About Dr Emma Symes
BSci (Hons), DPsych (Clin) MAPS CCLIN
Thursday am, pm, evening
Emma is an experienced Clinical Psychologist who specialises in perinatal and infant mental health. She has experience supporting families with the transitions that occur throughout pregnancy, birth and during the early parenting years. She is also skilled in the provision of general mental health treatment.
Emma also works as the Senior Clinical Psychologist at The Royal Women’s Hospital – Centre for Women’s Mental Health. She is trained in the Newborn Behaviour Observation (NBO) and is involved in facilitating the Parenting with Feeling (postnatal psychotherapy group program). She also provides psychological support to women experiencing gynaecological cancers.
Emma has worked as a Clinical Psychologist at the Tweddle Child and Family Health Service, supporting families and infants with sleep and settling issues. She also has extensive experience working within the adult mental health sector, as well as working with adolescents and their families at headspace. She is also co-facilitator of the Western Infant and Perinatal Mental Health Professionals Network.
In her private practice in North Carlton, Emma works with women, men and families experiencing ante and post-natal depression, anxiety, and stress. She has an interest in supporting women and men with the challenges of parenting infants and children, as well as strengthening parent-infant relationships. Emma supports parents with the complex range of difficult feelings that can arise in the perinatal period, including guilt, ambivalence, frustration and worry.
Emma also works with women who have experienced
- reproductive loss
- premature birth
- childbirth related trauma
- experiencing infertility
- undergoing ART/IVF including egg/sperm donation and surrogacy
Emma is a registered Circle of Security parent educator. This program is a relationship-based parenting program, which is aimed at improving relationships by helping parents to read and respond to their child’s emotional needs and cues.
Emma is currently a coordinator / trainer at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Centre for Women’s Mental Health - providing health professionals training in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy.
Approach to Therapy
Emma aims to provide therapy to parents to improve parenting confidence, treat mental health difficulties and support parent-infant relationships. Emma works collaboratively and is committed to the well-being of families during this important period. She approaches her clients with empathy, respect and the assumption that every parent is trying their best.
Emma provides a safe environment in which clients can explore difficulties and can work towards the improvements they are seeking.
Emma is trained in the following evidence-based therapies: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT). She also draws upon psychodynamic approaches and attachment theory.
Emma provides supervision to psychologists and is available to provide training for other professionals. She is a member of the APS Working Group developing guidelines for Psychologists Working with Family Violence.
Registered with Psychology Board of Australia (PBA)
Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Fellow of APS College of Clinical Psychologists (FCCLP)
Member of Australian Association of Infant Mental Health (AAIMHI)
Registered Supervisor Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
Registered Circle of Security parent educator
Member of Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA)
Australian Psychological Society representative at the Victorian Government Enquiry into Perinatal Services 2018
Symes, E. (2017). The transition to motherhood: Psychological factors associated with pregnancy, labour and birth. InPsych, 39, 18-19.
Invited guest on ABC Radio National – Life Matters Program (25 June 2018)