Lewis Consultancy
Psychological services to help people cope, help people change.
Dr. Susan Lewis

I am an Australian licensed Psychologist, licenced in Australia and Israel as a Social Worker and Family Therapist.
I have memberships in:

I work at 2 Yaacov Fichman St, Jerusalem and in Balaclava, Melbourne Australia and have over 35 years experience working with organisations, individuals, couples and families.

My Approach

Clients request services for a variety of reasons and under a variety of circumstances. Some people seek help to resolve personal issues, some with relationship problems and others with work related situations. As part of my family work, I see a lot of stepfamilies drawing from my research work. I also work with many clients dealing with trauma, grief and loss.

Some problems in living can effectively be resolved by drawing on an outside perspective of someone with considerable life experience and a wealth of professional knowledge. Therapy is a process of slowing down and reflecting on the present, providing a space to more fully become aware of our total experience in being. I see that people generally have the tools within themselves to create shifts and opportunities in their lives. Therapy works by drawing on these existing capabilities to help people overcome the challenges encountered in life.

My clients are varied in age, cultural and religious practices.

My core theoretical orientations include the use of a range of theoretical models:

From Family Systems Theory I draw on an understanding that context is central. Individual strengths and weaknesses are learnt in our early experiences and impact on our behavioural patterns in the present. I also understand the unique contribution of culture.

I am interested in the recent research on neoroplasticity and in techniques (eg EFT) which shift the focus of the brain, freeing up feelings which while repressed, maintain patterns (symptoms) capable of interfering with growth and change.

I find Positive Psychology useful in highlighting the specific types of communication styles which enhance our relationships. This model also draws upon theories of mindfulness

I also draw on Behavioural Theories and on Cognitive-Behavioural Techniques (CBT) which have formed part of my practice since graduation but more recently, CBT has been recognized as an effective tool for addressing depression and anxiety. This works by helping people distinguish between thoughts and feelings and interrupts the manner in which these impact on behaviour.

I also find Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) particularly useful in dealing with Trauma. This approach is of value in treating depression and PTSD. Like other cognitive models, it enables the person to make healthier connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It is understood that following a trauma, people can develop a set way of constructing their thoughts, giving selective attention to specific experiences. This pattern influences how people experience their current lives. These patterns of thinking and feeling are referred to as "stuck points". Therapy in this model aims to shift these stuck points. In addition, in a CPT model the work aims to support people in revisiting painful memories which have the potential to be transformed. Avoidance of memories and using stuck ways of thinking are believed to interfere with recovery from Trauma.

Another set of theories which inform my practice are Attachment Theory, Trauma Theory and Psychodynamic Theory. These approaches facilitate understanding the significance of unconscious processes and how they serve to sabotage “logical” solutions to the obstacles and challenges we encounter. These theories emphasize the centrality of interdependence in human relationships.

Regarding attachment theory, it is believed that we rely on “attachment figures“ for protection, support and in regulating our emotions. This is a unique dimension of how human beings develop in the world. By experiencing a safe-haven and secure base the child's confidence levels increase and they are better able to go out and deal with the world. Where this type of attachment wasn't available the child is believed to develop an increased level of anxiety and/or will learn to avoid “disappointing“ close relationships. Alternatively, through a secure attachment the person is more likely to develop an inner sense of security. Changing the past isn't an option, but changing present behaviours by decreasing anxiety and improving current connections provides the way towards recovery.



In a paper delivered at the Conference on Trauma and Mental Health in Jerusalem 2017, Professor Mario Mikulincer spoke about the important link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Attachment Theory. He noted that following a trauma, people will seek out a safe haven, a secure base, not unlike a child in distress searching for a parent figure to help regulate their emotions. A child who is unable to have a secure attachment to a parent figure will experience this as traumatic and this child is more likely to develop a pattern of insecure or avoidant attachments throughout life. A later traumatic event will compound this situation.

