I believe that therapy needs to feel safe and not threatening. The client should feel that the therapist is working collaboratively with them as a team. I believe that the therapist and client should work out the goals of therapy together, and select treatment components according to client preferences. I have many different ways to approach treatment of mental health issues and can call upon those resources to tailor the treatment to be consistent with clients’ preferences. I especially believe in working with clients’ strengths to assist them to cope with current problems. This entails conducting a strengths assessment to reveal what skills or resources the client already possesses to help them overcome current difficulties. This approach means that most clients experience quite rapid, long lasting improvement. I monitor my clients’ progress weekly to ensure that improvement is taking place and usually my clients feel better within about three to four weeks of starting treatment.Furthermore, I invite feedback or criticism about my style to ensure that the client is getting the experience that feels most comfortable for them. I believe that treatment should be experienced as respectful, enjoyable, useful and customised to the individual client. I do not believe that treatment has to be uncomfortable or distressing to be effective, especially when working with traumatised clients.
After qualifying as a psychologist I was fortunate to get a position in a clinical research unit at Monash University Department of Psychiatry. The aim of the research was to produce a modified Cognitive Behaviour Treatment for depressed adolescents where a greater focus was placed on the use of strengths and increasing self-efficacy. This research influenced me in the use of strengths assessment and increasing client self-efficacy. It was an excellent opportunity for a new graduate as we worked intensively with a small group of young people and their parents. All cases were reviewed weekly by the research supervisor and other treating clinicians which grounded my clinical skills in best practice.
Another research project in subsequent years saw me working with traumatised adolescent refugees using Trauma Focused CBT. The cultural considerations meant that modifications to delivery of the treatment were needed to increase relevance of the treatment for those from different cultural backgrounds.
After the Victorian bushfires, Monash University was selected to offer diagnosis and referrals for all young people affected by the fires. I was the clinical coordinator for that project, which involved conducting screening and diagnosis of over 400 young people across Victoria affected by the fires. My interest and understanding of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and how it affects family and individual life was increased by this work. In addition, my respect for the resilience that clients exhibit under stress became even greater.
My latest project has been to complete a PhD on the treatment of adolescent refugees which has involved evaluating measures for cross cultural validity, interviewing clinicians involved in treating adolescent refugees and designing and implementing a novel treatment program for this population. This has sought to address the major problems in delivery of psychological treatment to people from different cultures. I have completed the PhD in February 2016.
During this time I maintained a small private practice specialising in trauma, depression and anxiety for adolescents, as well as studying for a Graduate Diploma in FamilyTherapy which was to enable me to sensitively work with couples and families. In 2014 I joined Nexus Psychology in a part time capacity whilst completing my studies where I very much enjoy the diversity of clients that present in a busy practice.
Clients I work with:
Therapeutic Approaches I use:
- Family Therapy
Issues I work with:
- Post-trauma symptoms
- Grief and Loss
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Childhood issues
- Parenting skills
- Cross cultural counselling
- Adjustment problems for immigrants
- Exam stress and anxiety for school and university students
- Enhancing creativity in work or pleasure