About Sabina

Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor

Hi, I'm Sabina,

Working as a counsellor, psychotherapist and teacher is both my passion and life’s work. I love teaching a discipline that is so interesting and such a pleasure and privilege to practice.

Of equal importance to my therapeutic work is my personal journey as it informs my deep understanding of what people might be faced with. From a young age, I have been asking deeper questions such as: how do we heal? Is it possible to transfom that which creates pain and unhappiness in life? Can we grow beyond the given and discover greater freedom and contentment? How do we live an authentic life? Who are the mentors who can shine the light on these questions?

It’s been many years since these questions have emerged and in hindsight (so far at least), my life has been quite a quest seeking and discovering some of the answers. A quest, by nature, has many twists and turns, offers meetings with others that enrich and challenge, show the many facets of life in a clear light and at times plunges the seeker into a dark night of the soul. What makes all this journeying meaningful is that any gains and insights, any wisdom that has been gathered, are offered out, shared and passed on, for the benefit of others.

For the past 24 years, I have been a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice. I have a Masters Degree in Counselling and am a Clinical Member of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales, PACFA, and the European Association of Psychotherapists. I am registered clinical psychotherapist and registered supervisor.

These credentials reflect, I hope, that I have done a vast amount of studies and continue to be a lifelong learner.

My start into practicing holistic healthcare was in 1991. Since then, I have become an experienced therapist, lecturer and teacher in the fields of counselling, communication and leadership and conduct clinical supervision with therapists and student counsellors. I have held management positions in higher education and mentored upcoming therapists.

After many years of working in various clinics, I opened my own centre in 2009. I am delighted to say that over the years Well for Life, Centre for Counselling, Mindfulness and Holistic Health Care in Crows Nest NSW has grown into a place of kindness, care and healing. I and other therapists offer individual counselling, psychotherapy and psychological services and a variety of therapy, meditation, spiritual and personal growth groups are being held in our very comfortable group room.

In my spare time I hike in wild places, travel near and far and love and keep learning about writing in a number of genres. It’s such a buzz to see my writing in print.

For me, self care is important that’s why for near on 40 years, I have regularly had my own therapy, been part of therapeutic groups, read thousands of books on topics relevant to my life and my work. I meditate daily and attend one or more longer meditation retreats per year.

How I Work

Counselling and Psychotherapy - A Holistic Perspective

Experiences in life can be tremendously injurious to our psyche and being yet no matter how deep the wounds, our inherent wholeness and integrity cannot be damaged. Even if it seems so at times. At the very heart of my work lie the principles of holism and healing and I see my work as a therapist to be one of companion and wise counsel on the path of reconnecting with one’s Wholeness.

Defining Healing: Healing, in the broadest sense means to restore to health or soundness; to repair; to cure. The process of healing is easiest observed on a physical level, when a bone is broken or the skin is cut. As soon as the injury occurs, the innate healing ability of the body is set in motion and after the required time, some good medicine, rest and support the injury is healed and the body restored to health.

The process of healing physically is not dissimilar to the process of healing emotionally, mentally and spiritually. However, while a broken bone is relatively easy to diagnose and the cause is usually quite clear, internal wounds of a non-physical nature are often not as easily determined and require the therapist to be skilful in inquiry and assessment and have much knowledge, expertise and experience to help the process of healing and growth.

Every person who arrives in therapy is a complete individual with a unique history and living within a distinct context. When we first meet, it is my task to step into the life the client is presenting to me, find my bearings and understand and then work, together with the client, on new possibilities. The qualities that guide my work are: respect, care and kindness, empathy and compassion, patience and genuine engagement. At the same time there is a firm focus on change, a commitment to balance pausing and deepening with movement and action.

How long? How deep?: Just as a person might go to the doctor with a cut in the skin or a major, life-threatening illness, so might a person come to a counsellor or psychotherapist with a current life-issue that is fairly straight-forward to solve or with a long-standing, complex, deep distress that needs more time, deeper engagement and stronger guidance from the therapist. In the first couple of sessions the client and I decide together on the number and frequency of sessions which is based on the client’s needs, current situation and desired outcomes.

I have worked therapeutically with hundreds of people and I have come to see that there are a number of distinct components that need to be addressed in the process of healing.

