Counselling/Psychotherapy with Monique

Monique offers trauma-informed Counselling for children and young people, and Somatic Psychotherapy for women.

As an adopted person; a queer woman; a white skinned, misplaced Aboriginal woman; a sexual abuse survivor; a single mother; and indeed, was even a single teenage mother, Monique has faced the pain and suffering at times of not ‘belonging’.  It is through a dual journey of adversity and courage that she has gained both personal wisdom and professional knowledge which she brings to her role in supporting others through the times in their lives where they too feel outcast, abandoned or a lack of belonging.  Monique carries a deep compassion for those who are suffering and brings a depth of humanity, sensitivity, presence, authenticity and kindness to her counselling, supervising and training roles.

The unfortunate part of being outcast early on in life, is that we tend to do the same kind of self abandonment later in life.  We can do this by staying busy, living life on the surface, looking after other’s needs and forgetting about our own,  addictions, overriding our instincts, ignoring body pain, repressing emotion, etc.  Eventually, the flame inside will start to dim and we start to dry out.  This is when it’s time that we start to find our way back home.  Find our way back to ourselves.

Monique is passionate about supporting, understanding and teaching others about the importance of embodiment and the healing of developmental and complex trauma and its impacts on intimate relationships.  She has a particular passion for supporting anyone affected by issues of diversity, trauma, belonging or identity including adoption, foster care, stolen generation, childhood abuse, disrupted parenting, intercountry relocation and those who identify as a part of the rainbow community.  Monique has a strong belief that safe families belong together.

What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Counselling with adults addresses specific issues or concerns that an individual is currently facing and is often short term in nature where we explore feelings around recent events and how you’ve tried to manage or cope. Counselling with children and adolescents may be specific in nature, or may use the universal language of play instead. It may be child led and not seem like we are focusing on the issue at all, but in fact, the issue often arises in the themes explored through the play.

Psychotherapy with women is a deeply personal journey. It is generally a longer-term process that focuses on the Self where we explore issues of personal meaning. Psychotherapy works on a deeper level of self-understanding and helps you to better manage core issues that underlie persistent or recurring problems in your life. Instead of just talking about the issues you are faced with, a range of modalities or processes may be used to get to the heart of the matter. There can be considerable cross-over between counselling and psychotherapy.

Monique has founded a healing methodology called Somatic Attachment Focused Expressive Therapies® (SAFE-T) and offers a year-long certified training program to counselling professionals in Northern NSW, Australia. Her Counselling, Supervision and Training services create a ripple effect, influencing love relationships in the Northern Rivers and beyond. Monique has studied intensively and is therefore influenced by the work of Dr Peter Levine (founder of Somatic Experiencing), Dr Diane Poole-Heller (founder of Dynamic Attachment Repatterning Experience), Bert Hellinger (founder of Family Constellations), Dora Kalff (founder of Sandplay Therapy), Dr Mark Pearson & Dr Helen Wilson (founders of Expressive Therapies), Dr Susan Johnson (Founder of Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples) and Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper & Bert Powell (Founders of Circle of Security).

Therapy Modalities

As ET is process oriented, body oriented and multi-modal, a range of modalities will be used in sessions with women and young people.  These include:

  • Sandplay Therapy
  • Journal Writing
  • Symbol Work
  • Bioenergetics
  • Body/Somatic Awareness
  • Body Dialogue
  • Movement
  • Sound, music making and listening
  • Mandalas
  • Clay Work/Plasticine
  • Emotion Regulation Processes
  • Drawing for Release
  • Role Play
  • Story Telling
  • Silence
  • Relaxation
  • Visualisation

Sandplay therapy example

Body Focus is a method of interoception that supports the exploration of psychosomatic signals from the body, indicating unconscious feelings carried in implicit memory, which bring attention.Through inner focus and guiding questions clients can connect with areas of the body that seem to hold feelings or sensations that are ready for expression.  Metaphor and imagery are invited as ways of accessing implicit memory and allowing the unconscious to communicate and resolve issues.

Bioenergetics are specific exercises that awaken the flow of emotions and energy within the body.  Held-in emotional pain is often felt as physical pain or tension.  Unexpressed love and generous impulses that have not flowed out can harden and begin to feel like their negative opposites.  The body has many habits of physical holding and muscular contraction. Under this is a healthy energy core.  Freeing the body is a vital aspect of helping clients connect with the positive, creative self.

​Sandplay Therapy is a hands-on, expressive counselling and psychotherapy modality that has been in use for over 80 years.

