Meet Dawn G Wade


Dawn G Wade is a clinical social worker (Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, UNSW), with over 35 years of counselling and psychotherapy experience. Dawn is accredited in the following:

  • Accredited Medicare Provider
  • Allied Health Worker Workcover Approved
  • Accredited Mental Health Social Worker / Clinical Social Worker

Dawn has worked in a wide range of fields including criminal justice, mental health and community health, and has over 26 year’s counselling experience as a university counsellor. She has been very successful in private practice, helping many people in the Shire achieve their counselling goals since 2003.

Dawn has helped clients with diverse cultural, socioeconomic and equity backgrounds with a variety of challenges, including:

  • Anxiety/Panic Attacks
  • Academic stress/study skills
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder
  • Burnout/compassion fatigue
  • Culture shock/cross-cultural issues
  • Depression/low mood
  • Grief and Loss
  • Interpersonal Conflict
  • Life Transitions e.g. retirement
  • Marriage breakdown, separation and divorce
  • Pain management/ injury rehabilitation
  • Parenting/ family Issues
  • Postnatal Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Stress Management
  • Workplace Issues

Dawn selects evidence based and psychologically focused therapeutic approaches to meet the specific needs of her clients, and has expertise in applying many therapeutic modalities including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Solutions Oriented Brief Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy

My Story: Becoming a Psychotherapist?

I have always had a deep interest in reducing human suffering. I chose social work as my undergraduate degree to pursue social justice and make the world a better place. However, I was soon drawn into counselling, at first working in the criminal justice system, then community mental health, then choosing what became the focus of my career, working with adults as a university counsellor for over 26 years. Presenting problems ranged from serious mental health concerns, to broken hearts, culture shock to trauma, eating disorders to family issues. During this period, I honed my skills as a psychotherapist, gaining qualifications and experience in evidence based psychologically focussed techniques.

I’m trained in several proven methods including Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment therapy ACT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Solution Focussed Brief therapy, Narrative Therapy and Complex Trauma Counselling.

I began my private practice in 2003. In 2017 I chose to leave university counselling to pursue private practice full-time.

As principal therapist at Sutherland Shire Counselling I adopt a holistic framework to my practice, valuing and encouraging a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. I specialise in treating people with difficult mental health issues that are often related to traumatic experiences.

My Philosophy as a Holistic Therapist

Counselling and psychotherapy involves the use of evidence based psychological techniques to help people resolve issues that often stem from experiences from their past. We can all get into unhelpful habits of thinking, reducing our expectations of others and of life, and find ourselves feeling frustrated and unhappy. Once these problems are resolved, you will be more able to accept who you are, feel more safe and secure in yourself, and feel free to find meaning in your life.

Over many years I’ve successfully treated people who had struggled for years turn their lives around. I know it is possible to break through pain, chronic depression, anxiety and unhappiness to create a life you love and enjoy.

Why Choose Me as Your Therapist?

  • I am a warm, compassionate, non-judgmental therapist.
  • I develop strong counselling relationships with clients, based on trust and understanding. My clients have stated that they greatly value these qualities.
  • I have a wealth of experience successfully helping people overcome complex mental health and interpersonal problems.
  • I am well regarded in the local community. Most referrals come from local GP’s, and word of mouth from satisfied clients.
  • I approach therapy in a calm measured way. I do not simply give up if issues are hard. I know that hope for recovery is realistic, even when the client may be feeling discouraged and hopeless.
  • As a holistic therapist, I provide healthy eating and exercise information, working with clients to make proactive healthy changes. A healthy body for a healthy mind.
  • As a trained mental health practitioner, I can diagnose mental health issues that may be undermining your life, and contributing to your emotional, economic, or social difficulties.
  • I have a Medicare provider number and eligible clients can apply for Medicare rebates. Teachers and Nursing private health funds may offer counselling rebates. I am also Workcover Counselling approved.
  • As a experienced Clinical Social Work and Psychotherapy practitioner, I offer clinical supervision to Psychologists, Social Workers, Counsellors and Community Welfare Workers.

Over 35 Years of Counselling Experience

I have more than 35 years of counselling experience. Before starting my private psychotherapy practice, I worked as a university counsellor for over 26 years. Prior to that I worked in Community Health, Corrective Services, TAFE NSW and CRS (rehabilitation) Services.

I have a Bachelor of Social Work and Master Social Work, (UNSW) degrees, and have published and taught in areas such grief and bereavement, community social action, cultural awareness/cultural competence, suicide awareness and prevention, work life balance and preventing burnout.

