We can all do with a little help at different times in our lives. Sometimes we take the step voluntarily, other times because of the bumps and potholes along our road. Whatever the reason, the best – and most fruitful – place to look to improve our lives, or our relationships, is within. We need a healthy relationship with ourselves and with life before we can hope for a good relationship with others.
I work with individuals and couples (whether together or apart), facing a variety of difficulties and circumstances. I also offer family dispute resolution mediation (FDR).
My aim is to enhance overall emotional, psychological and social health and wellbeing. I aim to develop greater self-awareness so clients can make positive changes in their lives. With improved emotional and psychological wellbeing, we can all operate better at work and home. I also teach skills for managing life’s challenges with more confidence and resilience.
If you’re committed to change, I can help you to reduce stress, create psychological ease, lift personal empowerment and generally feel there are fewer barriers to a happy, successful life.

Wellness and life coaching

Wellness is a modern word with ancient roots. It is a dynamic process that is preventive and holistic, it is concerned with balancing and protecting the physical, mental and social aspects of the individual. It uses every-day life challenges as a means to help the individual or couple build resilience and healthy coping mechanisms so as to deal with these challenges in the most effective and creative way. The optimal result of wellness intervention is a psychological springboard to change and personal growth.

We all have blind spots that can stand in the way of achieving our dreams. I can help you to clearly define your goals and formulate the steps to accomplish what you want in your personal life or career. Greater self-confidence and happiness flow from knowing you are on the path to a more productive and integrated way of living. Depending on what it is you want to achieve and the number of real or perceived obstacles in your way, life coaching is a brief therapy model of intervention (two to six sessions).


Some people find the idea of counselling scary or confronting. It needn’t be. It’s simply a way to unblock the barriers to a more fulfilling life.

Counselling focuses on the individual’s internal world and relationships. I look at a client’s belief systems and find ways of drawing on untapped resources. My aim is to help maximise my clients’ potential by strengthening their relationship with themselves. That in turn strengthens relationships with others.

During the first session, I work out a contract, or set of goals. In subsequent sessions, I help clients begin to understand themselves more and manage their problems better. Throughout this process, I check to make sure clients are getting results that will lead to the agreed outcomes.

The number of counselling sessions an individual or couple will need depends on the complexity of the problem or problems. Clients can benefit from as little as a single session, although this is not common.

I use principally two theoretical frameworks: narrative therapy and emotionally focused therapy (commonly referred to as EFT).

Narrative therapy works on the premise that for every dominant “story” a person has about him or herself, there is a different, overlooked “sub-story”, which is often a more encouraging view of “self”. Narrative therapy also views the client as the best expert on him or herself. Clients are eventually shown how to externalise, or separate from, their problems so they can overcome them in a more emotionally detached way.

EFT is based on attachment theory. It works to provide a stronger, more secure bond between couples. By tracking and exposing the unhealthy cycles in which many couples get stuck, EFT identifies one person as the “pursuer” and the other as the “withdrawer”. Both roles are coping mechanisms arising from a sense of fear, anxiety, rejection, inadequacy or powerlessness, to name just a few. EFT moves couples from entrenched positions to more emotionally open, collaborative ground. Couples describe feeling more alive, more intimate and more connected with one another.

These therapies can be used separately or together.

Family dispute resolution mediation

Separation and divorce is stressful enough without a fight over the children. When tension is high and emotions are fraught, not only are the parents at a loss as to how to sort things out, sadly the children become caught in the middle. Family Dispute Resolution mediation (FDR) enables separated parents to resolve practical, emotional and financial matters relating to their chidren. My role as mediatior is to provide a safe, confidential setting where parents or guardians can talk in a calm, respectful manner. The aim of mediation is to reach a parenting agreement that is well considered and in the best interests of the children.

The process begins with me meeting each parent separately and finding out what he or she wants for their child or children before a mediation date is set. If parents agree, children can have a voice in the mediation. If this occurs, I see them separately and hear what they have to say in advance of the mediation date. Children are told that their views are important but it is the parents who will ultimately make any decisions affecting their living arrangements and care.


I am a counsellor and therapist with more than 25 years’ experience in areas as diverse as mental health (psychiatry), trauma, addictions, sexuality, adoption, family therapy, couple counselling, workplace stress and burnout, workplace relationships, critical incident debriefing and adolescent struggles. I also provide a wellness programme in the screen sector.

I am committed to professional development and accountability, and also to providing a quality service through continuing education, skills development and supervision.

I am an avid believer that a person’s ability to live in the present, rather than the past or future, is the key to a harmonious life.

When not at work, I love hiking in the bush, cooking healthy food and finding new ways to lie on the couch without spilling a cup of tea.

My partner and I have a son, who has grown into an amazing young man, and also a miniature dachshund, who refuses to grow up.

  • GDipSc(Psyc) Victoria University
  • BSW University of Western Australia
  • BA Victoria University
  • Member AMINZ (FDR List)
  • Associate Member ANZASW
  • Certification in counselling and family therapy


The following are available on Amazon as e-books and can be downloaded to most devices (not just Kindle)

  • Rove: A tale of discovery

  • Successful Separation: A guide for parents

    • Rove: A tale of discovery

    Affairs seldom end without bitterness and recrimination, but in this sweet and charming tale of betrayal, played out in the world of birds, there is the possibility of redemption. A bird's-eye view of an all-too-human failing.

    • Successful Separation: A guide for parents

    A common-sense, no-frills approach to what to do – and not do – during separation. Readers will find answers to the most frequent problems confronting parents in the midst of breaking up.


Please note: I work by Zoom, Facetime or phone.

  • Counselling and wellness coaching

  • Mediation

    (See the Ministry of Justice website for funding eligibility)

Email: hi@stephdowse.com