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This month we hear from Batya Septimus, our Therapist Training Programme Coordinator for North America.

I am part of the COMPASS team helping to … ensure the therapists working on our clinical trials receive a high level of training to support the psychological and physical safety of our participants

I work in mental health care because … I believe that effective and accessible mental health care is a major unmet need that provides an incredible opportunity to improve individual lives and to maximise the potential of our collective society

The part of my job I most enjoy is … watching therapists taking part in our training and seeing how moved they often are by the therapeutic process

My proudest achievement is … completing a sprint triathlon. Just surviving the open-water swim made me feel like I could do anything!

What I am most grateful for is … aside from my health, safety, relationships, and working with a great team to further a cause I care about — I’m also really grateful right now for my bicycle, which in a time when options are limited, provides the joys of exercise, speed, adventure, and the ability to more safely see family and friends in other parts of the city

The best place I’ve ever visited is … very specifically, the top of the Upper Falls in Yosemite National Park in California. I went on a backpacking trip with one of my brothers, and we hiked a steep and unrelenting path up to the top of the falls with packs on our backs. When we reached the top, and the day-hikers started their descent, we continued to hike further into the mountain. We were rewarded with panoramic views, large balls of hail falling from the sky, and the feeling of finding an untouched heaven on top of the world

The book everyone should read is … this is a tough one, because I think it’s better when book recommendations are specific to individual interests. Here are two favourites that I think everyone might find useful:

  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk – while on the surface this looks like a book about parenting, it actually contains incredible and accessible wisdom about communicating with humans of all ages
  • Crucial Conversations – this book focuses specifically on how to communicate productively, both personally and professionally
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