Katie completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Queensland and was awarded the Dean’s Commendation in 2003. She then graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology from Monash University in 2005. In 2006 Katie was awarded a Research Degree Scholarship and completed her Doctorate in Health Psychology in 2009. In addition, Katie holds a Masters of Clinical Psychology.
Katie has worked in public health settings since 2009, with her main focus being grief and loss, adjustment to medical diagnoses, and chronic health conditions. During her Master of Clinical Psychology degree, Katie developed her passion for perinatal and infant mental health completing a clinical internship as part of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health team at the Queen Elizabeth Centre (early parenting service).
Katie’s Masters research was conducted at the Mercy Hospital for Women, Perinatal Mental Health Service. This research as part of the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS), was a pregnancy study following a sample of Australian mothers and children until the age of 3. A key aim of this research was to understand the factors that may protect a mother against anxiety and depression over the perinatal period, with the ultimate aim of enhancing women’s well-being during motherhood.
Katie’s research focused specifically on the relationship between maternal mental health and sleep (in both the prenatal and postnatal periods) and infant sleep patterns. She conducted a systematic review and found that maternal depression and anxiety in the perinatal period are a significant factor in relation to infant sleep outcomes. However, Katie noted that the relationship between a mother’s mental health and her infant’s sleep is complex and these factors may interact with one another over time.
Katie has provided interventions to parents and their infants and young children, using an attachment formulation and diverse therapy modalities (e.g. systemic, family therapy, mentalization, supportive psychotherapy). She has worked specifically in the areas of individual and couple adjustment to parenting, reproductive grief/loss, parent-infant interaction, infant mental health and trauma, as well as conducting standardized assessment of the developmental and cognitive abilities of infants and young children.
Katie’s Doctoral research was in the area of women’s experiences of sexual intimacy within the context of a committed relationship. For women with clinical levels of sexual difficulties, interpersonal factors such as relationship dissatisfaction and communication problems) were of primary importance.
Katie’s Doctoral portfolio entitled “The Role of Parental Emotional Engagement in Child Psychopathology” assessed case studies from a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). It was apparent that extremes of parental emotional engagement (i.e. enmeshment/disengagement) could contribute to children developing emotional and behavioural difficulties. Katie’s findings suggested that parental mental health and family dynamics were an essential consideration in the psychological treatment of the child.
Katie currently works solely in private practice on the Mornington Peninsula. In her practice she sees women, men and couples who are experiencing difficulties related to pregnancy and early parenting. Katie provides compassionate and evidence-based support to clients experiencing fertility difficulties and assisted reproduction, miscarriage, stillbirth and later loss, as well as therapy support for pregnancy and postnatal mood disturbances (depression, anxiety and stress). Katie guides and supports clients in developing attuned relationships to their babies and children. She works compassionately with individuals in understanding their unhelpful self-narratives and core beliefs, and in gaining insight into the impact of their past experiences on their current lives.
Approach to Therapy
Katie has trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness. Katie incorporates attachment based therapy and a family systems framework, particularly when the parent-infant relationship is a focus of treatment or a couple is experiencing parenting-related stress. She is experienced in both short and longer-term therapy, adapting her approach to meet individual needs. Katie works collaboratively with her clients in developing treatment goals.
Registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA)
Member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS)
Member of the APS Perinatal and Infant Psychology Interest Group (PIPIG)
Member of the Armadale Perinatal Mental Health Professionals Network
Registered Circle of Security Parent Educator
Member of The Perinatal Loss Centre
McCabe, M., & Giles, K. (2012). Differences between sexually functional and dysfunctional women in psychological and relationships domains. International Journal of Sexual Health, vol. 24, pp. 181-194.
Giles, K., & McCabe, M. (2009). Conceptualising women’s sexual function: linear vs. circular models of sexual response. Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 6, no. 10, pp. 2761-2771.
Giles, K., & McCabe, M. (2008, April). Women’s Sexual Response: Exploring the Contribution of Psychological Characteristics to Female Sexual Dysfunction. Paper presented at 3rd Sexual Dysfunction Conference, Gold Coast, QLD.
Giles, K., & McCabe, M. (2006). Female sexual dysfunction: A theoretical consideration of the nature of the sexual response and aetiological factors, in R. Wilkinson, & Z. Pearce (Eds.), Relationships- Near and Far Proceedings of the Australian Psychological Society’s Psychology of Relationships Interest Group 6th Annual Conference, pp. 56-62, The Australian Psychological Society, Australia.