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Counselling for Children and Families

Michelle has specific expertise in assisting children and families to deal with painful emotional issues and to find new ways to solve problems. Michelle believes that the client-psychologist relationship is the most important factor when it comes to achieving therapeutic change and is deeply committed to providing a safe and supportive space and to establishing trusting and authentic relationships with her clients. Michelle uses evidence-based approaches with her clients, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), family therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Michelle’s goal is to help her clients to develop healthy ways to cope with difficult feelings, to recognise and accept their limitations, to identify and cultivate their strengths, and to develop resilience. Each session runs for approximately 1 hour.

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Educational Psychology Assessments for 6-16 Year Olds

Every child possesses a unique profile of learning preferences, strengths, and needs. Michelle conducts educational psychology assessments to evaluate each child’s learning abilities and to identify factors that may be interfering with each child’s learning. Educational psychology assessments typically include a parent interview (1 hour), a cognitive assessment (90 minutes), an achievement assessment (90 minutes), an assessment of social, emotional, and behavioural wellbeing (30 to 60 minutes), and a parent feedback session (1 hour).

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Parent Coaching

Maybe you are finding parenting stressful. Maybe you want to learn how to more effectively cope with the day-to-day challenges of parenting. Maybe you want to feel calmer and more patient as a parent. Compassionate, warm, respectful, and kind, Michelle is dedicated to helping you to create a peaceful home, to develop a closer bond with your child, and to strengthen your child’s emotional wellbeing. Michelle’s aim is to help you feel energised, inspired, and eager to try out new ideas. Each parent coaching session runs for approximately 1 hour.

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Parent Retreats

Many parents say that they feel overwhelmed by the demands of parenting, not to mention the social pressure to get it ‘right’. For example, a study by the Australian Childhood Foundation found that the majority of parents (70%) feel a lot of pressure to always be effective as a parent. The study also found that 63% of parents do not feel confident about their parenting, and that 38% admit that parenting does not come naturally to them. Michelle is a passionate facilitator of research-informed parent retreats and programs that help parents to parent with more confidence and joy and to raise emotionally intelligent children who thrive, including her own program, Calm and Contented: 5 Ways to Create a More Peaceful Home and to Nurture Your Child’s Development, and two programs developed by University of Melbourne researchers, Tuning in to Kids: Emotionally Intelligent Parenting, and Families Coping: Effective Strategies for You and Your Child. Each retreat runs for 1 full day.

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Wellbeing Coaching for Adolescents

Adolescence involves many physical, social, and emotional challenges. These include changes in self-concept, the establishment of new peer networks, and the development of relative independence from family relationships. Compared with other periods of human development, the number of changes and new experiences are extensive, and can cause stress. The recently published Five-Year Mental Health Report by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute found that there are more young Australians in psychological distress than there were five years ago and that almost one quarter of young people are at risk of a serious mental illness. To help young people to cope with stress and to improve their emotional health and wellbeing, Michelle provides one-on-one wellbeing coaching sessions using coaching questions derived from Dr Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, which describes five factors that are particularly important to wellbeing: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. Her aim is to equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to best handle stress and to succeed. Each wellbeing coaching session runs for approximately 1 hour.