Dr Gemma Gladstone
Advanced Certified Schema Therapist, Trainer and Supervisor (ISST)
BA (Hons) GradDip (Psychotherapy); Cert (Clin Hypnosis)
Member: Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Member: APS Clinical College
Member: International Society of Schema Therapy
It’s fair to say mental health and I go back a long way. I’ve worked in the field since 1995, one quarter of a century, and it continues to be my great professional passion. Finding the very best ways to make a real difference for my clients, no matter how complex or tricky their situation may be, is something that intrigues, challenges and inspires me every day. Being able to help is something I never take for granted.
I’d describe myself as an integrative therapist; someone who brings together lots of different approaches to meet the differing and deeply personal needs of my clients. I take a non-judgemental and respectful stance in my clinical practice and treat each person I work with as a unique individual with an important life story.
Early on in my career I worked mostly in clinical research, including holding the position of Senior Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, UNSW. During that time I was involved in several large-scale research projects examining the nature of depressive disorders including their causes, risk factors, characteristics and outcomes. I completed my PhD within the School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at UNSW, conducting over 500 clinical research interviews with people referred for recurrent or chronic mood disorders. Collectively, those experiences gave me a rich and fairly unique insight into the nature of depression and an invaluable understanding of the role of psychological vulnerabilities, or ‘schemas’.
I decided to start my own private practice in 2001, while continuing to work in research. After several years I then joined my colleague, Dr Justine Corry, in establishing the Good Mood Clinic in 2008, a clinic dedicated to the practice of schema therapy. With our shared values and clinical experience, we had a joint mission to build a practice which focused on understanding and changing psychological vulnerabilities, rather than merely providing short-term symptom relief. Together we aimed to spread the word about schema therapy and to recruit like-minded therapists. It’s something we continue to this day.
Over the past 18 years, I’ve been privileged to work with literally hundreds of clients from every imaginable walk of life, seeking help for all manner of psychological and relationship issues. I’ve had the great fortune to learn from them and gain a deep appreciation for why and how people develop emotional conditions like depression, together with what works – and what doesn’t work – when it comes to interventions!
Time and again, my experiences have reinforced the tremendous value of being able to draw from a variety of effective methods as required. This is why, after using experiential interventions in the treatment of complex trauma, personality disorders, complicated grief and recurrent depression for many years, I decided to complete my Advanced Certification in Schema Therapy. It’s a therapy I’m deeply passionate about, because I know how well it works and how beneficial it can be for understanding complex issues, resolving long-term patterns and tackling persistent emotional disorders like chronic depression. I’m also qualified as a trainer and supervisor, something that allows me to help other mental health professionals learn and practice the many benefits of schema therapy with their own clients.
Beyond my role here at the Good Mood Clinic, I’ve worked in various clinical settings outside of private practice including facilitating Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT, groups and inpatient/outpatient mental health programs. I’ve consulted in business as a coaching psychologist assisting managers better understand their own personality styles (schemas) and how they affect the people around them. I’ve conducted numerous workshops for psychologists and therapists (topics including sexual abuse, schema therapy, personality disorders) as well as working in adult education. I also have a strong professional and personal interest in Buddhist psychotherapy, mindfulness and self-compassion practices. I incorporate these where possible, encouraging my clients to practice meditation and develop self-compassion in their daily life. In my experience there’s a big overlap between Buddhist psychology and schema therapy – as they both aim for better psychological integration and psychological/spiritual growth.
While, yes, I bring decades of experience to my clients, I’m the first to admit there is always more to learn. In fact, I believe it’s essential for a mental health professional to take an active role in their own continued growth and learning. I regularly attend complimentary training in the area of schema therapy and related topics, as well as clinical supervision and reflective practice. I’m a strong believer we should never lose our curiosity for learning in life.
These days, I share my time between running special interest schema therapy workshops, providing supervision to other therapists, and working with individual clients here at the Good Mood Clinic. I see mostly individual clients, but can see couples and families when my case-load permits. I’m also interested in helping parents develop healthier ways to parent their young children from a schema therapy and emotion coaching perspective.
My specialty areas include:
- Depression, including chronic and recurrent depression
- Abandonment issues, healing from early abandonment traumas
- Grief & bereavement (all ages including children)
- Complicated grief, including adults with a history of childhood losses
- Adult survivors of childhood abuse & neglect
- Healing from the effects of narcissistic parenting
- Relationship issues and recurring unhealthy relationship patterns
- Borderline and other personality issues
- Post-rehab schema therapy for alcohol, drug and other addictions
- Food issues and problematic eating (such as emotional or comfort eating)
- Emotion coaching and parenting with young children
- Meditation, mindfulness training and Buddhist psychotherapy applications