For a long time I have been drawn to supporting people with the difficulties and challenges that life can bring. Whether it's helping someone to get back on their feet after an unexpected setback or working together on lifelong patterns. Through my work with adults I have come to strongly believe that the origins of problematic patterns and challenging relationships stem from unmet core emotional needs in childhood.
My work with children, adolescents and families has really developed my ability to honour the temperament, sensitivity, nervous system and need underlying the behaviours we might see in order to promote lasting emotional and relational change for the family system. I work holistically with families and with other professionals and settings, such as schools to provide an intensive service. Needs and highly sensitive nervous systems are often misunderstood as anxiety or even defiance. It would be an honour to work with your family and my background in developmental psychology and schema therapy, where core emotional needs are the foundation of the model often fits well for families seeking to support the social and emotional development, and brain integration for their children.
I am a Clinical Psychologist with Advanced International Certification in Schema Therapy. I completed my Masters in Clinical Psychology at the University of South Australia. I am registered with Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency and I am a registered Medicare provider.
Having worked across government, community, and private settings I have experience working with complex presentations, including anxiety, depression and mood disorders, childhood abuse and complex trauma, attachment-related issues, personality disorders and relationship and parenting difficulties. My work with children and families is informed by each child’s unique developmental profile, seeking to understand what is underlying behaviours and then supporting the important need-meeting work.
I value psychological approaches that respond to the individual needs of the client and I utilise evidence-based treatments, including Schema Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, attachment-focused therapies, and Mindfulness.
I have experience providing assessment and intervention for families. I am trained in attachment-focused interventions and held a Clinical Psychologist position with the Government of South Australia, Specialist Child and Youth Service where I provided home-based intensive family intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, significant behavioural and emotional issues. I am a registered Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator. I previously held a Clinical Psychologist position and Psychology Clinical Lead Role in the therapy team of Kudos Services. Working in a team setting opens up so many avenues to support your family. Such as working closely with the Positive Behaviour Support Team to really understand and implement strategies across natural settings and our Occupational Therapists to support emotional regulation, assess sensory sensitivities and implement sensory plans/ diets. Speech Pathologists can also be a wonderful resource to support the expression of feelings and needs, and ease communication frustration. I believe home and off site visits are essential to translate change in therapy settings to natural settings, which is consistent with the evidence base. I have incorporated these practices into my private work with clients and their families.
It is an honour for me to work with children with highly sensitive nervous systems, which can present as anxiety / overwhelm in environments and behavioural challenges. This can look like shyness, difficulties socialising and going into their internal world. Part of my work includes entering their inner world through creative techniques to develop a shared space for change.
My colleague, Liz Anderson and I have also developed a program for supporting children and their families socially and emotionally, especially for children with sensitive nervous systems. I have developed this in consultation with George Lockwood, a founding developer of schema therapy and researcher exploring core emotional needs and child development. The emphasis of the program is around understanding and supporting families to meet the core emotional needs of their children, which can be challenging if a parent's temperament is the same or different to their child's. This program is informed by the 7 Positive Parenting Patterns developed by George Lockwood which provide a structured and empirically sound shared language for parents. The program also focuses on the parent's relational experiences. This program is currently being adapted for schema therapists, to enhance limited reparenting in treatment and for therapeutic residential care programs based on my experience in this area.
Developing strong therapeutic relationships is at the centre of my approach, whereby we can make sense of life patterns based on an in-depth case conceptualisation. I have a strong interest in increasing the accessibility of Schema Therapy using innovative methods including technology and group schema therapy. I am passionate about ensuring that vulnerable clients are able to access the therapy they need.
I previously developed an eHealth tool for Schema Therapy, Secure Nest, to enhance the experience for clients receiving Schema Therapy.
My professional registrations include being a member of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST) and I have undertaken training and supervision in Schema Therapy with supervisors in Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States. I have delivered workshops, published research, written book chapters and presented at national and international conferences, including previous ISST conferences in Istanbul, Vienna and Amsterdam in 2018. I was involved in the development of an internationally recognised training resource for new schema therapists (Fine Tuning Chair Work in Schema Therapy DVD).
I offer training and supervision in Schema Therapy and I am a part of Schema Therapy Training Australia, which is the largest Schema Therapy training provider in Australia. I am able to provide customised Schema Therapy training programs and workshops to meet the needs of organisations.
I have a particular interest in providing short term schema therapy in line with my colleague Michiel van Vreeswijk's research and protocols. I welcome any opportunities to collaborate.