Sometimes every bad thing you have experienced comes smashing up to meet you  – trauma, grief, loss, rejection, attachment wounds, bullying, loneliness, separation, poverty, emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, domestic violence, addiction, family and relationships. These were some of the subjects and themes covered in my masters degree in counselling. I needed to face these all to understand myself, my family and the world better.

At 52, I discovered I had ADHD, and RSD, a little OCD, and some fine ODD – all the acronyms. Then I had no CTFD hormones so that’s when things started to fall apart but then come back together in a different way. Piece by freaking piece. Discovering my personality was made up of a range of symptoms was very isolating and strange, it made me question my identity, look back at my life through a different lens, and wonder what could have been. No point doing that though, I have too much to do now, educating families on how this shows up, how it can be hereditary (76%), how it is almost often in adoptees, (80%) how we try to hide our weirdness, because we think we are too much. I want to shine a big light on the people-pleasing, avoidant, overcompensating and often exhausting behaviour people with ADHD exhibit, provide some useful examples of how this can show up in women and girls, and advocate these are not personality quirks and it’s not a fad, or a phase, it’s a difference in our brains, which we can’t change and not everyone is a bit AC/DC thank you very much.


This is a difficult post to write because I am outing myself, but also freeing myself at the same time. Just over a year ago, well one year and four days to be exact, I received a diagnosis of ADHD. I had been working with children and families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and I kept normalising their sensitivities to sound, light, sensory things like tags in clothing, belts, zippers, creases in socks etc, hyper fixations like gaming, technology, pets, new things they loved and wanted to tell me about. I was always all in. I’ve known I was all or nothing for a long time which is why I had to stop drinking but didn’t realise all or nothing was a trait of ADHD.

Hyper fixation

People with ADHD can sometimes be prone to addictions or hyper fixations. We may love one type of music to motivate us and another to help us sleep. We are lacking in dopamine which is the reward chemical, which means we can’t really muster up the enthusiasm to do tasks we are not interested in. This is why I hate to cook but I am very competitive at card games and sport. I don’t get enough of dopamine or rush from the ordinary. I can see how this lead me to chase variety in travel, careers and new environments as they almost always had to be stimulating, until they became mundane and I found the next new thing.

Attention Deficit

Looking back, I can see now why I worked in marketing, law, advertising, fundraising, education throwing myself into careers which were busy and reactive. I now understand why I resigned or was asked to leave positions in insurance, retail, and banking. Spreadsheets literally make me want to fake my own death. A teacher once told me once I had the personality of a radio announcer. This wasn’t flagged as attention deficit, however, as I didn’t present as hyperactive, I just played softball, netball, cricket, ran, swam, and rode a bike so nobody noticed. In those days only boys had ADHD. Being overlooked as inattentive meant I dropped maths after failing for a few years, took up three-unit English, and went to Uni to do communications. This allowed me to follow a diverse range of teachings including research, design, photography, pop culture, script writing, creative and feature writing and various society and culture subjects. People with ADHD get bored easily because we don’t get regular dopamine hits like neurotypical or normal people.

Dopamine chasing

I started chasing dopamine early as a child by collecting rocks, coins, books then later people. Once we get the dopamine hit, we move on. After graduating uni, I still got a lot of my dopamine from courses and study, getting diplomas in clinical massage, counselling, all my reiki certificates, infant massage, shiatsu, kids’ yoga – all for the learning rush. I spent years to overcome social anxiety and manage workplace stress. I know people with huge stashes of craft supplies, art supplies, projects left unattended but kept in case we want to resume them. We don’t. We can often get in the way of ourselves because it is difficult to stay in the one place, focus on one thing as there is always so much which hijacks our interest. We are forgetful as we are so often called away to something more interesting, so we burn dinner while looking at an old photo album or hearing a song on the radio which reminds us of a friend we need to call. I discovered washing dries by itself rumpled in the clothes basket outside after a few days, because the fire alarm went off for the meal I forgot I was cooking.  Hence the distractibility and all the lists and emails and notes to self.


ADHD can often head in the way of addiction, sometimes we don’t reach our full potential and wonder why we don’t have the discipline of others. We get compulsions and have difficulty with impulse control which might include online shopping, drinking, gambling, substances, relationships, gaming, exercise, routine, avoidance of things, like sticking to certain types of foods, colour schemes or surroundings which bring us comfort. Like many people, I thought ADHD was the boy climbing on the table in Year 2 or the kid who would not sit still. Sometimes it’s the girl staring out the window in maths or writing song lyrics on her phone or drawing on her arms or legs and hiding it under her skirt at school. For me, I can now look back with compassion at my 13-year-old self, hiding in a cupboard frozen with anxiety and shame at not being able to speak on the phone to a boy. The shame was then compounded by a family member going to school and telling my friends what happened. At 14, an older boyfriend gave me soccer raffle tickets to sell. He was surprised when I returned then whole book sold. I bought them with my own money and after I found out he was cheating on me, I detailed the 50 individual tickets with teeny suggestions on each one with how to treat women better, how he needed to be more honest, and that he had hurt me so much I could never possibly love again. We take rejection hard.

