Jenny Sharkey is currently working on a PhD investigating the mechanisms that create and maintain healthy and happy relationships. She is doing this at Auckland AUT University under the supervision of Dr Jackie Feather and Dr Sonja Goedeke. Jenny is developing an integrated overarching diagnostic framework for illustrating how multiple determinants act over the lifespan to produce adult intimate relationship trajectories – with a particular focus on marriage.
Jenny’s thesis will specifically investigate the development and maintenance of the patterns commensurate with marital health, how and why they self-organise, how outcomes emerge, and how we might therefore alter these outcomes. It is an investigation of the observable patterns of behaviours, emotions and thoughts, and their underlying mechanisms, that lead to marital happiness, stability and general relationship well-being. The principles of relationship health will be extricated from the literature and synthesised into a process model. The purpose of this investigation and subsequent model development is the clarification and simplification of these discoveries into a form that is accessible for others who can benefit from the information, yet don’t time and focus themselves to find, collate and synthesise this data. The hope is that this model will positively impact the relationship health of those in need and empower therapists and program developers to feel confident that they are targeting the right mechanisms in treatment.
Jenny has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and 30 years of experience in counselling. She has also been involved in youth work, at-risk youth care, counselling care and pastoral care for the majority of that time, alongside raising three wonderful children – now adults. Her husband, Glen Sharkey, is a well-known speaker and facilitator of leadership development and workplace relationships.