"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ― C.G. Jung
I view therapy as a collaborative process which is reliant on building a safe trusting relationship that allows me and my client to work together on the problems he or she is facing. I strive to work from a safe, inclusive, and non-judgmental perspective, using clinical psychological assessment and therapy methods which have been shown by repeated research and evaluation to be highly effective.
The first one or two appointments will involve us working together towards a full understanding of the current issues for you, and to mutually identify clear areas for change as well as a timeframe for this change. At some sessions I may provide you with practical, take home strategies, which can be used in your everyday life. Subsequent sessions will be spent working toward your goals. Your next appointment time will be discussed at the end of each session.
In my work with adults I primarily use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Schema Therapy. The Schema-Focused model of treatment is designed to help a person break negative patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. These patterns of behaviour usually developed early in life, but they can also form later in adulthood. Unhelpful patterns of behaviour get repeated and elaborated upon throughout life, and can pose obstacles for accomplishing one's goals and getting one's needs met. Therapy focuses on strategies to develop healthier alternatives to replace them. CBT focuses more on the “here and now” to understand what is maintaining your difficulties, by helping you understand how your thoughts, behaviours and feelings influence each other. CBT aims to return people to their usual levels of functioning as soon as possible.
I believe that the aim of therapy is for people to become their own best therapist, and to gain the knowledge and skills which help prevent their problems from recurring in the future.
Children teens and families
Children and teenagers face many pressures in our modern society. Most young people do fine but some find it difficult to cope or do not get the support they need to feel safe, happy and confident. I am trained and experienced in handling most problems children present with. Children feeling troubled or distressed may express their unhappiness in a number of ways including;
- Fears, not sleeping, nightmares, or wetting the bed
- Clingy, inattentive, withdrawn, or shyness
- Getting into fights and becoming aggressive
- Defiance, lack of respect for authority
- Cruelty towards others or animals
- Being disruptive in class
- Lying, stealing, manipulating others, or avoiding others
- Sexualised behaviours
- Poor performance in schoolwork and/or attendance
- Fussy about food, cleanliness, or eating problems
- Having trouble making friends, or finding relationships at home difficult
- Trying to harm themselves, wishing they were dead
- Behaving in an irrational manner, thoughts are disorganised or disconnected
I use CBT and family systems approaches in working with children, teenagers and families. The systemic approach regards the family as a whole unique social system with its own characteristics, structure, and ways of communicating. Illness in one family member may in some cases be a symptom of a wider family problem. So rather than focusing on traits or symptoms of an individual, therapy emphasises factors such as relationships and communication patterns within the family. Any change in one member of the family affects both the family structure and each member individually. Hence the aim of systemic therapy is to understand the interaction and communication patterns within families, to help change unhelpful patterns which are holding back the family from growth, and to identify and encourage the positive strengths that already exist within the family.
CBT has been widely studied in children and teenagers and is an effective treatment for a number of conditions, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety. Children and teens can receive CBT with or without their parents. CBT can be adapted to fit the needs of each child. It is especially useful when treating anxiety disorders.
Some children benefit from a combination of different therapy approaches. An example is family systemic therapy combined with behavioural parent management training, and CBT for the child. In other cases, such as ADHD, a combination of medication and CBT may be most effective. Therapy often takes time, effort, and patience. However, sometimes children learn new skills that may have positive long-term benefits.
I offer neuropsychological assessments for children who may have a developmental or learning disorder. Often it is not clear to what extent a child’s possible difficulties in, for example, behavioural or emotional disturbances, thinking, attending, talking, listening, remembering, or learning, may form part of a pattern of impairment related to brain dysfunction. A neuropsychological assessment can help disentangle behaviours that may be due to brain dysfunction from behaviours that are linked to psychological disorders, and can show how problems in one domain of functioning may impact on another. The assessment will identify brain-related strengths and weakness, determine the underlying cause of a child’s difficulties, and guide recommendations for appropriate intervention and treatment.
Assessments in children and adolescents include the following conditions:
- Learning and Developmental Disorders
- Attention-Deficit Disorders
- Various psychiatric conditions
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Suspected memory problems
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Neurological conditions including stroke, epilepsy, brain tumors, the effects of alcohol or drug toxicity etc.
When to Seek a Neuropsychological Evaluation
- When it is unclear whether or to what extent overt emotional, behavioural, or learning problems have a basis in brain dysfunction.
- When greater specificity in a child’s unique profile of strengths and weaknesses is sought for therapeutic, educational, or remedial planning.
- When a baseline understanding of the child’s functioning is needed to monitor growth and progress or the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions (e.g., biomedical, social, remedial).
- When there is a complicated condition that gives rise to differing opinions and a clearer differential diagnosis is sought.
- When a more active brain process or neurological condition may be suspected and needs to be ruled out.
Black L.M, & Stefanatos, G. A. (2010). Neuropsychological Assessment of Developmental and Learning Disorders.
The cost of an assessment and report depends on the level of complexity and time involved. The report fee includes the time spent completing face-to-face interviews, psychometric testing, cost of materials, consultations with other parties, and the time taken to write the report. Once the purpose of the assessment is known, the fee is capped and the maximum cost is quoted before the assessment commences.
Basic cognitive assessment report starts at $695 (plus GST)
Complex neuropsychological assessment report costs range from $1,900 to $2,500 (plus GST)