Hello and thank you for spending some of your precious time learning about my counselling approach and my background story.
There's no doubt that my traditional graduate and post-graduate education and “front line” experience on the phones at Lifeline for sixteen years have provided me with an invaluable foundation.
But over the past seven years, I’ve also discovered a "big picture" understanding that underpins all mental wellbeing. It's been called "the future of psychology" and when shared with my clients, the positive results are profound and permanent.
You're in safe hands. My formal qualifications include a Graduate Diploma in Counselling which I obtained from the Australian College of Applied Psychology in 2010 and a Bachelor of Education from the Melbourne College of Advanced Education (now Melbourne University) in 1985.
Although this is not a crisis service, I have also completed the Mental Health First Aid workshop and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and can offer support if you, a family member or friend are having thoughts of suicide.
Work-experience-wise, I was extremely fortunate to be employed by Lifeline Northern Rivers as their Mentoring and Support Officer from 2009 until August 2015. My role was to supervise the 70+ (wonderful!) volunteer telephone counsellors, making sure they were happy and following Lifeline procedures.
My other exploits include spending twelve months in the magnificent north woods of Minnesota as an AFS “foreign exchange student” and four years in Connecticut, just up the road from New York City.
It was during this time, spent as an expatriate-wife, that I experienced the unthinkable: the end of my first marriage. My most firmly-held vision had been the two of us sitting on rocking chairs on a verandah well into our 90's!
My husband and I attended one unsuccessful counselling session together. This experience planted the counselling-career seed in my mind, "If I can help one couple stay together, then our divorce would not have been in vain." I'm definitely in credit, having helped many couples revitalise their connection!
A short time after returning from the USA to my hometown of Melbourne, I visited the beautiful Byron Shire and fell instantly in love with the local “tribe”, the magnificent, natural environment and the community-minded culture. I have lived in Bangalow with my second husband Pete for more than 15 years.
“Thank you for the support Sandy, it's been a turning point.
We're finding it a lot easier to communicate and getting along better than ever!”
J. T., NSW
"You are literally a life-saver!" C.B., QLD