Mental Health

Good mental health (a sense of well-being, confidence and self-esteem) is shaped by life experiences and how you respond to them. Seeking professional counselling services at times of extreme stress will help you develop your abilities to deal with life’s challenges. Remember one in five Australians experiences mental health concerns at some time in their lives.

Catherine has been helping clients manage anxiety for the last 10 years. Initially, she worked with anxiety and stress associated with infertility, treatment cycles and specific needle and blood injury phobia while she worked at a private fertility clinic. This then extended to working with panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders as a Mental Health Clinician with the Southern Medicare Local. According to Beyondblue, one in four people will develop an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. An anxiety disorder may begin due to high levels of stress, learned behaviour, the effects of personality or health concerns. When it begins to interfere with your ability to function, it is important to seek counselling support and medical assistance. See also stress reduction and the ‘fight and flight’ response.

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As a previous Medicare Local Mental Health Clinician and as a registered provider of Medicare services for the last 10 years, Catherine has worked with all types of depression including post-natal depression and bi-polar disorder. Catherine is very understanding of the severity and the difficulties depression presents for clients and their families. At Medicare Local, Catherine worked for years in the Suicide Prevention Program and in the Perinatal Depression Initiative Program. At Repromed Fertility Clinic she worked with clients with ante-natal and post-natal depression. There are many contributing factors to depression and Catherine will assess your particular life circumstances (past and present life stresses, transitions, traumas, work, family, losses, health and relationships), provide emotional support and work with you to improve your mood and identify ways to manage and stay well.
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Loss and grief are part of life. Grief can take many forms and is sometimes so subtle that it is not recognised as grief e.g. loss of aspects of childhood through child sexual abuse, children leaving home, loss of a relationship, health, accommodation or employment. Over the last 30 years Catherine has provided grief counselling and has received professional training on grief, loss and trauma. Catherine has worked with terminally ill patients and their families, ran support groups for cancer patients, counselled families bereaved by suicide; individuals and couples struggling with infertility loss, loss of health, employment or separating couples etc. Where needed, Catherine can support people to safely explore their feelings of grief and connect with painful feelings and memories to pave the way for resolution. Although early help is recommended, sometimes people work through complicated grief, even years after the loss.

While stress can be a motivating force, if it is frequent, prolonged or severe it can outdo one’s normal capacity to cope causing health, social, occupational and relationship difficulties. Stress switches on the body’s survival mechanism, the fight and flight response, making it ready for action. Adrenalin is automatically released in the body causing a number of physical and mental changes. If prolonged, this fight and flight response burdens the body and leads to:

  • Tiredness and interrupted sleep
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tension, causing headaches (and migraines)
  • Pain in various muscles in the body
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Upset stomach and changes in appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Frequently urinating
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
  • More susceptible to colds/flu and slower recovery

Managing stress is therefore very important and Catherine can help you identify your stressors, learn relaxation skills, improve self-care and solve problems more effectively.

A traumatic event is any experience which is associated with very strong negative emotions of intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Catherine has had experience and training in this area when she provided counselling services to Respond SA, a service for adult survivors of child sexual abuse; while she worked as a Crisis Response Worker at Yarrow Place, a service for survivors of adult sexual abuse; and as a Mental Health Clinician working with complex trauma.

After trauma, the nervous system remains prepared for danger and can be triggered by current reminders of the past trauma. Catherine will respect your need for safety and work with you to develop your resources and strengths.

Catherine is experienced in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) an evidence based approach to resolving trauma. She is also trained in E.F.T (Energy Freedom Technique). Both of these techniques work with the mind and the body to integrate past memories and feelings. Mindfulness skills, hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy also help resolve trauma.

…At Catherine’s practice, you will receive a caring, confidential and professional counselling service from an experienced therapist with 30 years counselling experience. Treatment provides you with understanding, knowledge and new skills to help you manage your presenting life issues.

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