Alison has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tasmania and a PhD from La Trobe University. She has worked for over 30 years as a clinical psychologist within the parenting and early childhood field in both public and private sectors. Alison has also worked in perinatal mental health within a large public health service supporting women and couples through pregnancy and the postnatal period as well as supervising psychologists working with perinatal patients.
Alison’s doctoral research involved an investigation of the role of child temperament and parenting in predicting the occurrence of prosocial (helping) and empathic (caring) behaviour in 3 and 4 year old children. A key finding of this research was the importance of warm and responsive parenting in producing positive social behaviours in difficult to manage young children. The notion of there needing to be a good fit between a child’s temperament and the parenting they receive underlies much of Alison’s current work with parents.
Current Practice (Perinatal)
Alison works with women and couples who are struggling to conceive, who have experienced the loss of a baby, or who are adjusting to their roles as parents. She provides therapy support for pregnancy and postnatal depression, anxiety and stress.
With her research background in child development, and her practical background in parent-infant settings, Alison not only assists parents in their adjustment difficulties, but she also provides parenting support for new parents and parents of young children (up to 8 years old).
Alison supports parents who have concerns about their child’s development, or who have received a developmental diagnosis for their child. Alison understands the profound distress that can be associated with these experiences, and she integrates her parenting and child psychology knowledge into her support of these parents.
Current Practice (Child)
Drawing upon her experience working in both private and public outpatient settings providing individual and group-based interventions to young children, Alison continues to provide child psychology services. She has an interest in child anxiety, behavioural issues, developmental difficulties, selective mutism, and autism spectrum disorder. A core component of the interventions Alison provides is working with parents to empower them with both the tools to manage difficult behaviour and an understanding of what might be the underlying causes. Alison provides assessment and support for parents who are concerned about the development of their infant or child.
Alison provides assessments for autism spectrum disorder in children under the age of 8 years. When appropriate, cognitive and educational assessments are also offered for children who are experiencing difficulties in learning or who may be having problems with attention and concentration in the classroom. Where concerns are evident at kindergarten, child care or school, visits to these settings can be arranged and secondary consultation provided to teachers and childcare staff to help manage the child in these environments.
Approach to therapy
Alison provides both short and longer term therapy to address the concerns of either the parent, the child, or both. Alison uses a combination of therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness-based therapies, and play-based therapy (for children).
Alison works with children to encourage emotional self- regulation and positive social behaviour. Working collaboratively with parents is an essential adjunct to the direct therapeutic work with children. Alison assists parents to build confidence in their parenting and she works with couples to help them to determine optimal strategies for parenting their particular child.
Blog article for parents