Awareness Counselling and Shiatsu

Amanda Penel

Northbridge NSW 2063

Servicing area: Northbridge, New South Wales

Awareness Counselling and Shiatsu

Counsellor, Mindfulness,
Hakomi Graduate,
Level 1 and 2 Sensorimotor Trauma psychotherapy
Primal therapy,
Shiatsu therapist (STAA)
Yoga instructor - member of IYTA
Parenting educator.


Awareness Counselling and Shiatsu

Specialising in:

    • Counselling /Psychotherapy

    • Hakomi body method and Sensorimotor Trauma Therapy

    • Primal Therapy

  • Shiatsu therapy

"The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed,
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals."

"The prophet", by Kahlil Gibran, No 18, "The Teaching",

What can I help you with?

  • Trauma, (childhood trauma, attachment trauma).

  • Depression

  • Grief and loss

  • Anxiety

  • Relationship/Intimacy issues

  • Parenting issues

How does therapy help you?

  • You will gain more self awareness, and self compassion

  • Feel more in control of your life and at peace with yourself.

  • Improve relationships and intimacy with your partner, children and friends.

  • Gain more clarity

  • Feel more grounded and connected to the world around you.

  • Enjoy your life more fully.


How do I work ?

I provide a safe place with a non-judgemental attitude for you to work with what is happening in the "here and now", the past will unfold itself in the present.

I usually provide my clients with some mindful exercises that are tailored specifically to the needs of my clients. These mindful exercises can be a really useful resource for my clients to help support them in-between sessions especially if my clients have trauma related symptoms.
It also feels really empowering for my clients to find that they can learn how to take care of themselves as well as grow a sense of self compassion and self love.

Neuroscience shows that the brain is "plastic" and able to change itself no matter how old you are. Being mindful or present to ones experience is one of the ways that support positive brain changes.

Because of my background in Trauma and Yoga (I have a certificate in Trauma Sensitive Yoga) some of the resources that I may give my clients are specific poses to work with at home as one of their mindful practices, it really depends on the needs of the clients I see.


How wounds/trauma are created!

All of us as babies/children, need to be held, respectfully supported both physically and emotionally in a way that allows our growing minds and bodies to develop to their full potential.

If this doesn't happen to you, then unconsciously you may push your needs and feelings down. When you as baby don't get your basic needs met, (a parent who is in tune enough with the child to attend to most of their child's physical and emotional needs which include holding, healthy mirroring of feelings, love etc.) then this can lead to what we call attachment trauma.

Trauma can also come from as early as the womb, (environmental stresses placed on the mother or by the mother if she is depressed or unable to connect to the growing life within her). Birth can also be extremely stressful for a tiny baby.

For example if you struggled with your birth the future imprint maybe "everything in life is a struggle". If you got stuck in the womb, that may lead to fear of small spaces etc. These are very general examples etc. but they may help you to understand how traumatic birth experiences or womb experiences may create problems for you later in life.

If you didn't get your needs met as a child then you may not be very good at getting them met now. Its your feelings support you to know when you are not getting what you need, just that you may not know how to listen to them because you have had to repress them.

From pre birth to the age of 3 the brain does most of its growing.
The kinds of social interactions that we have with our primary caretaker is crucial for shaping the brain in a way that is important for healthy social interactions later on as well as a positive internal relationship with self.

Having a positive early experience also helps support you to be more resilient and able to cope with environmental stresses etc.

When your caretaker is not able to meet your needs in a healthy way you may end up seeing the world through the lens of your unmet childhood needs creating all kinds of painful situations or relationships that do not work.


How long will it take before I won’t need therapy?

It depends on the person and their personal issues.

For me its probably a life long journey because of early attachment issues/ and birth trauma. I check in with my body on a daily basis to sense what is happening. I consider it a loving part of taking care of myself, just like eating healthy food and exercising. For me having a compassionate presence to all my bodily sensations is key to healing and this is something I have worked hard to attain.

Tuning into yourself is a compassionate thing to do. Its part of loving yourself and it feels incredibly empowering to find that within yourself, you have everything you need to heal its just a matter of listening to your body.

I have sometimes found moments of deep inner connection, there is this inner wisdom where I know exactly how to support myself in a way that no-one else can, its a deep sense of self love and groundedness in body, mind and spirit.

For most people (in the past including myself and sometimes still true), I have found that it is very difficult to feel early memory alone especially with early attachment trauma which can have an existential life or death quality about the sensations.

This is because before the age of 2, memory is implicit, (felt experience rather then cognitive). The pre-frontal cortex has not yet developed enough to remember, memory is body sensations, both physical and emotional only. This is usually why so many people can literally get hijacked by their body sensations because it feels so much about now, when in fact the sensations are just that, body memories from the past!

A journey of "becoming". Part of being human means that you will always be subjected to things beyond your control.

