About me – the brief version

Hi, I’m Rebecca.  Born in Wellington, New Zealand, I spent four years in the Police, and eight years as a volunteer Lifeline telephone counselor. In 2014 I graduated from the University of Auckland with a PhD in Health Psychology – the study of the interaction between mental and physical health. And stuff happened in between.

I’m handy in a fight

I joined the NZ police at the ridiculously young age of 20. Even worse, I was immature for my age. I still am, but now my immaturity is more of an asset than a liability. While I had two key skills for succeeding in the police – I’m handy in a fight and can scull a jug of beer (the latter being especially impressive as I don’t like beer) – my physical courage did not extend to the paperwork.

Overall the experience fueled my passion for social justice. Despite my early years growing up in a state house in Porirua, I never lacked for food, books, or a warm bed. The same cannot be said of the children of gang members and associates.

Saving lives. And not.

Lifeline – a free public crisis phone line. I couldn’t stop my uncle from taking his own life, but it eases the pain to remember the caller – a young man – who said he’d decided not to kill himself after talking to me. While I stopped volunteering at Lifeline about 2103, joining the organization was one of the best decisions of my life. I learned so much about myself and I miss the callers. Sadly, part of the reason I left was the  organization was disintegrating. It’s now under new management

Robots

My PhD involved four years playing with healthcare robots. Weird, I know. Just think mobile computers stuffed to the gills with mental and physical healthcare devices and software. After that I had the good luck to consult part-time for Taska Prosthetics over a four year period – helping develop robotic prosthetic hands that were useful and easy to use. A good prosthetic can transform lives. Fascinating and rewarding work.

Cats and humans

Barely domesticated myself, I live in crazy, beautiful New Zealand surrounded by feral cats and gorgeous humans. You can see a 1-minute video of my feral puss doing her obstacle course here. I trained her to make the point that the broad psychology strategies of behavior modification and habit change are the same for everyone – they don’t even discriminate between species.

About me – the longer, gossipy, version

…I’ll tell you about how I left university at the age of 19 with a handful of C’s, a few ‘Did not completes’, and one A in psychology.

However I left university with something much worse than my crappy grades – I felt like a failure. Which is the loneliest feeling in the world. 

I’ll tell you how my obsession with habits stated. I returned to university at the age of 35 and overcame a sense of failure, bad study habits and procrastination to achieve a PhD. It helps majoring in psychology.

I’ll tell you about how I was both bullied and a bully. I’ll tell you what the sex therapist said to me on our way to a burlesque show. I’ll tell you about the horror of discovering that I’m a control freak. I’ll tell you what it’s like being in control freak recovery

I’ll show you how to make and break habits. I’ll explain why there is no such thing as laziness. Seriously. Laziness does not exist as a legitimate psychological construct. I’ll tell you what so-called ‘laziness’ really is.

I’ll tell you about my embarrassing stuff-ups. I’ll explain how to overcome fear of criticism. I’ll show you how to failure-proof yourself. I’ll tell you about the life-altering event that happened to me at the Tantra workshop. 

I’ll explain why ‘self-esteem’ is complete crap, and why unconditional self-worth is the new black (shout-out to Brené Brown). I’ll explain how, never mind the other people, forgiving others is good for you.

I’ll tell you how after an excruciatingly painful marathon of singledom, abusive relationships, and internet dating, I finally broke my heart open and was able to let in (ex) Gorgeous Man.

We don’t need to be perfect

I’m telling you these personal stories for several reasons.

One reason is to illustrate psychological strategies I’ve used to life-changing effect on myself and others.

A second reason is I feel strongly the key to better mental and physical health is getting over the fact that we are not perfect. And that we don’t need to be.

As humans are a profoundly social species – feeling we are alone in the world with our imperfections can be a profoundly distressing experience.

I felt defective

Due to difficult family circumstances, I grew up believing there was something wrong with me. That I was defective & unlovable.

I’ve since realized the only thing wrong with me was I believed there was something wrong with me.

So I deeply hope that sharing my personal stories, along with my clinical & academic experience, will help you realize that you are not alone.

I hope you realize that the only thing wrong with you, is that you think there’s something wrong with you.

There is nothing wrong with you. There never was. There never will be.

Nothing that can’t be fixed with a few simple psychological tools anyway.

Wishing you all the very best things in life. You deserve it.

It starts with us. 

P.S. Coming soon…The book! A step by step guide for rapid habit change – incl. procrastination!

As well as my blood pressure sky rocketing whenever someone mentions it takes 21 days to change a habit, I worry about how many people are suffering unnecessarily for lack of simple psychology tools – how many people struggle with procrastination, and believe they have so little self-control over their unhealthy  lifestyle habits they’ve given up making New Year’s resolutions.

My book provides the psychology tools I developed and used to get myself from university dropout to PhD – and have been using ever since to help others.  Despite many busted deadlines with the book writing, I’m pleased with the book. I’ve had great feedback on it and hope to release it by mid 2019. You’ll be the first to know!

Here’s some feedback on a chapter of the book. The testimonial is from Kristen Wonch, founder of The Workshop – a co-working space in Auckland, New Zealand:

We hosted Rebecca to present a workshop on beating procrastination through habit change & mastery. It’s the best feedback I’ve had from our residents after any of our ‘lunch & learns.’ Some of them implemented Rebecca’s psychology strategies the same day and commented it was “life changing.” The response was so impressive we’re having her back for a 6-part series!

You can read plenty more testimonials, and get more of an idea of the kinds of things I help people with, here.

In the meantime, you may wish to subscribe to my charmingly erratic newsletters for the latest goss, progress on the book launch, and detailed  psychology strategies for rapid habit change.

Outlier Ltd.