Staff Profile: James
James is one of Turning Point’s Senior Clinical Neuropsychologists.
Turning Point is made up of a diverse team that is committed to removing stigma around alcohol and other drug use and providing support for those affected by substance use disorders. Our staff profiles provide insight on the great work we do and what it is like to work in the addiction treatment, training, and research sector.
Meet James, Turning Point’s Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist
James first started working at Turning Point six and a half years ago as a neuropsychology registrar. During his studies at Monash University, he did a placement at Turning Point which provided him with insight into the role of neuropsychology in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector.
“As a new grad in neuropsychology, I was very open-minded about where I wanted to go with my career.”
“Doing the placement was a unique experience which I enjoyed. When a job opportunity at Turning Point presented itself, I felt confident applying as I was familiar with the area.”
This year, James became a Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist, an opportunity he has keenly taken up.
“It is great to be able to lead some of the work we do here at Turning Point.”
“My goal was to be a clinician researcher, which this role has allowed me to do. It is a very diverse position that allows me to also get involved in research work and contribute to workforce training and education.”
What does James do?
James’s work primarily focuses on cognitive and brain function in clients with histories of drug and alcohol usage. He works alongside referrers and their clients to help them obtain a better understanding of their symptoms.
“A core part of our role is providing referrers with direction, support and recommendations to help work with their clients.”
“We will talk with them about some of the key issues that the client is presenting with, why these might be occurring and what we can recommend for them.”
James, alongside a team of researchers, also complete comprehensive assessments with clients. This includes taking a detailed assessment of their thinking and memory skills, which can assist with diagnosing underlying brain conditions, facilitating access to funded services and providing recommendations on how to support them.
“What we find with those who come in for a full assessment is that it might be the first time anyone has spent a significant amount of time to understand their story, understand their difficulties and figure out a plan moving forward.”
“We have to think about the whole person and all the potential factors that might be impacting their cognitive functioning and not just assume it is due to a history of substance use.”
Currently, James and the wider team are conducting an outcomes research study to help better understand the perspective of the client when undergoing these assessments.
James has a growing research portfolio, collaborating with other Turning Point employees on research papers relating to neuropsychology in the AOD space.
“Historically research in the neuropsychology and addiction space has not translated well to clinical practice, so we really wanted to change that to provide a narrative of what we are seeing in the clinical world. In doing so, it has helped highlight the many complex issues that individuals with histories of AOD use and cognitive difficulty might be experiencing that need to be addressed.”
What is the culture like at Turning Point?
James has enjoyed working alongside a multidisciplinary clinical team as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers at Turning Point.
“The ability to work across teams is very rewarding and I really value how willing everyone is to work with one another.”
“One of our goals is to increase awareness of the role neuropsychology can play in the AOD sector so we can support our clients, other clinicians and the wider workforce.”
Want to work at Turning Point? We currently have several amazing opportunities which you can view here.