Depression Counselling – Coolangatta

Depression Counselling – Coolangatta


Depression Counselling  – Coolangatta

Depression counselling. Depression can be deeply debilitating and 1 in 7 of us will experience it in our life. People who experience depression often feel isolated, misunderstood and alone in their suffering and depression counselling can help. Often they feel an overwhelming sense of disconnection and hopelessness. Depression (as most of you are aware) is a form of mental illness characterised by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour, and sense of well-being. It is accompanied by a range of symptoms such as altered sleep patterns; change in weight and appetite; lack of motivation, fatigue; worthlessness/inappropriate guilt; mood changes such as increased levels of irritability, anxiety or anger; and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression is a serious mental illness its causes are diverse and complex with many contributing factors including a person’s environment, biology, psychology and social structure. Depression counselling can help. Furthermore, depression is often persistent, this means that frequently sufferers will feel like they are a burden to others and begin to blame themselves for how they feel.  This in turn isolates them further as they move away from friends and family or keep their suffering to themselves as they feel a sense of guilt.  Unfortunately this moving away can take them into a place of shame, pessimism, insecurity, self blame, hopelessness and further disconnection. The opposite of what they need.

The most successful treatment of depression has been found to be a combination of medication and Depression counselling or Psychotherapy.  From a Gestalt Psychotherapy perspective in order to break the cycle of depression (along with medication if required) the road to recovery for people with depression must include reconnecting with themselves, others and forming functional supportive relationships.

As a Gestalt Psychotherapist I have found that those suffering with depression need to feel safe, heard and accepted for where they are without forcing them to be anywhere else. It is about providing an invitation for them to move towards connection through feeling confirmed in their experience, normalised and empathised with. ‘It is not your fault.’ This confirmation and invitation toward moving into connection with others plays a vital role in the recovery process.  Here a person with depression can, hopefully, learn to trust enough to allow another back in. To share their deepest, darkest thoughts and beliefs with someone and have it heard, understood and held, without shame taking over and preventing connection. This in itself can be transforming as it restores a sense of trust in self and other, supporting change in their current situation.

Lastly, depression has been described as a cognitive triad: the self is worthless, the world is unfair and the future is hopeless. Thus people with depression experience negative perceptions of self, one’s future and the world in general. Therefore once trust has been established and their story told and confirmed a large part of the therapeutic work is to address those irrational beliefs and provide the support required to help the client form a more realistic perspective of themselves and their world.

Depression is difficult to recover from and relapse is unfortunately common, however with the right ongoing support and connections HOPE can be experienced, self worth built, the world can begin to look fairer and the future more optimistic!

If you are struggling with depression reach out to people you trust, seek support and begin to reconnect.



Counselling Palm Beach – Family Estrangement

Family Estrangement

Counselling Palm Beach

Providing Counselling (Palm Beach) I am often reminded when walking along Palm Beach how important family is and how painful family estrangement can be. In a nutshell, family estrangement is when at least two family members turn away from, alienate or keep at a distance from each other. They are generally no longer on friendly terms and at least one of the family members found the relationship unsatisfactory or too painful to continue. Whether you are on the receiving end of estrangement or the one who instigates the distancing, estrangement often leaves a feeling of unfinished business like a wound that never heals.

Family bonds begin when we are born and continue through our most impressionable years. Our early dependence on our caregivers and other family members grows into strong emotional attachments. When there is persistent unresolved conflict or disappointment leading to estrangement this feeling or sense of emotional attachment often will exist long after the relationship has broken down. To belong and be included is a basic need and it does not go away, even when we are able to look after ourselves. Some people have described their own experience of family estrangement as living with a phantom limb. That is, when the sensation of the limb (often painful sensation) persist long after the amputated or missing limb. This excellent analogy shows the depth of difficulty often experienced by those trying to make peace with family estrangement.

Another reason the difficulty of family estrangement often persists is due to the common triggers that reopen old wounds and spike even dormant estrangement pain. For instance, being around another family member can highlight one’s own exclusion. Family celebrations like birthdays and the holiday season also provide a constant reminder of the continuing emotional loss, sense of failure, humiliation, shame from rejection, guilt or unresolved feelings. These reminders or triggers reignite the wound of estrangement allowing it to fester as unfinished business.

