- Who am I?
- What are my professional values?
- Who do I serve?
- What services do I provide?
- What can you expect in therapy?
I am a Psychologist, a member of the Australian Psychological Society and an endorsed Sport and Performance Psychologist. I work with both the general public and with the AFL Players Association and other sport, music and performance clients. I am the founder and principal psychologist of Summit Performance Psychology.
I was trained at top Australian universities in the science of the mind and behaviour. My BSc with Honours in psychology is from the University of New South Wales and I earned my Masters of Applied Psychology in the Sport and Exercise stream at the University of Queensland. I finished with several awards including several Dean’s commendations for academic performance and a Blue Award for sporting excellence and club participation.
I am an international athlete, having played and coached Ultimate Frisbee at the highest level, representing Australia and elite clubs at World Championships for over ten years. I am also a musician and perform live on stage. I enjoy the experiential qualities of sport and music performance and the connection with the environment and people when we achieve flow, or get into the zone.
I provide support services for young people and adults from all walks of life:
- Sport and performance driven people – sport, music, education, life coaching;
- People going through crisis, tough times, transition, loss or stress;
- People suffering from depression, anxiety, severe stress and other conditions;
- People from diverse backgrounds – GLBT friendly, other cultures, people with disabilities.
I am inspired by the human mind, have a curiosity for human potential and excellence and am committed to improving people’s wellbeing and success.
I believe in a Positive, Compassionate and Practical approach to supporting people to:
- Understand their lives and behaviours;
- Grow, find meaning and sustainable happiness for themselves and those around them;
- Make significant changes in their lives to improve their wellbeing.
Positive – I believe that positive psychology helps clients to recognize the capacity for change, growth and happiness is within them. Positive Psychology involves moving past the limited focus of fixing problems, to focusing on becoming who you want to be.
Compassionate – I am committed to constructing a safe place in which you can speak about your life, feel strong emotions and heal/change. I am here not to judge you but rather listen to you and to understand you, so that I can help. I am committed to creating a working alliance with clients, in which we work together to create change.
Practical – I work in a solution-focused process utilising many tools and techniques to solve problems and create change in a timely fashion. Although part of therapy is talking and getting to know each other, I recognize the need to progress. I work to make sure we have clear goals and are moving towards them. I want to get people “unstuck” and moving down a better path from the start.
I believe that:
- physical, mental and emotional health are deeply interrelated;
- the ability to clarify life dreams, values, and goals is the key to happiness;
- joy in life is made possible by presence, curiosity and acceptance;
- attention to our present experience is the key to freedom, spontaneity, self-control and happiness;
- self-reflection is possible without self-obsession;
- trust is essential in a therapeutic relationship;
- change is possible.
I work well with young people, especially teenage males. I have experience in childcare, coaching and in education settings. I use positive psychology and sport to engage adolescents and teens in making positive changes in their thinking, mood and behaviour. For young people living at home, I also provide support to parents if and when appropriate. Having support to know what normal developmental changes are compared to early warning signs can be very valuable.
I work with young people on a variety of issues:
- Changing problem behaviours;
- Improving mood and self-esteem;
- Establishing good habits and ownership over personal growth;
- Improving relationships at home and in peer group;
- Resolving academic issues;
- Planning for university, TAFE or the workforce;
- Sport, exercise or music participation;
- Identity formation, sexuality;
- Gaining trust and independence;
- Travelling independently;
- ADD/ADHD management strategies;
- Safe boundaries/decision making;
- Teen depression and anxiety symptoms.
High Performance People
I work with people who are serious about performance.
Managing stress on the rise to the top is hard. As a world-class athlete and performing musician, I know firsthand the pressures and challenges of public performance. I understand the difficulty of balancing athletic performance and daily life, the commitment and sacrifices performers make to achieve, and the challenge of maintaining balance in a high-performance life. I can help you to build mental toughness, to enhance the quality of your experience in training and performance, and to improve your overall wellbeing on and off the field or stage.
Summit Performance Psychology is dedicated to this goal. I am an endorsed sport and exercise psychologist and an expert in human performance and wellbeing, with experience in assisting athletes and performers to achieve their goals and to do so in a mentally healthy way. I can assist people in various areas including: developing confidence and motivation to achieve, helping people who perform in public prepare and cope with performance anxiety, assisting athletes in developing focus, mental toughness and coping with performance-related stress, and helping coaches to develop psychology-based training programs.
As a Performance Psychologist, I believe that my biggest strength is in building positives rather than focusing on deficits and symptoms. You don’t require a problem to gather valuable information and learn positive ways to manage your mind and reach your peak. Visit Summit Performance Psychology to learn more.
People under Stress, in Crisis, going through Grief and Loss
I provide individuals with a safe and comfortable environment to discuss their lives and to cope with the challenges of the mind and circumstance that are affecting them. I take a client-focused Positive Psychology approach. My toolkit is made up of evidence-based techniques:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy;
- Mindfulness-based therapy such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT);
I can help people troubled by relationship issues, critical events, unexpected stressful transition, and other high stress challenges in life. Stress affects people in different ways but when it piles up, negatively impacting our relationships or work, it is time to seek help.
