0435 005 669

Sweeney House

150 Greenmeadows Drive

Port Macquarie, NSW 2444

Sweeney House

150 Greenmeadows Drive

Port Macquarie, NSW 2444

About Us

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I have worked as a social work clinician and manager for 23 years in Australia and the United Kingdom, working with organisations such as the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW, Department of Education and Employment, University of NSW, Charles Sturt University, NSW Health and Northamptonshire County Council.

 

During my career, I have focused on supporting clients and leading teams in the sectors of mental health, child protection, interpersonal family violence and private practice. I am always learning and regularly undertake Continuing Professional Development so I can apply the latest evidence-based skills and techniques in my practice.   

https://arts-ed.csu.edu.au/schools/humss/staff/profiles/lecturers/don-mackenzie

Qualifications & Clinical Experience

  • Bachelor of Social Work (1998) University of Sydney 

  • Master of Social Work (2016) Charles Sturt University

  • Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW)

  • Conjoint Lecturer, UNSW School of Medicine

  • Lecturer, Charles Sturt University

See my full CV here

What is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker?

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) are recognised providers with Medicare Australia and other programs, delivering clinical social work services in mental health settings and utilising a range of evidence-based strategies.

 

AMHSWs work with people across the lifespan (including children, adults and older persons) and provide a unique contribution to the mental health space in their holistic approach to working with a person.

 

The advanced training that is expected of AMHSW prepares and provides them with the skills for working with people with very complex presentations and co-morbidities.

 

AMHSWs are highly trained and educated professionals, meeting some of the highest standards of professional regulation in Australia.


I help individuals to resolve presenting psychological issues, the associated social and other environmental factors, and improve their quality of life. I also make recommendations following case formulations about complex interactions of  neurodevelopmental, intellectual and mental health symptoms, signs and behaviours.

 

This may involve family as well as individual counselling, and group therapy. Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual living with a mental illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education.

Click here for more information about Accredited Mental Health Social Workers.

Assessing and treating mental health issues

I have a breadth of experience in assessing and treating people who have mental health issues, for example people with the following issues:

  • Neurodevelopmental 

  • Depression, affect and mood 

  • Anxiety 

  • Personality 

  • Psychosis

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Relationship problems

  • Life crises

  • Adjustment 

  • Complex trauma

  • Family conflict
     

Like other allied health professionals, such as clinical psychologists, I use a range of interventions in helping people with mental health issues, including the following focused psychological strategies:

  • Eye Movement, Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) 

  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

  • Neurofeedback training

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

  • Relaxation strategies

  • Skills training

  • Affect regulation

  • Social skills

  • Stress tolerance

  • Parenting skills

  • Interpersonal therapy

  • Psycho-education

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Narrative therapy

My Personal Approach

 

I don't believe simple labels are helpful in educating, processing and accepting or reconciling psychological health issues. I believe we use our past experiences, what our body is telling us and what environment we are in, helps us  to predict either safety or danger. 

 

From a strengths-perspective, as individuals we all have something to give. Everything we have experienced helps to create who we are today. 

 

The mind, brain and body are integrated in complex ways. My role as a therapist can be to educate, explain and support how you understand your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physiology. I believe 'story follows state' where your affect regulation (feelings) leads to you cognitions (thoughts) and then your actions (behaviours).

 

Your physiological health impacts directly on your mental health. A lot of what we think and feel is guided and directed by our physiological state, especially our autonomic nervous system following trauma. Your brain hears everything your body says about yourself.

 

Diet, sleep, exercise and healthy relationships are critical to maintaining good physical health and mental wellbeing.

 

Exploring attachment can also be helpful in understanding how you form relationships and respond to threat, anxiety, abandonment, shame and guilt.

 

Trauma also affects our memory, coping styles, distress tolerance and decision-making. Adverse childhood experiences and other factors can combine to affect what you believe, what you avoid and how you learn.

Through structured sessions, and starting where you are at, I can help you see yourself through a lens to the past to help resolve issues you have now. In doing so, you're building towards a positive future of self-managing internal and external stressors. 

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW)

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