Sr Brigid Hirschfeld

Trainer

Brigid currently runs a private practice in Brisbane where she is a counsellor, supervisor of other counsellors and trainees, and a psychodrama and group work trainer. She has been working with psychodrama for over 36 years. As a result of this deep experience she also supervises and examines trainees who are working towards becoming qualified as psychodrama trainers. In her work she is often called on to examine both practical assessments as well as psychodrama theses (which are the written and practical evaluations required to become a psychodramatist). She served 6 years on the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA) Board of Examiners where her expertise was valued and greatly developed. She is on the staff of Psychodrama Australia Brisbane Campus and has been involved with training at different levels since 1983. As a member of AANZPA she has been the Archivist since 1996 and has a great love of preserving the history of the Association and its members. She has a passion for working with people to assist them to find better ways for themselves to be in the world.

In the early 1970’s, Brigid became a Registered General Nurse and Midwife in the Mater Hospitals, Brisbane, followed by work in the Hospital Personnel Department and as a Staff Counsellor. This also included teaching Psychology to Student Nurses. She had majored in Psychology at the University of Qld. During this time Brigid was also involved in Encounter, Assertion Training, Gestalt and Transactional Analysis workshops both as participant and facilitator. She began her training as a psychodramatist in Australia in 1977. In 1981 she was certified as a psychodramatist, in the USA, after she spent a year working and training at the Colorado Psychodrama Centre in Denver, Colorado. She received her certification as a psychodramatist in Australia in 1983. In 1990, after further training, she was qualified as a Psychodrama trainer (which is called a Trainer, Educator and Practitioner in the AANZPA system).

After presenting significant papers on Death and Dying and Bereavement to the Royal Australian Nurses Federation Conference in South Australia in 1975, her work as a Grief Counsellor and Educator became known across Australia. She was regularly invited to present workshops and give seminars on this subject, and she published many papers in various professional newsletters. In 1978 she was a founding member of the National Association for Loss and Grief. In In 1998, Brigid and Charmaine McVea Co-authored “‘A Cast of Thousands’: Working with the Five Instruments of Psychodrama in the Therapeutic Relationship” which was published in the Journal of Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association.

Brigid has been involved in several research projects involving Psychodrama and Playback Theatre and her work included the use of art therapy. Brigid has presented annually at the international conferences of AANZPA where her sessions are well received.

Brigid won the prize for highest aggregate marks in General Nursing and a prize for the most Practical Nurse. A few years later she won the prize for highest aggregate marks in Midwifery and a prize for topping Queensland for Paediatric Nursing. This came after a school life of ‘being only average’.  Nursing brought her alive and as a result of her involvement with Grief and Care of the Dying, Brigid did several radio interviews and was written about in newspapers in several States. Since then she has weaved together all the different areas of her professional life with her experience in Psychodrama, Playback Theatre, and the Creative Arts. In 2010 she was made a Distinguished Member of the AANZPA which recognised her contributions to ‘building and valuing’ the Association.