  • The pain of the current situation: mostly people come into counselling in much emotional pain-a separation, a loss, an illness, or an overall dissatisfaction or even despair with life. In therapy, this pain is heard and seen, held with kindness, cared for and given as much time and space as it needs. Its origins can be given a voice, its depth understood and its impact explored.
  • The blockages to healing: if healing were straight forward there would be little need for professional help. Many things can get in the way of navigating life and often people have little conscious knowledge of these obstacles. For example, there may be unhelpful beliefs or out-dated values that stop us from growing. Life-experiences such as family of origin events, trauma and losses shape how a person experiences their current situation and these need to be addressed. Childhood events often impact deeply but move into the background of knowing; these may need to be remembered and processed. Current lifestyle choices, relationship or work situations may need to be re-evaluated. It is often the independent yet caring point of view that offers the client new perspectives.
  • The vision for a happier life: at times people who come to see me are surprised to be asked what a happier, more satisfactory life might look like for them. It never occurred to them to articulate a clear vision. Others are quite clear and have a strong sense of direction already; it is more the obstacles that need to be addressed. There are many layers to this, of course, and from a holistic perspective, it means being happier in body, mind, heart and soul as well as feel a sense of integrity in relationships, health and lifestyle.
  • The path to get there: there are many ways to healing and there are many therapeutic approaches that are taught and practised to support the healing process. The methods that guide my work are based in humanistic, existential and holistic principles. As a therapist, I became aware some years ago of the growing use of meditation and mindfulness as a tool for healing in therapy. With more and more research available it became clear to me that mindfulness practices were not only complementary to my existing work as a therapist but could expand my ability to help clients with different presenting issues. I include strength-based approaches, work creatively and experientially and work very closely with my clients own personality, potential and preferences.

I am a lecturer at university and teach counsellors and psychologists to become professionals and as such need to stay abreast of the latest development in therapeutic research and practice. I am actively engaged in ongoing professional development; I read widely, have regular supervision and am committed to my own personal and spiritual development.

  • The way to sustain the good life: in addition to gaining insight and making new choices for one’s life the goal of therapy is to sustain and grow what has been gained. When the counselling relationship comes to an end, long-term plans are made, resources offered and support structures put in place. In addition, I have an ‘open-door policy’ which means that my clients are welcome to come back any time they need support and guidance.

You may have questions about counselling and psychotherapy, about how I work, whether I have experience working with the particular issue you are facing, fee structure and more. Contact me via email [email protected] or mobile phone: +61 (0)419 980 923 to have an initial conversation and to make an appointment.

'Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.' - Socrates

Qualifications

While I hold a number of degrees and have had the privilege of excellent education, my desire for learning reaches far beyond formal education and is guided by a genuine curiosity and a deep desire for understanding.

What I bring to my work is not just the fruits of my academic labours but the insights that have come from a life lived with openness, sensitivity and daring. I seek ongoing opportunity to stretch a little further and grow a little deeper.

Academic qualifications:

  • Master of Counselling
  • Hakomi Embodied and Aware Relationships Training (HEART)
  • Graduate of the 2 year Buddhism and Psychotherapy Program
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training
  • Diploma of Homeopathy
  • Certificate Nutrition
  • Certificates in various Bodywork approaches

Further Education

  • Bessel van der Kolk in Sydney. The Body Keeps the Score: Trauma, Attachment and Neuroscience 

  • Advanced Compassion Focused Therapy

  • Supervision in Buddhism and Psychotherapy

  • Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy

  • Mindfulness and Compassion in Therapy and Society

  • International Conference on Mindfulness

  • Introduction to Compassion Focused Therapy

  • Mindfulness: From the Cushion to the Couch

  • Symbols and Sandplay Workshop

  • Achieving Clinical Excellence through Clinical Supervision

  • Mindfulness-based Cancer Recovery

  • Certificate IV inWorkplace Training and Assessment

  • Current First Aid Certificate

  • Carers Australia Certified Counsellor

  • Current Police- and Working with Children Check

Professional Memberships:

  • Clinical Member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)
  • Clinical Member EAP (European Association of Psychotherapists)

'We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself' - L. Alexander