Michelle is passionate about helping her clients discover the peace and joy of learning to accept themselves and others, as well as develop compassion as an essential tool for living life fully.
The focus of her work with her clients is on the relationship with yourself and your relationship with others as she assists you in discovering your own sense of empowerment.
Here’s what she had to say to us:
Tell us a little about your private practice and the clients you see
I see individuals or couples for counselling and psychotherapy at 44 Queen Street in Woollahra in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. I also run workshops/groups in various locations for people who:
a) Are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted by life and want a place to rest and learn simple, easy and fun ways to maintain their emotional well being during times of stress or busy-ness
b) And want to improve their relationship with themselves and others
How did you become interested in counselling and working as a psychotherapist?
I’ve always been interested in helping others and after starting my own therapeutic journey as a client I realised just how empowering therapy can be. Being in a safe, supportive, honest and reliable relationship with someone outside of my circle of family and friends allowed me to obtain clarity about who I was and what was important to me and it gave me the strength to change so that I could live a more fulfilling life with nourishing relationships.
As a counsellor/psychotherapist I hope to be able to accompany my clients as they discover how to live more of the life they want.
How do you believe people change and what supports long-lasting change?
Change starts with acceptance and compassion for what is. When people learn to be OK with who they are and how life actually is for them in the present moment they can take a break from pushing and efforting to change what they don’t like about themselves or their lives. This opens up space to see that more options are available to them and frees up energy and strength to make better choices.
If we have a relationship with ourselves and others that is kind, compassionate and honest then we can be seen and accepted for who we really are which can give us the encouragement and strength to do something different
Tell us about your approach and why you believe the way you work is effective in helping people change
I believe that the relationship that we have with ourselves and each other has a significant influence on how we feel about ourselves and our lives. While relationships can be difficult and often cause pain and distress, relationships are also the source of love, joy and the healing of past hurts.
Clients come and see me with various distressing symptoms, behaviours or experiences that are interfering with how they would like to live their life and they often view themselves as wrong, defective or bad. I regard symptoms and distressing behaviours as creative ways the client has developed to protect themselves from feeling uncomfortable emotions that are often activated either in relationship with themselves or others.
I focus on developing a relationship with my client that is compassionate, respectful and honest which allows them to feel seen, understood and accepted. As clients become more compassionate with and accepting of themselves they can “be” in relationship differently and learn to respond to difficult situations in ways that are less distressing for themselves (and others).
Depending on the client’s needs in each session, my approach to therapy is quite flexible and spontaneous. We may talk about and explore current or past experiences, we might practice some simple and fun ways to tolerate uncomfortable emotions or situations, we could draw or play, we could do hypnotherapy or we could do some gentle somatic exercises. Like life, therapy may be challenging and sometimes painful however it can also be simple, creative and fun.
Tell us what a client can expect to experience in an initial counselling session with you
The first session with a client will involve both of us getting to know each other. There is some initial information swapping and paperwork to be completed (contact details, discussion of confidentiality, fees etc) and the rest of the session is devoted to giving the client space to share what brings them to therapy and what their hopes and goals are for therapy and to ask me questions about how I work. Towards the end of the first session we decide together whether or not to continue seeing each other for therapy on an ongoing and regular basis.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I love catching up with friends and family over a delicious meal – I particularly enjoy the process of sourcing, preparing and cooking food as well as the eating and cleaning up afterwards! It allows me to be both creative and express my love towards my friends/family and at the end I feel nourished and satisfied physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.