Improving judicial wellbeing – a new online resource 

Guest blogger Carly Scherver, Judicial Wellbeing Project Advisor, Judicial College of Victoria (Australia) writes…

Judicial work is demanding and intense, and carries the potential for both great satisfaction and high stress.

Acknowledging the reality of stress and building the capacity to manage it effectively, are important aspects of judging well.

This is particularly true for judicial officers seeking to adopt a Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ), problem solving or solution-focused approach.  In order for this work to have a therapeutic benefit to court users and the justice system as a whole, judicial officers need to be presiding from a place of psychological good health.

Stress, of course, impacts upon the physical and psychological wellbeing of the person experiencing the stress, but when that person is a judicial officer stress can have a broader impact.

It can impact our behaviour, by undermining our capacities for emotion regulation and impulse control.

It can also impact judicial decision making, by compromising deliberative and objective decision making faculties, potentially leading to more conservative, biased and stereotypical decisions.

As psychiatrists and psychologists would tell us, we cannot effectively encourage therapeutic change in others if we ourselves are struggling with the cognitive and emotional limitations of psychological ill-health, stress and burnout.

Recognising the importance of judicial psychological health, the Judicial College of Victoria is proud to launch Australia’s first (and among the first internationally) Judicial Wellbeing online resource.

Designed to complement other wellbeing initiatives that may be in development within court systems, the Judicial Wellbeing online resource distills and curates leading national and international resources to assist judicial officers, and their family members, to respond optimally to stress in themselves and others.

Although primarily aimed at Australian judicial officers, the online resource is publicly available and will be of benefit to judicial officers around the world.

The resource can be accessed from the Judicial College of Victoria website:

http://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/judicial-wellbeing

About guest blogger Carly Schrever BSci, LLB, MPsych (Clinical) / PhD Candidate (Melb), Judicial Wellbeing Project Advisor, Judicial College of Victoria: Carly Schrever is a lawyer, provisional clinical psychologist, and PhD candidate. Carly worked as Associate to Justice David Habersberger, before commencing in the Education Team at the Judicial College of Victoria. While at the College, Carly designed and implemented numerous judicial education programs relating to judicial wellbeing and skills development. In 2013, Carly completed her Honours level qualification in Psychology at the University of Melbourne. She was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Prize for the highest overall Honour’s marks, and the Dwight Final Assessment Prize for the best thesis. She is currently undertaking her combined Master of Psychology (Clinical) / PhD at the University of Melbourne, in which she is researching the sources and nature of work-related stress among the Australian judiciary. She is a regular presenter at judicial conferences on the topic of judicial stress and wellbeing. 

 

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