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Kia ora Miriam – the head of Real!

Photo of Miriam SwansonIn May 2021 we welcomed Miriam Swanson to the Pathways and Real whānau as our new child and youth director. In this role, Miriam leads the ever-growing Real teams across Aotearoa!

Miriam has over 20 years’ of experience as a registered clinical psychologist and a keen interest in emotion dysregulation in adolescents, gender-affirming health care and principles of mindful leadership.

We asked her some very important and hard-hitting questions to help us get to know her…

What is your favourite feel-good song?

Generally, anything that can be sung loudly in the car with my children. We currently do a pretty awesome car version of the classic hit, I Think We’re Alone Now, by Tiffany.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

I’m most definitely an introvert. I love people but need to recharge my batteries with a walk in the bush with the dog or getting stuck into the garden.

As someone who married an extrovert, I have to explicitly ban more than two social occasions on any given weekend day!

Do you have any favourite words that inspire you?

In the spirit of balance, I do my best to hold both ends of the dialectic:

“If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in true consciousness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives”

— Bruno Bettelheim (Austrian psychologist).

“The best thing that you’ve ever done for me, is to help me take my life less seriously. It’s only life after all”

— from the song Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Creating and growing my two children who are currently 9 and 6-years-old. I am not sure I am always on my parenting ‘A-game’, but they make me proud every day.

What did you want to be when you were young?

I decided at Intermediate that I wanted to be a psychologist and that is what I did! My jobs along the way included pamphlet delivery, cleaner, car groomer, hair washer and leek grower.

What makes you laugh the most?

I am open to laughing at most things. I have a pretty dry sense of humour but find myself laughing out loud at physical comedy as well.

I enjoy a good podcast and No Such Thing As A Fish has me laughing on a regular basis.

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Right now, it would be to teleport my partner and children to London to visit my in-laws. I think the hugs might last the whole day and we might not have time for anything else.

What are you most excited about in your new role at Pathways and Real?

I moved to Pathways and Real for the opportunity to contribute to growing great, responsive, and relevant services for young people. In joining the team, what has excited me most in my role so far is meeting the awesome people who work in this organisation.

What a privilege to be surrounded by people who care so passionately about supporting people well.