|Avigail Abarbanel (b. 1964)
Psychotherapist / Supervisor / Trainer
BA(Hons.), Grad. Dip. Psych/Couns.(JNI),
Cert. Gestalt Counselling
Ph 07913 295 029
About my work
Individual: £60 per session (90 minutes).
Couple: £65 per session (90 minutes).
Family: £75 per session (90 minutes).
Clinical supervision: £75 per session (90 minutes).
Payment is due at the end of each session. I accept cheques, cash, cards, or BACS for clients who use internet banking.
Appointments & Availability
My sessions are 90-minutes long. Over many years of practice I have learned that an hour and a half offer a better length of time for therapeutic processes to conclude naturally and organically without needing to interrupt or stop them artificially. An hour and a half also allows for proper closure, so that clients never leave sessions in a vulnerable state but can ground themselves and get on with what they have to do after the session*.
*Having said that, even with a 90-minute session, it’s sometimes helpful to try to schedule sessions when you know you don’t have anything demanding afterwards. The kind of changes that effective psychotherapy triggers in the brain need time to become established. We call it ’time to process’. What ‘processing’ means in reality is the time it takes for our neurones to make new connections and reinforce them. This kind of processing is physically tiring (because it is a physical process) and consumes brain (mental) energy, which tends to not leave much for other things especially if they are demanding.
Monday —10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00
Tuesday — 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
Monday & Tuesday appointments are at my home counselling room near Croy.
Address: Kilmalieu Cottage, Croy IV2 5PW (0.5 mile before Croy if you come via the back road from Inverness. I am across the field from Cantraybridge College).
Thursday — 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00
Thursday appointments are in Inverness at Therapy 1st, 1st floor, 1 Ardross Street, Inverness IV3 5NN
I ask for 24 hours notice for cancellation or the full fee applies. This does not apply in the event of an emergency or illness.
I was born in Israel in 1964 and moved to Australia with my first husband in 1991 aged 27. In 1995 I graduated from Macquarie University in Sydney with a BA(Hons) in social science. When I decided to change direction and become a psychotherapist, I was fortunate to discover the Jansen Newman Institute (JNI) in Sydney where I felt immediately at home. In 1998 I completed my Graduate Diploma in Individual Psychotherapy and Relationship Therapy at JNI, and during 1999 continued to study for a Certificate in Gestalt Counselling at the Illawarra Gestalt Centre. In the same year I moved to Canberra with my second husband Ian, and opened my private practice, Fully Human Psychotherapy and Counselling.
After arriving in Canberra I joined the local psychotherapy and counselling association Counselling and Psychotherapy Association Canberra and Region (CAPACAR – formerly ANNC, Australian National Network of Counsellors). I served as Secretary during 2000-2001 and as President in 2002. I have been on the Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) National Register since 2003 and in 2006 was accepted as a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy(BACP). In May 2008 I received my accreditation with the BACP. I then joined Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA) and am also on the BACP Register, which is accredited by the UK Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.
Memberships of these associations is important for clients because it means that among other things, I abide by these associations’ ethical standards and codes of practice. Information about ethics and standards of training and practice can be found on all professional associations’ websites. Please also look at my Ethics section on this site.
What I love to do as a therapist
As a humanistic psychotherapist I am passionate helping people grow and develop towards their full potential so they can live a fuller and more sastifying life. I prefer working as a generalist practitioner rather than specialising in one area because it makes my work more interesting and challenging. Over the years I have worked with many adult (male and female) survivors of childhood trauma and sexual abuse; an area I find immensely inspiring. I also love working with couples and relationships in general.
The best experience is working with motivated clients who are interested in getting to the bottom of their problems, who have an interest in their own growth and development and who are keen to make the most of themselves and their lives. I am probably not the best therapist for people who wish to focus only on symptom reduction or on managing symptoms.
I believe that my job is to make myself redundant. Therefore I am passionate about passing on skills and knowledge to clients that they can use for the rest of their lives. My work combines skills and principles from a wide range of approaches and is tailored to the client’s needs and therapeutic goals. However, everything I do and the entire therapy process is grounded in neuroscience through the great contribution of Interpersonal Neurobiology.
My passion for being a therapist and helping people grow and heal comes partly from my personal history as a victim of childhood abuse. It has taken many years to overcome my own trauma and in particular the discouraging messages I received, that I was not worthy and had nothing useful to contribute, or that I shouldn’t expect too much out of life or other people. It has not been easy but it is possible to transform individual suffering into something useful that can help other people.
In my family and my culture I was taught to never talk to strangers (or anyone really) about my personal life and my problems. To even admit to anyone that I had problems was seen as a sign of weakness and personal failure, and I was taught to ‘get on with things’ and not to dwell or complain. So when I went to a therapist for the first time, it was a very uncomfortable and awkward experience. I felt ashamed because I saw myself as unable to cope with my problems on my own, and I felt like I was betraying my family. It took me a long time to open up and to trust the therapist, and even longer for the shame to finally go away. I never want to forget how this felt. I imagine that for many people, going to see a therapist can be just as difficult and strange as it was for me. So I have the utmost respect for people who make the decision to speak to a therapist. I think it is essential for therapists to know what it feels like to be in the client’s seat.
I attribute my abilities and skills as a therapist just as much to my life experience as I do to my excellent and rich training at JNI, which still sustains me to this day, and to my ongoing professional development. I consider myself very fortunate and blessed that I am where I am in my life, and that I am able to work in the area I am passionate about.
A big part of being well and having a healthy and growing brain, involves not just tolerating but fully accepting all of our emotions. It also involves learning to trust and support all of our inner experience. This humanistic way of thinking about mental health and well being isn’t new. But now there is a proper scientific basis for it from neuroscience. Many people come to therapy in a state of war with themselves. It’s not their fault. It is a combination of how our brain has evolved and how we are brought up.
I love helping people change their inner environment, from one that can be quite hostile and troubled to a loving and safe inner space. I do this by helping people work effectively and skilfully with their inner child and develop their adult self or inner parent (that I sometimes call ‘captain’ because I like Star Trek). Bringing neuroscience into therapy through the new perspective of Interpersonal Neurobiology is very exciting and I believe it is changing the field of psychotherapy for the better, making it more relevant and more grounded in science.
(Image by Highland artist Mike Forbes)
Over the years I have facilitated support and therapy groups as well as workshops and seminars on relationships, assertiveness and boundaries, grief and change, overcoming debilitating habits like overeating, shopping etc, and my ‘starship captain’ theory (More about this soon). I love teaching and facilitating groups and workshops, and hope to be able to continue to offer them in the future.
I have also supervised therapists for a number of years and offer clinical supervision in addition to my therapy work.
My personal interests include reading, writing, cooking and baking, and singing. I am committed to my own journey and psychological and spiritual development, and make sure I have time for myself to do the things I love. For those familiar with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, my profile is INFP.
I have been an activist for Palestinian rights since 2001 and have a separate website for my political writing (avigailabarbanel.webs.com). I am deeply concerned about the state of the world, the environment and human society. My choice has been so far to try and contribute to what is healthy and positive through my work with clients and the way I interact with others. While I am aware of what isn’t so good, just or fair in the world, I make sure this doesn’t crush my spirit. I wrote my thoughts about this a few years ago in my paper ‘Engaging with the Dark Side’, which you can find in the Resources section of this website.
I love animals and have two cats (Fritz and Laura) who came with me from Australia. But I am by no means exclusively a ‘cat person’.
My personal website and blog can be found here.
If you have any questions about what you read please contact me.