Psychological Services Group

Psychological Assistance and Counselling - Bariatric Patient Support and Assessment

Ms Patricia Gallagher 

BSocSci, PGDipPsych, GDipPsychTh, AssocMAPS

Patricia is a skilled psychotherapist, integrating Cognitive Behavioural, Acceptance and Commitment, Narrative, Solution-Focused, Schema, and Mindfulness therapies to enhance and empower her clients, with whom she strongly prioritises developing sound therapeutic alliances. She is particularly adept at assisting with work issues, including bullying or career guidance, adjustment difficulties, grief and loss, and trauma – including domestic and family violence.

We interviewed Patricia to find out more:

How do you describe your main therapeutic approach and/or what modalities do you use in therapy? I utilise an integrative, eclectic approach comprising of the following modalities; Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Narrative Therapy, elements of Psychodynamic, solution-focussed, emotion-focussed, client-centred and existential therapy. I'm passionate about ensuring I use the latest evidence-based research to guide my practice.

Regarding the above, who might benefit from this approach? I tailor my approach and therapeutic modalities based on the individual client. I collaborate with clients in gearing toward a particular style that best fits accordingly. Anyone willing to self-reflect and complete work outside sessions are likely to benefit significantly. I personalise the pace of work depending on the person's readiness to make positive changes and help to explore barriers that people may experience along their journey.

What are some of the more specific and specialised presenting problems that you work with? More specific and specialised presenting problems I work with include helping adults presenting with trauma, family/domestic violence and mood disorders such as depression and various types of anxiety disorders, including assisting in helping build assertiveness and self-esteem levels.

In addition, I have experience working with people  who have gone through Workcover as a result of work-related stress and workplace bullying and people who have recovered from motor vehicle accidents and have gone through TAC. I'm also interested in administration of assessments such as cognitive, personality and vocational and enjoy assisting people to empower themselves and help find their values and directions in creating a more meaningful, purposeful lifestyle. 

What are some of your more general skills, life-experiences, or practise settings that have contributed to your development as a psychologist and how do these assist you in helping others? Various factors, life experiences and practice settings have contributed to my development as a psychologist which include having a very clear career direction from 18 years of age when I completed VCE Psychology in high school. As soon as I started studying what makes people tick, I was intrigued and knew this was my calling in life as an occupation. Previous practice settings include working in schools, colleges, clinics, agencies and community health settings. Experience in these areas have assisted me in helping others due to becoming familiar with people of various ages and developmental needs, diverse demographics and socio-ecomonic and cultural backgrounds. Working in both a clinical setting and agency setting simultaneously had assisted me with understanding diagnostic information, yet at the same time, to empower people I worked with that the 'person is not the problem, the problem is the problem'. Working in community health in the past provided me with good insight regarding co-running group therapy for people experiencing anxiety and the older age population with stress and pain management respectively.

I've also working within organisations which provided me with good knowledge and insight re: how organisations are structured and when people experience stressful situations such as restructures and redundancies. It's also provided me with good insight corunning an employee wellness presentation on resilience and mindfulness.

Finally, what is important about obtaining/engaging in psychological services? Or in other words, what you could say to prospective clients pondering counselling...? Engaging in psychological services has various opportunities and benefits; finding a person whom you click with and trust is fundamental, so be patient as you find a psychologist who is of best fit for you. Building a foundation with a psychologist you trust and have a connection with, there are some wonderful opportunities to work through difficulties in a safe and confidential environment, to complete self-development and to take away some transferable skills and insight you can carry with you for the rest of your life.