Later in life, a person may experience additional trauma and this will add to any early attachment difficulties.

Of course, it is also a strong possibility that in a post trauma situation, the person can seek out a safehaven and secure base within the current environment of the home, army, work, neighbourhood or the professional community.

In this conference I found it to be inspiring to consider that trauma could be viewed broadly as being treatable not only through finding a safe haven and treatment opportunities in a therapeutic context but also in the broader context with the possibility of the whole community being able to learn psychological first aid.

All the speakers at this conference, irrespective of any particular treatment modality, highlighted the essential significance of compassion and care within an authentic therapeutic relationship.

My approach to treatment is individually and broad based. I do not believe that one size fits all and prefer to work collaboratively. I am thoroughly grounded in theories which aid me in understanding human nature and behaviour and have been described as insightful and pragmatic. I am an open and straightforward person who counsels in a manner where interpretations are shared and jointly constructed. My approach to therapy is very interactive within a safe, confidential and authentic relationship. My goal is to help people close the gap between where they are right now and where they want to be.

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Credentials

About Me:

I came to Psychology via Social Work. I have worked as a clinician since my twenties and therefore I bring to my practice considerable life experience and a wealth of professional knowledge. I have maintained a passionate interest in my work and I am fortunate to be able to balance an active life raising a family as well as working with a range of organisations, and individuals and couples of all ages. In addition I work with groups, teach, train and continuously keep up my own learning.

Qualifications

Ph.D. Latrobe University (1991)

M.S.W. Latrobe University (1982)

Dip. Social Studies University of Melbourne (1971)

B.A.(Psych) Melbourne University (1972)

Memberships and Associations

  • Israel Association For Couple and Family Therapy
  • Israel Association of Social Work
  • The Australian Psychological Society
  • Australian Association of Social Work
  • Australian Association of Family Therapy.

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Publications

  • Pre-Conditions for Role Conflict in Social Work Supervision, Unpublished Masters Thesis, 1982. Latrobe University.
  • “Supervision” Australian Association of Marriage and Family Counsellors Newsletter (17), May, 1983.
  • “Theoretical Integration as a Basis for Social Work in a Marriage Counselling Setting”, Australian Social Work, March, 1989.
  • “The Role of Self Awareness in Social Work Supervision”, Australian Social Work, June, 1987.
  • The Parenting Puzzle, (with Ramon Lewis). Hawthorn ACER, 1989.
  • Successful and Failed Remarried Families. Unpublished doctoral thesis, 1991, Latrobe University.
  • Production of a video entitled Professional Supervision Training. Video Resource Guide in conjunction with Dorothy Scott and members of the supervision standing committee.
  • Educational and Organizational Contexts of Professional Supervision in the 1990’s. Australian Social Work. September 1998.
  • The Meeting of Meanings. Psychotherapy in Australia. November 1999.

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Selected Recent Professional Developments