Sandplay forms a bridge between verbal therapy and the expressive therapies, combining elements of each. Sandplay allows the deeper aspects of the psyche to be worked with naturally and in safety, and is highly effective in reducing the emotional causes behind difficult behaviours and moving clients toward greater internal security.

With an extensive research and literature base, Sandplay is a powerful therapeutic method for use by established professionals. It has been used with children, adolescents and adults, in schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and private therapy practices.

Symbol Work combines activities with Gestalt theory and applies this to working with small symbolic objects. The play aspect of this approach makes it inviting and non-threatening.

Symbol Work is used with children, adolescents and adults and can help resolve personal problems, reclaim forgotten qualities and provide a framework for the individual to reconnect with positivity and direction within themselves.

Emotion Regulation Processes can help deal with the underlying feelings that may be driving an individual’s behaviour and support a sense of balance and integration. Through process work we can express current feelings as well as work back through old feelings and behaviour patterns that add fuel to acting-out and withdrawal. These implicit memories, or imprints from the past, can contribute to sabotage in daily life. Emotion focussing methods can be used to regulate both conscious and unconscious emotions and integrate in explicit memory, creating a more current narrative. Process work provides a safe, structured way of encountering troublesome issues and supports the deep healing of anger, grief, loss, rage and resentment.

Frequently Asked Questions

My counselling fee is $160 for a 60 min session.

A commitment to a series of 6 sessions, to be used over a 4 month period, reduces the fee to $150 per session.

4 x 1 day workshop series, ‘Switch on Security‘ – $450.

5 x 3-hour workshop series, ‘Wild Soul‘ – $380.

You do not need a referral to access my service as I do not access the Mental Health Care rebate. This allows me to work outside the medical system reducing any impact to you regarding lack of confidentiality related to insurance claims or career progression.

I keep fees to a minimum so my rates are competitive and match the gap fee that is typically charged by some psychologists. Please check your health fund to see if they cover counselling/psychotherapy services. Medibank Private and BUPA insurers are eligible to seek rebates for counselling. Please check your policy.

You can claim a rebate for sessions with me if you have the appropriate extras cover in your private health insurance. I offer provider numbers for BUPA, Medibank Private, ARHG, Police Health Fund, Emergency Services Health, Pheonix Health, GMHBA, Teachers Union Health, AIA and Westfund.

If you’re a new client, you may wish to book in a single session to start with so you can make sure I’m the right person to support your healing and growth. If you feel you want to continue, you will get the best value by booking a package of sessions and making a commitment to your personal growth.

I usually recommend fortnightly sessions and sticking with a consistent time that suits you. This way, booking a 6-session Psychotherapy pack would give you support over 12 weeks. This is a gentle way to begin entering into therapeutic work, or for those who have something very specific they want to work through in a short space of time.

24 hours notice to reschedule appointments is greatly appreciated.  ​Forgotten appointments will require full payment as I set the time aside for you.

To make an appointment with me, please get in touch by email.  Please let me know your preferred day and time for counselling, who referred you to my service (so that I can thank them), and a little about your reasons for coming to counselling.

I will be in touch within 48 hours and will send some forms to complete and some available session times.

All Individual counselling and psychotherapy sessions are 60 mins.

I am available for sessions on Thursdays and Fridays during business hours.

My clinic is located at ‘Safe Have Studio’ in Diddillibah on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

For women wanting to gather together within a closed group with other women to explore mind-body interventions, creativity processes and a personal Sandplay process, I recommend the Wild Soul therapeutic workshop series.  Gathering together in a group can significantly deepen and reduce the cost of tending to one’s inner soul life.  These workshops are not recommended as a replacement for one-on-one therapy but are supportive for women who want to nurture the inner journey and keep the flame alive amongst the busyness of life.  See Workshops for dates, venue, investment and times.

For women wanting to gain a better understanding of their own Attachment System and blueprint for relating, where it came from, how it plays out in their relationships, and most importantly what to do in order to enhance greater secure functioning, I recommend the Switch on Security psycho-educational workshop series.  Keep an eye out for workshop dates and times.

About Therapy

Monique Pangari
M Ed (SGC); M Ed (BM); B Ed/B Arts (Psych); Adv Dip ET; Cert IV TAA; COSP; EFT-C; PMACA
The way I work: I am trained in a range of therapeutic modalities and may invite you to engage in one or many of these in each session. These include Sandplay Therapy, the selection of symbolic figures which may be placed in a tray of sand to express on the outside what’s happening on the inside; Expressive Therapy modalities like journal writing, symbol work, clay work, drawing or movement which support a deeper understanding of content and also allow for expression from the unconscious, which is a very helpful way to heal trauma; Attachment Therapy which may include the invitation to explore relationship dynamics with others in your life; and Somatic Experiencing, which is a body focused, trauma healing modality to support a greater connection with your body in order to enhance greater flow and expansion in your system.

