Support comes in many forms. Physical, mental, emotional, psychological… and getting the right support at the right time can make all the difference. Alex Canty, Flinders PhD Candidate in Psychology is determined the research she is conducting into post-traumatic stress disorder will help to develop better support and treatments, or potentially help people avoid post-traumatic stress altogether.
“My current research is looking into the reasons why someone might develop post-traumatic stress disorder. A lot of Australians will experience an event that could cause them to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But it's quite rare that the average person does develop that. I am looking into the causes behind it, how we can work to prevent it, and improve our treatments.”
Alex has a long-standing interest in the psychological factors that affect us. Beyond her own studies, she also works as a research assistant in the Post-traumatic Stress Research Unit at Flinders.
“I've always had a lot of interest in people and the way we do things. And then I just thought it was incredible the way people overcome certain things, and the way some people just managed to cope in overwhelming circumstances.”
Her passion for her field is evident, as reflected in her winning presentation in Flinders’ three-minute thesis (3MT) competition in 2020. The thought of participating in the 3MT was daunting at first, but Alex appreciated the support from Flinders she received to help make the experience amazing, even though she soon realised she was the only first-year PhD candidate competing.
“It wasn't until the first heat that I realised everybody else was much older than me with much more experience and was in their third or final year of their PhD. I was the only first-year there. Everyone in my lab was very supportive, my supervisor and everybody else, because they were impressed with what I was doing. And the other girls in the competition, were absolutely fantastic, really lovely, supportive people.”
Alex Canty’s research is built around supporting and helping others, and the supportive environment she’s found amongst her lecturers and peers at Flinders has helped her fearlessly take steps that may have felt impossible years before.
“Give everything a go. Have confidence in yourself and give everything a go. You don't know what you’ll end up with. But it will probably be something great.”
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