I am a Professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne. I have spent the last 20 years researching the various social and relational factors that contribute to mental health, as well as the many traps and pitfalls that often lead to mental ill-health. My research has focused on factors contributing to resilience and wellbeing, as well as the various ways in which we often struggle unproductively with pain and adversity in life. For an overview of some of my work in this area you can see my TEDx talk or get a copy of my book The Other Side of Happiness
My approach to therapy draws on some of my own research but is mostly underpinned by principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Both of these approaches provide very important skills that allow us to either find new ways of seeing the world or find new ways of relating more productively to our discomfort. I draw on these focused strategies in order to help people find practical solutions to their problems.
I also see a lot of value in the process of counselling – talking therapy – which enables people build a sense of meaning and coherence into their lives. My approach is to develop insight and understanding around the difficulties that people are experiencing. Making sense of these experiences and understanding them is a big step towards knowing how to manage them in day-to-day living.
Everyone is different and I have learned that therapy works best when it is flexible and responsive to a person’s needs.
Types of Issues and Clients That I Work With
I am comfortable working with most people and deal with a range of presenting problems. I have extensive experience treating depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, trauma and grief, stress, amongst other things.
I place a lot of emphasis on the social and relational worlds that people exist within and as part of that enjoy working with both individuals and couples around relationship issues, including on issues related to effective communication and healthy boundaries.