Tessa Ipp – Psychotherapist Sydney NSW
I am passionate about helping adults and young people reach their full potential in relationships, and as confident individuals.
As a counsellor and psychotherapist my career spans more than 15 years working in agencies and private practice settings. I began as a social worker after receiving my Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Sydney helping families in distress and I quickly became fascinated by how a person’s family and school life influences them.
In my work I often found that dysfunctional family patterns of relating are passed down from generation to generation when caregivers are unable or choose not to seek assistance with parenting skills and relationship issues.
After five years of helping children stay safe in homes where domestic violence, drug and alcohol and child abuse issues were evident, my interests in healing family dysfunction broadened to working with young people caught up in the juvenile justice system.
I helped culturally diverse young people overcome anger management as well as drug and alcohol issues. It was rewarding watching young people discover their true identities and go on to improve their self-esteem by breaking habits associated with addiction. As they understood their feelings, thoughts and behaviours, they came to realise their addictive behaviour was being used to suppress their emotional pain. This emotional pain stemmed from the absence of appropriate role models and a lack of belonging in society.
I saw what a vital and significant role families play in shaping the individual, and so I returned again to working with families, couples and individuals struggling with domestic violence. In this role, I saw that both victim and perpetrator often carried unresolved layers of emotional wounding, particularly around childhood trauma and grief and loss issues. The instability of their relationships was also triggered by homelessness, economic stressors and relationship dependency issues.
Working from a cognitive behavioural therapy perspective I helped people form insights about their relationship dynamics through observing their own behaviours and family history, using timelines and genograms to map their patterns of relating.
As I moved into a private practice setting, firstly in a medical centre and now in counselling clinics in the Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West of Sydney, my psychotherapy training evolved towards integrating the connection between our mind and body. This means that our feelings and body sensations are connected to our thoughts. After participating in several Hakomi psychotherapy workshops I began the three year Hakomi professional training in 2003 which enabled me to embody the principles and skills of the training. It was an enriching and transformative three years as my personal and professional development grew. I was inspired by Ron Kurtz, the founder of Hakomi Psychotherapy, with his profoundly human and heartfelt contact with human beings. For me, counselling became more than just a talking cure – it included the heart and mind of the person. I understood that this is where healing is at its most authentic, enabling people to resolve unprocessed grief sometimes complicated by trauma or varying forms of abuse.
I studied further in 2011, for four years with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute on two important topics, trauma and developmental attachment repair. I developed skills working with the phases of trauma resolution, such as stabilising the client with grounding, resourcing, boundaries and working with the trauma memory. It was reassuring to know that Sensorimotor Psychotherapy utilises safe interventions and practices that have been well researched by attachment theorists and neuroscientists. I experienced the experiments as safe, gentle and respectful during my own therapy as a client.
Studying developmental and attachment theory deepened my knowledge about character theory, enabling me to work effectively with adults and their child states of consciousness – as adults we may have memories from childhood where we made decisions about ourselves and how we think others see us. These beliefs are often about safety, belonging, needs, vulnerability, authenticity, worth and being.
I have been honoured to work with a range of clients and witness them restore their mental health and well-being. I particularly enjoy helping clients find their own valuable resources that stabilise them in their everyday life. Clients also feel relieved when therapy provides them with a sense of hope and nourishment even when difficult emotions emerge as they explore their inward journey with me.
Research shows that people primarily develop emotional pain in relationships, and equally, it is in relationships that people are able to heal those wounds. As such it is my commitment to provide a safe and healing space for you to realise your own transformation.
I have an ongoing commitment to my professional development, which started in 1989, initially as a client in transactional and Jungian analysis. Then as a social work student in the late 1990’s, I experienced Vipassana and Thich Nhat Han meditation, which lead me to Hakomi and Self Psychology, and now Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
Professionally I am an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. I am also a member of the Hakomi Australia Association as a psychotherapist.
Clinical Social Worker (BSW Uni of Sydney)
Graduate of Hakomi & Sensorimotor