  • Co-Morbidity of Anxiety and Depression with Michael Yapko - 2001
  • Mapping Narrative Conversations with Michael White - 2003
  • Emergency Recovery Workshop with Rob Gordon - 2003
  • Marital Conflict with Jeff Zeig - 2005
  • Managing Sexual Difficulties with Dr Anita Elias - 2007
  • Becoming an Effective Supervisor with Michael Carroll - 2007
  • Anger Disorders and CBT with Raymond Trafate - 2008
  • Recovery and Critical Incidents with Rob Gordon - 2008
  • Narrative Therapy Workshop - 2008
  • Taskforce Against Family Violence with Prof David Pelcovitz - 2008
  • Healthy Eating - 2008
  • Advanced Cognitive Therapy for the Emotional Disorders with Prof Ross Menzies - 2008
  • Creative CBT: 50 Novel Procedures for Helping People Change with Prof Ross Menzies - 2008
  • Attending and facilitating workshops conducted by Mental Health Professional Network - 2009
  • Eating Disorders with Evelyn Field and Naomi Crafti - 2009
  • Conference on Training the Mind. Mindfulness, Brain and Behaviour Israel - 2009
  • Depression in the Post Natal Period MHPN Workshop - 2009
  • Sleep Disorder MHPN Workshop - 2009
  • Conference on International Preparedness to Emergencies and Disasters Israel - 2010
  • Workshop on Treating Disordered Patients with Mindfulness Interventions with Bruce Stevens - 2010
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy by Mark Williams - 2010
  • Protecting yourself as a Professional – Issues of Self Care with Bruce Stevens - 2010
  • Positive Psychology by Dr Dianne Vella-Broderick - 2010
  • Anxiety and Exposure Therapy by Les Posner - 2010
  • Reconnexion – Treating Panic, Anxiety, Depression and Dependency - 2011
  • Cognitive Therapy for Self Esteem: A Transdiagnostic Approach to Anxiety and Depression by Dr Melanie Fennell - 2011
  • Trauma Recovery by Dr Rob Gordon - 2011.
  • Framing Psychological Practice in the Context of Psychoanalytic Theory by Dr Peter Ellingsen - 2011.
  • Sexual Abuse- Communal Response with Joe Tucci; Sen Constable J Russell - September 2011
  • Obsession/Agoraphobia with Les Posner - May 2012
  • Adolescent and Child Trauma with Dr Estie Galili Hadassa Medical Centre - 2012
  • Love, Sex and Relationships with Shmueli Boteach - May 2012
  • Support Systems for Men with Mental Health Problems Guy Avihod - June 2012
  • Rob Gordon Trauma Recovery - July 2012
  • Narrative Theory and Trauma. Jerusalem Institute of Narrative Therapy - 2013
  • Chana Frumin and Gidon Friedman - Reclaiming Life from Trauma� - March 2013
  • Dr George Halasz workshop on Relational Trauma & Sexual Abuse - April 2013
  • Dr Fortunato Benarroch, Trauma Expert, Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem - April 2013
  • Living well with trauma. Ipred conference Tel Aviv, Professors Kulincer, Bryant and Lahad. 2014
  • IPRED conference on Resilience. (Tel Aviv 2014) Presentations:
      Attachment related sources of Resilience and vulnerability to PTSD� (Prof. Mikulincer)
      PTSD and Resilience and Neuro Science (Prof. Richard Bryant)
      An Integrative Model of Resilience (Prof. Mooli Lahad)
  • "Depression and the Elderly" by Mental Health Professional Network, Dr Andrew Gleason and Dr Brent Robertson - February 2014
  • "Working with Trauma" Dr Sue Brann and Naomi Halpern - February, June, September, November 2014
  • Children's Mental Health Service Training (Advanced) - Australian Psychological Society - 2014
  • Case Formulation: The 5 P's - Australian Government Department of Veterans Affairs - 2014
  • Suicide Prevention - Australian Psychological Society, eLearning - 2014
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy with Traumatized Patients. Department of Veteran Affairs - March 2015
  • APPS for Therapy. Michael Carr-Gregg - March 2015
  • Panel on Trauma/Resilience following the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse. Rob Gordon, George Halascz, Nicky Jacobs - March 2015
  • Online training in EFT with Dr Christine Northrup - 2016
  • International Conference on Trauma and Mental Health. Advances in Diagnosis and Management. Jerusalem, Israel - 21-23 May 2017.

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Public talks over many years on the following topics:

  • Intimacy and Communication
  • Finding a partner
  • Enhancing Relationships

Honorary Appointments:

  • Member of AASW Supervision Standing Committee (1983-1994)
  • Member of AASW Continuing Education Committee (1997- 2013)
  • Member of Board of Management, Drummond St. Relationship Centre (1997-2003)
  • Member of the National Education and Knowledge Development Committee (2013-2015)

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Contact Susan
Email: dr.sue@
susanlewis.com.au
Skype:
Aus Mobile:

0413236703

Israeli Mobile:

0587793712