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Clinical mental health, including psychology, focuses on diagnosing and treating emotional, behavioural and mental conditions which are seen as disorders (psychopathology)


Professional counselling supports people with a wide range of presenting issues and works with clients on strategies to overcome obstacles, personal challenges and adversity. 

It is a safe, confidential and collaborative professional relationship that focuses on empowering and enabling individuals to accomplish mental health and well-being.


Empower: helping people to discover or rediscover their own resources and strengths


Enable: helping people restore confidence in their own autonomy, self-directedness (choosing their own goals and meanings) and personal power


Counselling is a strengths-based approach. This means that it does not centre on disorders and deficits, but instead emphasises positive aspects of clients’ functioning, their strengths and potential while understanding and respecting the reality of any psychological diagnosis.


As such, it encourages clients to play an active role in their recovery while the counsellor acts as a trusted guide. The biggest benefit of counselling is that it provides a safe space to discuss what is going on in your life without fear of judgement.


These can include a range of topics such as:

  • Self-awareness and acceptance

  • Stress Management

  • Parenting

( discipline vs punishment, understanding the psychological and emotional development of children)

  • Goals and aspirations

  • Healthy Relationships

  • Grief and loss

  • Anxiety, and depression

  • Anger

  • Managing unhelpful emotions and behaviors

  • Relationship issues

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Life transitions

  • Work and career issues

  • Addiction

  • Coping with traumatic experiences

  • Abuse & Abuse Trauma

  • Assertiveness Training

  • Self-esteem difficulties

  • Self-efficacy

  • Exploring gender identity and/or sexuality 


Solution-focused counselling: is a strength-based approach that actively works toward solutions (the focus is on building solutions rather than solving problems).


It helps clients identify what they do well (existing skills, coping abilities, positive attributes, and behaviours) and how these can be used or built on to overcome challenges and adversity.


It invites clients to explore and generate a preferred future and set goals to work towards the vision of their favoured future.


Motivational Interviewing: is a goal-oriented, person-centred counselling approach that focuses on strengthening clients’ own motivation for and commitment to change. It does

this by helping clients explore and solve ambivalence, i.e. indecision, anxiety and confusion about the wished-for change It does not force change but supports it in a way that supports the person’s own values and assists the client to become more self-reliant and responsible

for the change.

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Sandra Marques - Dip.Couns.

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching / Professional Counselling and Employment Counselling


Diploma of Professional Counselling

Advanced Study Major: Career Counselling

Advanced Study Major: Child Development and Effective Parenting

Cert ECE Montessori

Diploma of Community Services

Cert IV in Mental Health Work (Non-Clinical)

Cert IV Training and Assessment (TAA4014)

My name is Sandra Marques. I have 31 years of thoroughly enjoyable experience working with children, families, and individuals as an agent of support and guidance.


My journey into the helping professions started when I earned my Montessori teaching certification in 1991.

I taught in both Montessori and mainstream school environments and went to specialize in Second Language Acquisition.


When I came to Australia 21 years ago, I had the opportunity to use the strong knowledge of child development and attachment styles offered by my Montessori training to support vulnerable parents build their parenting skills and confidence. I worked in a domestic violence shelter and for a non-for-profit organization of early parenting and childhood services. In this role, I also facilitated education sessions for parents, early childhood educators and Education Assistants.


Realizing the limitations of focusing only on parenting skills while supporting vulnerable families and that no single approach is right for everyone, I grasped that I needed additional expertise.


Many of the parents I was supporting were experiencing a mental health condition, often with co-occurring illicit drug and/or alcohol misuse. I knew that I had to gain competence in these areas to be able to support them in a way that was responsive to the individual and the whole family as well as the complex factors that impacted on their wellbeing. I went on to gain qualifications in Professional Counselling, Mental Health (non-clinical), Community Services (case-management), and Training and Assessment. After working in parenting education and counselling for 10 years, I worked as a Psychosocial Recovery Coach for 6 years and a NDIS Local Area Coordinator for 3.5 years. I returned to the Recovery Coaching and counselling area last year and am extremely excited at having the opportunity to embark into Customized Employment with Empowering Abilities Together.


I strongly believe that holistic, coordinated care and support is essential in achieving meaningful outcomes for participants living with a disability or persistent mental health conditions.

I consider the best approach to enhance a participant’s quality of life and support his/her utmost level of functioning and independence to be a recovery oriented one that builds on the person’s resilience, strengths and areas of health and competence. Staying true to my roots (the Montessori motto): “help me do it myself” my commitment is to restore to individuals’ confidence in their own autonomy and personal power by helping them discover or rediscover own resources and/or develop the skills required to enjoy full participation in life, valued social roles and personally meaningful activities.


When I am not working, I love spending time with my daughter and granddaughter, playing with my dogs and birds, doing things with my best friend and reading, particularly my favourite authors Torey Hayden and Cathy Glass.

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