How I Work…

As a psychotherapist, I work with clients over a series of sessions. This could be weekly, fortnightly or monthly, depending on what feels comfortable for you. My approach is integrative and multi-modal, holistic and highly interpersonal.

I draw from a wide range of interventions from talk therapy to interactive creativity processes that I’ve trained in over the years. These include Kalffian Sandplay Therapy, Expressive Therapies, Symbol Work, Emotion Focused encounters, Attachment Repatterning, Somatic Experiencing®, NeuroAffective Touch®, Circle of Security, Family Constellations and Voice Dialogue. For a deeper dive into my philosophy keep reading, otherwise you can skip down the page for a more detailed description of some of these interventions.

Much of how we interact with ourselves, others and the world is shaped by our early life experiences. In our most formative relationships we develop what’s known as a ‘working model of self ‘ and a ‘working model of other’. These working models, mostly unconscious, shape our expectations of ourselves and others, our lens through which we see the world, and our sense of worthiness. Therefore, identifying and renegotiating both remembered and forgotten patterns formulated in the past, can decrease any charge they may hold and help us move on from old patterns, instead of being hijacked by them, to create a desired future. In this way, my approach is firmly based on psychodynamic theory, whilst using more contemporary approaches to therapy such as Dynamic Attachment Repatterning experience (DARe) in combination with Somatic Experiencing®.

As much of how we interact with life comes from unconscious patterning, I’m also an avid lover of how symbolism, archetypes, myths, fairytales, poetry and music can stir the soul, move the body and inform our intuition. Consequently, my approach is also founded on analytical psychology and the Jungian principles of active imagination, fantasy, archetypes, dreamwork and the collective unconscious.

My practice is further informed by systems theory, feminism, social justice and social activism. We cannot ignore the impact of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, religious persecution, colonisation, removal of children, social media, etc on our individual lives and in our intergenerational histories. The impact of the social and political culture in which we are raised and live can project many subjective & unseen injustices onto our psyche and soma. In therapy, I believe it is important to bring to light what these injustices are and how they impact our lives.

And lastly, with so much research over the past twenty years into neuroscience, polyvagal theory and the importance of body-mind integration, my inner geek loves to apply the science to therapeutic practices that have been around for a long time in order to refine them, trust them and deepen them. When it comes to healing trauma, I have been deeply touched, both personally and professionally, by the profound healing power of Sandplay Therapy, Somatic Experiencing® and NeuroAffective Touch®. I support client’s best through a ‘bottom-up’, sensory and symbolic lens that integrates the use of these three modalities over a series of ongoing sessions.

Psychotherapeutic Interventions

“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain”.  C.G. Jung.

​Sandplay Therapy is a hands-on, expressive counselling and psychotherapy modality that has been in use for over 80 years.  It is a powerful therapeutic method that facilitates the psyche’s natural capacity for healing.

Sandplay provides a space for contact with the symbolic, internal world and forms a bridge between body and mind, combining elements of each. Sandplay allows the deeper aspects of the psyche to be worked with naturally, in silence and in safety, and is highly effective in building internal resources, emotional regulation and states that are essential for secure relating.

In sandplay, the client creates a concrete manifestation of their inner world using wet or dry sand in a tray and symbolic figurines or objects found in nature.  In doing so sandplay allows one to honour, witness and illuminate their internal symbolic, often unconscious world, providing a place for its expression within a safe and protected space.

Over a series of sessions, sandplay can access pre-verbal and implicit (forgotten) memories.  Through the tangible emergence of personal and archetypal symbols, one moves toward a greater sense of wholeness and balance.

Somatic Experiencing (SE™) aims to resolve symptoms of stress, shock, and trauma that accumulate in our bodies. When we are stuck in patterns of fight, flight or freeze, SE helps us release, recover and become more resilient. It is a body-oriented therapeutic model applied in professional settings, like psychotherapy, for healing trauma and other stress disorders. It is based on a multidisciplinary intersection of physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices and medical biophysics and has been clinically applied for more than four decades. It is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. Levine.

The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. It offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states.

Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict.

The Somatic Experiencing approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.

