SO YOU'RE CHECKING OUT MY CREDENTIALS.Good Move
My Training & Experience
I am a Group facilitator, Coach, Psychotherapist and Theatre-maker, fascinated by the power of creativity, psychology and physical action. I have extensive experience working with groups and individuals, having worked in private practice as a Coach and Psychotherapist, in Theatre and community arts for 17 years, with 7 years in the mental health & homelessness sectors. My diverse experience allows me to draw upon key elements of theatre: collaboration, body language, spatial dynamics, narrative and dynamic action which when forged with psychological and coaching tools have a deep transformative impact. I’m passionate about the role of creativity in organisations–what it offers for new insights into circumstances, relationships, tapping into the unknown, relishing mistakes, and assisting us to cross into uncharted territory. I’m in supervision with Australian & New Zealand Process Oriented Pyschology (ANZPOP) where I’ve trained as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist for the past 7 years, am an accredited Coach (Global Coaching Institute) and hold an Honours Degree in Theatre from UWS Nepean. My experience in these sectors has given me a sense of respect for the deep, personal insights that can come through the creative process, and a strong awareness of how we all experience the world in our own unique way, born out of our history, our internal emotional experiences, and the structures and systems we live in. I was the Artistic Director of Milk Crate Theatre for 5 years, and have run programs for Mission Australia, St Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Richmond PRA and Anglicare, worked with at-risk young people in Wilcannia, in Juvenile Justice, CALD communities, and in schools. I specialise in Forum Theatre, which involves facilitating audience discussions and explorations around entrenched societal challenges, and have facilitated consumer groups for Homelessness NSW and run training with the Constable Care Program (WA Police). I’ve worked closely with philanthropists and large NGOs. I believe in Social Leadership, Collective Impact and deep democracy in groups, and am a Network Assoicate with Collaboration for Impact. In 2010 I was listed in the Sydney Magazine’s (Fairfax Media) 100 most influential people for my work within the homeless community of Sydney, driven by my strong belief that everyone has the right to feel confident about themselves, especially in order to contribute, on their own terms, to social decisions that affect them. I was chosen for the Telstra White pages as part of their ‘Creative Australians working with our communities’ cover series, am passionate about the positive impact of creativity on mental health, and have regularly presented at conferences around the transformative impact of the creative process.
How I work
I’m directed by you. I want everyone I work with, whether it be individually or in a team, to feel safe and supported. I work with what is emergent in the room. I practice trauma-informed care. I create a space that is confidential, warm, open and yours to bring in whatever you wish to deal with. I’m also used to working with bodies in space, so I can bring that in if you want me to. And I like creativity, and play and imagination, thinking outside the square and moving around. Don’t worry – I’m not about to launch into a random performance trust exercise, get you to close your eyes, drop backwards and hope that it changes your life. I combine my psychological and coaching training with my creative style and we go from there. I’m also into feedback and adjusting my approach so that it is the best it can be. Finally, I’m pragmatic – it needs to work and be effective in practice.
Modalities I work with
My primary modalities are Process Oriented Psychology (or Process Work) and Creativity. Process work is an awareness paradigm. I am trained in Process Oriented Psychology and also Process Oriented Coaching. It is holistic, so I am trained in mainstream and comparative approaches to psychology, coaching, somatic bodywork, movement work, relationship counselling, conflict and group work and dream work amongst others. Founded by Dr Arnold Mindell, Process Work is also what’s known as a ‘bootstrap’ modality, in that it can embrace and tie together a whole range of other modalities within it, if it aligns with your process and what works best for you. Whilst its roots originate from Jungian Psychology, Taoism, Quantum Physics, Systems and communication Theory and indigenous wisdom – its current form draws upon multiple modalities including Mindfulness, Narrative therapy, somatic and body work, Movement therapy, CBT and motivational interviewing. It involves rigorous personal and professional training and has a strong history in both individual and group work. I am also trained in a multitude of theatre practices and have extensive experience in working in Community Cultural Development. In an organisational capacity, I’m also influenced by Adaptive Leadership and Collaborative Impact principles.
So what does that look like in a session? It depends on what service you are requiring, as I draw upon different resources to best meet and address what is emergent in the room at the time. In individual therapy or coaching I might use CBT for some things, or Mindfulness or Narrative therapy for other aspects. I might draw on somatic bodywork to uncover something about a symptom you are experiencing, or systems theory or conflict resolution techniques to flesh out that relationship dilemma you are in, or Jungian dream work to find meaning in what those recurring dreams are trying to tell you. In an organisation, I might use creative, physical and spatial approaches to shake up a team’s perspective on a challenge, a conflict or working collaboratively, or theatre exercises to help you with presentation or training delivery. It depends on what is required, and what works best for you. One of the most important features of training in Process Oriented Psychology is innerwork – so I am trained and assessed to work on myself. There’s no point fooling ourselves that coaches and therapists don’t have their own issues! It’s important I acknowledge that for my own awareness – and most importantly so my stuff doesn’t get in the way of yours. It also means that I can assist you to develop your ability to be your own guide so you won’t need me anymore.
Why I do what I do
You know when something is right in front of your face for years, and then slowly you begin to see a pattern that leads you to an inevitable point? I’ll never forget the time a young woman who had experienced homelessness and trauma, suffering chronic and severe mental ill health, tentatively crept up on stage and performed an absurdly comic piece about life on a crowded bus with stinky people. To some it might not seem like much. To anyone who has a fear of public speaking, well you’d definitely appreciate one small aspect of her process. For her it had been an incredible, slow and tough journey. Witnessing her beaming, radiant and slightly shell-shocked face as she accepted applause from the audience, and the tears of joy and release afterwards for doing something that she honestly never thought she could do, is permanently burnt into my memory. It was at that point that I woke up to what I had been accustomed to. For 15 years I had been witnessing the power of creativity on people’s mental health, but it wasn’t the bit about getting up onstage or anything like that. It was the repetition of this particular moment that held the key – the point when someone woke up to a greater sense of possibility in their lives. Right then it dawned on me that I wanted to take that further. I became committed to extending and combining creative and psychological processes, using them to more deeply and thoroughly support people to connect to a true sense of self, which in turn opens these doors of possibility. But it’s not enough to open the doors – I want to support people to step through the door and get to where they want to go. That’s where coaching comes in. I have had the great privilege to work alongside people who have suffered tremendous hardship in their lives. And it is genuinely gob-smacking to reflect on how we humans can transcend and transform our experiences, and our way of being in the world. Putting you in touch with your own strengths, and developing them so that you can draw upon in them in whatever area of life you need is what makes me tick, and on a larger level fills me with awe for humanity!