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Grant support for provisional psychologist

Q&A with Provisional Psychologist, Tammy Barber from Horsham

When Tammy first started her internship as a provisional psychologist in 2019, there were limited grants available to help ease the financial strain of weekly supervision costs. Recent changes to the Health Workforce Scholarship Program meant that Tammy could access financial support from RWAV to help her to continue to practise and afford supervision costs as a provisional psychologist based in the country. We caught up with Tammy to ask her a few questions about life as a psychologist in Horsham.

Where has your career pathway taken you and how did you come to work at Function Therapy in Horsham?

I wanted to be a psychologist when it was first introduced at my high school as an elective. There was never anything else that I thought was my passion. However, personal events meant I was unable to continue university at that time. After moving from Geelong to a farm in the Wimmera and having a family, I was still longing to be a psychologist so I enrolled as a student at 26. I completed a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a major in psychology and a minor in advanced psychology with Swinburne Online. This meant I was able to continue living in a rural area, work part-time, raise a family and complete my studies all at the same time. 

By my fourth year at Monash, I hadn’t seen many job offers for new graduates within the region so I began looking for alternative ways I could use my degree. I contacted Function Therapy after I saw them advertising other allied health positions. I was incredibly lucky to find Kirsty and Rob Armstrong. They had already noticed gaps in the availability of mental health services in the community and were interested in expanding their occupational therapy practice to include psychology. Despite the complexity and limitations of being an intern, they were willing to provide me with an opportunity to complete my pathway to full registration as a psychologist. 

Tell us about the work that you predominately do as a provisional psychologist

My primary role at Function Therapy is to provide psychological therapy and services. This may include therapy, assessments, diagnoses, and case consultation. I use a range of evidence-based therapies and techniques to help clients with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, behavioural difficulties, trauma and loss. 

I see clients from various referrals, such as the NDIS, the PHN, and the Department of Health and Human Services, and ages ranging to preschool to the elderly. I have just started expanding our mental health services to include group programs such as the Seasons for Growth Program, which provides support for children aged six to 12 years who may be experiencing difficulties with recent loss or major life changes. 

You recently received a bursary through the Health Workforce Scholarship Program, how did you utilise the grant?

All provisional psychologists are required to have regular supervision, usually one to two hours per week from a fully registered psychologist. Supervision is to help oversee all clinical work provided by the provisional psychologist to ensure clients are receiving professional and appropriate treatment. Like myself, most provisional psychologists have to pay for their supervision, but also are either in volunteer positions or low incomes due to being a trainee. 

When I started my internship at the start of 2019 there were no grants to help ease the financial strain of paying for supervision each week. However, RWAV could see the need for people like myself to provide professional services in rural Victoria once qualified. So, over the past 12 months they made changes to allow grants to cover costs of supervision, which I was able to access this year. This grant has allowed me to focus more on my training and therapy work and less on how I am going to afford supervision costs. It also meant I could afford to upskill.

What areas of mental health training are important for provisional psychologists working in rural and regional areas? Is there a high need for more psychologists in the region?

I think it is important when working in rural and remote areas to be flexible in your role. There are limited psychologists in rural areas and people presenting with a wide range of difficulties. I believe there is a lack of services for more severe mental health issues such as borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. 

Accessing psychologists with specialised training for these types of disorders often requires substantial travel for clients. There is also a lack of assessment and diagnostic services, especially for children and people with disabilities. 

I think we have a unique situation in country areas that require a broader knowledge base to cover the community needs. However, training can be out of reach as generally psychologists require a master’s degree and a further two years specialised supervision for endorsement in specific areas of psychology (such as education and developmental psychology or clinical psychology). Even if a psychologist was able to complete their degree online, supervision would still be difficult to obtain due to limited psychologists trained in these areas who are also trained supervisors.

What do you love about living and working in the country?