Silence is also a contributing factor to ongoing suffering around family estrangement. No-one likes to talk about their experience for fear of being judged or stigmatised by others. This silence can create a feeling of isolation and loneliness especially around the holiday season.

Family estrangement affects all family members and can go on to create an intergenerational rift that can persist for years and maybe even replicate itself in subsequent generations.

This does not need to be the way. Often as a Gestalt therapist providing Counselling (Palm Beach) area I have found that family estrangement occurs for various reasons, ranging from difficulty maintaining relationships due to interpersonal challenges, differing values and beliefs, intolerance, disappointment, major life events, change, or poor communication. I have found that when clients begin to make meaning around what happened, how it happened and what they may have done or not done to contribute to the estrangement, understanding emerges and a greater sense of how to move forward into reconciliation or acceptance of what is becomes evident.

If you are estranged from your family and you are experiencing difficulty from the loss, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out and speak to people you trust or seek professional counselling in Palm Beach.

Family estrangement is more common than you think.

Counselling Palm Beach…

Counselling Kingscliff – Perfect vs Imperfect

Counselling Kingscliff – Perfect vs Imperfect

Our preoccupation with absolute ends verses acceptance of       what is!

Providing counselling in the Kingscliff community I am often reminded by nature of the perfections and imperfections in life and that both states are required in order to experience the fullness of life.

As a counsellor (Kingscliff) I am very grateful for the privilege of being able to sit with and support people at their most vulnerable and confused. At these times I’ve often noticed that as humans we tend to have a preoccupation to absolute ends, contrary to what nature intends. That is,  we have a tendency toward having things complete in a certain way that hopefully suits us. Having things our way makes us feel in control and this in turn makes us feel safe and comfortable. However, we all know this is not how life works and so counselling does not always bring about change in the way we anticipate. Mostly the work is around awareness and acceptance of how things are firstly, and then from this place change occurs. It is not about making ourselves, others or situations perfect in order to suit us. It’s about learning to stay with the discomfort that life is not always perfect.

Life can be difficult and confusing at times and we may respond defensively by pushing and striving for perfection inside and out, hoping to gain some control.  Or we may spend our lives constructing ways to constantly avoid the discomfort of ambiguity and/or the dichotomy that exists in our experience of ourselves, others and situations. Some of us may allow perfectionism to take hold never allowing ourselves to rest, while others may become apathetic and give in to being pushed around by the environment.

How can we meet this dilemma?

It seems the answer is in reconciliation. That is, to restore friendly relations between the opposing forces within ourselves, others and situations. To realise on a deeper level that we need bad to truly appreciate good or to experience up we must have the contrast of down. We are not here just to experience the comfort of life but also the discomfort, how we choose to make friends with the more difficult sides of ourselves, others and situations will greatly affect how we respond to the perceived faults.

Nothing is perfect, everything has flaws, even nature and the beautiful Kingscliff community. We are all a messy canvas, making beautiful mistakes in the chaos of life. When we learn from our mistakes we evolve and we can only learn if we are receptive. To receive we need to let go of our preconceived ideas and discover each other, ourselves and situations as they are, rather than through the lens of how we think it should be? When we are forcing and trying to control we are missing the essence of things and we lose the opportunity to challenge our assumptions and expand our world.

Let’s let go of the pain of striving for the absolute end of perfection in ourselves, others and situations for it does not exist. The relief and beauty we are looking for exists in the acceptance of the imperfect. Turn toward, not away.

Life is painful and beautiful!

Counselling Kingscliff…

Where relationships go wrong – how to stay connected after baby arrives.

Where Relationships go wrong – how to stay connected after baby arrives.

Where relationships often go wrong is when the baby arrives.


Where relationships go wrong? Once the baby arrives your relationship changes very suddenly and without warning. Everything feels different, even your partner as you both try and adjust to this new stage in your lives, in your own way.  Life changes rapidly and disconnection often arises. It has been reported that 2/3 of couples become dissatisfied with their relationship within 3 years of having a child and dissatisfaction can last for years after that, if not resolved.

