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What to expect in counselling?

Each person coming to Reconnexion has unique needs and you will receive an individually designed program of recovery in easily managed steps.

A slow, gradual reduction of your medication is planned in consultation with your GP. The time it takes to gradually reduce benzodiazepines and recover from the withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person. Our counsellors ensure that you remain very much in control of the rate of the drug reduction, and that you feel confident about managing each reduction.

You will be given information about the possible withdrawal symptoms and advice on how best to manage these. Your counsellor will be understanding, sympathetic and supportive throughout your withdrawal which can sometimes be painful and protracted.

Your Reconnexion counsellor will also provide support to help you overcome anxiety, depression or other problems that may be related to the benzodiazepine dependency. Counselling is a collaborative relationship where your opinions and decisions are respected.

Individual counselling sessions last for an hour and are usually once a week.

Tranquilliser and sleeping pill counselling is generally only available from our Malvern East or Ringwood location in Melbourne
*Please select which location you would like to attend

If you are unable to attend counselling at Malvern East please call to discuss other options.

Our counsellors are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Fridays.

*Please select which day you would prefer
Combat The Women Leatherette FG08 Over Breeze Black Lace Up Boot Black Nature Knee Suede
Boot The Black Lace Up Over FG08 Women Breeze Knee Combat Suede Black Nature Leatherette To book in you can either select the counsellor here and complete details and we will call or email you with times or ring 9809 8200 to book in over the phone.
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Now we just need a little information about you.

*First name Silver spark Spirit Mule Traveltime Women's Easy IFwX7xI
*Surname
*Telephone number
*Email
Address
*Postcode
Do you have any mobility issues
Would you like an information pack emailed to you?
Which tranquillisers are you taking
How long have you been taking them
Which sleeping pill are you taking
How long have you been taking them
Have you been prescribed any anti depressants
Are you taking any analgesics (pain killers)
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We will be in touch soon to organise your appointment.

Steve Brown

Steve has been a counsellor/psychotherapist and taught Mindfulness for over 20 years.

He has worked in a diverse range of settings including family therapy and family support, hospice and palliative care and community health.

Steve’s approach is mindfulness-based - he uses mindfulness and mindfulness-based CBT in therapy sessions, and teaches mindfulness practices to use outside of therapy to assist with difficult emotions and relationships. He also offers TRE – Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises – a body-based therapy that releases tension and trauma from the body to bring about a sense of deep calm and relaxation. TRE can eventually be used at home as an independent self-help practice.

Working collaboratively within a bio-psycho-social framework, Steve’s experience is that the difficulties we encounter in living have multiple causes – there are connections with many other parts of our lives. Exploring these connections, how we feel on the inside, and what is happening on the outside, we find a way through our current difficulties to a place of greater ease and contentment, and start moving forward in life again.

Steve has extensive training and experience in Mindfulness Therapy, Mindfulness-Based CBT, TRE, Family Therapy, Experiential/Existential therapy and Grief and Loss counselling.

Steve is happy to talk about his approach to counselling. Feel free to call or email him.

Sarah Dixon

Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology)

Graduate Diploma of Educational Psychology

Sarah is a psychologist with over 12 years of experience working in government and community organizations, assisting individuals and families to work through a range of issues around emotional and psychological distress. Prior to establishing a private practice in 2007, Sarah worked in various areas of the public health system including Adult Psychiatric Services, Disability Services and Specialist Children’s Services. She is experienced in working with both children and adults. Sarah has a strong interest in working with individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sarah is a registered Medicare provider and an associate member of the Australian psychological society.

Sarah sees her role as a psychologist as assisting you to positively change the way you think, feel and behave so that you may enhance your life and relationships. Sarah is empathic and understanding and acknowledges that seeking support and taking first the steps towards positive change can be difficult. Sarah uses a range of counselling techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused and Strengths based approaches, and works collaboratively with you to achieve your own goals and needs.

