Dr Marilyn Willis

I have worked all my adult life as a psychologist, initially as an educational and developmental psychologist in traditional career positions within NZ Department of Education and Australian universities: a teacher, educational psychologist, researcher, academic, practising psychologist, university counsellor for staff and students, and a senior manager of university student services.

For the next 15 years, as a consulting psychologist, I worked in diverse and less traditional career roles as an organisational and counselling psychologist in a wide range of sectors and industries in Australia and other Asia Pacific countries. I also conducted a Melbourne based psychological practice for individual clients and taught as an adjunct lecturer in MBA programmes in Melbourne universities.

The underlying themes of my diverse professional roles have been my interests in social competence and social skills training; social and emotional empathy; cross-cultural communication; sex/gender differences and social competence; emotional intelligence; cultural diversity, gender diversity, and neuro-diversity in education and employment; and, inclusive practices for minorities or others in education and employment.

These themes are of special relevance for AS students and employees as they navigate a social world created and dominated by neuro-typicals (NTs).

This NT worldview influences implicit assumptions and unconscious bias about personal relationships, personal satisfaction, family life, motivation and life aspirations. Human resource development and management practices of educational institutions and workplaces are based on these assumptions and organisational and learning cultures usually reflect these assumptions.

I am interested in how acceptance and support can be provided for AS students and employees to navigate neurological differences and how inclusive practices and cultures can be created for both NT and AS students and employees.

We know more about the pattern and intensity of AS behaviour and symptoms for boys and men rather than the qualitative differences for girls and women. Girls are frequently not diagnosed with AS at school and remain undiagnosed until late adolescence or later. Many remain undiagnosed and misunderstood. I am interested in raising awareness and understanding of girls and women with AS.

I am aware as a NT psychologist that I am part of the dominant social culture and hence rely enormously on learning about AS from my clients and reading memoirs, blogs and websites, as well as keeping up to date with international academic research findings.

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  • Education
  • Education
  • Education
  • The Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa New Zealand - English
  • The Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa New Zealand - Te Reo
  • APS Code of Ethics