Update To Success At School

I am going to take the liberty of sharing some personal information as many of the authors I admire in my field do.

The original article ‘ Success at School, What Are The Secrets?’ was written when all three of my children were at school. Two were in high school and my youngest was in primary school.

Twelve years on they have are all grown up, all have been to university and, as I write this, two of the three are completing post graduate degrees – that is success at school!

I was not overly involved in my children’s school work. I did the mandatory reading and spelling homework with them in the first three years of primary school and really enjoyed this time. It was essential that these basic skills be consolidated at home but I also think another benefit was the close one on one time with each child. We would sit close together on the couch and it was a fun activity. Likewise their father, who had more of a maths brain, assisted with the basic times table homework that was required.

Beyond that I do not recall doing much else. Life was busy, I would sign the homework book and assumed that the homework had been done. I do not recall making this a priority of my day. Perhaps one of the reasons for this was that I was working in my chosen field, the one I am still in now, and simply did not have the time to get too involved.

We also did not believe in helping with school work unless it was something very difficult. Even then I would encourage them to seek out the assistance they needed from their teacher. I had a saying that I often repeated to friends and clients which went as follows, ‘the more you do for your children, the more you rob them of the opportunity of ‘doing’ for themselves’. So my three just got on with it and this was the key to their success at school. I was more interested in having fun with them and ensuring they were happy.

In fact the two who are currently completing their higher degrees both had quite profound learning difficulties which were picked up at pre school. So many hours were spent at speech therapy which produced excellent results. There is no sign of those issues now as adults. What I have also noticed with children I have watched growing up, some family, some children of friends, is that kids sometimes take a while to come into their own. I know a young adult whom I recall had some learning difficulties during primary school and was pretty average in terms of grades. In fact I recall that their sibling too was quite average in the primary school years. Well today one is a top lawyer and the other is completing a Masters degree. Both are now definitely high achievers. What I also know is that they came from a family where there was love and support and I do not recall any worry or pressure around academic achievement.

As I write this update I have something waiting for my attention in my inbox. It is the final version of my youngest child’s honours thesis and Mum has been requested to have a quick read through to check on grammar and the correct use of present and past tense. What an honour, what an outstanding achievement from someone who had quite significant extra support during the primary school years.

My eldest child was in an HSC year that attained the most outstanding results. There were four UAI scores of 100 and many more in the high nineties, my child being one of them. I think most of these individuals who achieved such excellence were simply clever and probably gifted. I think many came from homes where both parents worked. They did not have tons of extra tuition in the hope of getting a good final mark, they were just a very talented year group.

I also know of people whose children did not do well in the HSC and yet they are at university and are doing well.

So I guess the benefit of this hindsight is like my own unplanned long term research study. Success at school can happen if you give your children just the three most important things in the world and then let them get on with it. What are these you may ask? Yet another of my home grown pearls of wisdom: love, love and love!

Update on Food, Weight, and All Things Body Related

The first food related article I wrote, Hunger, Appetite and Eating, was written in in the late nineties. I was asked to submit something interesting, related to children, for a fundraising publication. It was known that at a much earlier stage in my career I had run a diet counselling practice and still retained a passionate interest in all things food related.

The next article, Food Weight and the Perfect Body, article was written in 2002. When I wrote this my children and all their friends were at school. Some were skinny, some were chubby and some were just right. What I observe now, all these years later, is that most of the children I watched growing up seem to have a normal and healthy body weight. Most of these individuals are embracing healthy eating and an active lifestyle in terms of exercise and the joy of movement. So, the message about just letting kids learn to eat in a comfortable manner, without too much interference, does generally work. If there are weight issues that are significant enough to warrant attention, these must be handled with the utmost sensitivity by parents.

I have noticed another significant change since 2002 and that is the size of the models we see in the media. There are still stick thin models that are being used, but there are also many fashion houses that are making a policy of not using models under a certain body weight. In Time Magazine, April, 2015, there was an article that spoke about France being the latest country to ban excessively skinny models from working in the fashion industry. This ban was already in place in Israel, Italy and Spain. This legislation was described as being an attempt to stop the idealisation of the dangerously thin and perhaps curb anorexia.

The Daily Mail of Australia, March 2015, had a headline, “THE BIGGEST MODELS IN THE WORLD! THE NEW BREED OF PLUS SIZE SUPERS ARE CURVY, BEAUTIFUL….. AND CHANGING THE FACE OF FASHION”. They go onto to say that the arrival of the plus size model has been heralded as a new era for the average woman, who would prefer to see their favourite clothing store showcase items on a body they can relate to.

