Providing Therapy

Counselling, Hypnotherapy, NLP,  Psychotherapy, and Life Coaching

Amanda Dounis is a Strategic Psychotherapist : Professional Counsellor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Master, Life Coach, and Proficient Early Childhood Teacher.  She uses a professional and interpersonal relationship with her clients, in order to develop an understanding about them and help them make changes in their lives.  Building a trusting therapeutic relationship is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to progress.

There are many different styles of treatment.  During initial consultation, Amanda will decide what is suitable for each unique individual.  Amanda is equipped with a number of diverse modalities.  A look at Amanda’s professional development page outlines the amount of skills that have been acquired through many years of study ad training. The list is exhaustive and continues to grow year to year.  Amanda stays up to date with new research and advances in therapy.

Therapy is usually offered face to face but can also be available by email, telephone, mobile or online /video conferencing. Amanda offers services both Face to Face in Clinic, as well as Distance Professional Services (also known as Telehealth, Teletherapy, E-Counselling, E-Therapy, Online Counselling, and Online Therapy, and Online Conferencing).

Amanda generally focuses on specific problems /patterns or life changes.  However issues with a broader and general focus may also need to be considered for the wellness of the client. 

As a brief strategic Psychotherapist, Amanda prefers to use brief therapy as it is strategic, exploratory, and solution based (rather than problem oriented). It does not look for meaning into the past (so it doesn’t explore WHY).  This therapy assumes the client will change with insight.  Amanda looks for patterns and processes in the “now” (and asks “HOW) and shows the client where different choices can be made so that they can change.

The only time the past is visited is to clean up the thinking and feeling that surrounds particular issues that are either unresolved or have lead to unresolved thoughts and feelings (and this may include behaviours), so that the unique individual can live more comfortably in the present and move into the future with new framing and skills learned during sessions.

Amanda focuses on the client’s current experience holistically (not just their internal state and thinking, but their external interactions with other people and the world around them).  This includes but is not limited to an awareness of diet, exercise, sleep, interactions, and more. Discussions, suggestions and referrals may be necessary.

As common practice, a look at where the client is now and where the client wishes to go is a good place to start.  Detailing mental, emotional and behavioural pathways, as well analysing patterns becomes important for a well developed treatment plan for each session. Pattern interruptions can be difficult to achieve, but commitment to tasking that has been agreed upon will lead to results and necessary feedback.

Counselling, Hypnotherapy, NLP, Coaching and Psychotherapy is helpful in treating any crisis situation, anxiety, depression, management of stress, grief and trauma, weigh management, addiction, relationship or family conflicts and any emotional or psychological problems.  The list is extensive.

Therapy sessions may be for an individuals (of an age), couple, group, family, or as needed.

Whilst Amanda sees mostly adults, she is also considered amongst the local community as a well equipped, heavily resourced professional and is one of the “go to persons” when it comes to kids, tweens and teens.  Quite a gift and genuine love for the young generations moving through their difficult moments.  Scroll down to read about therapy with young persons.

Consultations are confidential, professional and may take up to an hour  in duration.  Amount of sessions will be discussed with clients.  Typically for specific issues, the average duration tends to be 4-6 sessions, unless clients participate in specific programs offered by Amanda.

In addition to the brief, strategic component of Psychotherapy, Amanda is also a qualified Professional Counsellor and where applicable and appropriate, counselling sessions may not be brief and strategic in nature.  This means sessions may take a course where they are spaced apart and for longer frequency of visits.  This typically depends upon the client and where possible this decision is also left to the individual.

The goal for therapy is to lead into a pathway where the individual is able to cope with the past, present and future concerns independently of therapeutic intervention. Hence the focus on skill building during each session.

Some individuals come for a short amount of sessions and some return later on, either for a top up in wellness or for a new outcome.  When a trusting relationship is formed, individuals know that they can always make a booking for another session even after some time has passed.


A note on sessions with kids, tweens and teens.  Each session takes into account the best interest of the child.  Sessions typically are more effective without parental /guardian presence.  This is usually because young kids may hide behind parents and tend to interact less independently if their parent /guardian is present in session.  Tweens generally enjoy sessions on their own if they feel comfortable with the therapist.  Teens generally prefer their sessions on their own.  But it is always up to the family (parents /guardians) to decide.