During my career, I have provided expert mental health consultation services in the community health and university sectors concerning people presenting with acute psychological symptoms.

I am grateful that I can now share the knowledge I gained working in these settings with my clients in private counselling practice.

Counselling Education & Training

The following list covers my main areas of accreditation, but not all qualifications achieved.

  • B.A. in Social Work (UNSW)
  • Master of Social Work (UNSW)
  • Certificate in Narrative Therapy, Michael White
  • Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, APS
  • Certificate in Schema therapy, MHA
  • Certificate in Motivational Interviewing, USyd
  • Certificate in Clinical Supervision/ Field Work Supervision, USyd
  • Workcover Accreditation Training, APS
  • Certificate in Mental Health First Aid
  • Certificate in Trauma Informed practice, Blue knot Foundation
  • Certificate in Public Presentation Skills, WSU
  • Certificate in Diagnosis & Treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Black dog Institute
  • Certificate in Addressing the Non-Melancholic Worrier & Perfectionist, Black dog Institute
  • Certificate in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Black dog Institute
  • Certificate in Solution Focussed Therapy, Michael Durant
  • Certificate in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Dr Russ Harris
  • Certificate in Cultural Competence (PRISMA)
  • Certificate in Mindfulness Practice, MHA
  • Certificate in Suicide Awareness & Prevention, APS
  • Certificate in Preventing Vicarious Traumatisation, Blue knot Foundation
  • Certificate in Complex Trauma, Blue knot Foundation

My Personal Work Life Balance

When I’m not working, I love walking at the beach, exercising in the gym, and practicing mindfulness meditation. I enjoy traveling, gardening, photography and spending time with family and friends. These activities help me re-energise, keep calm and stay balanced.

Self-care activities help ensure that I stay healthy, grounded and focused in my counseling sessions with my clients.

My Therapy Philosophy and Style

Counselling is offered in a warm, accepting, non-judgmental, and private environment. I create an egalitarian and comfortable place where you can feel safe and understood, regardless of the problems you bring to therapy. My core counselling philosophy is that there is always hope for you to feel better about your life.

Not only a therapeutic tool for serious mental health concerns, counselling brings a range of benefits that make it the ideal treatment for people of all ages and backgrounds. A natural consequence of therapy is that it will help you grow to be more loving and caring towards yourself, increase your self-confidence, and in turn, assist you to have better relationships with others and feel good about your life.

My goal is to help you to manage strong emotions, and make positive changes to your thinking so that your quality of life significantly improves. Working within a completely confidential space, I seek to develop a warm collaborative relationship between my client and myself to bring about profound and lasting change.

Applying an evidence based psychologically focussed approach, appointments are available face to face, or via telephone or Skype, if travel, mobility or distance is an issue, though face to face is the preferred for optimal results.

Although a referral is not required, a referral from your GP under the Better Access to Mental Health Program will provide a $75 Medicare rebate for up to 10 sessions per calendar year. Pensioners are offered a reduced rate independent of income. Currently, teachers and nurses may be eligible for Health Insurance rebates. Private Health Insurance coverage is currently being expanded.

What Psychological Therapy Methods are used?

The methods of psychotherapy I use are all evidence-based methods, backed by a significant body of research that proves their effectiveness.

Below you will find an overview of the methods I use and how they can help you. I will draw on one, or a combination, of these methods, as well as other strategies, depending on what will be most helpful to you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT Australia defines Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as the term used for a school of therapies that share the underlying assumption that people are disturbed not by events in their lives but by their beliefs about those events. It is a logical and practical approach to help people with their emotional problems, as such it can be extremely empowering and can bring lasting relief after short term treatment.

Research indicates considerable evidence that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy provides effective relief from mental health concerns across the lifespan of many people. In practice, the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist helps the client identify thoughts and beliefs that lead to distress, then explores and re-evaluates those thoughts, before helping the client develop more constructive and helpful emotions and behaviour.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core messages – accept what is out of your personal control, and to commit to action that improves and enriches your life.

The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word ‘act’, not as the initials) does this by:

a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively, in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).

b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – i.e. your values, then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is an evidence-based therapy defined as a time-limited treatment that encourages the client to regain control of mood and functioning typically lasting 12–16 weeks. IPT is based on the principle that there is a relationship between the way people communicate and interact with others and their mental health.