An Australian, Robin Lawley, is one of the most famous plus size models in the world. She made history in 2015 for becoming the first plus size model to pose in the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated. She initially worked as a regular model from the age of 17 but was unable to maintain the super slim figure required. She eventually signed up with a plus size modelling agency. Since doing this in 2011 her career has taken off and she has featured in famous international fashion magazines. This is a great leap forward as it is often young people who are most influenced by the ‘ideal’ body types seen in the media.

In Australia there are also shops that stock elegant clothing for people from a size 14 upwards. Hopefully these trends will assist people to feel comfortable with the body they are in and to maintain good physical health regardless  of their body size. Not everyone aspires to being slim, not every person is looking for a slim partner.

It would be wonderful if there could be more initiatives to assist the public with the notion of diversity and health at any size. There is a movement in psychological circles that addresses these issues and there are clinicians who focus exclusively on eating issues.

There is also now the option of gastric surgery to address obesity in people who have simply not been not been able to reduce in any other way. I have seen some excellent results where individuals have finally been able to get to a weight that they are comfortable with and stay there.

My professional journey related to food and eating has been an interesting and exciting one. At Zetland Psychotherapy you are most welcome to discuss any difficulties you may be experiencing with food. This often comes up as part of a larger issue. I might be able to assist you myself or I can refer you to an appropriate specialist.

Success At School, What Are The Secrets?

The summer holidays are almost at an end and children everywhere are starting to prepare for school. Some are anticipating, with the mixture of anxiety and relief, their final year, the HSC. Others are entering high school having to face the pressures of an increased workload, plus all the demands and responsibilities that are part and parcel of growing up. Then there are the little ones that are starting school for the first time.

It is safe to say that most parents want their children to be successful at school and to do the best that they can. There are often many issues to considered when trying to decide what is best for one’s child educationally. Should the school be public or private, is extra tutoring outside school hours a good idea, how much time should be devoted to sport and extra-curricular activities?

These are all worthwhile questions. However there is one consideration that is perhaps more fundamental than all of the above: whose school career is this—ours or our children’s?

Many parents through circumstances beyond their control may not have been able to fulfil the educational or career dreams they once set for themselves. So what happens? The dreams are not dead, just maybe deeply packed away in some hidden emotional recess. So, with the best intentions in the world, parents unwittingly try to relive these dreams through their children.

On a practical level what do we see? Parents who can ill afford private education making huge financial sacrifices to send their children to private schools. Pressure is placed on children to achieve in the belief that this will lead to automatic success. There is often frequent communication with teachers in an effort to understand why their child is ‘not achieving’ which can often be a parent’s very subjective point of view. Homework is strictly monitored with the parents sometimes doing the tasks themselves. The effects on the children—anxiety, an obsessive need to please, and a continual feeling that just being who they are is not quite good enough. I am using strong statements here as I am illustrating a scenario where things can start becoming dysfunctional for the child.

We as parents do not have it within our power to make our children more clever or achieve more than they are capable of. What is within our control is the ability to love them for exactly who they are, to praise and affirm them for every effort that they make and to make them feel that in our eyes they are winners. Doing anything else will instil a sense of shame and failure.

Having said all this, the fact remains that children differ enormously in their academic abilities and in the application of that ability to their school work. Of course, as parents, if our children are blessed with academic excellence, they are to be encouraged to do the best that they possibly can. They may be the future scientists and intellectuals of our next generation!

If our children struggle in certain areas or have remedial difficulties they should receive all of the assistance available to them. Our role as parents should be to remain in the background, quietly monitoring progress, giving encouragement at every appropriate opportunity and then getting on with our own lives.

So then what is this mysterious ingredient that leads to scholastic success? Maybe it is the simple term motivation. If we can engage in some of the above mentioned confidence building behaviours then maybe we can instil in our children the desire to succeed because they want the success for themselves. We then have a motivated child and the sky is the limit!

The more we affirm and the less we intrude, the more we are saying ‘I trust you, I believe in you. I know you can do this on your own but if you need my help just give me a shout’.

Now, what about those parents who believe it is too late for them and who may be living their lives vicariously through their children? It is never too late, take time to think about what changes you may wish to make, what new directions you wish to explore. Do some fact finding, check out available resources, talk to people and maybe even seek out professional guidance.

