Denise Thong

Denise holds a Master in Counselling (Professional) from Swinburne University and Master in Science (Human Nutrition) from Deakin University. She is a certified Transactional Analysis practitioner by USATAA. She has internship experience at a psychiatric clinic and is experienced with dealing with a range of mental health issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, OCD, psychosis). ​ In the private sphere, Denise is a Catholic and former Catechist of primary and secondary school children. She is married with a six year-old son.

Profession

Counsellor

Specialities

ANXIETY AND PANIC DISORDERS
DEPRESSION
GENERAL RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGES (FAMILY, FRIENDS, CO-WORKERS)
LGBTQIA+
PERSONALITY DISORDERS
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE MISUSE
LIFE TRANSITIONS
WOMEN’S MENTAL HEALTH (PREGNANCY, INFERTILITY AND POST-PARTUM)
OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER
RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY

Finances

$

Training

MASTER IN COUNSELLING
MASTER IN HUMAN NUTRITION

What kinds of treatment or therapy do you provide?

  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Couple therapy
  • Faith-Based Counselling
  • Choice Theory Reality Therapy

What language can you conduct the session in?

English

What is the greatest reward in being a counsellor for the queer community?

A fresh, honest and vulnerable perspective of life. This community can be the most genuine and heartwarming group that one can encounter.

What is the greatest challenge in being a counsellor for the queer community?

This may be an over-generalisation but most of the people in this community have suffered some discrimination and rejection. Hence, some of them have developed not so helpful ways of coping (e.g. hiding their displeasure - sometimes even from themselves). The greatest challenge is to get them to acknowledge areas in the therapeutic process that they are not so comfortable with and to communicate these areas to the counsellor (trusting that the counsellor will still stick around even after receiving the negative feedback). This open exchange is very beneficial in helping to fine-tune the counselling process to better meet the needs of the client.

What was your path to becoming a therapist?

I received some pro-bono counselling from the Catholic Church and found it very helpful. I got inspired to receive formal training to enter the profession to help others too. Today, I volunteer in the Catholic Church and work as a full time counsellor operating at A Space Between.

What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?

Lowering of stigma towards mental health issues. These days, people are more open in sharing their brushes with depression and/or anxiety on social media.

What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?

I attend courses (i.e. choice theory reality therapy, psychodrama). My latest love is Psychodrama. I just completed a 4 days training course in Psychodrama (Aug- Nov 2022).

What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?

Firstly, this hesitancy is there for a reason. You do not have to ignore it. It is good to spend some time listening to it and find the source of your fear. It could be a former bad experience with a counsellor/psychologist. Process that experience and slowly build up the courage to entrust yourself to a new therapist. When you finally begin therapy, give yourself and the new therapist a chance to from a therapeutic relationship. It may take 3 sessions or more. But with time, great things can happen.

What kind of training have you had in working with the LGBTQ population?

No formal training in LGBTQ but have some hours counselling clients of this population.

What should someone know about working with you?

I am very flexible and integrative in my approach. The good side is that I am good at recognising a person's needs and meeting them. The downside is that each session is a new experience and lacks predictability.

How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?

My core values of unconditional love and acceptance, patience and respect leave their imprints on every single aspect of my therapy; Regardless of which modality I am using on that particular day. These values form the very core of my counselling practice and philosophy.