Typically Amanda will begin the session with everyone present to discuss goals and concerns and ways forward.  This ensures everyone is there for the same reason and is aware of the session as a whole.  During this session Amanda makes clear all legalities around privacy and confidentially, including what is and what is not reportable.  Goals, safety and feedback are addressed at every session.  Discussing privacy and confidentiality and what is reportable is important so that all adults and young persons know their rights.  This is also important so that each child is aware of trust versus reportable circumstances.  It also sets the parameters for a professional therapeutic relationship. Young persons should be able to trust that their session remains confidential and private (and to know what needs to be reported to their parent(s) /guardians, and sometimes legal authorities.

Following are some tools that the Bachelor of Counselling has equipped Amanda Dounis with:

  • Cognitive skills to review critically, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge;
  • Cognitive and technical skills to demonstrate a broad understanding of knowledge with depth in some areas;
  • Cognitive and creative skills to exercise critical thinking and judgement in identifying and solving problems with intellectual independence;
  • Communication skills to present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of knowledge and ideas;
  • Initiative and judgement in planning, problem-solving and decision making in professional practice;
  • The ability to adapt knowledge and skills in diverse contexts;
  • Responsibility and accountability for their own learning and professional practice and in collaboration with others, within broad parameters.

The Bachelor of Counselling provides a comprehensive grounding in counselling frameworks and skills, ethical practice and cultural diversity.

The Bachelor of Counselling provides training with a strong focus on contemporary techniques, counselling and psychology theory, research and practice.

There are a variety of approaches to psychotherapy. Amanda will use integrative method styles to suit the individual needs of each client.

  • Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic therapy focuses on changing problem behaviours, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations. Strategic psychotherapy also looks at the unconscious but looks at how to instead of why.
  • Behaviour Therapy focuses on learning about both normal and abnormal behaviours.  Strategic psychotherapy looks at patterns of thoughts and behaviours and what choices the client can make.
  • Cognitive Therapy emphasises what people think rather than what they do.  Strategic psychotherapy works well with this therapy as it focuses on solutions and encourages cognitive exploration and asks the client what other choices they can make.
  • Humanistic Therapy emphasises peoples capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential.  Concern and respect for others is also important. Types of humanistic therapy include:
    • Client-Centered Therapy where the therapist is not in charge but rather emphasises their concern, care and interest (also known as Person-Centred or Rogerian Counselling);
    • Gestalt Therapy which focuses on the here and now and accepting responsibility for yourself;
    • Transactional Analysis which involves the individual’s growth and development.  It is also related to communication and child development.  It helps clients trust their decisions and think /act as an individual improving the way they feel about themselves.  It also focuses on the here and now.
    • Transpersonal Psychology and Psychosynthesis involves building and expanding on an individual’s qualities, spirituality and self-development.  Techniques such as meditation and visualisation are often used for self-exploration and personal growth.
    • Existential Therapy focuses on exploring meaning of certain issues through a philosophical perspective, instead of a technique-based approach.  It is appropriate for those wishing to increase their self-awareness and broaden their views on their surrounding world.  There is generally no concern with the client’s past, but emphasis is on the choices to be made in the present and the future.

Strategic Psychotherapy looks at the client resources to maximise potential.

  • Integrative or Holistic Therapy consists of a blend of elements from different approaches and tailors treatment according to each client’s needs. This type of personalisation is also what Amanda Dounis finds useful.

Other Therapies

  • Narrative Therapy helps you change the story that you tell about yourself, about the world, and about your relationship with others.
  • Mindfulness is increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence, and effectively handle painful thoughts and feelings.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on emotions, helping treat depression, distressed relationships and more.  It assists clients implement new strategies and interventions.
  • Solution Focused Therapy (SFBT) focuses on the solutions rather than focusing on the symptoms or issues.  This technique focuses on the present and future.
  • Solution Oriented Therapy includes the elements of SFBT but the overall sense becomes one of inclusion and possibility.  Current suffering is acknowledged and validated while the possibility for a positive solution is introduced and nurtured.
  • Family /Systemic Therapy changes in terms of the systems of interaction between each person in the family.  Issues may involve parenting, child and adolescent behaviour, divorce and separation, adult mental health and changes in family life.
  • Art Therapy /Art Psychotherapy which uses art materials such as paints, clay and paper to communicate issues, emotions and feelings.
  • And more


Modern Clinical Hypnotherapy is a dynamic form of Psychotherapy which combines cognitive therapeutic counselling techniques with unconscious (subconscious) healing techniques.