The more fulfilled we are as individuals, the better we are able to parent our children.

Food, Weight and the Perfect Body

An obsession about food, weight and the size of your body is a painful and engrossing activity and can become a way of life. There are many adults who have spent half their lives grappling with the issues around what is the ideal weight for me, how can I get there, how can I stay there, how can I look good and still eat the foods that I enjoy?

There are two central themes that emerge here. One is, what is your ideal weight? Is it some number on a mass produced chart or is it something more subjective? Perhaps we can say that when you feel healthy, energetic, physically attractive and comfortable with your body, then you are at your ideal weight. Each of us is entitled to determine this measure for ourselves. This is of course very difficult because everywhere we look we are being shown artificial, media-generated notions of what the human body should look like. This deluge of skinny stereotypes only reinforces our inability to realistically assess ourselves. The second theme that then emerges is, if we are not at our ideal weight, what can we do about it? Therein lies the subject of food and eating.

In first world countries where food shortages are rare, and most food items are abundantly available, the issue of eating has become, for many people, very complex and confusing. The primary purpose of eating, which is to nurture our bodies and keep us alive, has been lost. Consequently we eat for a host of other reasons that are often totally unrelated to the concept of nurturence

Let us begin at infancy. When a newborn baby is being fed it knows exactly when it has had enough and will pull away from the breast or bottle when satisfied. A six month old enjoying it’s meal of pureed pumpkin will close it’s mouth when full and even the most persistent of parents will probably not be able to get in another spoonful. The point here is that we are all born with an in-built mechanism that tells us when we are satisfied. Sadly, at some point, this natural instinct that we have gets interfered with and we often lose touch with what we need and how much?

Eating occurs for all sorts of reasons. Many are probably familiar with the term ‘comfort eating’. This is eating in response to feelings of boredom, loneliness and despair. Food can truly feel like a friend during difficult times and the mere preparing of food can give one a sense of control when other areas of one’s life seem unmanageable. Over eating can often take place because we are repeating old forgotten messages about not to waste and ‘remember , some children are starving’. This is all eating in response to messages other than the one ‘I am hungry, my body needs nutrition’. Eating for reasons other than true hunger leads to weight gain in many of us. We then start to become uncomfortable with our bodies and try to reduce. Often the method we choose to try and reduce involves some outside source determining what we should eat and how much. We might not have had much input into this ‘plan’ and end up feeling deprived. We continue for a while, become frustrated and bored and may start to overeat all over again in response to these feelings.

There must be thousands of people who yearn for a reality where they can eat the foods that they enjoy, achieve a weight that they are comfortable with and stay at that weight. What if this was actually possible? Well, maybe it is. Deepak Chopra, the renowned physician and author, describes the body as a “miracle of biological engineering”. He writes that nature has given us a physiology that is perfect and knows exactly what it needs. He believes that we should embrace the feeling of hunger and not be frightened of it. True hunger is simply a message from the body that food is required and that the body is prepared for the metabolism of that food. If we then eat something that is enjoyable and nutritious and we stop when we are satisfied, not bursting at the seams, we will not gain weight. By eating this way we can actually lose weight if there is indeed weight to lose. By getting in touch with our own unique needs for nutrition and responding to these needs accordingly, we then develop an internal locus of control for what we need and how much. This is an art which takes a little practice, but once we are truly in touch with our bodies in this way, we need never experience the discomfort of an externally controlled ‘plan’ that is imposed upon us.

In a nutshell, the message is to try and simplify the process of eating and reducing and to give hope to those of you for whom achieving a comfortable balance between body and mind seems unattainable. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are still comfortable and don’t eat when hunger is absent.

For the other hungers that are currently being addressed by food, perhaps there are alternatives.

Hunger, Appetite and Eating

As babies all of us send out many cues that kept us alive and healthy. Some of these are messages around sleep, temperature control and pain and hunger. Hunger is an internal cue from our body that tells us we need nourishment. Mary Pipher PhD, in her book Hunger Pains, writes that hunger pangs are a survival tool; after a certain point starving people no longer feel hunger. When this happens they are close to death.

People make decisions about eating in two fundamentally different ways. One is by an awareness of how one’s stomach feels and the other is wanting to eat in response to the sight, smell or thought of food. Eating in response to an empty stomach is an internal cue, eating in response to anything else is external. So there is eating in response to true hunger and then there is eating in response to appetite; ‘I just feel like it’.