Through mindfulness and therapy you can become more conscious and present to what is happening inside you. Life can be seen more as an adventure rather than something that you expend large amounts of energy resisting.

What is Shiatsu?

The word Shiatsu means finger pressure. Instead of applying needles to particular therapeutic points as is used in acupuncture a shiatsu therapist uses their own hands, elbows, thumbs, palms of hands and even feet to apply pressure along the whole meridian or energy line of the body focussing sometimes on particular points but mainly working on the whole meridian to activate and support the body's natural energy flow.

Energy flowing in and outside the human body is often referred to as "Qi". According to eastern philosophy "Qi" energy is life force as your own energy system is connected to a field of energy. Any imbalances or blockages of "Qi" may eventually create illnesses or dis-ease in your body. Abuse to your body, emotionally as well as physically prevents the energy or life force from flowing harmoniously throughout the whole body.

My job is to tune into how the body is not in harmony and which meridians (energy lines), need attention and from there I am able to give you a shiatsu matching your individual needs. Often disease is created through not being aware of our bodies emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.

Our society allows little time for self reflection. Shiatsu can give you the space to acknowledge what is happening in your body.


How can Shiatsu help me?

Shiatsu stimulates the circulation of both blood and Qi thus aiding the body to rebalance the energy system. Shiatsu is a total body therapy which can assist many different conditions like:

  • Fatigue,

  • Anxiety,

  • Depression,

  • Insomnia,

  • Menstrual issues,

  • Irritable bowel,

  • Stress related conditions,

  • Headaches,

  • Neck, shoulder and back pain.

Shiatsu creates a space where you can get in contact with your body and recognise how your body is actually feeling. Tuning into your physical and emotional experience is very healing in and of itself its like giving yourself a great big hug.

Shiatsu takes place on a futon on the floor, it can also be given in a sitting position. Loose clothing is recommended as the treatment may also involve flowing stretches and gentle rotation of the limbs.

A bit about myself - Journey:

Twenty five years ago, after the birth of my second child, my world as I knew it fell apart and I began to suffer terrible panic attacks and later deep depression. Desperate to understand what was happening for me I began my journey into all sorts of different therapies but none of them gave me a true sense of well being and I never felt any real relief.

I began my search to look for therapists that dealt with emotions, all helped me in my journey but one in particular Paul Vereshack, ( mentioned above) who wrote, "Help Me-I'm Tired of Feeling Bad". Although there were many books written on somatic type therapies none of them really gave me much insight on how to work with my feelings. I phoned Paul and went to see him in Canada and from there I believe my real journey began.

Paul helped me contact and understand my feelings which gave me insight into why I felt the way I did and what was keeping me stuck.

Later I became interested in mindfulness and studied Hakomi and sensorimotor trauma psychotherapy, (mindfulness is key in both of these modalities), these learning deepened my understanding of bodily processes and how to work with them in a more compassionate way. I now have the tools to continue supporting myselt.

My inner journey has enriched my sense of self and aided me to have a deeper and much more loving connection to my husband and children as well as with my family of origin than I ever thought possible.

My journey has also given me an interest in early attachment trauma. I was induced as well as a forceps delivery, inducement creates enormous stress on the body, the understanding of how traumatic birth can be and what the needs of babies are after birth was not really known back then.

Inducement and forceps delivery and not having understanding carers, (I don't blame my parents by the way I have a wonderful relationship with them now, like me they just did what what they thought was the right thing to do), left me with the imprint of not feeling safe, years of insomnia, panic attacks, boundary issues and unconscious rage that unfortunately came out on my poor children as well as my incredibly loving and supportive husband.

Fortunately we as a family are changing the generational hurts. My birth and attachment trauma precipitated me to further my studies in this particular area. My journey has made me aware of the importance of creating loving attachments to yourself, your children etc. so that your future generations will have more loving, creative and happy lives that you and everyone so much deserve.

If you feel you can relate to what I have written and you would like to find out more please get in touch through either the 'send me details' or 'request an appointment'

Qualification Details

  • Bachelor in Counselling and Human change.
  • Member of ACA (Australian Counselling Association)
  • Facilitator of Robin Grille's "Heart to Heart Parenting Groups"

  • Depth Therapy, Workshops for both learning and personal self -development in Canada and Australia with teacher and psychotherapist, Paul Vereshack MD who wrote "The Psychotherapy of the deepest Self" also available on the internet as "(Help Me-I'm Tired of Feeling Bad".)

  • Graduate of the Hakomi Body Centred Psychotherapy Method

  • Level 1 and 2 Sensorimotor Trauma Techniques

  • Diploma in Shiatsu therapy: Registered with the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Australia, (STAA).

  • Diploma in Ki Yoga
    Diploma of Yoga with the International Yoga Association of Australia

  • Level one in Reiki

Service Categories

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