Physical Illness, Injury, Disability

*Please note that unfortunately my room is not wheelchair accessible.

How Can Psychological Therapy & Counselling Help People with Physical Illness, Injury or Disability?

Psychological therapy and counselling can help people with illness, injury or disability with practical pain, fatigue and adaptive management strategies, coping with emotions, suffering and uncertainty, integrating and finding meaning in their experiences, improving quality of life and enhancing healthy self esteem, compassion, acceptance and personal development. Emotional support is valuable in a society that has difficulty dealing non-judgmentally and compassionately with the suffering, grief and loss involved.

I have experience working with people with a wide variety of chronic, serious and life threatening physical illness, injury and disability in hospital, community, educational and private environments. I have a particular interest in:

Female Pelvic/Sexual Pain and Infertility

Female pelvic/sexual pain and infertility affects many women and causes include endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, bladder, kidney, skin, nerve and orthopedic conditions, ovarian cysts, fibroids, intestinal disorders, sexually transmitted infections and cancers. It is extremely distressing and disruptive to the lives of sufferers, who can feel defective, worthless, guilty, anxious, devastated, depressed, hopeless, angry and isolated. IVF treatment can involve an emotional roller coaster of hope, excitement, grief, loss and shattered dreams.

However, female pelvic/sexual pain and infertility are still taboo subjects and accurate diagnoses and treatment often take many years, adding to the suffering involved. Female pelvic/sexual pain has traditionally not been taken seriously and attributed to psychological causes (“it’s in your head”), despite mostly being caused by identifiable and often treatable medical conditions. The personal nature of pelvic/sexual pain and infertility also make it difficult to talk about and well-meaning others can also make hurtful and invalidating assumptions about associated relationship problems and childlessness. Psychological therapy and counselling can effectively assist and support women suffering these conditions.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain injury (TBI) is very common and affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. Causes of damage to the brain include falls, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, sporting accidents and self-harm. TBI is complex and affects individuals differently. Cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems can sometimes be subtle and easily misunderstood. I have worked in a Brain Injury Community Rehabilitation Service so I have experience working with this population. In my private practice I am interested in assisting people with their psychological adjustment to TBI*.  I also provide supportive counselling to partners and families of people with TBI.

*Clients with TBI must initiate their own therapy and have adequate insight and cognitive function to participate in therapy at my practice. 


As an intern psychologist I ran relaxation therapy groups and provided individual supportive counselling and therapy to women recovering from surgery in a gyneacological oncology ward of a major hospital. Cancer is a very common disease (there are about 100 different types of cancer), and leading cause of death in Australia but at least 66% of people diagnosed with cancer will survive more than 5 years after diagnosis (Cancer Council Australia). Cancer and its treatment affect people in many different ways including physically, cognitively, emotionally, socially and occupationally. It can impact on people’s identity and functioning significantly and this can be traumatic and life changing. Psychological therapy and counselling can effectively assist and support people during and after these experiences.

For therapy & counselling related to physical illness, injury or disability, contact Lesley Russell on 0412 638 749, email, or complete my enquiry form.

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