About

About Anna

I am a qualified counsellor, somatic therapist, educator, researcher and doula who specialises in trauma, including general trauma, birth trauma, developmental trauma, and trauma related to the female body.

My approach is gentle and deeply transformative, supporting you to find the healing and vitality that already exist within you so that your body, heart, mind and spirit can navigate their own course of healing in a grounded, experiential and tangible way.

A story of hope...

I came to this work through navigating my own healing journey. I spent decades seeking resolution for the pain and challenges I experienced, but nothing seemed deep enough for me to ‘hold onto’ any gains made in sessions.

I battled multiple health issues, including autoimmune disorder, gut health problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, connective tissue problems, chronic infections and biochemical imbalances.

Although integrative and holistic approaches helped me gain some life back, it seemed never enough to allow me to actually ‘live’. After the ecstatic and traumatic birth of my eldest cracked me open, I discovered that my many hidden and unrecognised traumas had been driving these psychological and physical difficulties.

Through healing with somatic approaches, I realised that there was actually nothing wrong with me; my body had just become ‘stuck’ trying to resolve traumas as if I was still in them, rather than being an event that had happened in the past. As the traumas resolved, my mental and physical health challenges began to resolve, in turn.

My slow gains weren't because I was 'broken', or because of 'faulty thinking', or somehow 'less than'. All that had been happening was that my physiology was preparing my body for 'attack' at all times, even when none existed, and eventually my system had worn out.

Likewise, in my work, I have never seen anyone who 'just doesn't want it enough', who 'isn't trying hard enough', who 'needs to toughen up more'.

Instead, what I have seen is layer upon layer of stress and trauma, sometimes multigenerational, that is wreaking havoc upon our systems. And many of us have no idea how to be any other way. No one showed us how. And no one showed *them* how. And so it continues, unless we make a change.

Because, in truth, if we don't know how our nervous system works, if we haven't experienced safety and regulation within our bodies and within relationship, if we can't 'find' the pathway to move from states of fear into states of connection, then all the 'good practices' just won't stick.

No matter how much we meditate, practice gratitude, see therapists, try to be assertive, have healthy boundaries, or whatever else we might try, we aren't able to effect the lasting changes we so deeply desire.

Thanks to many incredible scientists and practitioners who have shared their wisdom, we don't have to stay stuck. I can absolutely say you're not 'broken'.

I’ve trained with world-leaders in my fields, including Stephen Terrell, Kathy Kain, Ariel Giarretto, Abi Blakeslee and Saida Desilets, and continue to seek professional and personal development to ensure I offer you healing that is ethical, accountable and effective.

My work builds on the work of many great humans, some of whom I am honoured to call my mentors and teachers, including Stephen Porges, Peter Levine, Dan Siegel, Irene Lyon, Bessel van der Kolk, Amber Hartnell, Leyolah Antara and Alberto Villoldo.

Rooted in the principles of The Polyvagal Theory (Porges, 1995), my education and practice supports you to find connection, to build resilience, to experience pleasure, and create more joy in your work and your life. From the inside out. Gently, collaboratively, distinctly.

I blend my many modalities including traditional counselling, Somatic Experiencing, Transforming the Experience-Based Brain, Touch Skills for Therapists, and Transformation Meditation to suit the needs of each individual, and am available for therapy and birth-related appointments.

Clients come to me for help with:

  • Managing stress
  • Recovering from trauma
  • Managing unhelpful behaviours
  • Feeling stuck
  • Preparing for birth
  • Recovering from traumatic birth
  • Being more present
  • Being able to regulate their feelings
  • Being able to ‘feel’ their bodies
  • Connecting with themselves
  • Connecting with their loved ones
  • Building more resilience
  • Experiencing more pleasure and joy

Anna xx

A few bits about me:

I’m an educator, mentor, researcher and practitioner • My 3 kids, husband & cat keep me grounded and on my toes all at the same time • I’m a full-time nerd, who devours research and literature, reads scientific studies for fun and nearly completed a PhD in how we can better turn evidence into practice to help doctors and other clinicians learn better • Playing in my David Bowie band brings me a ridiculous amount of joy • I’m terrible at small talk • I’m compassionate, empathic, sensitive and hold space in transformative ways that my clients cannot describe • I incessantly write, and have written poetry since I was four • I’m an aspiring polyglot, and hopelessly addicted to travel • I’m a total sucker for classic clothes in natural fibres – show me silk, cotton, linen or wool and I’m totally gone • I never teach what I haven’t done for myself • I believe that practice is better than perfect, and that what we need far more than perfection is love, acceptance, compassion, and a willingness to say sorry and try again • Don’t ask me to choose between my kids, my husband, my passions and work – I can have them all. Just maybe not at the same time • I think independence is bullshit, and interdependence is where it’s at • I whole-heartedly believe that we are body, mind, soul, earth, spirit. Separating these has been the downfall of humanity • I believe we can’t positive think our way out of this human existence • I believe that we are powerful beyond comprehension, and that if we allow ourselves to surrender to Love, we can transform any situation into possibility, growth and expansion • I say my practice is where science meets intuition – I blend science and magic to create and hold space for you to make sense of this all yourself • I believe that you matter • You matter enormously • I’m here to help you through these ups and downs and ride the waves of possibility • And I’ll back it with evidence…

So much love,

Anna

 

 

 

 

What people say about Anna

Generally speaking everyone should have a doula.

Anna made me realise what it was to be a support to my partner during labour and even if she charged $5000, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Kevin North
Dad, Birth Client

Being able to discuss my specific situation with Anna not only lifted a weight off my shoulders by being truly heard by someone who understands, but allowed us to discuss real strategies to cope with the overwhelm that comes with parenting.

Alex Reale
Mum of 4

Working with Anna on her Calm in the Chaos course truly helped me on so many levels. Anna provided practical advice and techniques on how to diffuse the pressures that I was experiencing, and through implementing these I was able to reduce stress-induced yelling significantly and also treat myself more respectfully.

Jacqui
Calm in the Chaos Participant

Anna is a people person, a gifted doula. She is brilliant, caring, compassionate, a calming influence and a hands-on individual.

She never left my side. She was there when I wanted her, she said what I wanted to hear, her touch was soothing, our birth was amazing.

Her prenatal and postnatal care was fantastic. I underwent a considerable traumatic postnatal experience and she helped me heal.

She allowed my husband to just be there with me.We are indebted to her.

Helen & Garry Hanns
Birth Clients

Yes, I’ve had a baby before… but although I read lots and thought I understood what I needed to get through labour as naturally as possible, I didn’t feel empowered enough to put it all into practice. Quite frankly, my first birth was dictated by the obstetrician, hospital policies and my own fear… and I regret the things that happened. Through this course I’ve gained an expansion on the knowledge I already had, an expansion which has ‘clicked’ everything into place. I am now feeling positive and empowered that I can do this. I can!

Erica Nguyen
Workshop Participant

From our first meeting we knew she was the right fit for us. I knew I wanted to birth as naturally as possible & wanted a doula to guide us through the delivery of our firstborn. Anna went above & beyond in the lead up to my birth. She was there whenever I needed & was able to answer every question I had for her, even checking up on me when she’d not heard from me for a few days! The birth itself was remarkable! We are truly blessed to have met Anna & we encourage everyone to get a doula to help them through their first birth especially.

Courtney Purtell
Mum, Birth Client