Supporting your recovery from
Food Addiction & Trauma

welcome

I'm Vanessa, a counsellor and psychotherapist for adults. I'm based in Sydney, Australia and offer online services. I combine lived experience and clinical expertise to support your journey of recovery from food addiction, disordered eating, trauma & other addictions.

Taming addictive eating and healing what’s underneath will allow you to move towards living the life you want. I work with individuals and groups on a continuum of care from building practical recovery skills to deeper healing and transformation. I am a level 2-trained Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist.

I’ve supported people with challenges including (but not exclusively):
• Ultra-Processed Food Addiction & Eating Disorders
• Weight & Body Image Concerns
• Codependency
• Complex Trauma
• Substance & Process Addictions (including alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, relationships, work, busyness, money, Internet & technology and others.)   

1:1 Counselling & Psychotherapy

Our work together will be tailored to your goals and priorities. While I specialise in food addiction and complex trauma, I see people who struggle with other addictive behaviours too.

I’ve learned that when people come to therapy, everyone is different. Some people want more practical strategies and others want to do deeper healing work. Often, we do a bit of both.

Click to learn more about what to expect, how to book an appointment of free 15 minute consultation.

As a registered level 4 counsellor with the Australian Counselling Association I adhere to the Australian Counselling Association Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Professionals.

Internal Family Systems (IFS)

My favourite therapy modality is Internal Family Systems because it helps us to understand the parts of us engaging in challenging behaviours, and it brings greater inner harmony and deep emotional healing.
IFS is an evidence-based psychotherapy modality developed by family therapist Richard Schwartz in the 1980s. 

Based on systems theory, IFS holds that the mind in its natural and healthy state is a multiple entity composed of many parts that operate as an inner family system. 

These parts possess a full range of emotions, thoughts, sensations and beliefs and under ideal circumstances grow into complementary roles as a person develops. 

Like many spiritual traditions, IFS also says that everyone has a central core, the Self, which is not a part. It’s more like a wise and centred entity, a Higher Self. 

When we have experienced challenges in life, our parts often take on extreme protective roles. In other forms of therapy, we might call these defence mechanisms. 

Such protective strategies can lead to unwanted outcomes, which IFS sees as well-meaning attempts at restoring internal balance rather than pathology. 
Parts are categorised as exiles and protectors. Exiles are vulnerable (often young) parts that are hurt and carry overwhelming feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and sensations called burdens. 

Protectors banish these vulnerable parts out of awareness to protect the system from their unbearable emotional pain. Protectors embody either the role of managers or firefighters. 

Managers are proactive and help the client to function in daily life through roles such as working hard, pleasing people, perfectionism, and inner criticism.

Firefighters are reactive and focus on immediately suppressing any emotional pain of exiles through extreme strategies such as addictions, rage, self-harm, or suicide. 

The goal of IFS therapy is to heal and integrate protective and exiled parts to enable Self-leadership of the internal system. 

Rather than eliminating parts, IFS seeks to relieve them of their extreme roles so that their original talents and strengths can unfold in the system. 

Clinical supervision & consultation

Upon one-off requests from practitioners and organisations I have started offering consultations and clinical supervision specifically for professionals who want to learn about food addiction. So far, I have consulted with therapists who work in the addictions, eating disorders and obesity areas to discuss how food addiction could be integrated to better support clients. 

Supervision and consultation sessions can be booked Thursdays and Fridays 8 am to 6:30 pm AEST and fees are AU$165 per 60-minute session.
Other related consultation services can be discussed on a case by case basis.
Please contact me to schedule a session or for more information.

Courses

Courses are created for you to add to your knowledge about topics related to addiction and trauma that you can enjoy at your own pace and apply new skills to supplement your personal recovery journey.  

Live Workshops

Online Live Workshops are educational and experiential one-off sessions so that you can practice what you are learning and share with other participants.

Groups

Groups are themed, online groups that run for specific periods of time (for example, my 4-week IFS group) where you can learn and share with other participants).

Speaking Engagements

As a seasoned public speaker on topics around food addiction, eating disorders, including my lived experience, as well as complex trauma, I can be booked for your event, seminar or conference.

I provide educational talks on food addiction, and speak to topics around policy and practice around mental health as well as trauma-informed best practice in the workplace from the perspective of clinician and lived experience either as part of a panel or solo engagement.

I’m a peer ambassador for SANE Australia and am on the Blue Knot Foundation’s Lived and Living Experience Committee.