I completed a Bachelor of Art in Social Work at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Queensland in 2008.
I am registered as an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and as such am bound by certain principles and regulations as set out in the AASW Code of Ethics. This includes but is not limited to: confidentiality, social justice, self-determination and duty of care. I am also bound by these same principles to ensure ongoing mental health training as well as regular supervision.
As an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker I am eligible to provide private services under Medicare. I am also an ATAPS provider specialising in SOS, General and Aboriginal services in the Blue Mountains area as well as Eastern Sydney.
I have experience conducting bio-psychosocial assessments and providing interventions for individuals who experience mood disorders, suicidal ideation, relationship problems, life crisis, adjustment issues, trauma, domestic violence, family conflicts, substance problems, difficulties with emotional regulation and those with personality vulnerabilities.
I provide interventions that include interpersonal counselling, group therapy, community development, psycho-education, and other strategies to address anger management, problems solving, social skills and stress management. I have experience working with other health professionals and have knowledge of resources, programs, education and information to address mental health issues.
NB: If I do not have the experience, knowledge or skills to provide you with adequate professional services, I will endeavour to refer you to services that are more appropriate and suitable to your needs.
Late Career Change
I have had a lifelong interest in the complexities of the human mind and behaviour; but it was not until I was in a private business with my husband that I had the opportunity to study further. I initially signed up to study Psychology , however after a last minute call to my mentor decided to study Social Work instead.
The reason I changed course - on the day I enrolled - is because I wanted to work with individuals within a system, rather than the pathology of individuals. My belief is that individuals usually experience difficulties in the context of relationships with others, within the structures of society. My interest also lay in conducting group and community work, work with couples, and families all which is particular to social work.
Social Work Beginnings
During three years of my study in South Africa, I worked in a children’s place of safety (similar to a children's home) doing individual, group and community work. A significant number of adolescents had been abandoned by their carers due to the AIDS epidemic and subsequent issues that arise from this. Others had been abused by their parents and a number of them had been pushed into paid sex work by their parents.
As a result the majority of the youngsters had experienced most forms of emotional, physical and sexual abuse on the streets of Johannesburg and had come from various towns in South Africa. Needless to say, these children were often afflicted with some form of mental health issue that impacted on their ability to function either socially, academically or both.
As an emerging social worker my role was to provide them with individual counselling, conduct group work with them that was relative to their mental health and social issues, and develop a community project that again, was relative to the adolescents social and individual needs.
The photo on the left is a picture of the group that worked with me to develop the community project. With the assistance of this group we developed a community project that integrated them into the local community from which they had been separated. This was due to the security measure put in place around the property to protect the children from running away, thus being completely cut off from the community in which they lived.
As a result nearly 80 students were given the chance to host, entertain and educate the town population on the dynamics of being removed from families, living on the streets of Johannesburg and now being able to have the opportunity and the chance to learn grow and develop in their current environment.
Moving to Australia and developing more eclectic therapeutic skills
On completion of my degree in South Africa I immigrated with my family to Australia and studied a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Queensland which I completed in 2008. With my interest in human behaviour I managed to secure practical experience in this area of health and subsequently worked in different areas of mental health at local hospitals in Brisbane and Sydney.
This work included acute and community mental health in which I gained experience in the assessment, intervention and management of adults who had acute and chronic mental health problems. As a mental health clinician I was part of a team that worked from a hospital base and serviced the local community.
On completion of my degree I moved to Sydney and started working at St Vincent's Hospital where I worked until May 2016. During this time I worked in the Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre and the acute inpatient mental health ward. The diversity in mental health issues was significant and I gained experience working with individuals who had personality vulnerabilities and chronic mental illnesses.
Over the years I progressively worked more extensively with individuals who had personality vulnerabilities in the context of crisis they experienced. A large portion of this population were admitted due to suicidal ideation and behaviours. I gained valuable knowledge, experience and skills in this area of work. Over the time I worked there I developed a practice framework utilising Brief Psychodynamic, Attachment, Psychosocial Development and Systems theories as well as strategies and techniques from CBT, DBT, ACT and central to my therapy work: Mindfulness.
As part of our training in Generalist Social Work Practice in South Africa, it is considered important that we give back to the community what it gave to us in that it provided us with a systemic structure in which to obtain our practical experience.
As noted above I completed a Community Development project that benefited the students I worked with in my placement but also the members of their community.
Community development can be conducted in a myriad of ways and as part of my contribution to a community project I have developed this website to both complement the work I do in private practice and as a means of providing the community with education, information and resources in areas of mental health, suicide and other social issues pertinent the the mental health and wellbeing of our community members.
It is in the early stages of development as is my practice, but I hope to provide as much information as possible over time to enable members of the community to be curious, open and accepting of their journey to mental health and wellbeing.