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Stress, Change and Trauma 

If you’re finding that recent changes to ‘life as we know it’ are heightening your anxiety about the future, or bringing back the past, you’re not alone. We are all feeling the losses, unexpected gains and ongoing upheaval to our lives from the Coronavirus pandemic and many of us are feeling anxious or vigilant about avoiding infection. Many Australians are feeling the weight of this situation on top of the devastating bushfires, floods and drought that have also impacted them. Our sense of safety, homes and livelihoods, our social interactions and activities, our routines and plans have all been affected – and in many cases, to the detriment of our mental and emotional health. For many people, the loss of security and stability has hampered their ability to plan ahead and develop personally or professionally. For others it has set back their recovery from past traumatic situations. You will know better than anyone else how you have been affected. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself feeling flat or numb a lot of the time, falling into pessimistic thinking or getting stuck in unhealthy habits or controlling behaviours, all of which are very human ways of coping but have other consequences for us.    

Real Life Counselling can support you to find healthy ways of managing acute or chronic stress, to take stock and make choices in response to major changes in your life, or to progress the work you have already begun in recovering from trauma experienced in childhood or as an adult. 

Trauma refers to the lingering thoughts, emotions, beliefs and bodily effects of any past events or interpersonal relations that were directly or indirectly threatening, harmful or overwhelming to you in some way. Trauma can arise from one-off incidents (sometimes called shock trauma) as well as more enduring or combined situations of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, hardship or illness (also known as complex trauma). 


Because stress and trauma responses are held in the body and nervous system, we will pay attention not only to your thoughts and emotions but also what your body and ‘felt sense’ of the problem are telling you. This can help you find ways to sooth and shift your nervous system out of its survival state (usually fight, flight or freeze).

Everyone’s recovery process is unique but it almost always involves establishing a safe, caring and professional relationship in which you feel heard, valued and understood. It has been said that trauma heals in relationship. Our work together will include talking about how you have been impacted by stress, change or trauma and how you have coped so far.  We may look at how you view yourself and the stories you tell about yourself (narrative therapy). There will be space for you to express and release the emotions you’ve been carrying, in your own time. We may also discuss practical ways to boost your physical and mental health or exercises for grounding and body awareness.

Online Counselling & Trauma

Online counselling has some limitations and is generally not suitable if you need immediate help in a crisis or are experiencing extreme distress or dissociation (feeling very spaced out, detached or disconnected from your body or surroundings). If you are feeling very unsafe or that your feelings are out of control, I would encourage you to access a crisis support service or a mental health professional who can see you in person. This may include your local area Mental Health Team, Accident and Emergency Department or a crisis support helpline such as Life Line, 1800 Respect or Beyond Blue.

If you have already engaged in therapy towards your recovery from a relational trauma and you have reached a place of safety and stability, online counselling can be a very beneficial part of your healing journey. In our initial telephone conversation we will talk about where you are in your process. This will allow me to assess whether online counselling would be safe and helpful for you, before committing to work in this way.

Please note I now offer some Covid-safe in-person sessions at Therapies Summer Hill, 17 Hardie Street, Summer Hill NSW. Covid-safe measures and conditions apply. 

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