Helen Sharwood

M.A. (Psychology)


Change is a constant. In times of uncertainty, the assistance of a trained psychologist can prove invaluable in influencing a change for the better.

The initial experience of being taken out of one’s comfort zone can be unsettling. However, the power of the therapeutic relationship can offer an individual support through the process.

Therapy facilitates:

  • Identifying painful thoughts and feelings
  • Effective coping strategies
  • Reduced stress and worry
  • Confidence building
  • Regaining personal control
  • Management of emotions
  • Breaking self-defeating habits
  • Better communication and assertiveness

First step

Potential clients often ring when they are not quite decided whether or not to commence therapy. To assist them in making this decision, I offer them a free 15 minute introductory telephone consultation. This introduction is often helpful in guiding the client’s course of action both with regard to entering therapy and also in selecting the most appropriate therapist.

My approach to therapy

My approach to therapy rests on the three qualities of genuineness, non-judgment and empathy. I therefore endeavour to assist clients to recognise that everyone has the potential to manifest their inherent vitality and kindness. In implementing this approach I use a range of psychological interventions, appropriate in each case to the client’s needs. These include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

In a relaxed and confidential setting, clients are invited to outline their issues and ask any questions they may have about the therapy process and my approach to it.

In our first session I gently explore the client’s issues and any relevant background factors. I then work with the client to identify their goals and priorities and, as appropriate, agree on a treatment program.

I give an estimate of how many sessions may be required, which usually falls between 6 and 12 . I encourage the client to view their commitment to therapy as an investment in and for life.

I set review points to assess progress and reset goals. I provide specially prepared notes and exercises for individuals to enable them to reinforce understanding and learning between sessions.

Career history and experience

I have worked as a counsellor in diverse settings for more than 20 years and am a registered APS psychologist in private practice in the CBD and the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

Before commencing private practice, I counselled in schools, assisting adolescents and their families to manage issues such as: bullying, anxiety, depression, peer pressure and learning. I am also a qualified Yoga instructor.

My practice focuses on individual adults across a broad spectrum of the community. I work with a wide range of issues. My particular areas of expertise include executive stress, women’s issues (particularly those pertaining to work-life balance), conflict in interpersonal relationships, support for resetting age-stage life goals and support through loss of relationship (partner, family of origin) or bereavement.

Training clients in mindful awareness skills of how better to be ‘present in the moment’ is an integral part of my therapy; it can gradually promote change.

I place great value on the power of a collaborative therapeutic relationship where trust and respect are mutually engendered. I endeavour to create a non-judgmental client-centred environment where ongoing client feedback about the therapy process is encouraged.

Personal statement

I believe in clients’ ability to work through their issues and in their being able to make the right choices at the right times. I regard clients as experts in their own lives.

I find that the best results often flow when clients feel sufficiently empowered to choose their own agendas for our sessions. I am constantly touched by the courage of my clients to try out new ways to interact with the world. I delight when I hear reports that they are feeling better, often earlier than expected, and are able to enjoy life once again. As well-being grows, clients increasingly thrive.

I have an interest in Eastern philosophies. I enjoy travel, bushwalking, music, art and reading .

Professional qualifications

B.A.,Dip.Ed. (University of Sydney)

M.A. (Psychology) (Macquarie University)

Grad.Dip.Counselling (The Institute of Counselling)

Graduate 2 year Training Course in Buddhism and Psychotherapy (AABCAP)

I.Y.T.A. Teachers Training Certificate (International Yoga Teachers’ Association)

Professional memberships

MAPS (Member of Australian Psychological Society)