Everything is in a State of Flux During Adolescence
For the adolescent whose life is fraught with difficulties and pitfalls, a skillfully managed therapeutic intervention can have a positive and substantive impact on the adolescent’s life.
I am a highly qualified and experienced Counsellor and Psychotherapist who specialises in working with adolescent clients. I hold a Masters in Gestalt Therapy. I’m accredited with the Australian Counsellors Association.
Let me tell you something about how I arrived at this point in my career, as well as something of my personal life:
I was a secondary music teacher for 25 years. I loved this work and saw what music offered to students. It was not uncommon for a graduating student to say to me “music kept me going” or “music got me through”.
However, over time I knew I had more to offer than just the community, expression and joy which is innate to music. At times I felt helpless when faced with a student who had life challenges so significant that they needed more specific and well informed professional support. This experience led me to begin further study.
I completed a Masters in Gestalt Therapy in 2013. I continued to teach part time as well as run a private counselling practice on the side. In 2020 I resigned from teaching to focus all of my energies on building a full time career as a counsellor for adolescent clients. This transition in my career was a natural evolution for me, allowing me to work with adolescents who are really in need of specialised and compassionate support.
Today, I am someone with a wealth of experience working with adolescents. I am passionate and committed to my work as a counsellor. I have always found adolescent people to be amazing (even those who think they’re not) and I enjoy working with them. In my mind adolescents are far too important, wonderful and in need of support, to consider doing anything else.
Apart from being a counsellor, I am also a father of 4 boys. The three oldest of my boys have all left home, living as independent young adults. In 2011, I met Sally, who is now my wife, step mother to the older boys and mother to our preschool aged son. Being a father again has been the greatest joy for me. I have loved being a father to all my boys and I continue to try and be the very best father I can. Of course, having older children has allowed me to navigate adolescence including early adulthood with them. Parenting is no easy feat, but being a father has been the most formative and amazing gift in my life.
I am a passionate musician. I love playing guitar, which I have done from an early age. One of my favourite things is writing and recording my own music. I mostly write filmic music, combining orchestral and modern elements. I do the occasional paid gig on the side. It’s a hobby and love of mine.
Through my older boys I developed a passion for football (soccer) and have spent many years coaching various teams from local teams to rep level. All were youth teams of course.
I also practised Aikido for about 15 years. Aikido is a martial art that I absolutely loved. In my mid 30’s I suffered an unrelated back injury which prevented me from continuing this practice, though I still find myself doing the movements at home from time to time.
Adolescence is defined as the period in one’s life where we transition from the confluence of childhood into the self-reliance of adulthood. The point at which adolescence begins and ends is ambiguous; however, adolescence is now being recognised as a longer process than what we once thought, starting in the preeteens and continuing well into our mid twenties, if not longer.
The transition from childhood into adulthood is massive. The defining theme of adolescence is change. Everything is in a state of flux for the adolescent, including their body, brains, hormonal balance, life space, perceptions, understandings, likes, dislikes and world view. Adolescence is literally an existential shift in the individual’s sense of self and how they view and engage with their world. Such profound change naturally contains experiences of instability, insecurity and overwhelm.
To understand the nature of adolescence, we have to understand the impacts of substantive change. We gain a sense of stability in our lives when there are things that feel solid or reliable to us. For an adult, creating a stable life might include: owning a home, having secure work which provides a secure wage, a good reliable car, trusted friends, a healthy relationship with a partner, marriage, and so forth. In contrast, change often causes us to have a sense of instability, for example when we unexpectedly have to move from our homes, lose a job, relationship breakdowns and the like. When we truly understand that adolescence is an embodied experience of continual and unpredictable change, we can easily recognise why adolescence is often a challenging time in life, and why adolescents need our understanding and support.
There is a paradox for the Adolescent, one where they are seeking independence, and yet need support. As such, some adolescents can be reluctant to engage in therapy. Thankfully, through greater awareness around such things as mental health wellness, adolescents seeing a therapist for support is becoming more normalised.
Adolescence does not herald bad news. Adolescence comes with emerging independence, the world becomes bigger and the adolescent’s perception and understanding of the world becomes broader. Adolescence can be full of vibrancy, big dreams, new opportunities and developing inner strengths. Friendships are more complex, offering more depth of contact and there can be immense joy in exploring the shifting nature of one’s sense of self.
