“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

― Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy 


individual counselling

As a person-entered practitioner, I meet clients where they’re at without judgement and integrate theories of modern psychology with scientific mind-body practices and life experience. At the Integrated Medicine Clinic, I collaborate with other IMI practitioners to support healing of the whole person through an integrative approach, including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual elements; with the therapeutic relationship being core to creating a safe space for present moment awareness, reflection, and exploration of a more integrated way of being. In school, I integrate the school counselling service with parents, teachers, senior leaders, and other practitioners supporting the wellbeing of students.

How can I help you or your child?

While cultivating trust, confidence and encouraging curiosity and feedback as the interactive process unfolds, I support clients to connect with their inner wisdom and develop insight, compassion, connection, regulation, resilience, and inner trust to respond to life rather than react – and ultimately become their own advisor.

Through counselling, we engage through purposeful communication with the intention of understanding or resolving a specific challenge, life transition, health concern, or other imbalance through the process of acceptance or solution identification, application, and growth. Further, through the integration of psychotherapy modalities, the client can develop insight on their way of being. This can help the client adapt and adjust to align their thoughts, words, and actions with their true self and break unhelpful cycles to allow new patterns of relating to emerge through the security of the therapeutic relationship. Essentially, to find a more peaceful state of equilibrium from within as we make sense of our story.

We can learn about our internal world through our relationships and in the words of Carl Jung, everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. Being curious about these irritations can deliver opportunities for self reflection and growth, or, we can choose to react, suppress, or run. Fortunately, if we avoid the lesson we will have another chance when it appears in a different time and place! Receiving professional support can be like finding a cloth to polish the mirror so we can see the irritations with greater clarity and accept or overcome them with more ease and less running.

Refer below for testimonals received from clients in response to the counselling process.


group counselling

I connect with young people and families in private practice, schools, nature, and other safe locations by request to serve the needs of the group.

Refer to the group therapy programs offered through The Collective Journey or reach out to enquire about bespoke programs for schools, homeschool students, or peer groups on scheduled continuing professional development days for teachers, sporting teams, or community organisations and other group counselling opportunities and workshops.

Refer below for testimonals received from clients in response to their group counselling process.

What is Nature-based counselling and adventure therapy?

It's a diverse field of practice combining adventure and outdoor environments with the intention of achieving therapeutic outcomes for those involved.

Ethically speaking, these programs are based on the principles of:

  • Positive regard for all people

  • Respect for differences in culture, gender, age and identity

  • Strong family and community connections

  • Transparency, informed consent, confidentiality

  • Voluntary participation

  • Selection for ‘readiness’ to participate

  • Attention to individual and group needs and hopes

  • Supportive physical, psychological, and social environments

  • Tailored adventure experiences

  • Provision of options and choices

  • Respect for cultural custodianship of country

  • Increasing self-awareness and reflexive practice

  • Safety and no harm to self, others or natural environments


"Attending counselling with Melissa was the best decision I have ever made.  Since our first session, Melissa’s genuine and caring nature has made me feel a total sense of safety and support.  Naturally an empathetic listener, she takes as much time as needed, so I can talk through my experience.  Her expertise in counselling (and mental health) literature has been a wealth of knowledge to me.  It is so rare to find someone who is not only intuitive, radiant with positive energy, but also highly professional and can offer actionable suggestions and functional resources. 

Melissa has a way of changing my perspective, in the most gentle and supportive way, so that I can see life’s possibilities and regain the strength and inner peace to keep going.  In a few months, she has made a significant impact in many areas of my life, e.g. self-love, parenting a child with special needs, marital challenges, dealing with past traumas. 

I find Melissa’s perspective on children especially insightful.  Her nonjudgmental view, coupled with her knowledge of neurodevelopmental differences and mental health makes her uniquely valuable to children and parents alike.”


"When people meet my eldest child, they often marvel at her maturity, confidence and resilience. Little do they know behind-the-scenes, her fears, insecurities and anxiousness are so overwhelming, she’s prone to extreme emotional outbursts. 

Two years ago, I felt alone and afraid. I feared for my daughter’s long-term mental and emotional wellbeing and I berated myself for not knowing how best to support her.

I don’t recall how we met Melissa Shadforth but I vividly recall how she turned our lives around. Through a series of workshops and hiking groups, she gave my daughter and girls her age their ‘tribe’.  In the most natural settings, through creativity and fun, the girls naturally released their fears and concerns; they shared their tween secrets; they embraced their unique selves and celebrated the differences in others.

Collectively and with compassion, Melissa equipped my daughter with the tools to tap into her inner strength and self-regulate. The best listener and full of wisdom and insight, she became the village I needed as she gentle guided me to better understand my daughter’s wellbeing needs. As my daughter is now navigating hormonal changes and the intense emotions that come with it, we continue to turn to Melissa for counselling and mentorship.

I will forever be grateful for all that Melissa has done and continues to do for my daughter and our family. In my line of work, I’ve met numerous counsellors, coaches and mentors. Melissa is in a league of her own."


“Since I started working with Melissa, I have taken on more challenges and life has continued to throw me curveballs, but I feel empowered and confident that I can tackle each one in its due course. And that’s all thanks to Melissa. I have learned so much in our time together. I trust my intuition a lot more these days, answers come to me faster, self-discoveries become clearer and life becomes more of a dance than a struggle. I feel grateful every day.”


“We love the programs Melissa offers and the work she does with children.  Our daughter had the opportunity to be with Melissa for several terms and absolutely loved it.  Typically reserved and less willing to participate in group activities, she came home each day happy, confident, energetic and sharing about friendship and health.  Melissa has a unique and wonderful way of listening, empowering the kids choices and enabling them to problem solve independently.”


"My daughter joined Melissa's Trail Tribe program for two terms.  She adored it and looked forward to hiking with her "tribe" each week.  Melissa is a fantastic mentor.  She created a safe space to raise issues that that can sometimes be difficult to talk about. And she let the girls take the lead - not only in conversation, but on the hike as well, helping them build confidence and trust.  Lots of fun stories of jumping in the water, climbing trees and roasting marshmallows - and deep conversations.

This is a unique and special program.  I wish there were more like it."


“The Trail Tribe program has made a very positive impact on my daughter.  I wish there was a Trail Tribe every day of our life!  It was amazing to watch my daughter’s joy on her hike days.  Then she came back with full of smiles and energy despite hiking at the end of a full school day! 

My daughter is not a big sharer of her day and life in general.  After the program, one day she asked us to go to the same trail together.  She was so happy to be there and I can tell it brought lot of sweet memories for her!  She led us through the path and appreciated everything along the way.  We are so thankful to Melissa for being a great mentor for girls and talking about a lot of things in a very safe and calming environment where my daughter was open to talk and listen.  She wanted to sign up for gardening at school after trail tribe, and she is now much more open to talk about her and others’ feelings.

Thank you hugely for such fun and meaningful walks with the girls. As a parent, I am so thankful that you are discussing various deep topics that are important and hard to start the conversation at home.

We would love to join again!!  It is such a special program that is a combination of many things in one bundle!  Very thankful for the contribution you made in our life!”


“Thank you for all of the wonderful and insightful experiences that you have shared with my Daughter. She is much the richer for having spent the time with you!”