Dr Olga Lavalle
I have been working in adult mental health since 1988, and I am currently leading a team of experienced psychologists. I commenced my career in the public sector, and from there, worked in Community Mental Health, Inpatient Mental Health Units, as well as research projects with the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health at the University of Wollongong.
In my own time, I like to stay healthy, lead a balanced life, and when I get any spare time, I enjoy reading. In terms of the psychological treatment that I provide, I conduct assessments, determine diagnoses, and provide treatment for adult mental health disorders. I also have a special interest in grief and loss, and have written a book about the sudden loss of my husband and the grief I endured.
I provide evidenced based treatment tailored to each individual client’s needs. I like to draw from various therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. My work falls within current best practice principles, which is maintained through my commitment to ongoing professional development.
In terms of the referral services, I provide Clinical Psychology services under Medicare, Employee Assistance Programs, and I am an approved WorkCover NSW provider. Additionally, I consult for workplaces and community sporting organisations.
“The greatest challenge to our wellbeing is avoidance of who we are; so connecting and understanding ourselves in terms of how we feel, think, behave, and our values is the path of wellbeing for ourselves”.
Along my personal journey in life, and the journey to developing the skills and knowledge to offer a psychological service to the community, I have come to embody this awareness of avoidance and its influence on our wellbeing. One of my greatest passions is to share this knowledge and the skills to assist other people on their own journeys to healing their pain, finding their inner joy, meaning and leading a life that feels alive with life.
In my role as a Psychologist, I work with individuals in a collaborative process, as this journey to wellbeing is not a straight path, but more like a winding ever expanding kaleidoscope. It becomes a safe meeting place where individuals bring their story and I bring mine, using evidence based therapeutic tools such as standard cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance commitment therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy.
A keen interest of mine is trauma and anxiety related expressions of mental distress in individuals. I predominately work with adults and youth, and have developed a solid foundation of working in community based services, including in psychiatric rehabilitation with young people and community based clinical teams in NSW health with both adults and young people.
A fundamental motivator for me is to give back and help others. In 2004, I completed 3 months community aid work in the South Pacific region; working with a team of young people to help organise a youth skills summit, and assist in eye screening as part of the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Prior to venturing into the field of psychology in 2004, I was accomplished in the Environmental Health Profession in Local government. This work assisted me to gain a solid foundation in life that enhances my professional practice as a Psychologist.
I have qualifications in Bachelor of Arts (Psychology Honors, Post Graduate Diploma in professional Practice and Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Health).
I am a registered psychologist with over eight years’ experience working in a variety of settings. In terms of my psychological approach, I am very gentle and respectful towards clients about addressing their issues and concerns, providing my clients with strategies and skills to get their lives back on track.
I have been involved in research on ‘Pain in Older Australians’ and ‘Depression in Women’, as well as working in educational institutions and private practice settings. I have also delivered workshops on mindfulness, neuroplasticity, stress and anxiety.
I adapt different approaches to suit my client’s needs and circumstances. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Trauma informed care are just some of the approaches adopted by me that have become a strong part of my therapeutic work.
I also have a special interest in the areas of grief and loss, anxiety, stress, relaxation training, mindfulness practices, positive neuroplasticity and trauma.
I am a registered Psychologist and Family Therapist with over 10 years’ experience in mental health care. I have worked with many different clients, ranging from children to adolescents, as well as adults. All of these clients come for varying reasons, and I have learned to work with many different forms of mental health. I have worked with complex trauma, using Trauma Informed Therapeutic Care with highly evidenced models, in order to help my clients recover. These models include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Family Systems Therapy.
I have also worked with clients who have behavioural issues (both in the home and in school), PTSD, adjustment disorders, depression, anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, phobias, and social issues. I have also performed a range of assessments, including cognitive, vocational and behavioural assessments.
As a psychologist who has done a lot of work with children and adolescents, I am also highly experienced in Behavioural Support Planning for both forensic and educational settings, and I have the capability to conduct Parenting Capacity Assessments for both children’s and family court.
In addition to these aspects of my profession, I am also a trainer and psychoeducation facilitator for health care professionals, providing both individual and group Clinical Supervision.