Since obtaining her Masters of Counselling in 2005, Linda Thomson has specialised in Relationships Counselling. She has worked across two different not-for-profit counselling organisations, including Kinections (Anglicare) as a program co-ordinator and senior counsellor responsible for supervising counsellors, social workers and psychologists.Linda has always had a passion for helping people to overcome obstacles in their lives to enable them to reach their full potential.
Areas of Interest
Linda’s special interests include helping people through the pain associated with grief and loss, life transitions, separation, trauma and emotional issues. In addition she has extensive training and many years of clinical practice as a relationship counsellor, and particularly sex therapy.
Expert Sex Therapy and Relationship Counselling
This interest grew as it became apparent to Linda that sexual issues was a unaddressed/underlying issue with many couples who were seeking relationship counselling. Combining the two areas of expertise and offering couples and individuals the benefits of couple and sex therapies, helps to minimise the amount of time that individuals/couples spend in therapy. Sex therapy may involve discussion of sexual problems, relationship issues and expectations, and provide information on sexual functioning, low desire and enhancing mutual satisfaction in sexual relationships.
Therapy often begins with the construction of a detailed sexual history and/or relationship history, examining the origins and the patterns of the current situation. It may go on to scratch beneath the surface to link early family and peer experiences to current unwanted behaviours and relationships, thus deepening the awareness of the relationship between thoughts, feeling and behaviours, and how to challenge some of these beliefs if required. Therapy helps individuals to feel empowered to make better choices and feel better about life.
Sex Therapy is a specialised field that combines the complexities of human relationships whilst addressing issues such as a sex-starved marriage, grief and loss over a previously active sex life, avoiding sex, finding difficulties staying in the moment during or before sex. For men, it may include treating erectile dysfunction, rapid/premature/delayed ejaculation, and low desire. For women, it may include the treatment of low desire, painful intercourse, vaginisimus/vulvadynia. For both sexes, therapy can also assist with sexual inexperience, coming out, sexual anorexia, childhood sexual traumas, fetishes, swinging, bondage, and poor body image.
Linda enjoys helping people navigate their sexual expression and their presence in society. Counselling interventions like Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Training (an evidence-based therapy) are especially helpful in the area of sex therapy as they can immediately give people skills to make a difference to their current situation.
Mindfulness & Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Mindfulness and ACT are counselling approaches that teach people to:
- Learn to observe one’s thoughts without judgment
- See thoughts as just thoughts, not facts
- Change their relationship with their pain, to become “unstruck:
- Dvelop a healthier understanding of self development
- Heal their relationship with themselves so they are able to fully engage in other relationships
- Manage and reduce anxiety by stopping the struggle with your thoughts.
Linda has completed training in this area to an advanced level and attended many of the Master Classes that have being offer in this field, such as ACT and working with depression and anxiety, borderline personality disorder, working with self identity as well as trauma and mindfulness. Linda has found ACT therapy to be very successful in treating clients with any kind of sexual issues that are anxiety based.
Grief and Loss Therapy
Linda has studied this subject at a Master’s level and has a broad understanding of the theoretical interventions. This training and working in this field have enabled Linda to help people compassionately through what can be an extremely unsettling and difficult time in their lives. Linda has written a manual for supporting Maori people through bereavement.
Grief and Loss is something that will affect all of us at some stage of our lives, although we all have very individual responses to the experience. It can impact all aspects of our lives eg biological, psychological, spiritual and social. Loss can be an event happening to us, a process of adjustment to an interpretation, an experience or a state. Loss is produced by an event which is perceived to be negative by the individuals involved and results in long-tern changes to one’s social situations, relationships or cognitions (Miller & Ormarzui, 1988, p.12).
Grief is the emotional response to loss. The complex amalgam of painful effects may include sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt and despair (Raphael, 1984, p.33).
People who are currently facing redundancy will experience grief and loss, and may be need in assistance with the major life transitions and grief that they are facing.
Chronic Pain Management / Lifestyle Related Illness
Whilst completing her final Master’s of Social Work, Linda was involved in the lifestyle management and prevention program in a hospital setting, and wrote a conference paper on the benefit of support groups for people suffering from heart failure. The lifestyle prevention and management program focused on the management of chronic health conditions such as heart failure, lifestyle dietetics and helping people to adapt to their changed circumstances.
Mindfulness has been found to be a powerful counselling intervention in this area, a technique that Linda has incorporated into her counselling practice. Therapy will focus on improving the client’s motivation to maintaining an adapted lifestyle, and helping them to embrace the positives that may bring – as well as learning to accept the losses that may have occurred as a result of the illness.
Schema Therapy is based on the following four main concepts:
- Early Maladaptive Schemas: There are around 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas which deal with self-defeating, core themes or patterns that keep repeating throughout one’s life.
- Schema Domains: The 5 Schema Domains mostly relate to the basic emotional needs of a child. When these schemas are not met in childhood, they tend to lead the person to unhealthy life patterns. The 18 schemas are grouped into 5 broad schema domains, on the basis of which core needs the schema is related to.
- Coping Styles: Coping Styles are the ways in which a child adapts to damaging childhood experiences. For example, some children surrender to their schemas, while some find ways to block out or escape from pain. In such cases, some children fight back while others overcompensate.
- Schema Modes: Schema Modes are moment-to-moment emotional states that individuals pass through, and coping responses that one experiences during such times. Often these schema modes are triggered by life situations that are oversensitive to emotional buttons. Many of these schema modes lead to over-reactions to situations, or acting in such ways that end up hurting oneself.
How does Schema Therapy help ?
The goals of Schema Therapy are to stop individuals from using maladaptive coping styles (and thus get back in touch with their core feelings), as well to heal early schemas and learn to snap out of self defeating schema modes as quickly as possible, and in the end to get the emotional needs that could be met in everyday life.
Clinical Supervision for Therapists/Social Workers
Linda Thomson has over six year’s experience as a line manager of multi-disciplinary teams in the field of counselling. These teams were/are responsible for delivering quality therapy in very complex situations requiring family therapy, couples counselling and children’s counselling.
As a Clinic Manager Linda oversaw the quality of these services, as well as offered personal counselling in the more complex family/individual situations that required her years of experience and expertise as a senior counsellor.
Linda is experienced in clinical supervision in many different modalities.
Phone and Skype Counselling
Linda has embraced the latest technology and is able to offer counselling via phone or Skype. Given the pressure of modern living it may suit clients not to leave the comfort and convenience of their own home and office, but still be able to access good quality therapeutic care with a fully trained and experience psychotherapist. Busy executives, active parents, high profile figures, those challenged by pain, individuals who travel, live in remote areas and those who suffered from anxiety, are just a few of the situations that are highly suitable for phone or Skyping.
Given the highly sensitive nature of sex therapy, some people may feel more comfortable accessing assistance through phone or Skyping as well. However if people want counselling in the more traditional setting, our offices at Mt Gravatt offer a private, inviting and relaxing environment with ample parking and easy accessibility.
To book an appointment call the office on 1800 877 924 or book online now!
Linda Thomson, B Soc Sci, M Couns, M Social Work, AASW.