All of us eat in response to our appetite to some extent, e.g. we eat at mealtimes with our families even when we are not that hungry. It is when we rely almost entirely on external cues that we run into trouble. Research has shown that externally controlled eaters are more likely to be obese than internally controlled eaters. Their eating habits are more easily manipulated than those of the latter.

So, with the abundance of food cues in our society, how do we pass on healthy messages about food to our children?

Firstly, it is important to help our children to learn to discriminate between hunger and other internal states. Some children can easily confuse anxiety, boredom, loneliness and anger with hunger. Well meaning parents can further add to this confusion by using food as a pacifier or as a reward for good behaviour. Here we are teaching them that food is a multi-purpose solution to any situation. It is important from a young age to teach children to pay attention to their stomachs and to ignore the manipulation of others, even ourselves. They do not have to become a member of the ‘clean plate club’ or eat for all the starving children in Africa!

As parents we need to de-emphasise the importance of physical appearance in how we describe and evaluate ourselves, our children and others. We need to emphasise other characteristics such as intelligence, good humour, talent ect.

Boys somehow seem to have an easier time as we teach them that their bodies are useful and can be used for many purposes, eg. work or athletics. Stereotypically girls, on the other hand, are constantly being told that their appearance is what matters. If we want our daughters to believe otherwise we need to work to counteract our culture’s propaganda which defines physical attractiveness in a very narrow way.

It seems then that we should be teaching our children to only eat when they are truly hungry and that how they look should not be that important. In reality however, as an adult, a positive body image is important and can greatly contribute to one’s overall self esteem. If we can therefore find a middle ground by enabling our children to use food for the purpose it was intended, nourishment, and assist them in understanding that the way we look is only one part of the way we define ourselves, we can hopefully send them into adult life uncluttered with illness, both physical and emotional, that is food related.

Psychotherapy Benefits

What are the benefits of psychotherapy? There are many. Perhaps the most fundamental and important is the experience of having someone else’s full attention for an hour. When last did you have this privilege?

In our sessions my full focus is on you and what is causing you pain. Sometimes the pain is mild, sometimes it is severe and can feel intolerable.

You have probably tried to manage your situation on your own for a long time. Perhaps you have tried to be more positive, maybe embraced new pursuits like meditation, exercise or a healthier lifestyle. Yet the difficulties do not seem to lessen.

This is because whatever pain you are experiencing in the present usually has a complex story. Our feelings are not simple. When we feel sad, mad or bad there can be multiple causes for this and the road forward can seem quite unclear.

In the early part of our work we form a relationship where you can feel safe. Then we start to explore what needs to change in order for you to feel better. Everyone who walks through my door wants to feel happier, it is really quite simple.

We talk in the sessions and then there is the work that you do between sessions. These could be structured tasks or perhaps insights to mull over until I see you next.

I have been doing this work for a long time and I firmly believe that change is possible for everyone. It may take some effort but I will be there for you every step of the way. This is your process and your journey. My only goal is to see you come out of the darkness and into the light, in what ever shape or form that may take.

Family Therapy

In the first family therapy session I take my time to connect with all the family members. I will go around and ask each person to introduce themselves and share their perspective on how come the family has come to see me. I will often say ‘I would like everyone to introduce themselves and tell me why they think the family is here today’

I then wait to see who starts off, this is valuable information in terms of who the leaders in the family are. During family therapy sessions I will notice if people interrupt each other, I will notice what happens when the children talk, I will notice how the couple communicate with one another. So in the first 15 minutes I already have some valuable information about how the family system operates.

We then go onto exploring the issues that have been raised. Sometimes different family members will give quite different versions of how they see the problem, sometimes what is reported is very similar. Time is spent talking with the family, listening, observing and sharing comments or insights as they arise. I take a break towards the end of the session to gather my thoughts. I will go to another room to think and jot down some quick notes. This also gives the family a break and an opportunity to relax for a while. Coming as a family can feel very daunting.

I then wrap up the session and give them a take home message. Depending on the size of the family, there may be several take home messages. There after we may decide to meet again as a family or I may want to meet with the parents alone at the next session if couples therapy is indicated.

The first family I ever saw, as a new therapist, was a family of 10, the mum and nine adult children. I provided family therapy for a year, as the issues were very serious. At the end of this time they were able to come together with love and a sense of acceptance about what had passed.

