Helping participants navigate their way back to a productive and healthy Lifestyle led Helen to develop an appreciation for the complex nature of persistent pain and the benefit of individualised, multi modal treatment approaches.
During this time she became keenly interested in assisting people to identify vocational aspirations and engage meaningfully in the workforce and so her parallel career as a rehabilitation counsellor evolved.
Helen’s search for a deeper understanding of the array of management approaches for persistent pain and an opportunity to focus clinical skills led her to the Multidisciplinary Pain Centre at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where she served as a senior Occupational Therapist for over a decade.
It was here that she worked closely with colleagues who have inspired and mentored her such as Professors Jenny Strong and Tess Cramond, both passionate advocates of the role of Occupational Therapy in pain management. She considers herself fortunate to have been introduced to the work of Lorimer Moseley during his time at RBWH.
Similar to previous work experience, she valued the multidisciplinary environment and the opportunity to learn from both her patients and the multidisciplinary professional team. At the Professor Tess Cramond Multidisciplinary Pain Centre, Helen practised in both inpatient and outpatient settings developing and running group and individual treatment programs, especially focusing on mind body techniques such as relaxation and mindfulness.
During this time, Helen also undertook private practice providing occupational therapy, rehabilitation and clinical counselling and clinical hypnosis services specialising in pain management.
Helen relishes the challenge and complexity of assisting people who experience persistent pain to identify and implement a broad range of strategies which will empower them to help themselves. Treatment may include psycho education and the neurophysiology of chronic pain, practical strategies that assist people to perform roles and activities they value in life and mind-body approaches such as mindfulness based cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation practices, EMDR and clinical hypnosis.
Helen aims to provide a menu of interventions to ensure the clients functional and emotional needs are discussed and addressed. She is renowned amongst colleagues for the authenticity that she demonstrates in her clinical interactions and clients are very aware that she truly cares about their well-being.
Her dedication to providing holistic, evidence-based pain management is further apparent in her approach to professional development and lifelong learning. Helen is an avid participant in courses and conferences in the fields of expertise and devotes much energy to developing a knowledge and practice so that she can utilise the most appropriate interventions to help her clients.
In 2008, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to study the clinical practice of Allied Health team members within multidisciplinary pain centres around the world. During her time overseas Helen observed models of care in Auckland (New Zealand), Calgary (Canada), Maastricht (the Netherlands) and Bath (UK). Key learnings from these overseas services have made a significant contribution to the development persistent pain management services across Queensland.
Helen’s approach is to support her clients on their way to learning how to manage their pain and disability themselves.
- Bachelor of Occupational Therapy – University of Queensland, 1979
- Masters Social Science (Counselling) – Qld University of Technology, 2006
- Post Grad Certificate in Clinical Hypnosis – Qld University of Technology, 2002
- Post Graduate Diploma Social Science (Counselling) – Queensland University of Technology, 1989
- Medicare Provider Number : 2837091T (EPC; Focused Psychological Strategies)
- Registered Occupational Therapist
- Registered Work Cover Qld provider
- Registered to provide mental health services DVA
- Occupational Therapy Australia
- Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors (ASORC)
- Australian Pain Society
- Career Development Association Australia (CDAA)
Awarded Churchill Fellowship 2008 – The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia
“To study the clinical practice of Allied Health Team Members (Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology) within Multidisciplinary Pain Management Centres, around the world. To use this knowledge to inform and develop current practice in Queensland and Australia.” Auckland New Zealand; Calgary Canada; Maastricht Holland; Bath UK. April 2009 – July 2009.
Link to paper www.churchilltrust.com.au/fellows/detail/3232
2015 Distinguished Member Award , The Australian Pain Society
- Living with and Beyond Your Pain; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in the treatment of Chronic Pain. JoAnne Dahl Ph.D. Association for Contextual Behavioral Science ANZ ACBS 11th Annual conference October 2017. www.anzact.com
- PGAP Progressive Goal Attainment Program training.www.pgapworks.com
- The Brain and Anxiety Training (Neurobiological training) Prof. Pieter J.Rossouw, Mediros. Brisbane 2016 www.mediros.com
- Positive Neuroplasticity Training, Rick Hanson, Sydney Australia, 2015. openground.com.au/neuroplasticity-training
- Teacher Training May, 2013, MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Openground www.openground.com.au
- EMDR Level 1 Training, Melbourne Australia, 2014 http://www.therapist-training.com.au
- Teacher Training Certificate Medical Hypnosis. College of Medical Hypnosis, 2012
- 100 Hours Training in Clinical Hypnosis & Strategic Psychotherapy. Dr Michael Yapko, 2011 www.yapko.com
- Level 1Training Breathworks, February 2014, www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/australia
- MiCBT (Mindfulness Integrated CBT): A Foundation course for Mental Health Professionals, 2014. MiCBT Institute mindfulness.net.au
- Helen has completed many practitioner trainings in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)