I find people in the country can be more relaxed and flexible. A smaller community means knowing the people I work with or people I engage with in the community, so it is a familiarity. I also live on a farm and travel over half an hour to work, but I get to see the countryside during that time rather than traffic and buildings. I love the space and quiet that country life offers, especially for raising a family.  

Are you interested in work opportunities? Currently RWAV is seeking clinical psychologists to provide outreach services as part of a Chronic Pain Management Program in priority communities based in Western Victoria. Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

Are you interested in pursuing professional development opportunities or postgraduate studies? Consider applying for the Health Workforce Scholarship Program. RWAV offers grants and scholarships to health professionals working in private practice in rural and regional Victoria. Find out more here. 

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health administered by RWAV in Victoria.

Msc (Fin), FCCA, FGIA, CA

Shay brings over 20 years of financial
management experience in commercial and not-for-profit organizations. He has a
rich and varied experience in multiple finance and leadership roles in the
United Kingdom and Australia, including CFO, GM Finance & IT, Commercial
Manager Operations, Finance Manager and Accountant.

His extensive leadership experience is
augmented by an FGIA, FCCA, CA, a Masters in Finance and an undergraduate degree in
accounting and finance.

RN, GradDip(Health Promotion), PRINCE2, Mini MBA

Kate is a Registered Nurse highly experienced in health promotion and project management. Her people and program management skills enable her to be agile and adaptable while maintaining an outcomes focus on improving quality access to primary healthcare.

Kate’s extensive experience working with all levels of government, the community and stakeholders across the sector have provided her with insights into the challenges rural communities and health professionals face. Kate has led the design and delivery of many innovative and strategic health promotion and grants programs, supporting better access to health services, health information and activities across communities. Whilst at RWAV, Kate has led the transformation of the RWAV grants program, enhanced the administration of a number of programs and developed the RWAV allied health portfolio. She has also led the development of the RWAV research program of activities.

Having worked at RWAV since 2020, Kate will continue positively influencing the rural healthcare workforce and access to services.

Social Work (BA Hons), DipSW

With a background in social work and a proven record in recruitment, project management, and business development, Jo brings strategic leadership and a wealth of experience in driving positive outcomes within the health, human services, and State Government sectors.

Jo specialises in managing health professional recruitment and outreach programs, including the More Doctors for Rural Australia and 3GA programs. Her focus is on implementing innovative workforce strategies and clinical governance to bolster RWAV’s mission of enhancing healthcare accessibility in rural and regional Victoria.

Having previously excelled at RWAV, Jo spearheaded successful internal change initiatives while fostering strong relationships with external stakeholders. Her efforts consistently align with RWAV’s strategic direction, ensuring a cohesive approach to driving impactful change.

Beyond her professional expertise, Jo’s passion lies in uniting communities and championing positive transformations in rural healthcare in Victoria.

Martin is a governance professional and lawyer with experience in private practice and in-house legal roles. He has been a company secretary for public and private sector organisations across a range of industries including VicTrack, Regis Healthcare Limited and Dairy Australia Limited. He holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) and is a fellow of the GIA.

With a rich background of consulting and in-house people and culture roles with the corporate, government and community sectors, Andrea is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Andrea has significant experience in leading teams across culture, capability, diversity, equity, leadership, organisational development and learning programs as well as core human resources partnering.

With a strong focus on building and maintaining psychologically safe organisations, Andrea’s team is dedicated to ensuring that RWAV is a place where people can work well and be well at work.


Rosemary has had a varied career as an academic teaching economics, public policy and industrial relations, and as a consultant, advocate, health union official and as a director.

She brings strong governance and strategic skills to the Board, as well as knowledge and depth of experience in health policy, economics and investment.

Rosemary was a Director of Aware Super for nine years, and Chair of the Investment Committee for three years. She was also a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the REM and HR Committee. Rosemary is currently a member of the Investment Committee of Cbus.