Couples Counselling

Zetland Psychotherapy offers several different types of Couples Counselling:

Preparation For Marriage

Getting married is the easy part, staying married is more difficult. Building a successful marriage takes time and starts before the wedding. Thereafter it requires ongoing attention and commitment.

Zetland Psychotherapy offers a Marriage Preparation Program. The aim of this program is to explore areas of strength and vulnerability in your relationship. It is designed around 12 themes that commonly come up when dealing with relationship problems.

At the start of the first session you both fill out a questionnaire where you are asked to rate the different areas of your relationship. This information is then shared and guides us as to what issues need attention. After the first session you will each take home a detailed information booklet outlining the 12 areas mentioned above.

Sessions are tailored to individual needs. This process takes between three to six sessions. What you will walk away with is an increased sense of empowerment around the skills of:

  • effective communication
  • openly sharing thoughts and feelings
  • conflict resolution

The more you are able to understand the dynamics of your relationship, the more open you will be to embracing acceptance in relation to your partner. Acceptance of what is, and the willingness to work on what needs to be different, forms one of the corner stones of a successful relationship.

Relationship Difficulties

This can refer to literally anything that is making you unhappy in your relationship. Sometimes issues can be very serious and we look at core themes that continue, over time, to cause unhappiness and tension.

On the other hand your relationship may in fact be quite healthy and happy, but there are a couple of areas of stress. Good relationships can hit obstacles and coming for counselling at this point can help to resolve the difficulties there and then, before they start to brew and become more entrenched.

If more couples went for counselling, before things reached the serious stage, less marriages would end up in divorce.

Same Sex Relationships

There is not a lot to say here as same sex relationships experience the same problems that heterosexual relationships do. I have seen many same sex couples for counselling and I do not do anything differently.

I have had several single homosexual clients and have taken the opportunity to learn from them. I have in fact asked ‘are your relationships different?’ The responses have been varied. Some say no, some say a little and some say, yes they are very different.

One client said that if you are mixing in the club/party drug community, then the rate of infidelity is higher. Another client mentioned that long term relationships are pretty similar, with possibly a slightly higher degree of relationship breakdown.

Zetland Psychotherapy is located in an area of Sydney where there is a large homosexual community. Everywhere you go you see same sex couples and to me they look like everyone else. They do their grocery shopping, go to the local pubs and most likely have the same ups and downs as everyone else.

If you are experiencing issues in your relationships, even if you are engaged in risky sexual behaviour and are becoming concerned, you will be received with acceptance and a non-judgemental attitude. My role is to assist you work out how best to deal with your situation and your concerns.

Contemplating Separation

Maybe things are starting to become just too hard. Perhaps the ratio of bad to good days, months or years is becoming too negatively weighted. Maybe the levels of tension and conflict in the house are becoming unbearable and the children are being affected.

Perhaps you have already been to several relationship therapists and nothing seems to have worked. Maybe it feels like the end. There is a time in every relationship to think about if the situation is really viable. It takes a lot of work to keep a long term relationship happy and stable. It takes even more effort to try to rescue a relationship that feels bad.

So, maybe a separation is a good option. Maybe this will be temporary, maybe it will be permanent. Either way, separating can be done in a manner that minimises pain for both of you and your children, if you have any.

I once heard someone say “better a good separation than a bad marriage”. By law married couples can only get divorced after being separate for a year. This, is a way of ensuring that couples have the opportunity to do everything that they can to try to restore the relationship. But if you cannot, I am able to assist you with your separation and talk through the best way to go about this.

This can sometimes be about practicalities or discussing arrangements for the children. Doing it this way is a lot cheaper and more user friendly than going to lawyers.

Psychotherapy Treatments

How we work

Generally people are referred to me by general practitioners, word of mouth or from my website. The easiest way to contact me is to call my mobile. After a brief chat we decide what kind of approach is best and an appointment is made. Prior to seeing me it will be necessary, if applicable, to see your GP to get a mental health care plan so that you can benefit from the Medicare subsidy.

In the case of a crisis it would be possible to have a telephone session at a mutually agreed upon time. This would then be followed up with a face to face session.

Based upon our initial conversation we will then decide if I will be seeing you as an individual, with your partner or with your whole family.

Early evening sessions are available as well as sessions on a Saturday morning.

