Relationships are serious business.
While I’ve made it my business to talk about relationships all day, every day, I realize you probably have places you’d rather be than talking to a stranger about the intimate details of your life.
My first port of call for everyone who walks into my office is to make them feel comfortable and at ease. As an Aussie, I’m down to earth but also frank, you won’t get any holier-than-thou vibes from me. I have empathy in spades but I’m also no pushover. I know when it comes to relationships, everything is on the line.
Up-skilling you for life
I’m not interested in a subscription model where you have me on a retainer for the next 20 years. Having you reliant on me is not my goal. Instead, I want you to become equipped with strategies and tools to carry you into the next stage of life.
For most people, the issue isn’t a lack of will but a lack of skill – relational and emotional skills many of us were never taught growing up.
When working with you, I’ll give you my assessment of what I think is going on but I’m also not afraid to be wrong. Our work is a collaborative process, so expect to be an active participant. Please think of me as your relationship detective; I go hunting for the causes behind the pain you’re experiencing. I won’t have you lie on a couch, but confronting painful things and discussing your Mommy issues may be involved.
You’ll come out the other side with new knowledge, beliefs, and skills that will serve you for years. Throughout the process, I encourage you to keep an open mind and Stay Curious.
For those wanting the jargon, my approach includes the Gottman Method, Relational Life Therapy, and Personality Tools (Myers-Briggs & Enneagram). People such as Esther Perel, Terry Real, Richard Rohr, and Carl Jung, to name a few, inspire me.
How did I get here?
It was the 90s, and I was a 16-year-old punk-listening, baggy pants-wearing skateboarder. I planned to quit school, save money from my gas station job, and get rich by investing in property. By the time I was 17, my life was barely recognizable. I was in the midst of a breakdown, anxious and depressed, trying to come to terms with the fact my parents had just separated.
As an only child, I felt torn between my parents and not wanting to pick sides. My world had imploded, and I didn’t have the skills to deal. One of my parents took me to a psychologist, who got me back on track – but this wasn’t the same track I’d come off. I was now on a mission to help people, too.
I turned 18, did finish high school, moved out on my own, and pursued my dream of studying counseling. But despite great feedback about my potential, I was soon to drop out. I now know that before becoming a therapist, there was more life to live, pain to experience, and wisdom to gain.
Life became more focused.
In the following years, I traveled the world to China, India, Africa, Cambodia, and Thailand doing aid work. I got married, had another breakdown, found healing, and studied for my first mental health qualification.
For the next decade, I worked on the front lines of the disability, youth work, and mental health fields. I had a front-row seat to the breadth of the human condition. In other words, “It was one heck of a ride” – an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
After funding cuts left me out of a job, I was in limbo re-evaluating my options. I realized it was time to bring it all together; I returned to my counseling training and haven’t stopped studying since.
At this point, I’d also achieved (what I once thought was) the unachievable: I have a happy marriage with Caitlin. We have since added three kids, and my only-child brain is still trying to understand why kids fight so much.
So, I’ve been around; I’ve seen pain and joy.
This isn’t an academic exercise for me; this is real life!
I also know the pain of a broken relationship and that happiness is available.
When I’m not working, I usually ride my electric skateboard, listen to a podcast, brew (and drink) kombucha, or hang out with my family.