Written by Veronica McKeon (Director/Psychologist)

“Now if many of you are asking the question, so why a turtle? You will not be the only person and most likely you will not be the last.”


The tardisFor those that don’t yet know, MindWare Psychology has a turtle. His name is “The Doctor” and he is named after Dr Who.

A profile about him can be found in the staff section of our web page. The naming of “The Doctor” is a story in itself, but I might concentrate on why we got a turtle as the starting point. The Doctor is one of the first “people” you will get the pleasure of meeting when you come to MindWare Psychology and he is certainly part of the business.

The Directors at MindWare all have allocated jobs such as feeding, sunning, “socialisation training” and teaching him to hand shake. We even have a parenting agreement, jointly named him and arranged weekend home visits so that he can be loved by us all.  However, “The Doctor” has been most valuable in uniting us as Directors and also giving our kids another reason to want to come to work with us at times.

IMG_6056 (2)All three of us have different backgrounds and different experiences in life, but our reason for coming together was centered around joint values. Having said this, joint values without joint actions don’t always mean anything. So buying a turtle was one of the long term actions that showed our commitment to each other as business partners and also helped us connect as people. Joint values alone will not be what makes this business strong, but rather the level of trust, connectedness and shared experience that we have together and the service we can provide.

“Business’s that have strong values have positive output and we want to be that type of business.”

The Doctor is also there to help you or your child feel more relaxed when you come and see us. We invite you to please take the time to just sit and watch “The Doctor”, as he happily swims around, hides in the plants, chases the fish or casually relaxes on the rocks.

He is perfect at just being present to the moment and experiencing whatever is happening for him at that time. One day I walked into the waiting room and a child about the age of 6 had moved one of the chairs and was just peacefully sitting watching “The Doctor”. This was a child who IMG_6054 (2)had been diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioural issues. “The Doctor” can also be part of the therapy in some very unexpected ways.

The other reason that we picked a turtle over any other animal is that he is a perfect example of an animal with a reptilian brain. The Amygdala is a part of the brain that your Psychologist will most likely talk to you about when helping you to understand the way your brain works and your emotional reactions. The Amygdala forms part of what we refer to as the “reptilian” part of the brain and this is the area of your brain that is essential to our survival and forms many of our innate instincts. It is the “Fight vs Flight” part of the brain.

Scientists tell us that these lower areas of the brain are the more primitive areas and are present in all animal species. This area of the brain forms the survival mechanism for animals and are intact from the time we are born. When you see a baby react to a loud noise with a startle reflect (throwing their arms in the air and then begin to cry) you are watching a very ancientbrain-40356 part of the human brain in action.

It is interesting because you can see this same reaction in “The Doctor”. He has a very strong startle reflex as his reptilian brain is primed for survival. The more you can understand about the brain and how it works the more you can take control of your own reactions and responses.

“Humans can make the choice about how to
behaviour. Make this
based on your own values rather than being bossed around by your brain.”

When you come to see us at MindWare Psychology we are interested in helping you to identify constructive ways of becoming more attune to your own emotional, instinctual reactions and we want to teach you different ways of responding that may be more helpful.

Our turtle, “The Doctor” is one of the aspects that underpins our therapy approach.

“It is all about the personal connection, the brain and positive values.”

www.mindwarepsychology.com.au       (Copyright 2016)