the aftermath of traumatic events.

Alongside his contributions to Transitions, Matthew holds a Master of Counselling & Applied Psychotherapy (JNI) and is an ACA Level 4 Member & Accredited Supervisor Bushfire Trauma Recovery-Snowy Valley.


1. You are a guest expert featured on MHPN Presents’ podcast series ‘Transitions’. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be involved in Transitions?

MATTHEW POVEY: I have been working in the mental health field for nearly 10 years. Over this time I have come to have a passion for working with those affected by different types of trauma. My practice is underpinned by Mentalization based theory and attachment, with a strong focus on systemic interventions that are also affected by the impacts of trauma. I also have special interests in children and adolescents and those who reside in regional and remote Australia due to the extensive barriers they face. I am also a supervisor for other therapists and organisations.

[I first developed an interest in trauma] due to the effects it tends to have across someone's whole life, not just in isolation. Having moved to regional New South Wales some years ago I began doing more specialised work and further training after my Master’s degree.This got me working with The Amaranth Foundation as part of my Social Work degree and taking a role as trauma clinician for the Snowy Valley District. During this time I have worked with adults, children and teenagers who have gone through multiple trauma’s throughout their lives, connecting and working closely with Julianne Whyte on a regular basis.

2. In terms of your contributions to the episode and the wider MHPN Presents podcast program, did the podcasting format (its accessibility; the production process; MHPN’s audience of mental health practitioners and the general public) influence what you said or how you said it?

MATTHEW POVEY: It did, in the sense that I am aware we are talking to people from all walks of life. Often the way I speak here (which I view as quite casual and relaxed) is how I take time to talk to my clients. I feel there needs to be a fine balance struck between using ‘technical jargon’ and talking to people as we would in a coffee shop-both are important. So people often comment sometimes I can move between the two, that is mostly my intention. N.B: often I also get pulled up to be less technical too, I am human after all and constantly learning!

3. Can you share any highlights, notable experiences, or new insights gained from contributing your time and expertise to the Transitions series?

​MATTHEW POVEY: The biggest insight and highlight I think I took was that we all practice in different ways, have our own style and personality. Ultimately THIS IS OKAY AND GOOD as we need to be who we are to connect with others. Just because you practice this way or use that tool doesn’t mean it’s wrong, nor is it always right. It is what is needed in the moment and what you bring as evidence based practice (and often personal preference) in that moment that counts. If I get it wrong, I encourage others to speak up, if they disagree I want to know why. We can all learn from each other, as well as our clients.

4. If you could leave listeners of your episode with three main points regarding the topic of navigating major life transitions, what would they be?

​MATTHEW POVEY: This is a hard question!

  1. Be yourself, don’t try to be who you can’t as others will see right through it. If you struggle with this, find a good supervisor and find how you can do this more naturally. It makes the world of difference!
  2. Try to look at the bigger picture of a person's life. Usually with the most complex things we can miss the most important things. Think outside the box, ask questions that promote thinking and reflection and be generally curious about someone's transitions in life.
  3. Have a look into Mentalization Based Therapy and AMBIT and how it links to our practice as therapists. These aren’t anything new but enhance what we already do.
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