Clinical Support Partner: Tracy Spencer

In 2023, Rural Alive & Well (RAW) strategically partnered with local rural psychologist, Dr Tracy Spencer, in an effort to be able to overcome the wait times for clinical support within Tasmania’s rural and remote communities.

As a team, we love how relatable Tracy is. There is still a large stigma related to what it means to engage with a psychologist, and we are passionate about challenging that stigma. For some people, the thought of engaging in clinical support triggers shame and others hold a perception that media and television have driven, but the truth is that local psychology services play an essential role in helping people overcome and move forward from the medium to long term impacts of negative stress, trauma, grief and more.

To help debunk the fear and perceptions of what it might be like to engage with a psych, we had Tracy answer a few questions so you can get to know her more.

At any stage when reading this you feel that Tracy might be able to help you navigate your mental health and wellbeing journey, we encourage you to submit the callback request at the bottom of the page and one of the RAW team will be in touch.

It’s important to note that RAW receives no financial benefit from engaging participants in Tracy’s service. The only benefit RAW receives is to have our participant's wellbeing prioritised and fast-tracked (at no additional cost to the participant). Having Tracy as a clinical partner has enabled participants to go from waiting 2-3 months for clinical support, to being an engaged and active participant in clinical support within 24 - 48 hrs after RAW’s referral is sent through.

RAW works with a range of diverse clinical supports and aims to best match participants with a service that they can feel most comfortable with. RAW works strongly to understand the diversity and unique experiences of all the participants who come through our programs for support.

RAW: “How long have you been working across rural areas as a Psychologist?”

Tracy: “I’ve been living in rural Tasmania since 2015, but have lived and worked in rural and remote Australia since I moved to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia in 1999. From there I lived, worked and raised my kids in outback SA and NT. I really value the way small communities can support their members, and am also aware of the impacts of lack of confidentiality and the gossip that happens at times.”

RAW: “What made you want to choose psychology as a career and what do you think are the biggest misconceptions around receiving support?”

Tracy: “I wanted to be a psychologist from the age of 16. I was a part-time youth worker in Melbourne and wanted to spend my working time contributing to helping people live in the ways that are best for them. Sometimes psychologists are thought to judge people and tell them what to do, but that's not my approach.

I’m happy to share things that I’ve learnt about how the brain, nervous system and body work if that’s useful, but mostly I’m listening to what the person is telling me about what’s difficult for them, and what they prefer to happen in their lives. I’ve learnt quite a few ways to have conversations that can be helpful, and use some techniques and tools when they are indicated. I’ll always check if the way I’m responding to someone matches what they want. The participant is in control of the session, they are the expert in their life.

RAW: What do you believe is the hardest part of the healing process? Is the hardest part getting to the point of needing support, or is it the work after? Or does it depend on each individual?

Tracy: "For most, it's often been a tough journey getting to see a psychologist: tough because something isn’t going well in their life and their mental health is suffering because of it. It's also tough to try to find and then wait for an appointment too.

RAW is great at helping people with this part. Personally, I try to not have people waiting too long, and make appointments during times that suit them best.

Most people find that initially, it will be a relief when we meet and start work…but therapy IS work for the person. It often takes real courage to go on the journey to process and overcome things that in that moment might feel hard and scary to unpack. Sometimes it takes just bloody-mindedness to start making some changes to heal your mental health.

If it was easy, you’d have already done it yourself, right? It's not easy, but healing does happen.

RAW: “Without identifying an individual, what’s one of the most impactful stories and transformations you’ve played a role in?”


"There have been so many people over the years that I’ve worked with, who make significant changes in their lives and rewrite the negative ideas that have held them back. I remember one woman whose husband had died unexpectedly in a hospital waiting area, and she developed severe depression.

She couldn’t face going to the hospital and struggled to leave her home. She cried every time she thought of her husband. She blamed herself for not being there. She was terrified at the idea that she might now need to find work to support herself.

Over the period of a year, we talked and at times used drawings to help her process the grief and rewrite her negative ideas about herself. It also allowed her space to let herself be angry at the hospital, and at her husband for not going earlier.

Eventually, she got to the point where she could make jokes about the way he had always been and she imagined what she would say to him now about his unwillingness to seek help earlier. She wrote to the hospital and asked them to explain why they hadn’t treated him better. Then she found the courage to go to the hospital with a friend. She was able to be in the waiting room and stay calm. She lit candles for him on the anniversary of his death and started telling me about things she enjoyed when she went out of the house. The last I heard she was working in her local community. It takes time, but healing does occur."

