Dr Colleen McFarlane BSc (Hons), PhD (Psychology), MAPS
I have over 20 years experience working with adults who have had a wide range of difficulties.
I hold a graduate Degree with Honours in Psychology (The University of Melbourne) and a postgraduate Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Psychology (Monash University). I have undertaken eight years of university education and training to specialise as a clinical psychologist. As a result, I have advanced skills and training in psychological assessment, diagnosis, treatment and clinical psychotherapy. My PhD was focussed on trauma and resilience amongst civilian populations exposed to civil conflict.
My training and experience has meant that I have worked with children, young people and adults into older age. I am experienced working with a range of people from those with more severe mental health difficulties to those with more common concerns.
I have worked in a variety of settings - alongside GPs in primary care, in medical and psychiatric hospitals, outpatient services, community settings, and in the not-for-profit sector. I started working in mental health in the early 1990's at Royal Park Hospital for The University of Melbourne with young people at risk of severe mental illness. I gained further experience at Monash Medical Centre, Monash University and overseas in Cambodia. I worked at a specialist trauma service (Foundation House) for 12 years between between 1999 and 2015 where I provided counselling to survivors of torture and trauma, was involved in research and training, and had a supervisory role with practitioners. I have been working in private practice since 2011.
I assist people affected by assault, accident, disaster, war, abuse and other traumatic life experiences. I am experienced working with people who have difficulties associated with migration, civil conflict, detention, terrorism, kidnapping and torture. You might have had some of these experiences if you have worked in aid and development, travelled overseas, been an expatriate, emergency responder or if you have a refugee background. You might have experienced child abuse, rape, disaster or combat.
I have been trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) by Phoenix Australia (the National Centre for Excellence in Posttraumatic Mental Health). CPT is a gold standard treatment for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is effective in reducing PTSD symptoms related to a range of experiences including child abuse, combat, rape and natural disasters. CPT is endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, as a best practice for the treatment of PTSD.
Through my work I have not only gained a solid foundation working with people who have endured traumatic experiences, but I have also developed cross-cultural expertise, the ability to work carefully with interpreters and diversity more generally.
I hold a special interest in the problems people experience whilst living or travelling abroad, or upon migration to Australia. I completed a PhD in trauma amongst international aid, development and expatriate staff in 2006. My PhD, set in Cambodia, examined both the experiences of Cambodian and international staff. I have direct experience living and working in Cambodia as a mental health counsellor and lecturer. I was also Co-Convenor of the Inaugural 2003 NGO Psychosocial Forum in support of international aid workers.
I am an experienced publisher and presenter, and have frequently written and spoken about matters relating to trauma (see Achievements below). I have supervised postgraduate PhD students and lectured postgraduate students in the field of trauma.
For more about how I can assist you during counselling or psychotherapy go to My Services.
Registered Psychologist with Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with a specialist endorsement in Clinical Psychology (psychologists are legally required to register with AHPRA in the same way that medical practitioners are).
Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and College of Clinical Psychologists.
(APS Psychologists follow guidelines about professional conduct, responsibilities and confidentiality that are set and monitored by the Society in the APS Code of Ethics).
I am committed to ongoing professional development that maintains and develops my skills and knowledge. I receive regular supervision from senior psychologists in order to provide effective and accountable treatment.
I have conducted multiple research projects into the wellbeing of civilians affected by international conflict and complex emergencies.
I have authored chapters in the following books:
I have peer reviewed publications in the following journals:
I have presented my research findings about the impact of trauma on civilians at: