B Soc Sci, M Couns, M Social Work,
Member of AASW.
Sometimes our career paths can resemble more of a zigzag than a straight line; this was definitely true of my career progression. In 1998, I completed a Bachelor of Human Services and then embarked on a career in child protection. Firstly, as a Child Protection Officer for the Department of Child Safety helping children, their families and carers navigate their lives in the Foster Care System. For the next fourteen years, I worked in various roles within the child protection system including many senior managerial roles; however, given that my true passion is counselling, my final managerial role within the non-for-profit sector was coordinating counselling services. It was in those years I witnessed the true resiliency of the human spirit and the positive impact counselling can have on peoples’ lives.
In 2005, I completed a Masters of Counselling from Queensland University of Technology and specialised in relationship and trauma counselling. During this time, I also became the Counselling Service Coordinator and Senior Counsellor responsible for supervising Counsellors and Psychologists. However, my love of learning saw me undertake a Masters of Social Work whilst in this senior position. This study offered me continuous access to counselling subjects, which has been invaluable to my practice. Counselling continued to be my passion as I took a new part time role as the counselling coordinator for St Vincent de Paul. The part time work allowed me to start my own private practice a couple of days a week at Vision Psychology. Over the next three years’ I built up my private practice & finally took the leap to full time self-employment in 2013 and have never regretted that decision.
I can truly say that I am one of the lucky people that have found their true calling in life, my job is more than a job it is a very heartfelt career to me. To be able to help people to see another way to live or enrich their lives is a precious moment to witness. I am particularly interested in Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as I have seen first-hand the positive transformation that this makes in people lives.
I cannot express how fortunate I am to have been able to complete many levels of advanced training in ACT and to be able to pass share this knowledge with my clients. I know first hand how anxiety can have a crippling effect on a person, as I grew up with a close family member who suffered from both anxiety and depression. During this era anxiety and depression where generally treated by medication, all though I never saw any inner peace come from this treatment and the condition never really lost its grip. Now, however, we live in a time where many people have access to counselling and are encouraged to seek assistance with or without medication.
Given my educational background, I am now a qualified Mental Health Social Worker, which means that people are able to access a Medicare referral from their GP before seeing me. This provides a Medicare rebate at each appointment.
Areas of Interest
I am very enthusiastic about relationship counselling whether it be with a couple or a single person in pursuit of a relationship or healing from a previous one. It is my belief that relationships are the real underpinning of society and sadly it seems to be causing society as a whole so much distress trying to connect with each other on an imitate level. Where as a harmonies relationship is so emotionally, mentally, physically and soulfully enhancing for us but for many, either in relationships or single, appears to be just out of reach.
Sex therapy and Relationship Counselling
My interest is this area continued to grow as it became apparent to me that sexual issues were an unaddressed or underlying issue with many couples who were seeking relationship counselling. Combining the two areas of expertise and offering couples and individuals the benefits of couple and sex therapies, helps to minimize the amount of time that individuals/couples spend in therapy. Sex therapy may involve the discussion of sexual problems, relationship issues and expectations, and provide information on sexual functioning, low desire and enhancing mutual satisfaction in sexual relationships.
Therapy often begins with the construction of a detailed sexual history and/or relationship history, examining the origins and the patterns of the current situation. It may go on to scratch beneath the surface to link early family and peer experiences to current unwanted behaviours and relationships, thus deepening the awareness of the relationship between thoughts, feeling and behaviours, and how to challenge some of these beliefs if required. Therapy may help individuals to feel empowered to make better choices and feel better about their life.
Sex Therapy is a specialised field that combines the complexities of human relationships whilst addressing issues such as a sex-starved marriage, grief and loss over a previously active sex life, avoiding sex, finding difficulties staying in the moment during or before sex. For men, it may include treating erectile dysfunction, rapid/premature/delayed ejaculation, and low desire. For women, it may include the treatment of low desire, painful intercourse, vaginisimus/vulvadynia. For both sexes, therapy can also assist with sexual inexperience, coming out, sexual anorexia, childhood sexual traumas, fetishes, swinging, bondage, and poor body image.
I enjoy helping people navigate their sexual expression and their presence in society. Counselling interventions like Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Training (an evidence-based therapy) are especially helpful in the area of sex therapy as they can immediately give people skills to make a difference to their current situation.
Mindfulness & Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Mindfulness and ACT are counselling approaches that teach people to:
- Learn to observe one’s thoughts without judgment
- See thoughts as just thoughts, not facts
- Change their relationship with their pain, to become “unstruck:
- Develop a healthier understanding of self development
- Heal their relationship with themselves so they are able to fully engage in other relationships
- Manage and reduce anxiety by stopping the struggle with your thoughts.
I have completed training in this area to an advanced level and attended many of the Master Classes that have being offer in this field, such as ACT and working with depression and anxiety, borderline personality disorder, working with self identity as well as trauma and mindfulness. I have found ACT therapy to be very successful in treating clients with any kind of sexual issues that are anxiety based.
