Be Curious, Ask Questions

What can Existential therapy HELP with?

Some of the issues that Existential therapy can help include:

Anxiety and panic feelings
Loneliness, disconnection, isolation and difficulty with focussing
Depression and post-natal depression
Constant worrying and thinking about the future
Reoccurring thoughts about others or yourself dying
Difficulties with partners, family, parenting, children, teenagers, friends, work colleagues
Relational struggles, ending abusive relationships, bullying and other challenging dynamics
Worrying what others think
Bereavement, loss, miscarriages and stillborn experiences
Workplace stress
Low self-worth or self esteem
Addictions and eating disorders
Sexuality and intimacy
Crisis management
Self-sabotage and fear of failure
And more...

You can choose not to go too deep, choose not to unpack a difficult life event, and actively bury your head in the sand. Sometimes there is good reason for doing so. You can be sure, however, that those past events will someday need unpacking, because somehow current significant life events such as birth, death, relationship break-ups, committing to a life partner... tend to involuntarily force your head out of the sand and shake the very essence of your being. The question you may want to ask yourself is how might you meet these experiences in more positive ways and Existential therapy is one way to assist with this.

HOW does Existential therapy work?

Existential Therapy is a contemporary approach in Psychotherapy that includes dialogue and exploration. It is an 'analytical' and 'relational' form of therapy. In each session, via dialogue, we will gradually learn to really see what is happening in very specific detail for you in your mind, body, relationships, and life situations. Gradually we will uncover meanings for you and ways of seeing such situations differently so that you may live your life more fully.

What RESULTS might you expect from Existential therapy?

Some of the benefits include:

Lifting your perception to see your personal challenges in different ways
Exploring and questioning what’s this thing called ‘life’ is all about for you
Discovering what might be the personal meaning of your life
Exploring how you might live contentedly in a world that is uncertain
Welcoming feelings of empowerment and change
Uncovering new choices and different ways forward
Building on your sense of self and recognising your mental states, processes, and characteristics
Feeling less consumed with life's challenges and learning how to re-shape them
Gaining confidence by re-examining your role in certain dynamics/decisions/situations
And many more...

What is the main GOAL of existential therapy?

The overall purpose of existential therapy is to allow clients to explore their lived experience honestly, openly and comprehensively. Through this spontaneous, collaborative process of discovery, clients are helped to gain a clearer sense of their experiences and the subjective meanings they may hold.

What are some of the basic CONCEPTS of existential theory?

Developing the capacity for self-awareness
Experiencing tension between freedom and responsibility
Creating an identity
Establishing meaningful relationships
Searching for personal meaning, purpose and individual values
Accepting anxiety as a condition of living
And more...

What are the LIMITATIONS of existential therapy?

Existential therapy has its limitations and can be too challenging for some. This particular modality may not be best suited for clients who are struggling with:

Multiple complex issues (therefore may be better suited working with a team of health professionals)
Not being able to face the reality of relevant pressing struggles in a supportive environment
High resistance to gently exploring any painful themes/issues from the past
Being open and honest with themselves and the therapist

However, it may be best suited if you are open to:

Exploring yourself and your relationships around you
Investigating your core identity and values
Widening your past, present and future perspectives
Being ready to be a bit uncomfortable or to have your views challenged in healthy ways
Being willing to step out gently of your comfort zone
Considering different ways of looking at the world around yourself
Being able to let go of certain beliefs that no longer serve you and to take on new ones
Creating a space to look deeply at your choices
Discussing what sits at the core of you and what you care deeply about

Can existential therapy be used in CRISIS SITUATIONS?

Existential therapy is well suited for POST - crisis work with clients who have experienced disaster situations or pandemics.

What’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychotherapist?
What does your work consist of?

My work is not mainstream work that many psychologists may engage in. It does not involve working from a medical model where sometimes the client is encouraged to temporarily block symptoms or intellectually reframe their understanding of a problem.

Adults tend to come to me because they generally want a space for ‘depth’ where they are able to go deeper into understanding their struggles. Most want to look at the complexity and the contradictions of human nature, at defences they had to put up to survive, and the hidden forces that operate unconsciously underneath the choices they make. They make a commitment to the psychotherapy because they want to discover and live by their true nature.

Children/teenagers tend to come to me because they generally want a space to be heard and where they can make sense of what is going around them and within themselves. Most want to ‘chat’ on a therapeutic level without the complicated jargon. They make a commitment to the psychotherapy because they want to understand themselves and make positive changes by using ‘child/teenage friendly’ therapeutic tools.

Overall, the Existential psychotherapy offered is to provide the opportunity for every client to feel sensations again. Some tend to bury their feelings; others pretend they don’t exist, and most may spend a lifetime not understanding them. It supports adults and children to experience and better handle difficult sensations and feelings, as well as providing individual meaning and purpose to their lives.

What's your professional training?

I've worked as a psychotherapist for 22 years. For the last 12 years I've been self-employed in private practice. I am nationally registered and endorsed with the title of an Existential Psychotherapist. The University training I've completed includes a Master's degree in Existential Psychotherapy, Graduate Diploma in Existential Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Business.

Can anyone call themself a therapist or a psychotherapist or counsellor?
The link below discusses some important training information you may want to listen to before committing to a particular therapist.

Click here to view the BBC article on UK therapists, however please note the information applies to Australia therapists too.

Are you a licensed mental health practitioner and what professional organizations do you belong to?