Dr. Levine was inspired to study stress on the animal nervous system when he realized that animals are constantly under threat of death, yet show no symptoms of trauma. What he discovered was that trauma has to do with the third survival response to perceived life threat, which is freeze. When fight and flight are not options, we freeze and immobilize, like “playing dead.” This makes us less of a target. However, this reaction is time-sensitive, in other words, it needs to run its course, and the massive energy that was prepared for fight or flight gets discharged, through shakes and trembling. If the immobility phase doesn’t complete, then that charge stays trapped, and, from the body’s perspective, it is still under threat. The Somatic Experiencing method works to release this stored energy and turn off this threat alarm that causes severe dysregulation and dissociation. SE helps people understand this body response to trauma and work through a “body first” approach to healing.

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

  • Journal Writing
  • Symbol Work
  • Bioenergetics
  • Body/Somatic Awareness
  • Body Dialogue
  • Movement
  • Sound, music making and listening
  • Mandalas
  • Clay Work/Play Dough
  • Emotion Regulation Processes
  • Drawing for Release
  • Role Play/Fantasy
  • Emotion Focused Encounters
  • Story Telling
  • Silence
  • Visualisation
  • Active Imagination

The body cannot be touched without engaging the mind, and the mind cannot be engaged without affecting the body“.     Dr. Aline LaPierre Creator of NeuroAffective Touch®

Some of us had experiences where our earliest developmental needs were not met.  This may have been due to complications at birth, early health emergencies, parental relinquishment, orphanage care, loss of primary caregiver, family violence, abuse or neglect.

Scientific research has shown what many women have known for eons, that gentle, attuned and caregiving touch through nurturing skin-to-skin contact as we enter the world and beyond, is critically important for normal brain development and maturation, physiological and emotional regulation, socio-emotional development, immune system function, cognitive function, regular sleep patterns, as well as language and motor development.  Therapeutic Touch has proven particularly important in helping to repair unfulfilled preverbal needs.  A lack of healthy, appropriate and nurturing touch is often one of the contributing elements of developmental trauma.

NeuroAffective Touch® uses therapeutic touch as a vital bridge to body-mind integration.  It addresses attachment, emotional and relational deficits that cannot be reached by verbal means alone. Therapeutic touch, in a safe clinical setting, can support communication with our first imprints by addressing the three essential states necessary for secure attachment and the healthy foundation of self: “I exist,” “I am loved,” and “My needs are important.”

Dr. Aline LaPierre, founder of this model, explains the name in the following way:

Neuro. Touch is a form of nonverbal communication that reaches deep into our inner personal space. Therapeutic touch not only touches the surface of the skin; it also touches thousands of sensory nerve receptors in the joints, muscles, connective tissue, and organs. These sensory receptors are nerve endings that carry information directly to the brain…hence the term “neuro.”

Affective. Touch has a strong emotional impact. During touch work, clients often say: “It’s like you’re touching my emotions.” The nervous system and emotions are deeply intertwined and cannot be separated…hence the term “affective.”

If you would like to integrate NeuroAffective Touch® into your sessions, please let Monique know so that you can complete a Touch Consent Form.

Symbol Work is the choosing of small symbolic figurines and objects from nature or from my extensive collection, to project feelings or dynamics that are occurring out in front to be identified, witnessed and worked with.  It applies the principles of Gestalt theory and can be used to look at external relational dynamics, or internal family systems. It can be used alone, or in combination with drawing, dialogue, movement and emotion regulation processes.  The play aspect of this approach makes it inviting and non-threatening, often times bringing invaluable insight from within.

I use Symbol Work with women to help resolve personal problems, reclaim forgotten qualities and to provide a framework to reconnect with inner resources and future direction.

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 emotional encounters and process work we can express current feelings, as well as work back through old feelings and behaviour patterns that add fuel to dysregulated states, such as anxiety (hyperarousal), depression (hypoarousal) and withdrawal (protection). These implicit memories, or imprints from the past, can contribute to sabotage in daily life. Emotion regulation methods can be used to regulate both conscious and unconscious emotions and integrate in explicit memory, creating a more current, productive and coherent narrative. Emotional regulation 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.


For information about my fees and to make a booking please click here.

Upcoming Workshops…

Wild Soul – 2023

November 24 @ 2:00 pm - December 22 @ 5:00 pm

Switch on Security – 2024

August 2, 2024 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

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, Thursdays and Fridays during business hours.

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

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

    “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

    “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

    “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, 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 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

    “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

    “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

    “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 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’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

    “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