Jo Hansen

Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology); BPsych (Hons)

Jo joined Reconnexion as a trained volunteer on the telephone support line in July 2007. Since then she has continued to offer telephone support to many Reconnexion clients as well as to callers from around Australia, working at the same time as a member of the administration team. In 2012 Jo completed her training to become a group facilitator for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), providing vital training to Reconnexion volunteers supporting people with thoughts of suicide. Jo has completed her degree in Psychology (Honours).  

Jo began counselling in the benzodiazepine withdrawal program in July 2014 providing support to clients coming off medication generally prescribed for anxiety, sleep disorder or pain management. Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines can be distressing and protracted requiring ongoing support to minimise withdrawal symptoms and to assist in safe withdrawal.

Jo supports you to withdraw through tailoring a gradual reduction plan and providing ongoing support. She works collaboratively with you to establish your goals and to empower you through the therapeutic alliance, together addressing emerging issues including anxiety and depression. Her therapeutic practice includes relaxation techniques, breathing training, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), solution focused therapies and assertiveness skills training.

Mark Jacka

BA Grad Dip Ed; Grad Dip Psych Studies; Grad Dip Psychology

Mark is a registered psychologist with a diverse range of experience in various settings including the community and government sectors and private practice. His experience includes working with clients presenting with anxiety and depression, relationship issues, parenting management, forensic issues, anger management and substance abuse.  Mark has extensive experience in private practice using a variety of clinical interventions including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness interventions, Imaginal Exposure and relationship counselling. 

Mark is very down-to-earth, accepting and practical.  His counselling goal is to help you to overcome obstacles that prevent you from enjoying a richer, fuller, more meaningful life. Mark’s clients report high levels of satisfaction and many of them return to see him every few years as new issues arise.

Mark is registered to provide psychological services under Medicare, Worksafe, TAC, Victims of Crime, Open Place for Forgotten Australians and Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Boot Combat Black Breeze Suede Black Lace Up Over Knee Women The Leatherette Nature FG08 Lynne Little

B.Sc. (Ed)., B. Sc.(Hons), Grad. Dip. Psych., M.A.P.S

Lynne is a registered psychologist with many years of experience dealing with wide ranging issues for clients from many age groups. Lynne has expertise in treating anxiety and depression, with specific interest in postnatal depression and meditation.

While Lynne works from a cognitive behavioural perspective, her belief is that the therapeutic relationship you establish with her is the most powerful driving force for change in the counselling process. You will find Lynne’s approach very down to earth, respectful and warm. She will work together with you towards your goals, using interventions based on research and what has been effective in past experience with clients.

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Lynne is registered with Australian Psychological Society and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and is accredited with Medicare.

Erin Oldenhof

BA Psychology (Hons)

Erin started with Reconnexion as a trained volunteer on the telephone support line early in 2013. Since 2015, Erin has become a Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Counsellor.

Erin began counselling in the Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Program in March 2015, where she provides support to clients who are in the process of coming off Benzodiazepines; a group of medications generally prescribed for anxiety, sleep disorders or pain management. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be distressing and also a lengthy process, therefore it often requires ongoing support in order to minimise withdrawal symptoms and to assist in a safe withdrawal.

As a withdrawal counsellor, Erin aids you by tailoring a gradual reduction plan from your benzodiazepines, and providing ongoing support. She works collaboratively with you to establish your goals, empowers you through the therapeutic alliance, whilst also addressing emerging issues including anxiety and depression. Her therapeutic practice includes relaxation and mindfulness techniques, breathing training, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), solution focused therapies and assertiveness skills training.  

Helen Swinburne

Helen Swinburne
BA. Social Science, Post. Grad Dip Psych.
Post Grad Cert. Bereavement Counselling Methods

Fully Registered Psychologist

Helen is a Psychologist with over 18+ years of counselling experience working in both community based and private practice settings. Prior to her full registration as a Psychologist in 2003, Helen worked in the Alcohol and Drug sector for a period of seven years.