RAW: ‘When you aren’t working, what do you love to do?’


"To best help my clients, I must first make sure I keep myself mentally healthy. I enjoy doing mindfulness practice and exercise every morning. I plan hikes and attend local events in Tassie. I make sure I spend time with my friends. I also love cold water dipping, and any bit of water I find I’ll jump in, just for the endorphins!!"

RAW:Using the RAW’s Fast 5, what are your top things you do within each category to keep you ‘Fit And Strong Today?’


"I’ve got the RAW temperature gauge on my fridge. Sometimes I notice my gauge creeping towards the red when I’ve been working too much or not sleeping enough. If that happens then it also usually means I’ve been a bit rough on my partner too and there’s some tension there. Sound familiar?

I’m not that different to most people. We’re all human and each learning to drive our brain and body the best we can. At the end of the day, what all people want is: safety, peace and belonging.

At times when my gauge moves towards the red, my Fast 5 looks like:

Mind: doing a longer mindfulness practice until I can see I’m not my frustrated thoughts

Mood: going for a run or a cold water dip

Meaning: Telling myself to revisit the problem after a good sleep, and plan something nice for my next time away from work

Body: going to bed early and getting up at my favourite early time to do my usual morning routine

Connection: ring a friend

RAW: "What's it been like working alongside the RAW team over the past 12 months?"

"I've really enjoyed the partnership we have developed.

It also goes both ways. I've also had times when there's been a tough moment for folks both myself and RAW are working with, and I've been able (with consent) to let their RAW worker know, so they can drop in or touch base.

It feels good to me to be part of a team, and more holistic support system and I hope it comes across that way to the people we're supporting too.

I also try to support people with cost. If people can get a mental health care plan from a GP and send it to me, then I will be able to bulk bill so that there is no cost to the individual that way.

The RAW team are really great at being able to help people navigate this step as well because it can be a barrier for some people."

About Tracy

Dr Tracy Spencer

Registered Psychologist, Ass MAPS, Clin PACFA, AHPRA (PSY0002194518)

Medicare Provider No. 5936853L

Tracy has over thirty years experience delivering therapeutic interventions with adults, children, couples and families. She has lived and worked throughout Australia in many rural and remote areas, including the Huon Valley, NW coast and West Coast of Tasmania, where she still travels regularly from her home in Campbell Town.

She is a Registered Psychologist, a Senior EAP Counsellor and a Mindfulness Facilitator. She has trained in the delivery of psychological services using Telehealth, and can use a variety of methods to support people with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance misuse and family issues using zoom, phone or face-to-face options.

She is passionate about helping people identify their own strengths and supporting them to build on these to respond to the challenges life may bring.

Areas of Expertise

  • Narrative therapy and CBT for addressing issues related to stress, depression, anxiety and other difficult psychological conditions
  • Addiction Counselling, group work and training
  • Trauma Recovery, including sexual abuse, violence, grief and loss
  • EFT-based Couple Therapy
  • Play therapy for children including Sandplay and Theraplay and Brain-Based parenting approaches
  • Mindfulness practices and courses
  • Trauma-informed, Strengths-based counselling


  • Batchelor of Science (Psychology Hons), University of Melbourne, 1988
  • Post Graduate Batchelor of Education (Counselling) Latrobe University, 1990
  • PhD, Flinders University, 2011
  • Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work, University of Melbourne, 2014
  • Certificate IV Training and Assessment
  • Senior EAP Counsellor
  • MTIA qualified Mindfulness Teacher
  • Sandplay Therapy, Levels 1-3
  • Theraplay Level 1
  • Mindful Parenting Programs Facilitator
  • Synergetic Play therapy
  • EMDR trauma processing
Request a callback
Call back details
We would love to be able to reach out to yourself or someone you know who could benefit from support. Requests are checked regularly throughout the week, however if you need support sooner please call 1800 729 827
Note: RAW does not provide clinical or crisis support services. If you are seeking crisis support, please refer to our crisis support service suggestions below
Please indicate a general location or suburb of the individual
If you know a little about the situational stressors the individual is experiencing, please indicate accordingly
If you would like to provide any more information prior to RAW calling the individual please include below.
ABOUT YOU - Not required for self requests
Please note: this action is pending the decision of the individual you are seeking to help
Please note: RAW is able to still reach out to people who haven't given you permission. This question just helps us identify the best way to approach and contact the person you are concerned for .