Counselling & Bodywork for Trauma Release | Start Emotional Healing
How I started out in academia studying human rights, and ended up working holistically in trauma therapies.
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My past & emotional healing

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Crimean settlement camp 2001

I never imagined I would work in the area of emotional healing! I was on a path to becoming an academic. In my twenties I earned my Ph.D. researching the non-violent nationalist movement of a minority people who had endured genocide during the Soviet era – the Crimean Tatars. I was then and am now passionate about human rights and peaceful protest!

As a young doctoral student, I even lived for several months in a settlement camp in Crimea, Ukraine. As refugees in their own ancestral homeland, the Crimean Tatars struggled for access to health care, jobs, and legal recognition. I witnessed intergenerational poverty, disease and trauma alongside community building, family networks, and government-led persecution.

They were daily discriminated against as a migrant minority, targeted with violence, and sick with blood diseases due to a toxic environment – yet I also found thriving family cultures and much love.

I remember being so impacted by the environment, from the human struggles to the very land itself which felt haunted by hundreds of years of war (the Crimea is one of the great crossroads of human civilisation). In the evenings I would just sit in my room and try to meditate – the beginning of my own mindfulness practice.

As a result of that time, I developed a thirst to understand how we can help ourselves even when the structures of our society fail us.

It seemed unfathomable to me the kinds of daily suffering people could endure, and my heart gradually grew weary of academia. I wanted to directly work with people.

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My wish came true, because I then became a mother. I stayed at home with my 3 children (working from home part time eventually), which was really a deeply held dream I had and an experience that is completely in alignment with my values and personality.

I was (and am) very much an ‘Earth mother’ – an advocate for natural birth (I had an amazing home water birth of my daughter), attachment parenting, non-violent communication and alternative schooling. Those kids are now all young adults.

The journey of becoming a practitioner

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My marriage ended in my late 30s, so as a newly single parent, I had to find work fast. My youngest was only 3! It was a full crisis for me. Early unexamined trauma resurfaced and began to drive my behaviour. I was so poor I struggled to put food on the table much less pay for holidays. I became a camper so that my kids and I could have affordable fun – and you know what? Camping is now one of their favorite childhood memories!

My meditation practice had evolved over the years since my time in the settlement camp in Crimea, and it definitely helped me get through the difficult times.

In any case, it was my own healing journey that led me to see the value of working with emotional healing. I quickly trained as a practitioner, beginning with body-based modalities (see below).

Throughout this journey, as I healed myself, my ex husband and I mended our differences and now he is one of my closest friends! Not possible for everyone, of course, but we were both committed to healing, and that’s where we’ve ended up. Not to mention, I now have had a wonderful partner and 3 gorgeous stepdaughters.

My Training

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I got my start in Shamanic or Tantric De-armouring (with Andrew Barnes), learning how the body held onto trauma both physically and energetically, and how releasing it through touch could not only help release long-held patterns, but could also trigger the client into bliss states on the table.

My bodywork beginnings showed me how powerfully we hold onto trauma in our muscles, tissues, nervous system, our memories and our patterns, and my ability to see how an individual held onto and then released trauma has informed all of my other studies since.

I desired to understand more about the body, and studied myofascial massage and craniosacral therapy (with Patricia Farmsworth) for a short while before stumbling into biodynamic cranial approach with Giorgia Milne.

I have never turned back from this path of stillness, where the body can enter into Wholeness and flow, and through which the past, and all its traumas, can become ‘a story of another life.’

Yet, there was another piece remaining that required my attention, and that was the mind connection.

I wanted to understand how to change the neural pathways that led to negative thinking, chronic worry, low self-esteem and more. So I also became qualified in hypnotherapy, coaching and neurolinguistic programming (at the Mind Academy).

6 Core Practices for Peace

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All this time, I practiced a form of mindfulness that came from decades of studying the contemplative traditions, and it was in the midst of my training that I began to develop my own mindfulness program of 6 core practices. These practices not only shifted my perspective considerably; they helped my clients time after time.

Bringing it All Together

Only after I had spent years studying bodywork and mind-change modalities, and healed my own past, did it all come together at last.

My approach (the three Rs: release trauma from body, rewire the mind, realign to Wholeness) grew out of what worked for me and for my clients, and this approach continues to benefit my clients and program participants today.

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Now, I’m one of the few experts in trauma who works with the body (somatic approach) as well as the mind and soul in order to release held trauma, and facilitate a happy, healthy and fulfilling relationship with yourself and others.

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Whether you suffer from trauma, relationship ending or abuse, intimacy problems, stress or breakdown, there is more to recovery than just relieving symptoms – I don’t just say it, I have LIVED it, and continue to witness it unfolding in my work.

There is an opportunity to go beyond healing, into greater self-awareness and deeper peace and connection – and my signature methodology can help you get there.

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My Qualifications

Diplomas in Life Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Neurolinguistic programming (The Mind Academy).

Certificate Myofascial Release Therapy (with Patricia Farmsworth at the Craniosacral Therapy Academy of Australia)

Training in Shamanic Body De-armouring (with Andrew Barnes).

 Biodynamic Cranial Approach (with Giorgia Milne) (+ Mentorship over 7 years)

Certificate in Youth Counselling (TAFE)

Roses in the Ocean Suicide Prevention Training

Mental Health First Aid Training

Certificate in Mindfulness Facilitation (Rita Riccola, Mindfulness Australia)

Ph.D. in Economics (U. Sydney)

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The Coach Foundation has identified Michelle as one of the premier Mindfulness Coaches in the industry.

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