Ms. Michelle CairnsPsychologist

    Michelle is a fully registered psychologist with over 15 years experience working in private and public settings.  Michelle works from a person-centred approach that actively involves the client in treatment planning, setting home-work tasks and review processes.  Each treatment plan is individually tailored to meet the unique needs of the individual to ensure optimal therapeutic outcomes.

    Michelle has experience delivering both group and individual therapies and is trained in a number of different evidence-based treatment approaches.  These treatment approaches include:

    Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)

    CBT focuses on challenging and changing an individual’s unhelpful thoughts and associated behaviours, improving emotional regulation and the development of personal coping strategies that target current life issues.  It is a particularly effective treatment for depression and anxiety.

    Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

    DBT is a comprehensive cognitive-behavioural treatment for complex disorders involving emotional dysregulation such as borderline personality disorder, eating disorders and substance use disorders.  DBT combines the basic strategies of behavioural therapy with eastern mindfulness practices and recognises the synthesis of opposites (dialectics) such as acceptance and change.  DBT focuses on building skills in mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.  Traditionally DBT is delivered in group and individual format, however, Michelle is able to apply the principles of DBT to individual therapy.

    Schema Therapy

    Schema therapy expands on traditional CBT by examining unhelpful life patterns (schemas) and their origins to create a more fulfilling and authentic life.  It utilises a combination of cognitive, behavioural and experiential techniques to challenging unhelpful core beliefs and associated unhelpful behaviours.  Schema therapy has proven to be particularly effective in the treatment of personality disorders and developmental trauma.

    Eye-Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)

    EMDR is a relatively new form of psychotherapy in which a client is asked to recall a traumatic event while generating bilateral sensory movements such as eye-movements or hand tapping.  This dual attention is believed to facilitate access to the trauma memory so that information can be processed and new, adaptive memories can be formed, which results in a reduction of overall psychological distress.  Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve detailed descriptions of the trauma or prolonged exposure which can be unnecessarily distressing to the client.

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

    ACT is an action-oriented form of psychotherapy that originates from traditional cognitive-behavioural therapy.  One of the central tenants of ACT is that it is our tendency to avoid painful thoughts and emotions causes more psychological suffering.  Therefore, it is important to learn new ways of accepting these private internal experiences, so that one can ‘let go’ of the ‘struggle’ and move forward in living and creating a meaningful life based on one’s values.  ACT aims to increase one’s ‘psychological flexibility’ in responding to the emotional pain that is inherent in living a rich and fulfilling life.  ACT has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, chronic pain and substance abuse.  It can also be effective in the treatment of existential life issues that may arise at different life stages or following a traumatic event.

    Michelle has a special interest in the treatment of mood disorders (such as depression), anxiety disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), personality disorders (including borderline personality disorder), addiction and eating disorders.

    Michelle is able to offer psychological services to WorkCover, TAC, Victims of Crime and Department of Veteran Affairs clients.  Medicare or private health insurance rebates may apply.  Concessional rates are available for concession card holders.

    Emergency Call

    In case of urgent, feel free to ask questions.