Rejection Sensitivity Disorder

This is due to our pre-frontal cortex which is the executive functioning of our brain not working as effectively as it could. So, the limbic system and the amygdala, parts that govern emotions and instinctive fight, flight, freeze parts ramp up to protect us.  Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is unique to those with ADHD and results in intense emotional pain felt in response to being teased, criticized, or rejected. The hard part about this is often kids who are a little different or may be neurodivergent can often be the target of bullying so will do everything in their power to avoid rejection which can often mean masking.


We watch how others behave, practice, and rehearse these behaviours, gestures, the way people laugh, dress, what they say and then we do that. This could explain why I wore jodhpurs for several years because the compression on my body meant I could stay connected and in the present unlike swooshy, sweepy, frilly clothes which are scary and pointless. Which leads me to the part about having strong opinions and no filter. For whatever I said before I knew I had ADHD I am sorry. It was probably true though. So sorry, not sorry. Having no filter and overthinking means if I don’t say it, I will overthink it later. Should I have held my tongue about the hotel room in Coolongatta in 2014 which reeked of mould and kept me awake at night even though no one else in my family could smell it? To keep the peace should I have not complained to management and disrupt everyone ordering them to move out with all the stuff they had already unpacked to another floor? So often there is so much going on in our head all the time, impacting our senses from all angles, we have to speak up about things. Even if they are not socially acceptable. Social is hard for us.

I had to learn small talk; it was never modelled to me until I started working. What the heck do I care about weather or football teams or what you did on the weekend? Our family did medium/deep talk. I prefer the in between, not too light, not too heavy (unless we know each other and I can trust you) so I prefer just kind of in between, like Goldilocks talk. People with ADHD overthink things, we practice how things might go in our minds or be overly polite, compliant, and b people please to avoid rejection. We may also make up reasons why we can’t go to your thing which might be full of people we don’t know, who we expect might be judging us, even though they are not, or it might be too loud, too bright and make us feel overwhelmed.


Turns out, that’s a thing too with ADHD we are extremely sensitive, not just empathic, but we love harder, hurt harder, get way too excited, try to save everyone, push ourselves too much and then burn out. We avoid situations which may cause sensory overload, my kids know I can only last three shops in Westfield before I need to stop for a meal or a coffee or take a bathroom break to retreat from the competing noise, smells, colours, lights, people.

Diagnosis and Coping Strategies

My brother kept nudging me to get assessed as he noticed traits. In typical all or nothing fashion I waited until I was almost completely overwhelmed and broken. With one more semester of my post-grad degree looming, I was trying to keep all the balls in the air, I was managing my daughters’ chronic fatigue and inability to attend school, studying two subjects, and working two jobs from home as a solo parent, then I lost a client to suicide. I booked the appointment on line as phoning gets too hard, I walked in dropped my handbag with the diary, pens, lipsticks, laptop, tissues, snacks, all the things to the floor of my doctor’s office, slumping into the chair in tears saying, ” I think I have ADHD,” She looked at me, nodded and said, ” Of course you do.” She had managed my health for over 7 years and supported me through menopause, insomnia, minor car accidents, burnout, and stresses with work and family. I was thankfully able to reschedule clients, take a week off work and go away to the beach with my dog and Netflix and dining in. It was enough to calibrate my nervous system and steady myself for the next bit which was a study trip to India.

The timing of my trip, which was scheduled to coincide with completion of my degree was a lifesaver. Breathwork and meditation help me to slow down. I came back, bought a house, became a landlord, completed my last semester with medication receiving distinctions for every paper I submitted. I was offered a position as a psychotherapist two weeks before I submitted my last assignment. After almost 3.5 years, I’m graduating at the end of this week. See all or nothing.

The thing with ADHD in women is, we mask, we try to blend in, we pretend we are holding all our shit together until we can’t. Menopause made everything worse for me as the calm the heck down hormones disappeared and I had given up alcohol. I noticed my anxiety ramped up, I was irritated, sleepless, tired, forgetful, and late. If you are feeling any of these things or want to chat about your own symptom management I am here. You are going to be ok.