(I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden)


Where relationships go wrong – Top 10 difficulties and demands on the relationship

  • Limited time with each other and for your-self to connect in meaningful ways
  • Fatigue and stress
  • Raging hormones
  • SEX (men want at least a quickie vs women seeing it as another chore and no time or energy for anything more)
  • Money
  • Loss of spontaneity
  • Boredom
  • Domestic duties
  • Increased responsibility and sacrifices, less fun
  • Parenting styles

Understanding is key when you become parents, this is when you will find out who your spouse really is!  You will experience:

  • How they cope under pressure
  • How patient and understanding they are
  • How reasonable they are
  • Whether they are a good listener
  • How Responsible they are
  • Whether they are good at sacrificing
  • Whether they are team player

You will experience all sides of them. Remember to breathe!

This is a new experience for both of you and one that is going to last for a long time and more than likely become more challenging as baby number two, three or even four come along.

Getting to know each other on these new terms will take time and possibly a lot of patience. You will both have to be creative in how you reconnect with each other. It is not going to be like it was before the baby. SEX will change, you will change and your relationship will change.

How to stay connected after baby arrives.

Foreplay (not what you think):

  • Be understanding of each other
  • Listen to each other
  • Appreciate and respect each other’s difference
  • Accept it’s not going to be easy
  • Be gentle with the others vulnerability
  • Help each other
  • Choose your battles
  • Share and care
  • Talk to each other respectfully and honestly
  • Don’t take yourselves too seriously


  • Spend time together whenever you can, doing things you enjoy and that are novel. Give space and time for the enjoyment of sex and connection to arise naturally and without pressure.

Grow into your new relationship together, as a team!

If you are struggling in your relationship and need couple counselling contact

Sarah @ Counselling on the Coast 0422 620 151


We see clients from (Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Tugun, Coolangatta, Tweed Heads, Banora Point, Kingscliff, Casurina, Cabarita and Pottsville)



Loneliness support – why seeking support is crucial to your health

Loneliness support – why seeking support is crucial to your health

Loneliness support on the Gold Coast and Tweed Coast is crucial to your health. Following is the latest research found on the  physical and mental impacts of loneliness:

  • an inability when alone to feel at ease with what you are doing
  • overwhelming stress
  • disrupted sleep
  • unfocused, dissatisfied and easily distracted (loneliness drives us to search for something or someone)
  • health problems –  headaches, digestive problems, cognitive decline, weakened immune system, exhaustion
  • feelings of threat, insecurity, frustration
  • distorted perception
  • hesitant in engaging with others

Paradoxically, loneliness is becoming more prominent in modern society with the rise of social media. Rather than staying connected through face to face meetings, engaging in spontaneous conversation and sharing, people are opting to stay connected via social media. This choice is creating a culture of disconnection and is leading people into a greater risk of isolation on the beautiful Gold Coast and Tweed Coast.

The lonely can often feel like there is something wrong with them in the midst of others experiencing social abundance on social platforms like facebook. Social media however, often does not paint an accurate picture of one’s situation or feelings.

Culturally loneliness is often hidden and the lonely are generally reluctant to speak about there feelings of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, fear and unease. These are difficult emotions to share especially when there appears to be an unfair and unhelpful stigma pinned to the lonely recipients, such as loneliness being their fault.

Loneliness is complex and can stem from many reasons and happen to anyone at anytime. Chronic loneliness is when it continues for years and something has gone wrong with connections. Connection is relational and it takes two to tango! So it is never just the lonely persons fault.

Sufferers of chronic loneliness crave companionship and yet paradoxically find themselves pulling away and falling deeper into loneliness. This is because the lonely can become more socially inhibited the longer the loneliness lasts. The world can begin to look like a threatening place especially when confronting it on your own. Thus the chronically lonely begin to perceive threat in social situations and/or intimate relationships and view them as risky. Hence they withdraw more into their own safety, familiarity and simplicity which in turn shores up their self reliance and keeps them in protective isolation. Even with a social network or emotional support the lonely can still feel inherently lonely and disconnected.

Loneliness Support – What to do?

It is important to understand that transitioning away from loneliness is a gradual process that takes  time. The lonely person needs to pace themselves in easing back and forth into social and intimate relationships whilst acknowledging that leaving their own familiar place will take courage, time and practice. Loneliness does not simply end at the start of a relationship, it is a skill to stay connected when disconnection has been the back drop of life for so long. As the lonely person eases back and forth they begin to recognize their tendencies to withdraw and can monitor their reactions. Ask yourself whether the sense of threat you are experiencing is realistic. Examine your urge to retreat and withdraw when needed.

