Survey Response: Therese Mortlock

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This survey was last updated in February 2015.

Degrees/Licenses Held
Bachelor of Arts (Social Welfare) Charles Sturt University 1993
Graduate Diploma of Counselling Charles Sturt University 1995
Diploma of Clinical Hypnosis The Cairnmillar Institute 2012
Advanced Certificate in Interpersonal Psychotherapy PRA Consulting in collaboration with Dr Michael Robertson 2006
EMDR Accredited Practitioner 2014

Contact Information
P.O. Box 132 Carrington, NSW 2294 Australia
Tel: (02) 49614989

Number of years in practice helping people with TMS
For the past 7 years I have understood about TMS and the contribution of stress, trauma and unresolved psychological distressing events to chronic pain. My clients have usually seen me after they have had surgery/ies and continue to have chronic pain. I have 20 years of therapy experience.

Number of clients you have seen who have had TMS
I have seen clients with TMS whilst working in Rehabilitation and in private practice. Many dozens of clients.

What is your association to the TMS community?
I have an interest in TMS and the contribution of distressing and traumatic life events to TMS. I am just joining the TMS community now, as suggested by Dr James Alexander from Australia who is our authority on TMS.

Have you ever suffered from TMS? If so, how did you recover? (optional)
No. But my daughter has suffered from TMS.

What insurance plans do you currently accept?
Australian Health Funds that cover psychology and Medicare if patients are referred by a GP on a Mental Health Care Plan for 10 sessions and possibly a Chronic Diseases Management plan for a further 5 sessions.

Do you have a sliding scale of payment for people who are not covered by insurance? No

Are you able to conduct sessions over the phone and/or via internet video services (i.e. Skype or FaceTime)?
Yes but face to face sessions are always preferred and an initial face to face session is very helpful. If clients have Complex Trauma (childhood trauma) underlying their chronic pain then face to face sessions may warranted at first to establish safety and trust. Blocks of therapy can be arranged.

What have you done to educate yourself about TMS, and what plans do you have for further education about TMS?
In 2008 I attended a workshop on Understanding Stress, Trauma and Pain and became alerted to the fact of this psychological connection in not just TMS sufferers but in all cases of chronic pain. I have read a number of articles and books including Australian experts Dr Alexander’s book The Hidden Psychology of Pain and Mark Grant’s book Change Your Brain Change Your Pain.

I am an EMDR Accredited Practitioner and find this therapy very helpful for TMS clearing stress, the distress and trauma of the pain itself and past traumas that underlie the pain. I use EMDR Chronic Pain protocols and other useful therapies.

What mindbody books do you recommend to your patients? In particular do you recommend Dr. Sarno's books?
The books by my Australian colleagues. Yes I do recommend Dr Sarno’s books and I recommend his website

As we are going to post your answers on the TMS Wiki, feel free to write some text to introduce yourself:
I have over 20 years of experience and I am constantly learning and studying. I have worked as a psychologist in diverse fields such as family support; disability support; sexual assault work; rehabilitation; education; and for a number of private practices and in my own since 2000. My special interest is trauma and complex trauma with workplace bullying and chronic pain as other areas of interest very much related to distressing and traumatic life events. As a sufferer of chronic illness and a person who has endured great hardships like so many others do I love to help others and I have a Myers Briggs Personality Type of the Counsellor. Hence yes I love my work and I’m now considered very skilled with great client outcomes.

Questions Specific to Therapists

What is your general psychotherapeutic treatment approach?
This varies depending on client needs. For TMS clients I use Interpersonal Psychotherapy for the assessment and identifying any relationship problems contributing to pain. Psychoeducation about the brain, pain the role of stress and psychological factors such as unconsolidated memories and traumas both big and small (eg a job you dislike). Resourcing and stabilisation from various schools of therapy. Learning about emotions if that is required for people who are numbing them, repressing them or having trouble with emotional regulation. EMDR for trauma processing related to the trauma of the pain and various related and underlying traumas. I’m an Accredited Practitioner. I use DNMS for pain related to complex trauma often with a combination of the above therapies and EMDR for more recent or single incident traumas or distressing events or blocking beliefs.

How does your approach to treating TMS differ from your general psychotherapeutic treatment approach?
TMS requires more psychoeducation about the role of repressed emotions, explanations that the pain is real physical pain but caused by psychological stress or unprocessed traumas or distressing life events. The approach uses encouragement for the client to explore and learn, as well as keep moving and improving.

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