For a decade I have been working with clients towards change. 

My name is Fenella and my goal is to assist you to make your life and relationship/s more enjoyable and fulfilling. Therapy is a different experience for everyone and I will use an approach that is unique to you, that draws on some key techniques that are beneficial to both couples and individuals.

I understand that talking about any aspect of your life, to a complete stranger, can be awkward and challenging. My goal is to put you at ease and to identify and explore your concerns.

I am a fully qualified counsellor, having studied both in the UK (University of Roehampton) and Australia (Australian Catholic University). I am a member of the Australian Counselling Association and work according to their code of practice and ethics. I have also had training and work extensively with  complex trauma clients, and I run a trauma sensitive yoga & mindfulness group.

I offer general counselling services, trauma therapy and I have extensive professional experience working with clients who have survived childhood institutional sexual abuse, as well as experience in palliative care and the prison system. I have also run a sex therapy practice over the last 5 years.

I currently practice out of the Malvern Rooms in Malvern. These rooms are a 15 minute walk from Tooronga Station and are also accessible by tram and car. 

How I prefer to work.

In my counselling practice, I embrace an attitude towards the method that affirms the inherent value of each individual. I have a trauma informed, somatic (body based) and sex positive approach. 

What is Trauma?

Traumatic events have been described as those that “overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life [and] … generally involve threats to life or bodily integrity, or a close personal encounter with violence and death” (Herman, 1992, p. 33). Individual trauma results from an event, series of events or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional or spiritual wellbeing.

What is a Trauma Informed Approach?

A trauma-informed approach begins with understanding the physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma on the individual. Therapy is based on understanding trauma, safety of the client, recovery, collaboration between the client and the practitioner, client agency, empowerment, strength and resilience.

What is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic is derived from the Greek word “soma” which means living body. Somatic therapy is a holistic therapy that studies the relationship between the mind and body in regard to psychological past. The theory behind somatic therapy is that trauma symptoms are the effects of instability of the autonomic nervous system. Past traumas disrupt the ANS and our bodies become dysregulated.

According to somatic therapists, our bodies hold on to past traumas which are reflected in our body language, posture and also expressions. In some cases past traumas may manifest physical symptoms like pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, sexual dysfunction and immune system dysfunction, medical issues, depression, anxiety and addiction.

However, through somatic psychotherapy the nervous system can again return to equilibrium. This therapy has been found to be quite useful in providing relief in treating many physical and mental symptoms resulting from past traumas.

Somatic therapy confirms that the mind and body connection is deeply rooted. In recent years neuroscience has emerged with evidence that supports somatic therapies, showing how the mind influences the body and how the body influences the mind.

What is a Sex Positive Approach?

Sex positivity is "an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation. The sex-positive movement is a social and philosophical movement that advocates these attitudes. The sex-positive movement advocates sex education and safer sex as part of its campaign." The movement generally makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference.

I work in a holistic manner, addressing the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional person as a whole. 

I have been trained in theories such as Psychoanalysis (Freud), Client-Centred (Rogers), GestaltCognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I have also undertaken extensive Trauma Training.

I prefer to use an integrative approach. Integrative counselling is an inclusive, multidimensional approach that integrates knowledge and skills from different therapy modalities. Integrative counsellors draw on a range of therapeutic approaches that are unified in practice. This integration enables therapy to be responsive to diverse client needs, personality styles, interests and treatment preferences.