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Finding a Therapist

Guidelines for people seeking a therapist

At this time, Naomi is not taking new clients. To help find the right therapist for you, check the below guidelines about things to consider and questions to ask.

At different times, everyone experiences difficulties, losses and major life transitions. Many people also experience trauma as adults or children as a consequence of:

  •  natural disaster e.g. earthquake; bush fire; flood; tsunami; landslide etc.
  •  accident
  •  abuse e.g. emotional, physical, sexual, mental, psychological and neglect
  •  rape
  •  interpersonal and domestic violence
  •  violent crime
  •  torture
  •  health issues
  •  negligence and fraud
  •  poverty and deprivation

The impact of such events and experiences can have long lasting and far reaching consequences to a person’s quality of life, health, work, earning capacity and relationships. As a result of trauma or extreme stress it is not uncommon for people to experience distressing symptoms and /or engage in harmful behaviours:

  • anxiety
  •  depression
  •  sleeping difficulties
  •  overwhelming feelings and / or numbing
  •  difficulty with emotions eg. healthy anger, grief, sorrow, shame etc. 
  •  particular or unspecified fears
  •  obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviours
  •  unexplained physical symptoms
  •  memory difficulties
  •  spacing out and losing time
  •  imagining hearing or seeing things
  •  self harm
  •  substance abuse
  •  suicidal thoughts or behaviour

These experiences and behaviours can feel frightening and overwhelming. Some people may try to hide or minimize the impact of these experiences from others, fearing they are ‘crazy’ or not ‘normal’. This may be accompanied by a belief that no-one can, or would want to, help them.

We recommend those seeking assistance select a professional who understands and is skilled in working with the consequences of extreme stress and trauma. She or he can support your inherent resilience and ability to heal from extreme challenges, deep pain and sorrow. It is possible to transform these experiences in order to live well and enjoy life.

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”

Mary Ann Radmacher

Photo Credit: Jean Martell

7 Points to Consider In Seeking a Therapist:

  1. Does the therapist seek regular case consultations or supervision with someone experienced with complex trauma, dissociative disorders and PTSD (i.e. has had at least several such clients and over 10 years’ experience with successful outcomes, or as outlined in point 4 below)?
  2. Is the therapist and their case consultant or supervisor versed in the principles and strategies outlined in the recommended reading list (Resource section)?
  3. Has the therapist attended regular training in this field with experienced clinicians in the trauma field?
  4. Is there an existing good relationship with a therapist who is not experienced in therapy for trauma but is willing to seek ongoing guidance through case consultation as well as attend training to develop core skills and principles of trauma-informed therapy?
  5. Does the therapist provide clarity about expectation of boundaries and are these clearly communicated? This is preferable in written format to avoid confusion regarding session times, payment, cancellations, safe / any touch versus intrusive or uncomfortable, notice re. holidays, agreements re. contact outside of sessions should that be likely etc. A trauma informed therapist will consistently actively respect these boundaries. The rights and responsibilities of both a client and therapist deserve respect and acknowledgment.
  6. Does the therapist appreciate that symptoms and behaviours are functional and are not ‘the problem’ per se, even though they may be problematic and require attention?
  7. Does the therapist have skills to facilitate strategies to assist with the symptoms and process difficult emotions at a safe pace, in collaboration with what the individual is ready and willing to work with? 

A reliable, experienced and compassionate therapist can provide support to navigate troubled waters. Guidance at a safe pace can assist in rebuilding what has been shaken and to transform fragmentation into a cohesive and creative expression.

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What Mental Health Organisations say about training with Naomi Halpern

This has been an inspirational and full training opportunity. Not only has the content been excellent, but Naomi's presentation has also been excellent. I really enjoyed your 'humanity' Naomi and the way you used examples from your practice, both successful and less successful ones! You obviously have strongly well developed and integrated Parts, that have overcome the past, and allow you to shine in the present! So many thanks.

Social Worker, New Zealand

The training was excellent and really well received by the team. We’d love to proceed with a full day training to continue to build on these skills later in the year.

Employment Plus - Salvation Army, Melbourne, Vic

This complex material was very well organised and well presented with helpful, relevant and striking case examples e.g. the art work client's story. The candid comments from Naomi regarding some of her personal experiences as a therapist were effective and added warmth and a 'real life' context to the core content. These brief, humorous, tangible disclosures had an opening up, relaxing, humanising effect which softened the harder cerebral slog of technical material. The exercises were useful and essential in terms of knowing what is going on in yourself as a therapist.

Psychologist

This was the BEST workshop I have to been to in a very long time. Naomi was engaging, extremely interesting and able to relate the concepts to real life. I didn't doze once in her presentation ;-)!! It was well worth the trip from Melbourne to Geelong to see her. I would love to see more workshops from Naomi.

Psychiatrist, Melbourne

I found Naomi's "parts" perspective within the Snow White Model of complex trauma, and the information on the neurological aspects of treatment a most helpful framework. It assisted me to integrate my pre-workshop understandings of complex trauma and strengthens my understandings.

Social Worker, Newcastle

The two days were well paced, had well organised content enhanced by the Snow White metaphor and wove together therapeutic work with the brain function in a clear and concise way. I felt validated in my work but also challenged to be more collaborative, slow down and think more widely and deeply about interactions between the parts. The Snow White model has helped me to more easily remember the functions, survival responses and attachment characteristics of the different parts.

Psychologist, New Zealand

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