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’ve worked as a clinician for 23 years in Australia and the UK with organisations such as One Door Mental Health, Department of Education, headspace, Centrelink and NSW Health. 

 

During my career I have focused on mental health, developmental trauma, neurophysiology, endocrinology and the importance of the various social determinants of health and wellbeing. I am always learning and regularly undertake Continuing Professional Development regarding the latest evidence-based therapy techniques available.

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

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

People Walking

My Personal Ethos

 

I don't believe simple labels are helpful in educating, processing and accepting or reconciling psychological health issues.

 

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 a complex way. 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). Your brain is always predicting either safety or danger, even when you are sleeping via your eight senses.

 

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 social 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, 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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