Helen works with older adolescents and adults who present with a range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, difficulties with emotional regulation, and relationship problems. Helen has also completed post-graduate training in grief and loss counselling through the Australian Centre of Grief and Bereavement.

Helen draws on various counselling models in her work depending on the presenting issue, but typically utilizes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness, and Schema based interventions. Helen likes to focus work collaboratively and authentically with her clients, with a focus on achieving agreed treatment goals.

Helen is a registered Medicare provider and associate member of the Australian Psychological Society.

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BSc (Psych), Grad Dip Psych, MCounsPsych, MAPS

James first joined Reconnexion in the telephone support line team as a competency trained volunteer in 2011. Since then, he has continued to offer telephone support to callers from around Australia including many Reconnexion clients. In 2017 James commenced working as a Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Counsellor, offering support to people withdrawing from benzodiazepines, a group of medication generally prescribed for anxiety, sleep disorders or pain management.

James will work collaboratively with you to assess your particular needs and develop a reduction plan, providing ongoing support throughout the withdrawal process. You will work together to establish your goals and address other issues including anxiety, depression and relationship challenges.

James will offer you an empathetic and non-judgmental space in which to tell your story. His therapeutic practice includes relaxation techniques, mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), brief psychodynamic psychotherapy and solution-focused brief therapy.
James has experience working with anxiety, panic, depression and relationships, as well as having specific training and experience working with clients from culturally diverse backgrounds.  

James Szeto

BSc GDipPsych MCounsPsych MAPS

James commenced counselling in Reconnexion’s benzodiazepine withdrawal program earlier this year, and is now a member of our anxiety and depression counselling team at MeltonLeatherette Suede FG08 Over The Boot Black Black Breeze Combat Knee Up Nature Lace Women . James is a registered psychologist with experience working in a range of settings, including short-term employee assistance counselling, schools and universities, and hospital settings.

James will offer you an empathetic and safe space in which to tell your story. He will work collaboratively with you to set goals, and empower you to achieve positive steps towards those goals. His therapeutic practice includes relaxation techniques, mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), brief psychodynamic psychotherapy and solution-focused brief therapy.

James has experience working with anxiety, panic, depression, relationships, and drug and alcohol addictions, as well as having specific training and experience working with clients from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Linda Russell

BA, Bsc (Hons) Psych, M Couns, MAPS.

Linda is a registered psychologist who has worked in a variety of counselling environments including community organisations, educational settings and private practice. She has worked with client issues including anxiety, depression, stress, grief and loss, life transitions and adjustments,self-esteem, relationships and personal growth work.


Linda’s work is influenced by the humanistic approach with its focus on working with her clients authentically, collaboratively and respectfully in the therapeutic relationship. She will work with you to help you achieve your goals, promote self-awareness and self-development and to discover personal strengths. Linda uses techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness.

Jeremy Parker

BBsc., Grad Dip Psych., M Psych, Grad Dip Law., LLB., MAPS

Jeremy is a registered psychologist with 23 years experience. He holds both undergraduate and post graduate qualifications in psychology and in law and he is the past chair of the Australian Psychological Society's Gippsland Branch.

Jeremy has been an expert witness as a psychologist in legal matters involving children and families and has helped hundreds through complex family law, child protection, personal injury and criminal law matters. He has worked as a psychologist in child and youth mental health services, the Family Court of Australia, a senior manager at a Correctional Centre, and more recently a senior consulting psychologist.

Although Jeremy has extensive experience in psycholegal matters, he provides a holistic approach in working with individuals, couples and families in achieving wellbeing. Using cognitive behavioural therapies including acceptance and commitment therapy, solutions focused brief intervention, motivational interviewing, critical incident stress management and debriefing, rational emotive therapy and mediation, Jeremy assists clients overcome life's challenges whether it be mental health, stress, relationships or work difficulties.


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