Sophie* (7) was referred to me by a clinical psychologist who had been supporting Sophie with her anxiety, particularly her fear of dogs.  Sophie's generalised anxiety had improved but it was felt that the next therapeutic step would be to work with a dog - a great idea.  When Sophie first met Ralph, she was visibly distressed and distanced herself from him on the other side of the room. Sophie insisted that I hold Ralph's lead at all times and required me to keep him facing away on his bed. Over 8 sessions, Sophie has become increasingly confident around Ralph. Some of our exposure activities have included teaching him tricks, walking him down the street, feeding him treats, brushing his fur, and practicing mindfulness in his presence. Teaching Sophie how to be in control of Ralph has made the most difference. Now that she knows how to make him "sit", "stop", "give" and "wait", Sophie is open-minded about trying new things with Ralph.  Having conducted the majority of our sessions in the confines of my safe office, I am now meeting Sophie and her Mum at the local park with Ralph to put her learning into practice.


Anna*, Mum of Georgie* (4), heard me speak on the MumLife Australia podcast and took up the offer a free initial consultation. Anna held concerns about Georgie's anxieties and sensitivities and thus brought Georgie to meet with me, wanting to know if Georgie's behaviour was appropriate for her age and stage of development. Over two sessions, I was able to make assessments about Georgie's mental health wellbeing, particularly her sensitivities. I prescribed some reading to Anna and her husband to try and help them appreciate Georgie's individual needs.  I also engaged Anna in some discussion about her own mental health, commending her ability to be reflective and help-seeking with her parenting.  It was determined that Georgie could benefit from some social skills groups to boost her confidence and Anna agreed to participate in some parenting training with her husband, with content tailored to their family dynamic.


A psychologist diagnosed Hugh* (9) with anxiety and had been working with him for a few months.  He was referred to me when this psychologist felt like their progress had plateaued. Hugh and his Mum were both enthusiastic about meeting Ralph and trying a different approach to address Hugh's mood challenges. Hugh has really enjoyed building a relationship with Ralph - it's been wonderful to see him smile and laugh when teaching Ralph a new trick or lying with him to relax.


Spending time with Ralph during sessions has been a big motivator for Hugh to engage in therapy.  We have been able to work on connecting Hugh's thoughts, feelings and behaviours and with Ralphy's help, we have identified a number of strategies to address Hugh's experiences of worry, disappointment, comparison and perfectionism.  I have often heard Hugh's Mum asking Hugh to reflect on Ralph's actions, using him as a metaphor for giving things a go and needing reassurance. 


P.O. Box 5103, Kew VIC 3101

​0424 115 437

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Servicing: Kew, Balwyn, Camberwell, Glen Iris, Hawthorn, Surrey Hills, Blackburn, Burwood, Doncaster, Forest Hill, Ringwood, Mitcham, Heathmont, Wantirna, and surrounds. Please enquire if your area is not covered as Penny may still be able to assist in some way!