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Donna Simpson

Clinical Psychologist & Director

B Psych (Hons) M Psych (Clinical)

Psychology Board of Australia approved Supervisor (Clinical Psychology)

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Donna enjoys being a psychologist because it gives her the opportunity to help people become empowered to make positive change in their lives. It is very rewarding to work collaboratively with individuals to tailor therapy to their specific needs and values and to observe their progress towards meaningful living.

Donna has experience in a diverse range of clinical positions working with adults, adolescents and children, individually and in groups, who have presented with a broad range of issues including: difficulties related to depression, anxiety (e.g. social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and generalised anxiety), trauma and abuse, stress and adjustment, parenting, anger management, grief and loss, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Her areas of practice have included working at the Talera Child and Family Therapy Centre where she worked as a part of a multi-disciplinary team to provide therapeutic support for families and children impacted by, or at risk of experiencing, abuse and neglect. Donna has also worked within Queensland Health’s Centre for Drug and Alcohol Service (CDAS) to provide training for drug and alcohol workers of all disciplines in effective, evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues.

Donna's reponsibilities at CDAS included research management of several projects in the areas of young people at risk for substance use problems, pharmaceutical misuse, an indigenous alcohol diversion program and smoking cessation in hospitals. Apart from her work at CDAS, research topics that she has been involved in have encompassed adolescent gambling, the relationship between school connectedness and mental health, the effectiveness of motivational interviewing in drug and alcohol treatment and adolescent resilience. Most recently she has practiced for several years in a large not for profit psychology clinic in the Ipswich area involving the assessment and treatment of a broad range of individuals presenting with a variety of (often complex) problems.

Throughout her years as a psychologist Donna has placed a strong emphasis on professional development, which has led her to be exposed to a number of therapeutic paradigms including cognitive and behavioural techniques (e.g. assertiveness training, schema therapy, positive parenting, structured problem solving to name just a few). However, she would consider her passion to be Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and other mindfulness-based techniques.

ACT emphasises the use of present-moment mindfulness, thought defusion and acceptance (of self and our internal experiences) in order to live meaningfully according to a person’s individual values, and so is readily tailored towards each person’s own values and life goals rather than simply eliminating symptoms. ACT is based on an increasing body of research in the treatment of a large range of issues including depression, anxiety, substance use, life adjustment, stress management, eating disorders and trauma. Additionally, Donna has found the emerging neurobiological, or brain-based therapies, lend themselves to integration with mindfulness models and positive outcomes.

In addition to her work as a clinician, Donna has been an Honorary Lecturer for the UQ School of Psychology and continues to provide supervision to clinical psychology students who are completing their postgraduate training which she finds extremely rewarding.

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