Chief Executive Officer
Karen Sommerville is the CEO of South West Counselling having moved into this role in January 2012. Having worked in the human services sector for well over 20 years, and for a variety of not-for-profit organisations, Karen has developed a reputation for her expertise in transforming organisational processes to maximise performance. Karen believes that this is an essential component in ensuring optimal services are provided to people accessing the organisation. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women’s Studies and a Graduate Diploma of Counselling. She is a registered counsellor and has considerable experience in the provision of counselling and clinical supervision and in the development and facilitation of groups and workshops. Karen has worked with both women and men impacted by domestic violence and is passionate about affecting societal change in this area. On a personal note Karen has made Busselton home for the past 12 years, has two adult children and one grand daughter as well as a dog (Harry) and two cats!
Bev joined South West Counselling in 2009, and has been in the social services field for around 20 years, starting as a Graduate Research Assistant in 1989. Before joining SWCI she ran a couple of businesses, had a handful of kids, and had fully immersed herself in the South West way of life. She specialises in her meet and greet skills, enjoys community connection, cold water immersion and is also a whizz at tea and coffee making. Bev has a background in economics and marketing and is currently studying for a Diploma of Counselling so she can better understand the magic that happens in a counselling room at SWCI.
Debbie has been working in the human services sector for over 25 years and has a passion for supporting people who may be confronting challenges in their lives. Debbie is a Gestalt trained therapist who has held a variety of roles that have resulted in her now possessing comprehensive knowledge and skills across this field. Debbie has worked in services including youth; drug and alcohol; homelessness; family and domestic violence and support for women transitioning from prison. Debbie has been a counsellor at South West Counselling for the past nine and a half years, and during the past couple of years has also taken on the role of Clinical Coordinator.
Sharn is part of our administration team and has a strong background in education and special needs students. Originally from the Hunter Valley, NSW she and her husband have grown two children, partnered a construction business and have lived in this beautiful corner of the world for many years. Sharn is committed to supporting people with all their differences to live well in our community, and believes in finding joy in the simple things, like shoes and ice cream.
Alex is our Client Support Officer and has been working at South West Counselling since early 2019. Having initially started out in admin, Alex now also acts as the Intake and Advocacy Officer, offering short term support to clients. With a Masters of Social Work, Alex has experience working with children and individuals, with a passion for working in women’s health. Alex enjoys camping, murder mystery series and chicken parmigiana.
Liz is an experienced Social Worker and Counsellor, registered with the Australian Association of Social Workers. Liz holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Masters in Social Science (Counselling) and a Graduate Diploma in Grief, Loss and Trauma. Liz’s experience includes many years working with Military veterans and their families affected by the experiences associated with national and overseas service. Liz enjoys assisting couples to develop and enhance their relationship. She utilises skills from a range of modalities including but not limited to, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Family Systems Theory and Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Liz practices from a person centered and strengths-based perspective. She enjoys being ooutdoors, walking, beaching and gardening and travels as much as possible.
Renate is a counsellor with a passion for integrating the best of Western Psychology with holistic and integrative practices. Renate’s qualifications include an AdvDipMidwifery (Germany), GradDipPsychSc, BPsychSc (Hons 1st class), and a MClinPsych (candidate). Renate has experience working across the developmental spectrum with a wide range of presentations. She has worked in non-profits, private practice, and community mental health. Some things that make her heart sing include meditating, yoga, nature, spending time with loved ones, and expressing herself creatively.
Shantell is a passionate counsellor with a BA (Psych), a Master of Counselling and is a level 3 member of the Australian Counselling Association. Shantell’s therapeutic approach is built on authentic connection and is strengths based, varied and flexible. She has experience working with individuals and couples across the lifespan. Shantell has a particular interest in supporting new parents, regularly co-facilitating ‘Mother Baby Nurture’ groups with the Radiance Network. Shantell has 3 boys, a FIFO partner and loves yoga and the beach.
Jill is a counsellor with a B/A (Psych), and Certificates in Counselling and Group work. Her recent experience is in the disability field. She is currently training in a mindfulness body-centred psychotherapy called Hakomi.
HARRY THE DOG
Harry has been at SWCI since April 2016 when he was 10 weeks old. Harry’s role is to greet clients at the Busselton office and provide support. It really is a win for Harry as this support invariably means he receives cuddles and scratches, so he is always enthusiastic about his job. He sleeps a lot, loves his morning Milk Arrowroot biscuit and is a great distraction if anyone, including staff members, is having a challenging day.