Interested in asking me a question about counselling?

Book a Session

I am available for sessions on Mondays and Fridays during business hours and Saturday afternoons by request.

My clinic is located at ‘THRIVE Clinic: Relationship Specialists’, 138 Dalley Street, Mullumbimby, Northern NSW, Australia.

To make an appointment with me, please get in touch by phone or email Or fill out the form below

    Upcoming Workshops:

    A three-day ACA accredited pre-requisite workshop to introduce you to the power of Somatic Expressive Therapies to increase integration, wholeness and well-being.

    Certificate in ​Somatic ​Sand Therapy™ (Level 1) – 2024

    February 9, 2024 @ 9:00 am - February 11, 2024 @ 5:00 pm

    An accredited series of live, online and in-person, workshops to introduce the use of Somatic Sand Therapy™ in the clinical setting.

    Certificate in Somatic Sand Therapy™ (Level 2) – 2024

    April 12, 2024 @ 9:00 am - April 14, 2024 @ 5:00 pm

    An accredited live online & in-person extension workshop series for advanced use of Somatic Sand Therapy™ in the clinical setting.

    A face-to-face, 5-month, ACA accredited training program designed to teach you how to transform attachment theory into practice using somatic and expressive modalities.

    “I really loved the depth of play I experienced in the Sandplay and Symbol Work. Monique’s experience and wisdom within the field makes it easy and effortless to trust in each of the processes. Her presence is calm and reassuring.”

    Therapist, Brisbane

    “Monique’s ability to hold a safe, nurturing space in which to learn and heal was paramount to the emotional, relational and intellectual depth I was able to go to in the training.”

    Psychologist, Gold Coast

    “I am more confident that I can connect with children and build trust as well as a deeper and more reflective practice. Monique brings a passion and genuineness to this work. Her experience working with children and parents was evident and useful.”

    Linda Casuarinna, Psychologist

    “The highlight for me was the blend of experiential and theoretical. It was just right! Monique was compassionate and experienced with a good understanding of the range of material across Sandplay, Symbol Work and Trauma theories. This was an enticing introduction to a great combination of topics. It was well presented, informative and enriching. There was a good mix of personal and professional learning.”

    Psychologist, Alice Springs

    “This course was invaluable, surprising, unfolding and growthful! Monique is awesome. She has a wealth of knowledge, is supportive, experienced and flexible. I loved discovering new parts of myself, the connections I made with other colleagues and the case presentations. Engaging in my own Sandplay Process has been most informative in my work with clients. I have learned to trust the process and am more present with my clients.”

    Shivawn Davis, Speech Pathologist/Counsellor

    “Monique, thank you so much for such a powerful and healing training. I appreciate how much energy you put in to your training and wish to acknowledge you for your beautiful presence throughout. You are an incredible teacher and therapist and such an amazing role model for us to learn from. I am so grateful that I made the decision to invest in my personal and professional development. I sense that this course will be life changing for me.”

    DV Counsellor, Alice Springs

    “I loved the whole program, but especially enjoyed the Sandplay activities. This was my first experience with Sandplay Therapy and I was very excited by it and its potential. I love Monique’s style of sharing her knowledge. She is warm, kind, safe, generous, knowledgable and awesome!! This training was absolutely inspiring!”

    Somatic Therapist, Brisbane

    “Monique is absolutely lovely & wonderful! She has such a great mix of personal, accessible energy along with depth and breadth of experience, as well as the ability to convey theoretical concepts clearly.”

    Counsellor, Brisbane

    “Monique was excellent! She has a great knowledge of both Trauma and Sandplay. Her sensitivity and skill as a therapist came into play allowing greater focus on the experiential aspect of learning the content and tools.”

    Counsellor, Mullumbimby

    “Monique is so masterful and authentic. She is delightful and brought symbols and Sandplay to life. This training was enriching and transformative. It will change my practice and my ability to work with people in any context.”

    Social Worker, Brisbane

    “This course has completely changed the way I work. It gave me the most appropriate model of therapy for children experiencing domestic violence. I enjoyed learning in a supportive, mindful and inspiring environment. Monique is a wonderful teacher. She lives and breathes what she teaches and inspired me to do the same.”

    Aisling Fry, DV Counsellor