Individual Therapy

You will come along on your own if the difficulty you are struggling with is essentially an individual one. Your issues may well cause concern to your loved ones but this would still be individual work. Sometimes you may not be sure exactly what is wrong? It could be several things that are upsetting you. Or, you are just finding yourself feeling irritable and tearful and do not know why? Whatever the feelings and the circumstances, at your first session you will be able to talk freely and we can jointly assess what the different areas of concern are.

At this very early stage it is more important for you to give expression to your feelings and your difficulties rather than to look for solutions. Like any new relationship, we will still be getting to know each other and it is very important for you to feel safe and comfortable. However, right from the first session, I ensure that you walk away with a ‘take home’ message that you will be able to think about until our next meeting. My message is concise and summarises what you have told me and how I have interpreted this.

Sometimes people only need six to ten sessions. Others may need six months, a year or longer. Each person is unique and the treatment will be tailored accordingly.

Couple Therapy

If you are experiencing difficulties in your relationship with your partner then most likely I will want to see you together. Often, with couple therapy, one party makes the call and is very motivated. They then have to ‘drag’ along the more resistant partner who perhaps is not motivated to address the issues in the relationship.

This scenario is very common. In every relationship there is generally one person who does more of the relationship care taking. Often there is one who is more giving and may well be the one to call me. If you are the giving one in your relationship you may feel that you are being taken for granted and are feeling unappreciated.

Sometimes with couples I will do individual sessions if I feel this would be helpful. Sometimes this is with both parties, sometimes just with one. There will only be a couple of individual sessions when I am working with a couple. What is most beneficial is when both of you are in the room and we can address the issues directly.

Couple therapy is generally shorter than individual therapy. It is important for a couple to feel some positive shifts fairly early on so that they do not become despondent. This is also very necessary as day to day living at home may be quite difficult by the time they come to sit down in my office.

A cornerstone of couple therapy, on the part of the therapist, is neutrality. My client is your relationship. While I may give one of you more attention at different times in the process, it is the relationship between you that is my concern.

Family Therapy

If you are finding that the environment at home is unhappy then maybe it is necessary for the whole family to come along. Sometimes this can include extended family members, for example, a grandparent. If I get a call from a parent saying they are having significant problems with a particular child, I may well suggest that the whole family come along. I then see you in a different room that is comfortable and can accommodate several people. If there are little children, there will be some toys available.

I want to ensure that everyone is at ease so that we can focus on the important issues. I may see you as a family for one or two sessions and then decide it would be best to see the parents separately and maybe the teenager, as is often the case, separately too. Family sessions are longer than individual or couple sessions and there is time for breaks.

The family is a system and when there is a problem in one part of the system, the whole system is affected. Things can get so complicated and difficult that it can take a little time to unravel what is causing what? If parents are fighting, if a child is seriously ill, if a child has a disability, if there has been job loss, if there is an addiction issue, the whole family is affected.

Family therapy is highly skilled work. I was most fortunate to have received excellent training in this area. At my first clinical job in South Africa I was part of a family therapy team. The team would watch the process from another room through a one way mirror. We could call in on a special phone if we had suggestions for the therapist. Three quarters of the way though the session, the therapist would take a break from the family and come to the other room for discussion. We would all contribute our thoughts about what was happening and the message that was given to the family was a composite from the whole team. This was a very sophisticated way of working and a rich learning experience for me.

Training & Background

I graduated with an Honours degree in Social Work over 30 years ago. Social Workers are trained to deal with human issues on an individual, family and community level. The training equips one with a strong set of skills that enables new graduates to go into a job and start working straight away.

A large proportion of my experience has been gained in the not for profit sector, at community services organisations. I have been exposed to a wide range of clients and issues and have built up a solid body of knowledge on many different subjects.

I have undertaken extensive clinical supervision which is the primary source of learning and growth as a psychotherapist. I have read widely on many topics that have come up in sessions with my clients and have attended regular professional development opportunities throughout my years of practice.

I am experienced and knowledgeable in the area of mental health. This comes from both clinical experience, and consultation with psychiatrists, in order to better understand certain conditions and what the role of medication is in recovery. The most common areas of mental health I have worked in are depression, anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and personality disorders.

I migrated to Australia in 2001 and have been active in work, both as an employee, and in private practice for many years.

My practice is very self reflective and that is probably the best learning for me at this stage of my career. By that I mean I am continually reflecting upon my work and how I might do things better to assist my clients in achieving their goals.