As a private practice counsellor specialising in boys and adolescent male mental health, in West Gippsland, l met so many young blokes that struggled to engage with traditional face-to-face therapy. It is well-known that the traditional model keeps some blokes from seeking professional support. Whilst talk therapy certainly had a positive impact, l needed more effective ways to engage with boys meaningfully and at their 'level'.
Initially, I began to include one of our Kelpies in office-based sessions, which worked wonderfully in grounding young blokes sufficiently to enable them to engage with me as a therapist more effectively. They could sit, play with the dog and talk to me. I quickly observed a significant increase in engagement in the therapeutic process, just by way of this simple addition. Young blokes began coming to us, as word of mouth had spread - he has a Kelpie! We now have 2 Kelpies, a Border Collie and a Blue Heeler. The boys are generally drawn to one of our dogs in particular, and the dogs remember them too!
Then l decided to take the therapy outdoors, which began as a simple walk around Blue Rock Lake, in Moe (with a Kelpie in tow of course). For a young bloke, not having to look a counsellor in the face, sitting in a chair, in an office - was so powerful. It was a positive shift in the dynamic.
Owing to the success l observed in my clients (and the feedback from their families, schools, employers, Govt agencies etc), there was clearly a genuine need for adventure therapy in the local community for boys. l decided it needed be separate from our traditional private practice (West Gippsland Counselling Service) and so Gippsland Outdoor Therapy and Youth Adventures (GOTYA) was born.
GOTYA is a family-owned and operated local Gippsland business based in Drouin (Vic). We are proud to be a boys and adolescent male youth mental health service. The importance of young men speaking up when they aren’t travelling so well cannot be understated, as such, GOTYA provides a counselling model that is accessible, down-to-earth and relevant to boys and adolescent males
My passion as therapist, is to provide a specialised service for young blokes to support them in navigating the complex world they find themselves in.
Certified Practising Counsellor, PACFA Prov. Registrant #26956
BEd(RMIT), GCertCarDev(CEAV), GDipCouns(ACAP), GCertManYouthSuic(MELB), GCertYouthMenHealth(MELB), MYouthMentHeal(MELB)Pending