People living with Depression, Anxiety, Clinical Conditions
In my general psychology practice I work with people suffering from depression and anxiety most commonly, as these conditions afflict such a large proportion of the population at some time in their lives (1 in 6 experience depression, 1 in 4 experience anxiety). I utilise Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapies such as ACT and counselling to help clients manage these conditions and improve their quality of life and ability to reach their potential. I like to help people see themselves, their situation and their world in a new way, and challenge old stale ways of thinking and behaving that limit potential solutions and success.
If appropriate and agreed, I utilise the advice and support of doctors, psychiatrists, other social/medical support when psychological conditions are causing serious disruption or harm to daily life.
- Medicare Provider / ATAPS Provider – I work at the community level in general mental health providing psychological therapy as a Medicare provider and ATAPS provider. In this role I provide young people and adults with education, counselling and therapy to improve their wellbeing and treat psychological disorders such as Anxiety and Depression.
- Community Services – In my training and professional career I have chosen to work within challenging and diverse environments such as working with survivors of torture and trauma (refugees), with the homeless community, with people living with disability and with job-seekers. I work with people who have complex and difficult pasts to improve their ability to cope and look ahead with hope.
- Guest Lecturer and Tutor – I have worked at the University of Sunshine Coast as a Lecturer and Tutor for human movement and psychology subjects. I have also given guest presentations at the University of Queensland for the Masters of Applied Psychology Program. I present seminars and workshops for high school age groups on performance psychology for sport and music.
- Seminar Presenter, Workshop Facilitator – I develop and present workshops and seminars on various topics related to performance psychology and wellbeing. I offer workshops for young people, professional and amateur athletes, musicians, coaches and other professionals whose work requires demanding performance.
- Coaching Leaders, Professionals and Coaches – I work with coaches, trainers and high-functioning professionals in leadership positions looking for the next step and seeking a cutting edge to improve their leadership performance. I provide consultation at all levels from coaches of children’s sport to professional and international competition, with the goal of improving the psychological aspects of leadership, such as communication, planning and motivation. Some would call this “life coaching“, however I incorporate my scientific and therapeutic background as a psychologist to provide an evidence-based service.
- AFL Player’s Association Psychologist, Former Queensland Academy of Sport Approved Provider – I am an AFL PA psychologist for professional players and their families, and former QAS provider of sport psychology services for athletes and their families.
Some people do not know what to expect when going a psychologist or have had a bad experience in the past. Below is an example that may help you understand the stages of therapy as I see it. The therapeutic process hinges on creating a trusting, safe relationship between therapist and client, which can take time but is a valuable investment for best results. Real healing begins with a safe place to talk and someone you trust. This is just an example, each person’s life and needs are different.
1. Relationship Building – Creating Trust and Safety
- Understand client therapist rights, roles, boundaries in therapy;
- Understand support provided in therapy;
- Collect historical information and information on what’s wrong now;
- Feeling safe in space and feeling trust and understanding from therapist.
2. Education – Creating Meaning
- Human traits, physiology, personality, thoughts, behaviours, emotions;
- Understand the human mind, learning and behaviour change;
- Understanding CBT and mindfulness approach to therapeutic change;
- Putting person’s story and current problem in psychological frame.
3. Goals and Plan – Creating Change
- Plan to change/cope with situation, thoughts, behaviours, feelings;
- Learn skills and do things to build wellbeing, self-care and resilience;
- Setting goals, learning new skills, engaging in healthy social activity;
- Improving lifestyle choices, diet, sleep, and exercise;
- Creating meaning to life’s activities – values, purpose, sense of belonging.
4. Monitoring and Support – Creating Ownership
- Review progress and setbacks, provide support to overcome barriers;
- Relapse prevention, accountability to changes long term;
- Monitoring progress and improving ownership.
Psychologist Abra Garfield has moved.
Find his details on his website: Summit Sport & Performance Psychology.
Articles on this website by Abra Garfield
- A Safe Place to Talk
- An Introduction to Mindfulness
- Better Communication in Sport and Performance
- Can Life Coaching Help Me?
- Develop your Emotional Intelligence
- Do I Have Adult ADD/ADHD?
- Do you Deserve Better Sleep?
- Getting Active Made Easy
- Getting into the Zone
- Harness the Power of Music
- Harnessing our Emotions in Sport
- Help for Teen Boys
- Improve your Attention and Concentration with Mindfulness
- Increasing Motivation and Drive
- Make Positive Psychology work for you!
- Parenting: from Boys to Men
- Performance Profiling and Goal Setting
- Psychology for Sports, Music and Performance
- Public Speaking & Performance
- Recovering from a Sport or Exercise Injury
- Strengthen your Mental Game
- Taking Tests Made Easy!