I completed my Bachelor of Nursing in 1993. My career in nursing lead me to have a strong interest in mental health issues, and in 2007, I completed my Master of Psychology (Counselling). Soon after, I obtained my endorsement to practice as a Clinical Psychologist. I have been in private practice since 2009, and currently work fulltime.
My experience as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) involved working in a variety of medical and surgical settings, which included orthopaedic, neurological, road trauma and cancer wards. I also have worked in a number of mental health settings including drug and alcohol units, psychiatric inpatient units and psychiatric outpatient settings. When caring for or treating people who were experiencing physical health problems or mental health symptoms, I was constantly confronted with the burden of trauma (or chronic stress) and the impact it had on a person’s overall health or wellbeing. My extensive experience and years of ongoing training steered me in the direction to become a specialist in treating trauma.
Becoming a Family Therapist highlighted how trauma can be applied to a systems theory: a view that we are designed to be interconnected and interdependent. Just as you might feel being disconnected from family members, you can also feel internally disconnected from different parts or aspects of yourself. Trauma treatment helps to integrate these parts; in order that you feel whole again.
Whether you are seeking treatment for trauma resolution, or mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression, our time together will be aimed at regulating your nervous system, and integrating your mind and body so that you feel better resourced and empowered to cope with life’s challenges.
To do this, I tie together a number of therapies that are aimed at regulating and supporting your ‘stressed out’ brain and nervous system, so you can begin to quieten any chaotic thoughts and overwhelming emotions.
Today, pioneers in the trauma field acknowledge that treatments that do not include a body awareness component are unlikely to lead to long term resolution.
Naturally, of course, there is a place for a person to tell their story, but from professional experience, a vital aspect is also incorporating knowledge of body sensations, so that lasting change can be achieved.
Specialist trauma treatments offered include (but not limited to):
- Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is one of the most researched and clinically proven psycho-biological approaches for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR utilizes natural processes in the brain to resolve traumatic experiences. This is done by connecting the brain and the body through use of bi-laterial stimulation techniques.
Importantly, what makes EMDR different is that it does not focus on narrative recall (re-telling your story again and again). The principle of not relying on ‘talk therapies’ also applies to the treatment modalities of Somatic Experiencing, Brainspotting and Mindfulness.
- Somatic Experiencing
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a gentle approach to healing trauma symptoms or chronic stress. Working with the knowledge and principles that trauma affects the whole body and the nervous system, SE supports you to engage and follow your body sensations in a safe and contained environment. By tracking and slowing down your internal responses you can begin to re-negotiate and resolve any overwhelming life experiences. Revisiting body memories through SE, you will notice restorative shifts to your brain, body and psyche. At the end of a SE session, you will feel a sense of wholeness, calm and ease.
Brainspotting is a focused neurobiological treatment that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma and stress related disorders. Brain spotting uses the eyes to focus on a pointer, which helps you to attend to internal body sensations. Just like at the end of an SE session, you will feel calm and relaxed and often pain free.
- Genomic Wellness
On a physical level, it is known that trauma or chronic stress can alter your brain chemistry, or can change the behaviour of your genes. Importantly, genes are not fixed and life events or trauma can trigger biochemical messages that turn on and off inherent physical or mental health symptoms. Therefore, understanding how to assist your physical body on cellular levels through nutrition concepts can also aid wellness (This treatment is not Medicare funded).
Here are some links for further information about the above techniques:
Monica holds the following academic qualifications
Bachelor of Nursing
Diploma of Hypnosis
Post Graduate Diploma in Psychological Studies
Graduate Diploma in Psychology
Master of Psychology (Counselling)
Diploma of Family Therapy
Endorsed Clinical Psychologist by APS
Diploma of Nutrition (Mental Health) (in process of completing)
Master level of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) (Part 1 and 2)
Ego State Therapy
Brain Spotting (Module I and II)
Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP)
Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Australian College of Clinical Psychologists
EMDR Association of Australia (EMDRAA)
Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA)
SE Trauma Institute