Meet Gai-Louise

Holistic Therapist, Counsellor & Fitness Instructor

Hi there! I was born in Sydney, Australia and I lived there for most of my life. A "sea change" in 1999 saw me move to the South Coast of NSW - "to escape the madness". Shortly after that a "tree change" saw me move to the Southern Highlands where I have lived ever since with my family and our animals.

I loved school and everything about it, so it wasn't particularly obvious which career path I should follow. Due to my love of fabrics and designing, I began my post-school life by training in clothing and textiles. I then worked in the fashion industry in Sydney's Surry Hills before opening my own boutique in the suburbs. Through my twenties I continued to work and train in different sectors of clothing and textiles. It was during this period that I became interested in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). I made my first visit to a Kinesiologist in 1992 and shortly thereafter I began taking part in workshops to learn more about energy healing techniques. 

In my early thirties I decided to leave clothing and textiles behind and move into allied health. With this career change I began my formal training in CAM therapies and academic psychology. I trained as a Kinesiologist, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a counsellor, and I also completed undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology. In doing so I became fascinated with stress and trauma and how they impact our physical and psychological functioning. I conducted academic research on Post Natal Depression and Post Natal PTSD, and I contemplated following an academic career path researching these topics.

Throughout my forties, as I continued to learn more about the effects of stress and trauma on health, I added to my skills as an allied health professional by branching out into fitness and yoga due to my love of sport and movement. Again, I found myself drawn to conduct academic research on topics such as the relationship between yoga and stress, and the relationship between meditation and achievement in sport. And once again, I seriously considered pursuing an academic career path researching these topics. During this period I became a highly trained athlete, competing in a variety of cycling events including the World Masters Track Cycling Championships. On a practical level, I learned that exercise can be counterproductive for people who live with chronic stress and trauma and most fitness professionals are not aware of this. I also learned that due to the pace and nature of modern life, most of us are living with a degree of chronic stress. This is being expressed in symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, chronic pain, headaches, brain fog, memory problems, mood swings, short temper and increased aggression. I eventually discovered that the more enlightened experts are suggesting that the epidemic of chronic diseases we are now seeing is the result of new forms of stress such as chemical overload, electro-smog and the exponential increase of technological change that our minds and bodies are struggling to adapt to. 

The final piece of the puzzle came in my early fifties when I happened to walk into a Reformer Pilates class. I took to the Reformer like a fish to water and it has changed my life. I could immediately see that the Reformer would be brilliant for a multitude of health and fitness issues, as well as being the key to solving many mental health issues. The Reformer is brilliant for anyone who wishes to work on joint health, mobility, posture, balance, strength, cardio fitness and general well being. It is also brilliant for recovery from injury and for people whose joints don't lend themselves to a standard gym programs. Most significantly for me, the Reformer provides a suitable exercise method for people who live with chronic stress and trauma because it generally does not antagonise an over-active Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), ie. people who are stuck in "fight or flight".

So as a result of taking part in one Reformer Pilates class, everything fell into place for me. I now had a tool that tied all of my training together. Within months I had set up The Relaxation Space in a little village in the Southern Highlands called Bundanoon. It's only a small business and I have purposely kept it small and personal so that everyone receives the attention they need. There is a maximum of only four participants in each Reformer Pilates class, a maximum of six participants in each Pilates Circuit class, and a maximum of six participants in each "Calm Mind" deep relaxation class. The "Strong Body Calm Mind" weekly wellness programs are limited to six participants, and the "Strong Body Calm Mind" weekend wellness retreats are also limited to six participants.

I truly enjoy seeing people become stronger, happier, recover from injury, and just generally BLOOM. I've been extremely fortunate in my life to have had the opportunity to become very well educated, and I've reached an age now where I recognise that the greatest value my skills and knowledge can have is when they are used in the service of others. Being a stay-at-home mum and caring for my father are choices I made to be of service to my family. Helping people to become stronger, happier, healthier and more knowledgeable is the choice I have made to be of service to humanity. It would be my pleasure to help you obtain the skills and knowledge you require to live a long happy, healthy and rewarding life.

TRAINING & QUALIFICATIONS

  • Postgradute Diploma of Psychology

  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

  • Certificate of Gestalt Counselling

PROFESSIONAL DETAILS

Current memberships

  • International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT)

  • Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc (AABAT)

  • Outdoors NSW

 

Previous memberships

  • Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (2018 - 2019)

  • Fitness Australia (2009 - 2012)

  • Australian Kinesiology Association (2004 - 2005)

  • Australian National Art Therapy Association (2004 - 2005)

  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (2002 - 2003)

Academic papers authored

  • "Reproducing Privilege: The Social Construction and Production of Post-Natal Depression"  (12,500 word theoretical thesis)

  • "Stress Reduction Through Yoga"  (10,000 word empirical thesis)

  • "Stress, Health and Treatment Compliance" (5000 word stress reduction program)

  • "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Memory"  (3000 word paper)

  • "Trauma Therapy, Countertransference and Vicarious Traumatisation" (3000 word paper)

  • "Re-Thinking Post-Natal Depression" (2000 word magazine article)

  • "Transforming Stress"  (1500 word short essay)

  • "Critical Incident Stress Debriefing"  (Seminar presentation)

  • "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Women Following Traumatic Childbirth"  (Research grant application)

  • "Post-Natal Realities: The Traumatic Nature of Overwhelming Responsibility, Sleep Deprivation, Loss of Identity & Difficult Childbirth in a Post-Feminist World"  (PhD research proposal)

  • "Holistic Sport Psychology in a Quantum Cosmos: Using Einstein, Spirituality and CAM Therapies To Reach Your Full Potential"  (Masters research proposal)

Conferences/Workshops

  • "Outdoors NSW Symposium"  (2019)

  • "World Congress of Quantum Medicine"  (2013) 

  • "Integrating Spirituality and Psychotherapy"  (2013)

  • "Recognising and Treating Complex Trauma"  (2012)

  • "Teaching Mindfulness to our Clients"  (2012)

  • "Applied Mental Imagery"  (2012)

  • "Intuitive Development"  (2005)

  • "Professional Self-Processing Through Art"  (2002)

  • "Third National Psychotherapy in Australia Conference"  (2002)

  • "The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment"  (2002)

Sporting History 

Competitive tennis, baseball, softball, golf, basketball, indoor cricket, equestrian, cycling (triathlon, criterium & velodrome) and motor racing (cars, superkarts & go-karts); recreational squash, trampolining, roller skating, inline blading and motorcycle track days; CrossFit and power lifting; former gym junkie (has now seen the light); and yoga. Lots of yoga.

- Yes, I refer to yoga as a "sport" because many of the styles I used to engage in were akin to participating in competitive sport - from Yin Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, Jivamukti, Ashtanga and Bikram, through to Acro Yoga and Anti-gravity Aerial Yoga. After twisting myself in knots for years (upright, inverted and in mid-air!) and leaving litres of my sweat in many yoga studios around the world, I eventually settled on Yin Yoga as my yoga style of choice. No sweating, no pretzel-like poses, no competition. Just lying around on the ground in relaxing supported shapes with pillows, blankets and other nurturing props - being gentle to my body and my mind. I've been practising it since 2009, and when combined with Reformer Pilates it has become my go-to method for maintaining a calm mind and a body that is free from pain and restrictions. I highly recommend it!

Let's Connect

Email: therelaxationspace@westnet.com.au

Phone/Text: 0451 721 032

Address: The Osborne Centre

              Osborn Avenue

              Bundanoon NSW 2578

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