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Compassionate counselling for Bullsbrook and surrounds

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Residents of Bullsbrook and surrounds seeking compassionate and client-centred mental health support have a new option, with Tammy Zabeo — a registered counsellor with a master’s degree — opening her practice to serve the community.

Tammy (pictured below) has extensive experience across many disciplines, including managing alcohol and drug dependencies and complex chronic trauma. Although she also has an undergraduate degree in psychology, it was through counselling that she felt she could make the most impact with people, and made this the focus of her post-graduate studies.

Tammy explains, “For me, what is important and fundamental about counselling is that it is client-led — I don’t go into a session with my own agenda. That person is driving the bus, I’m just sitting there, kind of guiding.” Her method focuses on helping clients see connections in their lives, and developing strategies to manage their situations.

Tammy chose to start her own practice to stay true to her vision, and avoid the constraints of working for government organisations. “There’s way too many policies, procedures, politics,” she said. “How you are funded determines a lot of how you run your sessions, and what you put into those sessions. And that is not client-led for me.”

Tammy recognised a significant gap in mental health services in Bullsbrook, particularly affordable options. “There was nowhere that people could access counselling that wasn’t going to cost them an arm and a leg. It’s hard at the moment, who can afford to spend 150 bucks on one counselling session?”

In addition to one-on-one counselling, Tammy also runs two support groups at the Ethel Warren Bullsbrook Community Centre. The Thursday group supports those at any stage of recovery from alcohol or drug dependence. “Group work is an invaluable source of support for people in recovery,” Tammy notes. “It can be daunting at first, but once you take the initial leap, the rewards far outweigh the fear.

“One of the biggest group rules that we have is that what happens in the room, and who rocks up to the room, stays in the room. It’s not anyone else’s business to talk about what goes on. It’s not your story.”

A second group meets on Tuesday evenings for those caring for someone with alcohol or drug dependence. “This is for anyone who has someone in their life in addiction or recovery – your brother, auntie, wife, son, co-worker etc. It is about learning how to manage that relationship, including setting boundaries, and avoiding enabling,” says Tammy.

The support groups run from 6.30-7.30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For other enquiries, you can email Tammy at tammy.zabeo@gmail.com or give her a call on 0419 194 205.