Dr Petra Becker

Dr Petra Becker

As a Counselling Psychologist with over 16 years in private practice, Petra draws from years of psychotherapeutic experience and extensive training in a variety of therapeutic approaches. She targets the specific needs and circumstances of each individual client and tailors her therapeutic approach accordingly. Her approach can be described as intuitive, collaborative and authentic whilst ensuring respect and compassion towards each individual client. Petra aims to recommend positive and healthy self-management strategies as well as provide a space for reflection, insights and change.

Petra has primarily worked with adults and couples. Her professional development and skills training has spanned a diverse range of psychotherapeutic approaches. She has a particular passion for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for individuals and couples. The appeal of this approach is that it is effective with a diverse range of clinical conditions and can be used both in brief or long term therapy.

Petra is passionate about therapy and dedicated to helping clients achieve mental and emotional health. Her focus is on promoting the prosperity of her clients by addressing all aspects of their lives including work related issues.

Petra’s background includes years of working within the field of employee assistance programs and organisational consultancy in remote, regional and metropolitan areas. Her extensive experience in this field has included addressing workplace issues specifically related to a broad range of industries and organisations including emergency services, police, trades and mining (FIFO). Petra is very comfortable working with clients from all organisational levels and welcomes the opportunity to explore any workplace situation with a sense of curiosity and creativity.

Areas of Experience

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Grief & Bereavement
  • Complicated Grief Reactions
  • Pet Loss
  • Trauma
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Work Related Issues
  • Workplace problems
  • Work/Home Life Balance
  • Burn Out
  • Workplace accidents & near misses
  • Career development/transition
  • Anger Management
  • Addictions
  • Life Stage
  • Adjustment to Permanent Injury
  • Chronic Pain
  • PTSD
  • Veterans and Veterans’ family member issues
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Spirituality and Religion
  • LGBTI issues
  • Couples Therapy
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Step family issues
  • Conflict Management
  • Improving Communication skills
  • Developing Healthy Parenting Skills
  • Dealing with Separation and Divorce issues
  • Building Satisfying and Fulfilling Relationships

Qualifications and Professional Memberships

  • Professional Doctorate of Psychology (Counselling Psychology), Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria, 2003
  • Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Honours), La Trobe University, Victoria, 1995
  • Certificate of Bereavement Counselling Practice, Victoria, 2000
  • Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • AHPRA Area of Practice Endorsement: Psychologist – Counselling Psychology
  • Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS)
  • Fellow of the APS College of Counselling Psychologists (FCCOUNP)
  • Member of the Association of Counselling Psychologists (ACP)
  • Member of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS)
  • Member of the ANZ ACBS (Australia & New Zealand ACBS)
  • Registered Provider with Medicare

Further Background

Petra’s interests span both the practical and theoretical aspects of psychotherapy. She chose to complete a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology based on her belief in humanistic psychology. The humanistic perspective is an approach that emphasises empathy and the good in human behaviour. This approach allows the psychologist to focus on ways to help the client to feel better about themselves and to strive for a meaningful and fulfilling life.

The topic of Petra’s doctoral thesis explored the relevance of spirituality to individual health and well being in the context of the workplace. It turned out that job satisfaction and the ability of self expression at work were major factors contributing to a higher level of well being. Petra believes that work is a meaningful and important part of our lives and that it can boost a person’s ability to enhance and develop skills as well as learn values such as teamwork and cooperation.

Petra has a keen interest in the human animal bond and animal assisted therapies. Petra traveled overseas to access training in Equine Assisted Learning & Psychotherapy as well as Horse Assisted Education for Managers & Leaders. Petra believes that animal assisted learning and therapy has much to offer in terms of providing models for leadership styles as well as providing insights into emotion regulation. This is quite apart from the therapeutic benefit of contact with pets and therapy animals.

Petra’s experience and training has also covered canine assisted therapies. She has been enrolled in a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services which is based on a totally positive, reward-based training program. Petra has been assessed and trained as a Delta Therapy Dog volunteer and visited patients in hospital. She has incorporated her therapy dogs in her sessions with adolescents, adults and families. Petra is also familiar with the training of PTSD Assistance Dogs and working with PTSD clients who have their own PTSD Assistance Dog.

Petra’s Therapeutic Approach

Petra’s treatment approach is based on recognising the strengths and resources of people at all levels of psychological functioning. She works collaboratively with her clients to ascertain what they want out of life and then provide the strategies and assistance to achieve their goals.

Petra draws on a number of treatment approaches including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Grief Therapy.

Petra completed a Certificate of Bereavement Counselling Practice to develop her skills in Grief Therapy. Petra recognises the potential for disenfranchised grief which is grief not readily acknowledged by society such as the loss of a pet, loss of a child to adoption, death of a loved one to suicide or the break up of an extramarital affair. She uses grief counselling and grief therapy techniques to facilitate a client’s grieving process and to address complicated grief reactions. Grief therapy can include ritual and spirituality and is relevant to individuals, couples and families.

Petra is also trained in Emotion Focused Therapy. Emotion Focused Therapy is based on the assumption that lacking emotional awareness or avoiding unpleasant emotions can cause harm. It is an empirically supported humanistic treatment that views emotions as centrally important in human functioning and therapeutic change.

Interpersonal Therapy is based on expressing emotions in healthy ways and learning new skills to improve current relationships. The focus is on a client’s relationships with peers and family members and the way they see themselves.

Depending on the client’s circumstances, Petra will introduce psychoeducation, emotional intelligence, skills training in assertiveness, anger management and emotion regulation, as well as psychotherapies such as Sandplay Therapy and Art Therapy.