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Melissa Shadforth

FOUNDER and director

Whether in the defined role of counsellor, mentor, coach, teacher, or trusted advisor, I believe the relationship is core to creating a safe space for present moment awareness, reflection, and exploration of a more integrated way of being. While cultivating trust, confidence, and encouraging curiosity as the interactive process unfolds, I support individuals, groups, and families to reconnect with their inner wisdom, develop insight, and ultimately become their own advisors.

I love being in nature and as founder of The Collective Journey, I share nature-based adventure therapy, integrative counselling, and mentorship experiences with young people and a virtual village connecting parents and others supporting the wellbeing of the collective.

When not on the trails, I collaborate with other practitioners at IMI as a counsellor and ontological coach to support healing of the whole person through an integrative approach, including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual elements. I also share the teachings of Integral Yoga in nature, schools, community organisations, prison, with foreign domestic workers, refugees, and through the counselling process with individuals and groups.

This path followed 20 years in professional and financial services across Australia, the United States, and Hong Kong where I observed the influence of our disconnected ways of being and unresolved childhood and adolescent trauma on the personal, professional, organisational, and societal level. While working in sustainable finance and responsible investment, I realised that if the concept of living with more compassion and intention was a challenge for educated leaders and decision makers to digest and commit to, there was a disconnect upstream. I then chose to invest my time and energy in serving young people and their families in response to the complex challenges of our time.

My intention is to create opportunities for all ages to be seen and heard without judgement and connect with compassion to self, others, and nature while becoming more aware of the interconnectedness of the collective on our journey toward self mastery. We can only be responsible for our way of being and adapting or adjusting individually to align our thoughts, words, and actions; yet we don’t need to do the work alone.

In addition to a Master of Counselling, I am a Certified Integral Yoga Teacher RYT300 and Accessible Yoga Ambassador, Certified Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional (CATP) with the International Association of Trauma Professionals and a member of The Psychotherapy Society of Hong Kong, Asian Academy of Family Therapy, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, and the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy.  I am also First Aid, CPR, AED, and water safety rescue certified.

Images on this website, unless otherwise stated, have been captured with Melissa's uber sophisticated photographic equipment: the iPhone.