Joanna Paterson

Clinical Psychologist / Head of Therapy

Joanna Paterson next to horse eating

Horse experience

Joanna grew up in country Victoria and was fortunate to have her own pony at the age of 7, spending hours riding out in the national park, as well as attending pony club and gymkhanas. Joanna learnt the value of time spent with horses, and the special relationship you build not only through handling them but riding, training and learning together.

Joanna now lives on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula and has an off-the-track thoroughbred who she has owned for seven years and has retrained in the disciplines of dressage and show jumping.

As an adult, Joanna has become even more aware of the benefits of horses on mental health, experiencing on a daily basis the benefits, including calm and relaxation, grounding and mindfulness, connection with animals, nature as well as social opportunities with other humans, movement and exercise, goal setting and achievement, and sometimes just plain fun! There will also be days when it doesn’t go well, or the horse is sick or injured, and you have to learn to cope and accept, dealing with disappointment, frustration, anxiety and sometimes grief.

Professional experience and practice

Joanna is a registered Clinical Psychologist and has experience working in Private Practice as well as Public Health and Pain Management settings. Joanna has experiencing working with children and adolescents, families, adults and couples, and can help with a broad range of issues including
anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, anger, grief, relationships, ADHD, ASD, Eating Disorders, Personality Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Bipolar Affective Disorder, and more.

Joanna uses evidence-based therapies including CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), EFT (Emotion Focussed Therapy), Schema Therapy, Mindfulness skills training, Trauma Focussed Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. Joanna uses the horse in therapy as a tool to assist within these modalities, allowing for creative and engaging ways to deliver education and skill development.

At Rehab4Rebah children and adolescents can benefit from attending therapy in a beautiful and natural setting, helping them to engage and build rapport, whilst receiving evidence-based interventions which have the potential to change a life.

Joanna has a family oriented approach to working with young people, involving the family in sessions where appropriate, and ensuring the family remain informed about assessment outcomes, approach to treatment, and how to best support their child going forwards.