I am the Director and Principal Counselling Psychologist at Sue Dalby Psychology and Women in Mind. I created the practice after moving to Australia from the UK in 1988 where I worked as a counsellor for medical staff and patients in hospital settings. Previous to this I was a registered nurse. Upon arrival, circumstances offered the opportunity to convert my qualifications and in 1996 I received a Masters Degree in Psychology from Macquarie University.
Who Am I, Sue Dalby Counselling Psychologist
I am still passionate about learning and research and regularly review approaches and undertake continuing professional development. I am also a teacher and have provided educational services at universities, colleges and in the workplace. I also run private groups providing information and education concerning several human conditions including depression.
When not working as a psychologist or teacher I enjoy being with family and friends. I am also a writer and a photographer.
ome of my highlights
Over 30 years of experience working in health and education has presented me with an abundance of opportunities to help guide people to living a more satisfying life. I have probably dealt with most issues that life presents. I have a special interest in working with people who have experienced trauma and grief. I am also committed to working with women in all phases of life transitions from puberty, pregnancy, and birth, to approaching old age and everything in between! This branch of my business is called Women in Mind which I established in 2000 and was originally dedicated to providing women with a more positive attitude towards themselves by questioning societal beliefs concerning gender and gender roles.Helping mothers and daughters through the adolescent years is part of this platform. Power struggles are more evident at this stage and with support, this very special and essential relationship can provide the healthy environment for mutual respect and communication
Over the last sixteen years I have been asked by a growing number of men for help in redefining the narrow view of masculinity and in particular fathering role models. This has resulted in a series of workshops called Stress- Less Parenting. These workshops help parents to put events into perspective and have proven very popular and useful.
Another area of considerable experience is helping to create healthy team communication in small business which aids staff retention and productivity. I am a workplace trainer and have assisted in programmes ranging from university to private colleges in Sydney and Newcastle. In addition to this, I also run my own business which provides me with the insight on a personal level.
I have used mindfulness since the mid-1980’s while looking for help for my own anxiety and panic. I am sharing my personal experience as sometimes appropriate disclosure with others is far more meaningful and creates the recognition that I am also human and have experienced challenging situations along the way. This recollection I hope demonstrates that I have not only learned from books but also life.
I remember very clearly, I was driving my children to pre-school when I was taken totally by surprise as my body suddenly began to react in an unexplained and alarming fashion. Shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and dizziness forced me to pull over on the side of the road. The feeling passed eventually, but this physical storm was the first of many. Finally, one day I decided to watch myself having an episode in the long mirror outside my mother’s bedroom. My counsellor had suggested I just allowed the feeling to flow through me, but I was curious also about my appearance. I breathed normally as the uncomfortable wave faded in and out of vision accompanied by white noise ringing in my ears palpitations and shortness of breath. I stopped being afraid on that day. In fact, I felt quite elated that I had witnessed the process. I felt like I had regained control, I had survived! I became curious rather than choosing to tense my body with fear and fill my mind with terrifying thoughts. The sensations still turned up but as I gained more insight into my triggers, the experiences faded. I look back now and see that my body was trying to tell me about reducing stress. My whole life changed as I chose to deal with anxiety-provoking parts, including relationships at that point which were not serving me well and work related decisions. To this day I still occasionally have symptoms, and I look on it as a message, a choice to continue being stressed or to calm down and work out what I need to do. It is a mindful choice. I am glad that my body provides me with such accurate feedback.
Since that day I have studied mindfulness in many structured formats including mindful self-compassion from Buddhism for several years. Buddhist practice has provided researchers from our Western cultures the opportunity to study brain activity using mindfulness and it is now a large part of approaches in mainstream treatments in psychology. I am also a meditation teacher. My approach is secular in as much as I do not follow any set belief. My approach is very much related to the research previously discussed. In my daily work with others, I witness with great joy as people accept their symptoms and explore them rather than fighting, which is futile. This is the key or the first step to unlocking old repetitive patterns and offers change behaviour about making choices about living a more comfortable and enjoyable and rewarding life.
The following poem I have used for many years. It comes from “The Tibetan Book Of Living and Dying” written by Sogyal Rinpoche. I think it illustrates exactly what’s said above. It is called “Autobiography in Five Chapters”. Regardless of whether you are a Buddhist or not the wise words apply to our habits and set patterns of behaviour that cause suffering. So enjoy and reflect.
A link to some research. http://marc.ucla.edu/workfiles/pdfs/marc-mindfulness-research-summary.pdf