9 min read

In this article, Gold Coast Acupuncturist Rachel Volp from Vyne Health interviewed their newest team member, Shannon Everest.

Shannon is a registered midwife and counsellor at Vyne Health with a specific interest in supporting preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, infertility/fertility challenges, trauma, grief/loss associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, termination/medical termination, complex medical conditions, congenital anomalies, trauma in birth and breast feeding. Shannon also focuses on relationship counselling, parenting adjustments and general counselling to support life changes, stress and anxiety. Continue reading to learn more about Shannon. 

 

Question 1: You have worked in a few different areas, including as a doula, a registered midwife and counsellor/practitioner – what inspired you to work in these areas?

Answer: I can’t quite explain the reasons initially for working in these areas but it has all felt very familiar to do so and almost like I didn’t have a say in it, it was always what was in front of me to do. All of these work roles are areas where you have to have a certain sense of comfortability in being in an intimate or even what could be looked at as an ‘intense’ space with people, which has always felt very normal to me right from when I was very young to be comfortable navigating big things with people.

An interest in women’s health was always there from the beginning when I started having a period cycle it was never a thing that ‘just happened’ or felt functional, it felt of a much deeper value than that, to me personally but for all of us. Then I had a pregnancy termination in my early 20’s and this was a big reawakening for me to how I had been living as a woman and generally opening me up to consider how we all live as women and together as men and women. This was the first time I really opened up to the potential of healing through counselling and bodywork. A few years after this and I had my first child and then second and I found it a pivotal time in my life of deepening and also responding to what was going on around me. If we go through life not asking ‘does it have to be like this?’ then we can accept things that may not be true or supportive, I have always been a questioner and open to looking for a more simple or loving way to live when life can sometimes be anything but. Motherhood has always been a bit like this, where I would feel all of the ideas and beliefs of society but then would check in or ask myself what resonated within me. I find counselling to be a process that can support us to do this.

I trained as a doula after having my first child after realising that it is a vulnerable time in pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period and something of value to support people in. In truth all people who support women at this time are a doula – partners, friends, family or in a more professional sense. I then trained in several different modalities that I found to be deeply supportive, including massage.

The inspiration to study midwifery sparked after arriving at the home of a couple I was working with as a doula. I was arriving to then go with the couple into the hospital for the birth. This was a very rapid birth and when I arrived to their home the baby was already born and the mum and baby were on the bathroom floor in shock at how quick the birth had been. I had a sense of not feeling equipped practically for this although I also felt very settled and calm, so this was the moment of finally responding to feelings I had had for a while to study midwifery.

 

Question 2: What led you to venture into a career of Counselling? Was there a particular reason you were drawn to the areas that you have a focus on, such as: preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, infertility/fertility challenges, trauma, grief/loss associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, termination/medical termination, complex medical conditions, congenital anomalies, trauma in birth and breast feeding? Are there any other areas that you focus on? 

Answer: I can feel now that counselling was always where I was headed and in fact I have come full circle back to where I started. The great thing is that although I have taken a few different directions in working life these have added to where I am today, because I have developed a practical insight into the many aspects of navigating being a woman in the world today, pregnancy and everything associated, family life, being a mum or unlearning aspects of being a mum that we can take on from society that are not necessarily true to us or our family.

So although I work with all people in general counselling with looking at aspects such as sleep quality, stress, anxiety, and all aspects to the way we live, I do specialise in the area of women’s health and specifically these areas you have listed in your question. As a midwife, I am often assigned to work with women who are anxious, or who have had a past history of trauma, those who are going through a loss, or a complex situation and it makes sense that this carries over to counselling. Even with breastfeeding, women can carry trauma associated with a previous breastfeeding experience which is not something that is often spoken about.

I also love to work with couples in relationships and with relationships in general, I don’t feel that we value enough the impact that it can have on our life and our health/ wellbeing when there are issues affecting us in relationships, either with partners, family members, friends or at work.

 

Question 3:  Do you have any advice for someone who might be feeling as though they should talk to someone, but aren't sure if they want to, or aren't sure if they can visit a counsellor or psychologist?

Answer: This is a great question and it all depends on the scope of practice of the particular counsellor or psychologist. For example I don’t specialise in areas of complex drug and alcohol addiction or gambling addiction as I don’t have the expertise of these areas. If as a counsellor I feel that someone presents either as outside my scope of practice or becomes that way throughout the counselling process then I would refer the client on, though this hasn’t occurred as yet. 

You mention the word aligned and it is important for someone to feel safe and supported by their counsellor or psychologist but also that their is room or space for the client to go grow, to go deeper or to expand to where they need to, and that they don’t feel boxed in, judged or shut down by the process of counselling as its design is to be the opposite.

I offer clients a free 15 min consultation/chat on the phone so that they have the opportunity to feel if it is the right fit for them in working together, without any obligation.

