Leona Dawson Hornsby counsellor SydneyAustralia Counselling member Leona Dawson is a Sydney counsellor who works in Hornsby and St.Leonards and is the owner of www.transformative.com.au

Leona loves to work in creative ways and offer much more than just talk therapy, as well as incorporating the latest developments in neurobiology and body-mind science into her practice.

Here’s what she had to say when we spoke to her recently…

Tell us a bit about your practice- where it is, who you work with and the services you offer

I work in Hornsby and St. Leonards in private practice offering support to men and women from adolescents to elders who may be experiencing difficulties (anxiety, depression, stress, health issues or grief & loss); who may be in a life/work/relationship transition or who are seeking to come into a better relationship with themselves.

How did you become interested in counselling and working as a psychotherapist?

I became a counsellor when I realised the two passions in my life had actually come together.  One area was teaching and facilitating learning in adult vocational education as well as working with young people who found adolescence a tumultuous and trying experience.

I worked in community, TAFE and the corporate sector supporting learning and development for a wide range of students and in doing so I realised that learning happens naturally and easily when it is congruent with who we are.

I was also on my own personal development journey exploring inner awareness, mindfulness, Focusing and Nonviolent Communication. More and more I realised I can combine these passions as a counsellor and therapeutic facilitator and so in my forties I started retraining gathering up, in my arms, a Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy and a Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy as well as international certification as a Focusing-Oriented Therapist.

How do you believe people change and what supports long-lasting change?

I believe people heal and grow into more of who they really are through awareness, self-acceptance, compassion and trying out new ways of being in the world. Long-lasting change happens when we live in alignment with ourselves – change is embraced as the most natural way to be, thing to do, choice to make with ease, confidence and joy. It feels like finally ‘coming home to oneself’.

Tell us about your approach and why you believe the way you work is effective in helping people change

First, I believe that we all possess our own inner wisdom, which means that each of us has the answers to our problems within. I work on the assumption that hand-in-hand we can find these answers. I bring my expertise in psychotherapy, transpersonal art therapy and inner awareness practices, and you bring your expertise in you.

Together, as a team, we work to discover whatever it is that may be holding you back, creating chaos or confusion, causing pain or a loss of well-being.

My key therapeutic approaches integrate mind, body and spirit using a mix of talk therapy (Coherence Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy to consistently foster deep shifts, dispelling symptoms at their emotional roots often in a small number of sessions) as well as Focusing, art and Sandplay, Dreamwork and inner awareness practices such as Guided Imagery and Mindfulness for longer-term personal growth work.

I integrate the latest developments in neurobiology and body-mind science into my practice.

I believe that tapping into our imagination, our rational mind, our body, and our sense of spirit invites greater possibilities and openings towards healing.

Tell us what a client can expect to experience in an initial counselling session with you

Our first session will be about getting to know each other as well as ascertaining how you will know that therapy is working for you. This will help us stay on track with what is most important for you and check if we are making a difference in your life.

We will work together, as a team, to discover and resolve whatever is underlying the issue you have brought into therapy. I will be in it, with you, every step of the way. You will be in charge of the depth and pace of our work  and we will handle anything difficult that comes up together.

If something becomes uncomfortable and I don’t pick up on it (despite my care and attention), I will encourage you to let me know and we will back-track and amend our path accordingly. You can expect my support, compassion, care and attention and for me to be offering you a range of  sound evidence-based healing and personal growth practices. I also offer the opportunity to give feedback at the end of each session.

On a personal note, tell us something that you’re passionate about or love to do in your spare time

I love the feel of the warm sun on my skin, being in the Australian bush and going to new places. I love art, movies, curiosity, creativity, humour and playfulness. I am passionate about my family, friends and my work.  I am also a zentangle doodler, knitter, avid reader and rely on hardy native plants to survive my gardening skills.

To book a session with Leona in Hornsby or St. Leonards, visit her Australia Counselling profile or website.