I got my first question! How did I become a psychologist?
To be honest, I did not start out thinking I would become a psychologist. I first was a teacher. I completed a BA at the University of Waterloo and then a BEd at Dalhousie University. I then taught elementary and middle school full-time for four years. It was during this time that I fell in love with the field of special education.
I was wanting to stretch myself and grow professionally, and with the support and encouragement of my family (especially my husband Stephen and my sister Kellee & her husband Harvey), I applied to graduate school.
I completed a MEd in Counselling at the University of Toronto and then a PhD in School Psychology at the University of Calgary. I completed my clinical internship at the Calgary General Hospital under the wise mentorship of Dr. Rudy Kincel and I completed my doctoral research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. (I studied about children and families living with HIV/AIDS). I wrote my licensure exams shortly after finishing my dissertation and licensed as a Registered Psychologist in both BC (#1398) and Alberta (#2380).
My doctoral studies lead to a whirlwind of research and publications; and in the midst of it all, I returned to the University of Victoria in 1999 (where I had first started university in 1988). I have been at UVic ever since. (http://web.uvic.ca/~jjrobert/)
I did not want to lose my clinical skills and so I worked part-time as a clinical child/school psychologist in the community. This part-time work lead to a thriving and dynamic clinical practice called "Dr. Jillian Roberts Psychology Corporation." The office provides consult/counselling/assessment services and it employs about 10 people. (www.drjillianroberts.com)
When I hit 40, a number of intense experiences came my way:
1) My husband, two daughters and I decided to adopt a child, and shortly after sending up prayers for another child, our beautiful son Jack was born.
2) When Jack was just 6 months old, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. A high grade urothelial carcinoma was removed from my bladder and I underwent several rounds of a chemotherapy treatment called "BCG." Although the doctors want to scope me several times a year, I am cancer free (fingers crossed!).
3) I created a start-up called "Open Sesame Studios" and developed an App called "The Facts of LIfe." Amazingly talented students at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver helped me. The Facts of Life was wildly successful and led to a partnership with UVic and a grant from BCIC. This follow up & highly engaging App for the early childhood audience "Facts of Life Interactive" is in development (www.keyfactsoflife.com). Open Sesame Studios employs three people and has an outstanding team of advisors; including Brent Sternig, Owen Matthews, Chris Considine, Andrew Wooldridge and Harvey Huebsch.
4) Orca Book Publishers offered me the opportunity to write a book series called the
"Just Enough Series" (www.justenoughseries.com). The books are gorgeous, having been illustrated by the Governor General nominated Canadian illustrator Cindy Revell. This book series has allowed me to share my research/teaching/clinical experience in a format children and families can easily access.
So, the path to where I am now has been a windy one! There have been ups and downs along the way, but I feel blessed to be where I am now. I have learned a great deal and I want to offer all that I know to children and families who need guidance. I want to reach more kids and families than I can see in my practice. And, I want to provide this guidance completely free of charge.
Voila! This blog. I hope you will write in with more questions and I will do my best to answer them (either in blog format or in a personal reply to you).
My wonderful children, Ally, Jack & Lauren Roberts.
Dr Jillian Roberts with her husband of 26 years, Stephen.