Welcome to the Ansara Psychotherapy website. This counselling & psychotherapy practice is:
- non-pathologising: This is about people, not disorder labels.
- person-directed: Choose how we work together.
- polycultural: Your way of life guides me.
- informed by social justice principles: I care that something is unfair.
Available for one person, partners, & families, in person & by secure phone/video/text chat near in the Sydney CBD & Bondi Junction.
I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country & their enduring sovereignty of land, sea, spirit, & community. I bear witness to their diversity & resilience, & Honour the Elders past and present.
Are you tired of feeling misunderstood or judged by professionals and loved ones because of how you dress, how you feel, or what you want?
If so, then I can offer you a culturally safe and therapeutic environment in which you are treated with respect, compassion, and celebration of who you are right now.
This includes but is not limited to people with strict religious observance, non-binary people, goths, stressed out parents, people with Aspie neurostyles, and poly folks.
Q: Which issues can we work on together?
My practice focuses on supporting people of all ages, cultures, faith/beliefs, and backgrounds with a range of concerns across the life course, including but not limited to:
- Relationships, sexuality, partners, & families (however you define them)
- Affirming your trans and/or non-binary needs & experiences
- Death & dying
- Surgical decision-making & support
- Living, loving, & thriving with disability labels, including neurodiversity
- Coping with long-term or recurring medical concerns or chronic pain
- Healing and post-traumatic care following assault, torture, abuse, & neglect
- Asylum seeking & refugee experience
- Substance abuse, misuse, addiction, relapse prevention & post-relapse recovery
As a professional, I am:
- Knowledgeable about intersex people, people of trans and/or non-binary experience or identity, disability, LGBQ, poly & consensual non-monogamies, BDSM and consensual power exchange, Autism/Aspergers neurodiversity, and Otherkin.
- Aware about sex workers and asexual people.
(as defined by the NCSF definitions of friendly, aware, and knowledgeable)
I offer highly specialised services based on years of international experience, field-specific training, ongoing professional development, and regular attention to the latest peer-reviewed scientific evidence in these areas. I have over 15 years of experience and training that span a very diverse range of psychotherapy techniques and approaches. We can work together in the ways that work best for you.
If you are dealing with any challenging life experiences, I am here to provide you with sanctuary, a place to come when you feel you have no escape from the storm. Your fear, your anger, and how you actually feel beneath ‘the mask’ are all welcome: It’s okay to be you, in all of your beautiful complexity.
We can work together to make your life less stressful, more fulfilling, and more compassionate for you and your loved ones. I can help you to work through inner and interpersonal conflicts and to develop the skills you need to thrive. No matter how awful your life may seem now, we can work together to get you back on track again– whether that means returning to a familiar track or creating new paths.
Q: What makes your practice different?
“we must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”
-Jewish scholar and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel זצ״ל
I understand that who you are contains too many stories and life experiences to be reduced to an identity label or psychiatric diagnosis. I believe that working with you to tell your story in your own way and to set your own paths in life is a form of social justice. My approach combines a dual emphasis on building a safe and open therapeutic relationship and providing the structure and guidance you need to achieve your goals.
Q: How do you apply that understanding in your practice?
My work extends beyond the therapy room into advocacy and support services that respond to your needs in the relationships, systems, and communities in your life. This might include activities such as facilitating a conflict resolution session with your loved one, attending your medical appointment as your patient advocate, or writing a letter to your school, university, or employer on your behalf.
Q: Given that your psychotherapy approach does not involve psychiatric diagnoses, how do you relate to medical professionals?
My work often involves collaborating with medical professionals as part of the team working toward your health and wellbeing. I experience science, intuition, and empathy as complementary. Physicians and psychotherapists each possess some knowledge and skills to help you with different aspects of working through challenging life experiences and health issues.
Q: Which values have the most influence on your practice?
My psychotherapy work is fundamentally about ḥesed (kindness), guiding you to know and accept your needs, desires, fears, and secrets with tenderness, and to find safe and caring ways to express your being and improve your relationships. I value and celebrate many different ways of living, loving, and being in the world.
Q: What’s different about your approach to psychotherapy?
My work applies a non-pathologising, person-directed, and polycultural approach to psychotherapy informed by social justice principles.
Q: What do you mean by ‘non-pathologising’?
Although psychiatric labels can sometimes be comforting for people, many people experience these labels as unhelpful and culturally inappropriate, as I discovered while working as a bilingual psychiatric rehabilitation caseworker. I am skilled in using evidence-based psychotherapy methods and professional advocacy skills to achieve your goals without diagnostic colonising of your spirituality, sexuality, gender, culture, or way of life. I have referral pathways with health professionals who can assist with specific aspects of your care, only where you give informed consent on your own behalf and where you and I both agree that medication and/or diagnoses will actually be helpful. If you are experiencing health concerns such as dementia, suicidal thoughts, and safety issues, I will work with you to develop a comprehensive advance care plan that meets your needs and respects your freedom to the greatest extent possible.
Q: What do you mean by ‘person-directed’?
I mean that you, the person seeking psychotherapy, will decide what we do, how we work together, which options you are willing to consider, and what you want and need in your life. Decisions made in therapeutic ‘partnerships’ affect the lives of people seeking therapy far more than they affect therapists. Being aware of this power dynamic is essential to ethical practice. Although I have psychotherapy and professional advocacy skills to guide your journey and may have more knowledge and experience regarding how to deal with the particular issues you are facing, you are the expert on yourself.
Q: What do you mean by ‘polycultural’?
I grew up speaking multiple languages in multiple cultures on multiple continents. Growing up in a strictly observant Jewish environment in Australia and in rural and urban China, I have always enjoyed experiencing the world in multiple languages and perspectives. My passion for polycultural experience has led me to do paid and volunteer work of various kinds in England, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland, and elsewhere.
Although some people can identify a single culture that has shaped their life experience, many of us are a fusion of cultures and influences. Many of us grew up speaking one language at home and another in school. Many of us grew up being able to speak the language of the dominant culture around us, while feeling that we never quite fit in because we talked with our hands or explained ourselves in terms of images and rituals from another culture.
My practice is also influenced by over a decade of having provided professional support and advocacy for people seeking asylum, people living in communities where their cultures are ignored or misunderstood, and others who have felt like outsiders and exiles. I use psychotherapy techniques from around the world, not only those developed in Europe, Australia, and the United States.
Q: What do you mean by ‘social justice principles’?
Some social justice principles relevant to psychotherapy and professional advocacy services include but are not limited to:
- Access: working to make sure that you have equal access to goods and services
- Equity: overcoming unfairness caused by unequal access to economic resources and public life
- Autonomy: protecting your right to make decisions that govern your own life whenever possible
- Advocacy: working beyond the psychotherapy room to address systemic barriers and oppression you experience in your everyday life
To find out more about my practice, visit this FAQ page.