People are not treated with hypnosis, rather they are treated “in” hypnosis.

Being hypnotised feels just like being very relaxed.  The unconscious (subconscious) mind is accessed, and the therapist’s positive suggestions are taken and applied, to the patient’s psyche in the most efficient way.

The hypnotherapist assists the client to become so deeply relaxed, that with little guidance and strategic suggestions, the client can begin to make changes that he or she wants to make (towards automatic behaviours and /or emotional reactions) leading towards a more positive outcome.

Change occurs when the client is open and accepting and committed to goals.

The critical and judgemental conscious mind will quieten to allow these new behavioural changes to take place.

Clinical Hypnotherapy can assist the client come into conscious awareness of his or her unconscious (subconscious) beliefs thus enabling an understanding and redress of any existing imbalance.  This should result in reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, and increased feelings of peace and positive energy.

During hypnosis, the conscious, rational part of the brain is temporarily bypassed, making the unconscious (subconscious) part, which influences mental and physical functions, receptive to suggestive therapy.  During a trance state, there is heightened concentration for the specific purpose of maximising potential, changing limiting beliefs and behaviours, and gaining insight and wisdom.

Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, where the client can become more absorbed in relaxing thoughts, ideas, and feelings, while being distracted from negative or painful ones.  Those who benefit from hypnosis respond well to suggestions about feeling less pain, more comfort, increased energy, better sleep, and rapid healing outcomes.

It is important that the client complies with everything the therapist asks during sessions and between sessions.

Clinical hypnosis is usually considered an aid to strategic psychotherapy because the hypnotic state allows people to become more suggestible and thus listen to the requests /guidance of the therapist who will be strategically looking for and implementing solutions using the persons existing resources, challenging the way they think. Clients are led into a solution focused approach while considering client choices to make changes to the way they think and behave.

By dealing with problems in the emotional mind, we are targeting the problems at their source.  This is done by addressing the conflict between the unconscious and the conscious process, bringing about a positive change.  This is what makes hypnotherapy so effective.

Hypnosis is focused attention.  It has been demonstrated to benefit in areas such as;

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pain management
  • Insomnia
  • Performance /Study skills
  • Relationship issues
  • Trauma
  • Phobias
  • Kicking habits (smoking etc)
  • Physical healing
  • And more

When using hypnosis, we are dealing with the unconscious, emotional mind, rather than the analytical, rationalising mind.  Often, peoples problems do not make rational sense, even to themselves – they respond emotionally even though their analytical mind may be aware that their response is to rationalise.

The client has a particular role to play if he or she wishes hypnosis (and any form of treatment) is to be successful.

Client role in Hypnosis

To achieve a successful hypnotic trance;

  • The client must want to achieve this state.
  • The client must be able to concentrate their mind on the instructions, as given by the therapist, and be responsive to these instructions.
  • The client must trust the therapist and have established a good rapport.


  • Young children may not be able to sit for very long (older children however are better and their ability to use their imagination makes for good candidates). In this case, Amanda is equipped with age /developmentally appropriate techniques.
  • The mentally ill, and in some cases the very elderly who tend to drift in their memories.
  • Someone under the recent influence of drugs or alcohol should not come in for a session.  This is against policy.
  • If someone is resistant e.g. “you cannot hypnotise me”. As they have no desire, they will be unable to achieve the trance state.
  • Epilepsy; hypnosis can trigger a seizure and persons with Epilepsy should not be assisted into trance.

It is best to consult with your doctor when contemplating hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis, especially if you are being treated for any mental disorder.

Please note:

  • Hypnosis is not a miracle cure for anything.
  • Hypnosis cannot repair congenital damage or genetic problems.
  • Hypnosis cannot prevent ageing or make you live forever.
  • Hypnosis cannot help you achieve anything that is truly physically impossible.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is an approach that is used for communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. NLP works to change cognitive beliefs and patterns.  It gives us tools to run our own brain and manage our states, emotions and behaviours. Techniques are used to improve how we think, behave and feel.  NLP is used to change thoughts and feelings, to run your own life more successfully, and to communicate with other people more effectively.  Basically, NLP is a way of precisely understanding how you do the things you do – so that you can improve your good methods and replace your not-so-good ones.

The above therapies are effective, safe, & drug free. In todays terms…organic our therapies focus on solutions and the client.