Grief and Loss Therapy
I have studied this subject at a Master’s level and has a broad understanding of the theoretical interventions. This training and working in this field have enabled me to help people compassionately through what can be an extremely unsettling and difficult time in their lives. I have written a manual for supporting Maori people through bereavement.
Grief and Loss is something that will affect all of us at some stage of our lives, although we all have very individual responses to the experience. It can affect all aspects of our lives for example biological, psychological, spiritual and social. Loss can be an event happening to us, a process of adjustment to an interpretation, an experience or a state. Loss is produced through an event that is negatively perceived by the individuals involved and results in long-tern changes to one’s social situations, relationships or cognitions (Miller & Ormarzui, 1988, p.12). Grief is the emotional response to loss. The complex amalgam of painful effects may include sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt and despair (Raphael, 1984, p.33).
People who are currently facing redundancy will experience grief and loss, and may need assistance with the major life transitions and grief that they are facing.
Chronic Pain Management / Lifestyle Related Illness
Whilst completing my final Masters of Social Work, I was involved in a lifestyle management and prevention program in a hospital setting, and wrote a conference paper on the benefit of support groups for people suffering from heart failure. The lifestyle prevention and management program focused on the management of chronic health conditions such as heart failure, lifestyle dietetics and helping people to adapt to their changed circumstances.
Research has found that Mindfulness is a powerful counselling intervention in this area, a technique that I have incorporated into my counselling practice. Therapy will focus on improving the client’s motivation to maintaining an adapted lifestyle, and helping them to embrace the positives that may bring – as well as learning to accept the losses that may have occurred as a result of the illness.
Schema Therapy is based on the following four main concepts:
Early Maladaptive Schemas: There are around 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas which deal with self-defeating, core themes or patterns that keep repeating throughout one’s life.
Schema Domains: The 5 Schema Domains mostly relate to the basic emotional needs of a child. When these schemas are not met in childhood, they tend to lead the person to unhealthy life patterns. The 18 schemas are grouped into fve broad schema domains, on the basis of which core needs the schema is related to.
Coping Styles: Coping Styles are the ways in which a child adapts to damaging childhood experiences. For example, some children surrender to their schemas, while some find ways to block out or escape from pain. In such cases, some children fight back while others overcompensate.
Schema Modes: Schema Modes are moment-to-moment emotional states that individuals pass through, and coping responses that one experiences during such times. Often these schema modes are triggered by life situations that are oversensitive to emotional buttons. Many of these schema modes lead to over-reactions to situations, or acting in such ways that end up hurting oneself.
How does Schema Therapy help?
The goals of Schema Therapy are to stop individuals from using maladaptive coping styles (and thus get back in touch with their core feelings), as well to heal early schemas and learn to snap out of self defeating schema modes as quickly as possible, and in the end to get the emotional needs that could be met in everyday life.
Clinical Supervision for Therapists / Social Workers
I have over six year’s experience as a line manager of multi-disciplinary teams in the field of counselling. These teams were/are responsible for delivering quality therapy in very complex situations requiring family therapy, couples counselling and children’s counselling.
As a Clinic Manager I oversaw the quality of these services, as well as offered personal counselling in the more complex family/individual situations that required her years of experience and expertise as a senior counsellor. I am experienced in clinical supervision in many different modalities.
Phone and Skype Counselling
I have embraced the latest technology and I am able to offer counselling via phone or Skype. Given the pressure of modern living it may suit clients not to leave the comfort and convenience of their own home and office, but still be able to access good quality therapeutic care with a fully trained and experience psychotherapist. Busy executives, active parents, high profile figures, those challenged by pain, individuals who travel, live in remote areas and those who suffered from anxiety, are just a few of the situations that are highly suitable for phone or Skyping.
Given the highly sensitive nature of sex therapy, some people may feel more comfortable accessing assistance through phone or Skyping as well. However if people want counselling in the more traditional setting, our offices at Mt Gravatt offer a private, inviting and relaxing environment with ample parking and easy accessibility.
To book an appointment call the office on 1800 877 924 or book online now!
Articles of Interest by Psychotherapist Linda Thomson
- ACT for Eating Disorders
- Breaking Free from the Power of the Past
- Coming Out
- Coping with Infidelity
- Couples in Conflict
- Does Monogamy have to mean Monotony?
- Fun Facts about Valentine’s Day for Singles
- How to have a Good Clean Fight
- How to Say YES to Sex!
- How Hypnotherapy Works
- Intensive Couples Therapy
- Is Pornography Okay?
- Low Libido in Men
- Premature Ejaculation
- Professional Supervision for Counsellors, Psychologists and Social Workers
- Sex and Fitness
- Sex Therapy Explained
- Sexting between Adults
- Sexual Addiction
- Shyness and Social Anxiety
- The Importance of Self-Compassion
- The Positives of 50 Shades of Grey
- The Problem of Mismatched Libido
- Your Guide to Clinical Hypnosis
- The Human Side to Heart Break