 

Question 4: You also offer counselling support for couples, relationships and parenting. If someone was considering sessions with you, and perhaps they feel there are some relationship situations to be addressed; would you recommend the person start with individual sessions first? Or, would you recommend the person begins with couples therapy from the beginning, and if needed, do some individual sessions in conjunction with couples therapy?

Answer: This is another great question because it can be either depending on the clients. Sometimes it can be important to go straight into the couples counselling together and sometimes it can be good to have at least one session each before then coming together. There is also the factor that in some relationships both people may not be yet ready to have counselling or a couples session but one of the couple may be, and the shifts and changes that person alone can make, makes a significant shift in the relationship so it doesn’t always have to be that it is for both people to come for counselling. The issues or hurts that we can be carrying can be imposing or impacting on the other person causing them to be acting out of their natural flow so it can be very powerful for a relationship for one person alone to be putting that work into moving on from the past. I would suggest calling or emailing the counsellor to have a brief check in about what would be supportive for the clients and also at that particular time.

 

 

Question 5: You also offer body work therapies; such as massage specifically during pregnancy and postpartum. What are some ailments you focus on during pregnancy and postpartum massage? Who would benefit from one of these massages?

Answer: It can be super supportive to have massage or bodywork in pregnancy and the postpartum. In pregnancy it can support the whole body and the being – the body changes, hormonal changes, life changes, and how you feel mentally, emotionally and energetically. It can support with stress, anxiety and sleep quality as well as the more physical ailments such as muscular aches and pains.

Both the pregnancy and postnatal massage supports in bringing a greater settlement to feelings of anxiety and stress associated with the adjustments that happen at this particular cycle of life.

 

Question 6: One of the other body work therapies you offer is Energetic Facial Release, what would you expect to feel during this treatment?

Answer:The Energetic Facial Release is a technique applied to the face-only but when you receive the treatment you feel as though the whole body is involved. Before the treatment the whole body is prepared by applying warm eye pillows in key areas on the body, this supports the body to let go of tension and to settle.

The actual technique is a mixture of an energetic facial release technique and facial massage. What would you expect to feel? – the main key I would say is that you would feel nurtured, supported to let go of any tension or stress in the face and therefore the whole body. There is a sense of dissolving any protection or hardness that you may have taken on in your face or body as well. After the treatment there is a natural emanating glow that happens from the clients face, but also from the whole body.

 

Question 7: Do you offer counselling and bodywork sessions to all genders and all ages? Are people eligible to claim their massage and/or counselling sessions with private health?

Answer: Yes I do offer to all people and all ages. I have a working with children check so can see clients that are under 18. I generally just go by who is referred or who responds to my online profiles and website which can be anyone, but I do see that the majority of clients are women.

Some health funds may be eligible to claim on private health for counselling, and that would need to be checked with each individual fund with what they cover. I see that this could change a lot in the future as there is such a growing need for mental health care providers especially since Covid and psychologists often have long wait lists.

At this stage massage is not able to be claimed on private health but I am working on that being available to clients in the future.

 

Question 8: The questions are pretty in-depth, let’s mix it up!

Tell us a little about you Shannon...

 

Question: If you could choose a warm beverage, what would it be? 

Answer: Definitely herbal tea, I have a selection in the cupboard at home and I like to feel what is needed at the time for either myself or who I am making tea for. I love making a pot of loose leaf tea. My favourite at the moment is a combination of peppermint, liquorice and fennel.

 

Question: Do you prefer sunrise or sunset or are you like me and find beauty in all hours of the day!

Answer: Definitely all hours of the day, both sunsets and sunrises as well as seeing the moon come up and the stars at night. I am an early riser and I love that feeling of when you have been awake and working for a couple of hours and then the sun starts to come up, it is a very still time of the day in the early morning.

 

Question: What drew your attention to practicing at Vyne Health? 

Answer: I was new to the Gold Coast and moved here in December 2021. I had been working on the GC for a while but had been living in Northern NSW for most of my life. So in moving here I was looking for a place to work from and Vyne Health popped up. I didn’t know much about the clinic because I wasn’t local but after visiting the clinic for the first time, meeting Rachel and the other practitioners I feel very blessed. The clinic is a great resource for women especially, but for all people on the Gold Coast.

 

Question 9: Tell me, what is something worth sharing?

Answer: Healing is, can be and should or could be a part of our everyday lives. It feels to be a normal thing to want to access all that is on offer for us to support our health and well-being. But this also doesn’t have to be about seeing the doctor or a practitioner but it can be in the simple things we do each day. Like for example considering just one example in the way we communicate, speak to each other, the way we engage and the types of conversations we have, can be healing or can actually also be harming. So there are so many aspects of our lives that we can make adjustments to as we sense that they are not supporting or working for us or those around us, that make such a huge difference and can bring healing.

 

Shannon Everest in Vyne healths reception area staff photo for leading Gold Coast allied health clinic

 

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