About Counselling and Psychotherapy
People come to counselling with a wide array of issues. Broadly, a person will be experiencing dissatisfaction, distress or suffering, for which they seek help. A counsellor offers an objective, professional and informed perspective as well as a studied methodology(s) to engage meaningfully with their clients, and address the presenting issue(s).
I am a qualified Counsellor/Gestalt Therapist. The word Gestalt loosely translates to Whole. Gestalt Therapy is a psychotheraputic methodology. Gestalt Therapy is both subtle and profound, placing confidence in the client’s ability to become aware of their inner processes. Through gaining greater awareness, and with their counsellors support, the client becomes more capable of making informed decisions and potential changes in their life.
Becoming a qualified Psychotherapist, in a theoretical and well recognised psychotherapeutic modality, requires rigorous and lengthy training. Psychotherapy tends to look deeply to address the underlying causes of a person’s problems in order to enable a process of change, with the intent to enhance the quality of a person’s life.
Psychotherapists are well equipped to address complex issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse, dysfunctional relationships, identity issues, low self esteem, inability to self advocate and the like. In addition, it is common for someone to see a psychotherapist whilst on medication for mental health concerns.
Note: Though it is common for psychotherapists to identify with and use the term ‘counsellor’, it would be misleading for a counsellor to call themselves a psychotherapist without the appropriate qualification.
Gestalt Therapy is a highly respected modality throughout the world, especially in (but not limited to) America and Europe. Gestalt Therapy is not so well known in Australia. Since the early 1950’s when Gestalt Therapy first emerged, it has been an ever evolving method and leader in the field of relational therapies. Recently, relational approaches to therapy, especially with clients experiencing complex issues such as trauma, depression, existential crisis and other mental health related concerns, have been proven to be a foundation of best practice.
Current research shows the therapeutic relationship formed between the therapist and the client is crucial for obtaining successful therapeutic outcomes. Gestalt Therapy is at its core a relational modality, with the formation of an authentic and supportive client-therapist relationship being a foundation of its methodology.
The Gestalt Therapy method is built around dialogue between the client and therapist; however, it may include other means of aiding a client. For example, interventions may include the use of art materials or somatic work which uses awareness of sensation in the body and at times, movement. Such interventions assist the client to explore their life situation and experience in new ways. In general, Gestalt Therapy promotes a new awareness for the client, and from there, enables the client to make new decisions about themselves and their life. In other words: facilitating meaningful change. Importantly, nothing happens without the client’s consent.
Do you work with Couples?
Yes. I enjoy working with couples. The relational methodology I use is perfect for working with couples, groups and families.
Do you work with Families?
Yes. Please see Support for Parents and Caregivers.
Can I work with you if I am not an adolescent?
Yes. I am open to seeing people above the age 13 years.
Do you work online?
Yes, I am able to conduct sessions online. However, I have a strong preference working face to face, especially with adolescent clients. If circumstances demand, I will conduct sessions online as needed. Online sessions incur the same fee.
How many sessions will I need?
Initially it is recommended to complete between 4 to 6 sessions, on a regualar basis. Some issues can be resolved in this amount of time. However, complex presentations may require longer term therapy. In this case, after the initial sessions, it is common for the client to determine the frequency of therapy they need.
How much does a therapy session cost?
The Fee per 1 hour session is $110. The fee is payable within 48 hours of the session. Further sessions will not be conducted unless payments are up to date.
I think therapy may be too much for me, is there anything I can do??
The idea of seeing a counsellor may worry some people, believing it may be too intense, or too revealing. However, in my work and in good practice in general, it is the client that leads. This means it is the client, with support from their therapist, that finds a pace, depth and nature of work that feels right for them. If you are really anxious about counselling, then we will start with addressing your anxiety and exploring ways for you to feel OK in the therapy space.
Strengthen Your Relationship - Strengthen Their World
Do you have something you would like to talk about?
I find adolescents to be both brilliant and vulnerable. They need our understanding, acceptance and support. I am passionate and committed to the work of supporting adolescent people and the primary adults in their life.
I have more than 25 years of working with adolescents. I am a highly qualified Counsellor/ Psychotherapist, father of four boys, musician/ composer and a big fan of football. If you would like to know more about me then please follow the link:
BAMus, GradDipEd, M.GestTherapy
Australian Counsellors Asssociation member number: 16997
Being Well Counselling Northern Rivers ABN: 93 115 879 166
0437 671 400
Evolve Allied Healthcare
Suite 3, 15 Woodlark St.
Lismore, NSW. 2480