Clinical Psychotherapist & Relationship Therapist
MCouns (UQ), Grad Dip Psych (Monash), B. Biomed. Sci. Hons (Griffith)
PACFA Reg. Provisional 27171
Ansara Psychotherapy Anti-Oppressive Practice Mentorship Partner from August 2020
I am delighted to be joining the team at Ansara Psychotherapy as an Anti-Oppressive Practice mentee. Life has taught me the importance of acknowledging and addressing both privilege and oppression. I carry much privilege as I move through life. I am a cisgender, sighted, hearing, mostly able-bodied, educated, white-anglo person in a culture which centres white-anglo experiences. I am also openly queer, polyamorous, kinky, and neurodivergent, and I have experienced painful marginalisation, discrimination, and hate while navigating a world not designed for these core aspects of who I am. But I am blessed to be a parent of transgender, asexual, bi, pan, and neurodivergent children; they are my greatest teachers of courage, resilience, connectedness, and radical authenticity, regardless of what the world expects us to be. As a result of all this, I have become passionate about centring my work on those of us who are often pathologised, invalidated, or erased because of our ways of being, living, and loving. And as my intersectional awareness grows, I am actively educating myself on the profound oppression and marginalisation experienced by so many on the basis of culture, religion, skin colour, and racialised identity and community.
Because of all this, I have chosen to focus my psychotherapy career on working with people who don’t fit into society’s heteronormative, cisnormative, mononormative, and anglonormative boxes. My aim is to support you to be fully and completely who you are, moment to moment, and to live a rich, full, and meaningful life in alignment with your values. Alongside Dr Gávi, I am also working to promote meaningful change within the psychotherapy profession, by facilitating professional development among therapists that focuses on honouring diversity, examining privilege, and challenging oppression.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in biomedical science with honours, and began my career as a research neurobiologist. I subsequently completed a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and a Master’s degree in counselling and psychotherapy. All three of these qualifications bring different strengths to my therapeutic practice. My neurobiology background can help us work together to notice and understand what is happening in your brain and the rest of your body in various situations. My psychology training helps with noticing and understanding what’s happening in your mind, emotions, and behaviour. And my therapeutic training helps us to figure out which parts of this can be improved, and how. I have prior experience in a community counselling service within Australia, with a focus on providing psychotherapy via telehealth. I have also completed a community counselling placement in Varanasi, India, and have ongoing ties to the community there. I am committed to ongoing learning and am currently focussing my professional development on emotionally focussed therapy, family therapy, and advocacy for medical gender affirmation. In addition, I have been active in the queer, polyamorous, and kink communities since 2007, giving me valuable insight into some of the unique issues and challenges faced by their members.
What kinds of therapy do I offer:
I work from an integrative theoretical perspective. That is, I have been trained in many different styles of therapy, and I don’t take a “one size fits all” approach. Rather, if we agree to work together, we will figure out what approach to therapy feels right for you and how to best meet your needs. I prioritise building a collaborative therapeutic relationship; you are the expert on you and your life, and your insight and self-knowledge will guide the therapeutic process at every step. I work from a trauma-informed perspective, which means I place a high value on safety, trust, collaboration, and choice in the therapeutic relationship, and I practice according to current guidelines in the field of trauma therapy.
I work with a wide variety of people and problems, with a focus on solo and relationship therapy (including polycules, dyads, or couples). I prioritise providing supportive, affirming, and non-pathologising psychotherapy services for people who are:
- Bisexual and/or biromantic
- Pansexual and/or panromantic
- Trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, demigender or agender
- Asexual, greysexual, or demisexual
- Aromantic, greyromantic, or demiromantic
- Polyamorous and/or multi-partnered
- In queerplatonic or quasiplatonic relationships
- Relationship anarchists
- Practitioners of BDSM/kink and/or power exchange
- Sex workers
- Exploring any of these identities, orientations, or practices
- Neurodivergent with an autistic, aspie, and/or VAST (aka ADHD) neurostyle (formally diagnosed or self-diagnosed)
- Caregivers and parents of LGBTQIA+ children
- Caregivers and parents of neurodivergent children
- Caregivers and parents of children who experience mental health symptoms
Some of the experiences we can explore together include:
- Relationship styles and needs.
- Forming and nurturing families of choice
- Polyamorous caregiving/parenting.
- Building healthy, safe, and secure attachments in family, romantic, sexual, and/or kink relationships.
- Embracing individual neurostyles, and addressing associated challenges.
- Grief and loss, including losses associated with positive life changes.
- Gender identity and affirmation.
- Supporting and affirming loved ones through gender affirmation.
- Trauma; acute, complex, systemic, family, and intergenerational
- Medical abuse, disempowerment, and mistreatment
- Trauma, disempowerment, or injury related to pregnancy, childbirth, or reproductive choices.
- Sexual assault, coercion, and other consent violations.
- Family of origin discord or trauma.
- Marginalisation, discrimination, and systemic oppression.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Breakups, relationship transitions, separations, and divorces.
- Trust injuries and violations of relationship agreements in polyamorous/multi-partnered or monogamous relationships.
Currently, I provide psychotherapy exclusively online via Zoom. This is partly to keep my therapy participants safe from COVID-19. However, even before the pandemic I aspired to practice primarily online, because in my experience, it is a powerful therapeutic modality (and recent research confirms this). Firstly, it allows you to connect with the very best therapist for you, rather than your choices being limited by geographical area. Secondly, it makes it easier for you to fit sessions into your day, without needing to worry about transport, travel time, or parking. And most importantly, for many people online therapy can facilitate therapeutic safety much more readily than visiting a therapist’s physical office. Talking about difficult things is sometimes much easier in your own home (or another safe place of your choosing) surrounded by familiarity, with comfort items easily available. But at the same time, we will work together to ensure that you disclose and explore your experiences at a pace that feels safe and right for you.
Symbolic meaning of my name:
Some of you may be familiar with the legend of the phoenix. This mythical bird is repeatedly burned away to nothing, only to rise up from the ashes, stronger and more brilliant than before. As a survivor of complex trauma, my life has reflected this phoenix-cycle; I have learned to keep rising up, again and again, no matter how many times life seemed to destroy me. Now it is my purpose and privilege to facilitate and guide this journey for other people. This is such a core part of who I am that I adopted Phoenix as my legal name. Should you choose to work with me, I look forward to meeting the phoenix in you, and to support you to rise in whatever way you need.