"It is so important to work together at the pace chosen by the client because each person has unique circumstances. I use a joint approach where the client chooses the goals they wish to achieve. There is no room for ‘judgment’ because every circumstance is unique and judgment ‘gets in the way’ of honest exploration which is the basis of therapy. My approach is gentle with knowledgeable guidance, and it is evidence-based."
B.A (Psychology); PostGrad Dip (Psychology)
Hart Psychologists Certified
1. How many years’ experience do you have practicing/helping clients?
I have been practicing as a counsellor since 1991 and I received full registration with the Psychology Board of Australia in 1993. I have been practicing for twenty-five years.
2. What do you find most rewarding about working with people who have depression?
In depression, everything that was formerly significant can lose meaning. There is nothing more rewarding professionally than collaborating with another person to facilitate their path to help them to regain meaning, appreciation, energy and joy. This transforms not only the life of the client, but their intimate relationships, parenting, work and social world. As the Dalai Lama said, ‘I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy’, so working with depression is to work with our most fundamental need.
3. What do you find most rewarding about working with people who have anxiety?
Anxiety is a very common condition. It frequently leads to depression over time and yet it is highly treatable through counselling. The most rewarding part of helping clients to resolve anxiety is to see someone’s relief when they begin to conquer this distressing condition. This releases energy, formerly given over to chronic anxiety or ‘over-thinking’, to live life with joy and focus, often for the first time in years.
4. What do you find most rewarding about working with people who are stressed?
Stress can lead to longer-term anxiety and this can ultimately lead to depression as clients chronically struggle with both the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. Once a client learns the fundamentals, they leave counselling with life-long skills. Sometimes, managing stress requires clients to develop new capabilities such as saying ‘no’, challenging long-standing patterns of pleasing others too much and building their personal empowerment and agency. The most rewarding aspect of this work for me is to see someone start to embrace their empowerment to not only successfully manage stress, but to live authentically, with greater joy and creativity.
5. How do you help clients feel comfortable and supported?
It is so important to work together at the pace chosen by the client because each person has unique circumstances. I use a joint approach where the client chooses the goals they wish to achieve. There is no room for ‘judgment’ because every circumstance is unique and judgment ‘gets in the way’ of honest exploration which is the basis of therapy. My approach is gentle with knowledgeable guidance, and it is evidence-based.
6. What methodologies or approaches do you find helpful?
The most helpful methodologies are those for which there is strong evidence about effectiveness. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is well-researched and the evidence for its use in the treatment of anxiety and depression is well established. In fact, in many instances this methodology is at least as effective as medication. For couples, Gottman Method Couples Therapy is well based in clinical research and I often use this in conjunction with CBT as they are complementary approaches.
7. What have clients said about how you have helped them most?
The most helpful counselling produces real changes in a person’s life. Clients have expressed that they have been able to overcome infidelity and save their much-valued relationship; have been able to develop faith in their ability to solve distressing problems in an empowered way such as transitioning from homelessness to having their own accommodation; and to overcome pervasive and historic pain to create wonderful families. Often, clients speak about the tremendous power that is brought through clarity.
8. What is the best or most heart-warming feedback that you have received from a client?
Over 25 years, I can hardly choose any single response for this question and all great outcomes reflect the client’s commitment to our shared journeys. The most significant words would have to be those that reflect someone sharing with me that without the journey that we had undertaken together, they would not still be here, yet they are now able to love, parent and find joy.
9. List three things that your friends for family would describe you as…
Reflective, generous, insightful.
10. List three strengths that you have as a psychologist
A deeply –developed understanding, after a long time, of ‘what works’ in therapeutic counselling; commitment to ethical- and evidence-based practice and a great love for the work I do.
11. Why do you love doing this work?
Positive psychology finds that the three fundamental objectives that promote a flourishing life are a sense of mastery, autonym and meaning. I am privileged to have this vocation as an integral part of my life that allows me to enjoy all three. As an added bonus, one never, ever stops learning.