Older People Interest Group

In December 2020, a new Interest Group was formed. The Older Persons Interest Group aims to raise awareness of counsellors with experience in working with older people and advocate for their recognition, raise issues to Government through appropriate channels, and promote good practice when working with older people. The latter may include developing or highlighting sound practice resources, and creating professional development opportunities for working with older people. We welcome your ideas for professional development and your support as we develop this Interest Group through 2021.

Older People Leadership Group Members

Caroline Romeo (Convenor) Caroline’s interest comes from a 20 year experience of working with older people from in-home care to community development and state-wide advocacy, to supporting the mental health of older adults living at home. She currently works as a counsellor in a Government-funded service, in EAP and private practice. Influenced by her migration and multi-cultural experiences, Caroline brings a curiosity to counselling for older people in exploring its intersection with gender, ethnicity, age, place, disability, or multiplicities of identity. She graduated with Honours in Social Science (Macquarie University) in 2007 (exploring the de(re)valuation of care work) and a Master of Counselling (University of Notre Dame) in 2017 (exploring counselling strategies for older people with addictions). Caroline explores human concerns using an existential and narrative framework, and is currently developing competence in Grief & Loss.

Kirstin Robertson-Gillam began working in aged care in 1980 and has continued to work with older people for many years thereafter until she studied a Master of Research degree in 2007 at Western Sydney University in which she studied the efficacy of reminiscence and choir work for helping older people with severe dementia reduce their symptoms of depression and anxiety. Music, counselling and creative arts meet older peoples’ basic needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy. They also address aspects of social justice and equality in the older population. Kirstin focused on these areas during her PhD in 2009-2014 when she examined symptoms of depression in later life using creative arts. Kirstin graduated in 2014 in her PhD and now conducts her own private practice in Canberra where she specialises in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, depression and other mental health conditions, and helping ordinary people in everyday life find meaning and purpose.

Malibu Bert completed a Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy after finishing the Bachelor of Counselling at the Australian College of Applied Psychology. Malibu is passionate about supporting older populations both in their own homes and in a clinical setting. Malibu is particularly interested in Existential psychotherapy as one of the most appropriate modalities for a demographic most likely to suffer multiple existential crises concurrently such a physical, psychological, and social declination. Malibu studied Understanding Dementia and Dementia Prevention at the University of Tasmania. Malibu is a regular guest speaker at seniors’ events, hosting power point presentations on psychological well-being and dementia prevention strategies. Malibu runs her own mobile counselling service on the northern beaches of Sydney, receiving referrals from Uniting Care (North Sydney region). She also counsels at Lifeline Northern Beaches and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for Lifeworks.