Debra has spent the last 20 years teaching and practicing psychology. She has extensive experience in teaching large university classes as well as small-groups, developing and conducting training and professional development, across both face-to-face and online environments. She has received numerous awards for her excellence in teaching and positive impact on students learning and well being, including a National Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Debra focuses her practice as a psychologist on working with young people, and is passionate about supporting children, adolescents, and young adults who experience a range of issues including learning difficulties, self-esteem, anxiety, phobias, grief and loss, bullying, self-harm and depression. She uses a range of therapeutic approaches tailored to the individual person, including Art and Expressive therapies, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). Debra’s breadth of experience working with people making significant life transitions has given her a deep appreciation for the challenges they face, and enables her to build a strong and supportive relationship with each individual client based on compassion and understanding. She also has specific interest and experience in supporting people of all ages through grief and loss, either as a result of death, trauma or other events. She has written several contributions to the recent book, Never Forgotten – Stories of love, loss, and healing after miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death never forgotten. Debra is in private practice at The Long Gallery Psychologists, Brisbane, Australia.

As An Exceptionally Compassionate And Sensitive Woman What Compels You Forward On Your Pathway In Caring For Others?

Human connection is a fundamental need for all of us. I believe that many of the struggles that people face can be alleviated when true, empathic connection is experienced. This quote by the Dalai Lama underpins my everyday life – “True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason.”

A Typical Day In Your Life?

Busy! I teach counseling and psychology most days, and work with clients. Juggling family and work is a skill I am still developing. Taking a little time out either in the morning or evening is important to achieve some balance. I enjoy reading, playing the piano and just listening to what my son has to say about his day.

Beloved Quote?

Most things from the Dalai Lama, but this one is a favorite – “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

What Are You Reading Now?

“The One-Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson.

It’s very funny, and tells a wonderful story about life.

 Your Inspirations/Role Models And Or Mentors?

My parents would have to be my role models. I have learned so much from just being in their space, from just getting to know them, and experiencing life with them. They have taught me more than any university study could, and they did it without trying!

Which Personality Traits Do You Admire In Others?

Courage, with gentle honesty about themselves and others. Humility that comes with an inner strength.

What Is Your Dream Vacation Destination?

Venice. I once read a book that was set in this beautiful place and fell instantly in love with it through words and imaginings. Ruth Cracknell’s memoir, “Journey from Venice”

Your 5 Most Desirable Dinner Guests?

Alexander McCall Smith – Writer extraordinaire, most known for his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels.

Stephen Fry – Actor, writer, and all-round amazing fellow.

Florence Broadhurst – World-renowned wallpaper designer and Sydney socialite who was murdered in 1977.

Miss Phryne Fisher – A fictitious character from the detective novels by Kerry Greenwood.

Woody Allen – Actor, writer, director.

Favourite Restaurant?

Anything Thai or Vietnamese

Name 3 Songs Fom Your iTunes Library

“La valse d’Amélie” by Yann Tiersen, from the soundtrack to the movie Amélie. I’m learning to play it on the piano at the moment.

“Close to you” by the Carpenters. It takes me back to my early childhood.

“Jealous” by Labrinth. It has beautiful lyrics.

Something You Have Learnt Recently?

I learn something every day. I try to be open to others, to hear their stories, and not make assumptions based on what I already know.

In What Manner Do You Relax And Unwind?

Spending time at home, especially peaceful time gardening or playing the piano.

Is Your Glass Half Full?

That’s always a matter of perspective! Sometimes it feels half empty, but the antidote to that is to keep in mind the ingredients that make up the full half, rather than to focus on the empty half.