She was the Secretary of the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc for 20 years and knows first-hand the difficulties in attracting and retaining health professionals in rural and regional Victoria.

Dr Louise Manning is a rural GP Obstetrics trainee practising in Central Victoria where she delivers general practice, obstetric and sexual health services. Growing up in a small town she has lived experience of the difficulties accessing healthcare in rural and regional areas, and is dedicated to advocating for equitable health outcomes regardless of geography.

Louise is also a Board Director of the Rural Doctors’ Association of Victoria.

BAppSci GradDipBus MBus GAICD FIML

John Biviano is an experienced senior executive who has held many senior roles in government (Health Dept) and also in professional associations related to healthcare. Until recently, John was the CEO of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where he oversaw the digitisation of a range of Member offerings, including aspects of training. 

BA (Politics/Philosophy) BEc GDipBus MBA GAICD FGIA

Roger is an accomplished CEO, Non-Executive Director and Chair with experience in the health, human services, law enforcement, education, transport, and environmental industries – across private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations

.He brings strong governance experience, commercial acumen, risk management and strategy skills combined with a passion for innovation and business development having also been Chair of numerous Finance, Audit, Risk, Investment and Community Advisory Committees.


Assoc Prof Phelps has practiced as a Gastroenterologist and Acute Physician in regional Victoria for more than 20 years.

He trained in safety and quality at Dr Brent James’ Institute at Intermountain Healthcare in the US and has held management and leadership roles in Victoria and Tasmania. More recently he completed a two-year project as Director of Clinical Governance for Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Grant currently works as an independent consultant providing advice to hospitals and organisations on clinical leadership and safety and quality

LLB BSc MMgt (Strategic Foresight) GAICD

As a lawyer and business consultant Jane has worked with company boards and senior management across a range of areas including IP commercialisation, internet-based businesses, healthcare products/services, privacy and data/IT security. Jane is currently general counsel for .id Consulting – population demographers, economists and forecasters.

Jane served as a director of BreastScreen Victoria for 10 years, is a current director of Ballarat Health Services and chairs RWAV’s Governance Committee.

BMed MMedSci FRACGP FARGP FACRRM DipPractDerm DipMedHyp DipFP DipBusAdmin GAICD

Assoc Prof Rawlin is an experienced General Practitioner and medical educator. He is currently in clinical general practice in suburban Melbourne and previously practiced in rural Victoria for 10 years.

Assoc Prof Rawlin is Chair of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaborative and a past Chair of the Mental Health Professionals Association and is a board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network. He is also the Medical Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Victoria.
He is a member of the RACGP Victoria Council.

Albert Giorgini is the Senior Advisor to CEO at RWAV.

As an experienced finance executive, with an extensive career in public transport and in the automotive and industrial gas sectors, Albert has honed his skills in driving financial performance improvements with a commercial and business transformation focus.

Through his strategic financial skills, Albert has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to lead and develop large teams in complex and changing environments to achieve the financial and regulatory requirements of the business. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the industry and its challenges, equipping him with the expertise to drive impactful change.

Albert has highly developed communication and stakeholder management skills to support his strong planning, analytical and financial performance improvement acumen, always striving to create innovative solutions that drive growth and success.


Lauren commenced in the role of Manager People and Culture in August 2018 and is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Lauren’s team is committed to implementing activities and initiatives to support the achievement of RWAV’s strategies and strengthen RWAV’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’.

Lauren is an experienced Manager and HR professional, with a career spanning the professional services, automotive, defence, and not-for-profit sectors.

BHlthSci(Hons) MPH PostGradDipMgt GAICD AFCHSM

Lauren Cordwell commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in August 2023. She took on the role of Acting CEO in April 2023 and previously served as the General Manager since February 2020.
Lauren has leadership responsibilities for strategy, communications, data, stakeholder engagement and program delivery.

Lauren’s team is committed to supporting communities in rural and regional Victoria to have timely access to affordable and safe health care.

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