Loneliness and disconnection is a difficult habit to break when you view the world as threatening and withdrawal is a natural consequence.

Emily White, Lonely – Learning to Live with Solitude is a great book on this subject.

If loneliness is a concern for you often a willingness to name loneliness as a concern and talk about your experience can be the beginning of moving forward into connection.

Help is available for loneliness on the Gold Coast and Tweed Coast by contacting

Sarah @ Counselling on the Coast on 0422 620 151

(Pottsville, Cabarita, Kingscliff, Tweed Heads, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads)

What are Boundaries?

Symptoms of Stress

Symptoms of Stress

Symptoms of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • stomach upset
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • low energy
  • low sex drive
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • depression

The symptoms of stress affects our physical and mental health.

Even though we live in paradise with our beautiful coast line of beaches on the Gold Coast and Tweed coast the symptoms of stress can affect our enjoyment life. When we are stressed out and overworked, we forget to look upward and outward. To take time out from our busy schedules and rest into activities we enjoy.


What activities do I enjoy?

The symptoms of stress can leave us feeling anxious, tired and apathetic no longer knowing what we enjoy as our lives become full and busy meeting our own and others expectations.

Ways to alleviate the symptoms of stress

The symptoms of stress can make us sick or reliant on alcohol or food to numb us into relaxation? Learning to stop, feel and relax when required is a skill that can help. Here are some things you can do to alleviate stress:

  1. Breathe deeply
  2. Reconnect with yourself by taking time out (e.g hot bath, long walk)
  3. Have healthy sleeping habits (e.g no screens, hot milk)
  4. Slow down and learn to pay attention to your body (e.g yoga/meditation)
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Eat well
  7. Reduce alcohol consumption
  8. Find ways to recognise that you are enough, just as you are
  9. Rest without guilt.

If you feel you need further help with stress and you are having trouble with feeling overloaded, wound up tight, tense and worried and have been for some time, please feel free to seek support to help make a change. Awareness and acceptance is key to change. Once you can clearly see what you are doing and how it is affecting you, your health and your family, you will have the much needed motivation and insight to change.

For support for the Symptoms of stress call on the Gold Coast or Northern Rivers call

Sarah at Counselling on the Coast on 0422 620 151 and start learning how to relax today.

(Pottsville, Cabarita, Kingscliff, Tweed Heads, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads)


How to Relieve Anxiety – Rest and Restore with Nature

How to Relieve Anxiety – Rest and Restore with Nature



How to relieve anxiety?

  • Anxious?
  • Overwhelmed?
  • Stressed out?
  • Need time out from the demands of life?

Taking some time for yourself in nature can be a beneficial way of resting your nervous system and thus relieving anxiety.

Nature provides an opportunity for all of us to slow down and notice what is happening. Nature provides the space to work through what we may be feeling anxious about and time to consider what we need? Bush walking or walking on the beach and breathing deeply can help relieve anxiety and bring you into a more balanced state of mind.

Slowing down and stopping for a moment in our natural surroundings away from screens and the relentless drone of life (and our thoughts) can help us to connect more deeply with the natural world. This often provides some space for us to connect more deeply with ourselves and what our needs are. What do I need to feel less anxious in my life?

To relieve Anxiety nature offers us much beauty and in that beauty there is a sense of serenity. To enjoy the serene we must firstly pay attention.

Look outward, look away from ourselves and allow the beauty of nature to meet us. It helps us put things into perspective by providing us with an enhanced view of the world, our situation and ourselves. Natures tonic provides us with an experience that we can sense with all our senses. The cool or warm breeze on our skin, the smell of the flowers, the buzz of the bees, the taste of the sea and the seeing of the birds bouncing around in the trees.

There is no disputing that anxiety is a difficult and uncomfortable emotion, it feels overwhelming and we can often feel tense and contracted. Slowing down and giving yourself some timeout to enjoy the wonder and beauty of nature may be all you need.

Help is available on the Gold Coast and Tweed Coast if you feel you are struggling with persistent anxiety and are requiring extra support by contacting

Sarah @ Counselling on the Coast on 0422 620151.

(Pottsville, Cabarita, Kingscliff, Tweed Heads, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads)