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Ashley White

Psychologist & Psychotherapist

BSocSci, PGDipPsych, MPsych(Couns), MAPS

I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.

Thomas Paine

Being a therapist is not just a job for me.

It’s part of who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That means when we work together, you have my clinical expertise and my genuine care and investment. It makes therapy more effective, more efficient, and less painful. 

All too often clients say that other therapists have seemed ‘distant’ or ‘coldly clinical’. It’s simply not possible to maintain such an attitude as a therapist when you’ve experienced what it’s like to be a client. I’ve benefited greatly from my own therapy, and I truly understand how it can feel in ‘the other chair’. 

It’s probably taken some time for you to get to this point. Perhaps you’ve tried a million things and haven’t gotten very far. Maybe everyone you’ve ever asked for advice is now shrugging their shoulders, and you’re stumped too. It’s hard to dig yourself out of a place you don’t want to be when you don’t have hope.

Together, we can find hope.

For some people, life problems get too burdensome to carry on their own. When this happens, you need a trustworthy, nonjudgmental, knowledgeable, and understanding person to support you. Friends and family are important, and often well-meaning. But it can be difficult for them to be objective, and to park their own needs to focus entirely on yours.

Therapy offers something different. 

The boring stuff… if you’re into that.

I’ve always been excited about the prospect of recovery and growth after trauma, and I’ve been honoured to work with children, teenagers, young people, adults, and older adults in many different roles long before I became a psychologist.

Much of my experience has involved supporting survivors of child abuse and neglect, from facilitating support groups to using play therapy and other approaches to help kids and adults heal. My focus expanded to include veterans and those who have left organised religion, and I’m now most at home helping people who have had their world tipped upside-down. 

I’ve run support groups for new dads in specialty hospital settings; co-facilitated groups for people experiencing dissociation; supported veterans in crisis; helped couples undergoing IVF; consulted to therapeutic residential care units for young survivors of abuse and neglect; volunteered as a live-in mentor for children in out-of-home care; counselled students paralyzed by perfectionism and anxiety; helped men have non-violent relationships; and worked on suicide helplines with the most desperate and hurting people. 

I completed my Master of Counselling Psychology degree after undergraduate and postgraduate studies in psychology and philosophy. I’ve researched bullying, sexual abuse, and embodied approaches to therapy. 

 

How I work.

I’m most enthusiastic about Emotion Focused Therapy, as it fits with my natural inclination to value emotions and incorporates what we understand about attachment in relationships, including the relationship between therapist and client. It’s a powerful and evidence-based therapeutic approach that has been shown to work with a range of mental disorders and general mental health issues. 

In reality, though, I’m a true pragmatist. I see no problems with being informed by neuroscientific explanatory models of human experience and relationships, at the same time as being sensitive to existential themes in clients’ narratives about their lives.

You may have heard about some mainstream approaches like Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). We can draw from these where appropriate, whilst mining the wisdom contained within classic literature, film, and Western and Eastern philosophy in order to help you. Approaching therapy in this way helps to ensure we don’t shut the door to something that you might benefit from. Your reasons for coming to therapy are unique, so the therapy needs to be tailored to you.

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