I'm a registered CLINICAL psychotherapist and SUPERVISOR of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia. I'm also a registered member of SUPERVISION WA, the Supervision Association of Western Australia. I abide by all these Association's Code of Ethics.

What theoretical school of thought do you follow?

My approach is Existential and involves investigating your past, present and (potential) future struggles in great depth. In our therapeutic conversation together, we tend to map and explore whatever it is you are experiencing, both the difficulties and the seeds and strategies of change. As challenges arise, we face and grapple with them in a therapeutic climate of tender support. Using this Existential framework, we can start to move into the awareness process which can be emotionally demanding as well as strengthening. Overall, together we generally work to find out how best you can learn to live with your concerns or 'given' circumstances in your life. This mostly includes working existentially but may include at times bringing in gestalt, person centred, transpersonal, rogerian and CBT methods when needed.

How long are the sessions?

The sessions are 50 minutes. Groups are 2 hours.

Will my insurance pay for the sessions/groups?

I'm not able to provide Medicare rebates to clients even if they have been referred by a private treating; Psychiatrist, Paediatrician, General Practitioner who has prepared a GP Mental Health Care Plan or any other consultants. Psychotherapists have not been given assess to receive Medicare rebates although this is likely to change in the future due to demand.

Please refer to the cost page for more information about private health Insurance. You will be able to claim a percentage back depending on your level of cover. To check the percent please call your insurance and state my provider number: 1317322F. Generally, rates range between $44 and $70 per session after a rebate.

If you have Bupa private health Insurance, you will be able to claim a percentage back depending on your level of cover. To check the percent please call your insurance and state my provider number: J125661. Generally, rates range between $60 and $70 per session after a rebate.

If you have Police Health, St Luke’s Health, CUA Health, Phoenix Health Fund and Emergency Services Health workplace Insurance, you will be able book in 3 – 12 free sessions depending on your company’s level of cover. To check the number of sessions you are entitled to please call your work EAP insurance and state my ARHG Provider Number: PC21578T.

What's your policy on cancelled appointments?

If you cancel without 24-hour notice, the time is lost and, except in an emergency or illness, you may be charged the regular fee. *subject to discussion

Have you been in therapy yourself? If so, how long?

In the past I have had my own long term therapy with a range of modalities, however, the primarily focus has been with existential therapy. My own therapy continues periodically to assist mainly with large blind spots and personal growth.

How do I reach you in the event of an emergency?

I'm not able to provide an emergency service but I do try to make myself available as much as is reasonably possible. You can contact me at any time and leave a message if I don't answer. During business days I can often, though not always, return calls fairly quickly. Night time and weekend calls will usually be returned the next business day. If you find yourself in an urgent situation, make a judgment about the prudence of waiting for my call versus calling for alternative help (e.g. a local GP, emergency 000 or the Lifeline 24-hour crisis counselling line 13 11 14). If I am away for more than a day, my recorded message will indicate that, and state my expected date of return.

Do you receive regular supervision on your cases or belong to a peer supervision group?

For the last 20 years I have had and continue to have regular three weekly individual supervision. Supervision is part of the mandatory requisite for every therapist/supervisor and is something I value strongly. I am also part of a monthly supportive, Balint process supervision group with a mixture of Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists, Counsellors and Doctors.

What type of clients do you see?

I tend to see clients with; life issues, relational issues, transitions struggles, trauma, depression, grief, transgender and other various concerns. This has been with a variety of toddlers, children, teenagers and adults throughout the United Kingdom and Western Australia. I've also been working with psychotherapy and supervision clients via the net for the past 7 years to many different parts of the world.

What is a typical day for you?

I'm regularly balancing social and family life with:

Running a diverse Existential psychotherapy and supervisory practice
Designing a series of online and Perth based personal, professional and supervision development courses
Inventing a series of short, therapy based e - books for children
Creating my own virtual reality therapy programs/assimilations for clients
Presenting tailor made therapeutic mini speaking engagements for schools, GP surgeries, hospitals and corporate organisations.

In the past I have:

Assisted CREATIVE THERAPY workshops in the Arts Counselling Program at Curtin University

Mentored and Supervised diploma and post graduate students as a Dissertation Supervisor

Run grief/bereavement education training workshops to professional agencies such as the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women

Assisted the Department of Education/Child protection and schools with highly dysfunctional clients. This included working with high risk children/adolescents and adults who showed suicidal tendencies with severe self-ideations and self-harming characteristics

Organized and facilitated large bereavement memorial groups for the non for-profit organization SIDS and KIDS WA annual events

Provided psychotherapy to remote indigenous communities through SIDS and Kids WA projects. Additionally, supervising students, staff and other health professionals from metropolitan, rural, and remote WA hospitals

Facilitated short and long term psychotherapy groups in the PARENTS SERVICES Program and the YOUNG PEOPLE'S Program at the HOLYOAKE Drug Addiction Treatment Centre

Organised and presented DRUM BEAT programs (with African drums) for adolescent groups and families for various indigenous communities in WA.

What are your particular interests in this field?

I have a interest in some of the core philosophical existential themes such as:

  • Freedom/choice: working with/through freedom to create a life of choices
  • Death/human limitations: working with/through the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love
  • Isolation: Working with/through our ultimate feelings of aloneness and despair
  • Meaning: working with/through the absence/lostness towards any obvious meaning or sense to life
  • Others favoured generic interests include: depression, stress, trauma, relational issues, grief, cancer and supervision.
  • With transparency being an important theme in our therapy, I hope these answers provide you with all the necessary information you need before our initial meeting.

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