It is reassuring to know when ADHD people we are well rested and not completely overstimulated we bring so many amazing qualities of empathy, random info dumping, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial ideas, amazing creatives, recyclers, friend gatherers and advocates. We want to save the world, all the animals and stop baby plovers falling into drains. If I can help you or someone in your family because this is 76% hereditary, please get in touch.




Coffee lovers around the world can celebrate their love of the brown bean on international Coffee Day, Saturday 1 October. You may want to share a toast with a flat white, long black, macchiato, espresso for the purists, or lighten your latte with skim, oat, almond, soy or go to town and flavour it with a splash of caramel.

What if you don’t like coffee?

What if you prefer tea, hot chocolate or a herbal drink? The good news is – you don’t have to drink it! There are many ways coffee can be used to enhance your life, rid you of pests and make you thin and beautiful. Don’t believe me?
Just watch.

  1. Additional benefits of coffee include
    1. Eliminate Cellulite – coffee has been proven to be effective in eliminating cellulite. Grab a handful of the grounds and rub on to affected areas – add a splash of coconut oil to assist the application and rub in circular motions to thighs and bot bot. That’s right. Watch and learn.
    2. Brighten up the under-eye area – coffee rehydrates the skin and can be helpful for dark circles under the eye area. Mix grounds with water or coconut oil, apply a small amount under the eye area and leave for ten minutes before rinsing off. Caffeine has anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates blood circulation around the eyes. It is also full of antioxidants which fight free radicals which can enhance skin texture and reduce the effects of ageing.
    3. Enhance your long flowing locks or promote new growth to baldy bits – you might notice caffeine is sometimes added to hair growth products. This is because caffeine stimulates blood flow and can stimulate hair growth. Simply grab a handful of coffee grounds before shampooing your hair and massage this into your scalp followed by a rinse. (You may want to rethink that thigh and bottom rubbing. Just sayin’.)
    4. Hair Dye – coffee grounds can be used to deepen the colour of dark hair. Commercial food and hair dyes can contain hundreds of chemicals, many of which may cause cancer. Used coffee grounds make a great non-toxic alternative to traditional dyes.
    5. Exfoliate body and face – make a coffee scrub exfoliant by mixing coffee grounds with a little bit of water or coconut oil and scrub them with your hands directly onto your face and body. Coffee grounds can also be mixed with a small amount of honey and used as an exfoliating lip scrub. What’s more, caffeine has potent antioxidant properties that can help protect the skin from sun damage.
    6. Weight control – coffee can promote weight loss by boosting metabolism and aiding appetite control. That is, if you don’t pair that latte with cakes, crumpets, bakery treats or any other foods with high sugar content, which is tricky because they go together like a $9.99 menu special.
    7. Repel pests – compounds found in coffee, such as caffeine and diterpenes, can be highly toxic to insects because of this, you can use coffee grounds to repel bugs. Coffee grounds can deter mosquitoes, fruit flies, bugs, and ants. Set out bowls of grounds or sprinkle them around outdoor seating areas. You can also keep pests out of your garden by scattering coffee grounds around your plants. They help create a barrier that slugs and snails do not like to crawl over.So, there you have it, drink it, scatter it in your garden, scrub your body, rub it in your hair. Why are you still reading, you should be running down to your local cafe requesting grounds! Happy International coffee day to my fellow coffee lovers and others who may begin to consider using coffee in many more ways!

Some of these facts were taken from a website called

This blog also appeared as content on another website where I moonlight, because I like to recycle.

A reiki session is so relaxing!The first time I had reiki, I visited a naturopath in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. It was an unusual experience. I had booked the appointment after she suggested if I felt rundown or needed energy, reiki could help. Considering my lifestyle in my mid-20s, of working/studying/drinking –  rundown was my middle name.

So I entered her room for a reiki session.  A massage table was set up with native American Indian music playing in the background at a low hum. I was asked to lie down on my back and a silk eye covering was placed over my eyes. I don’t like the dark. I felt a bit scared. She started without telling me what was going to happen and I couldn’t see anything. She proceeded to place rocks on my body, starting at my forehead, my neck, my chest, and along my stomach. I held my breath. She flapped something over me which made a whooshing sound and did not speak to me until she was done.

During the space of an hour, which felt timeless, I could smell something burning, and experienced warmth over different parts of my body, old memories emerged, and images came into my head. It was mind-blowing and scary at the same time. I’m not sure if this happened, or if it was the music, but it sounded like she played the drum for a bit. To finish, she made a loud pinging sound near my head that made my ears ring and woke me up. The whole experience was entirely surprising and when I started babbling to her about how wild it was, she said ” Enough talking”, and took my payment.

The next time I visited, I asked her about it and she explained her reiki master was a Native American Medicine man, or Sharman. So she used an eagle’s feather to flap around my body to clear my energetic field. She burned sage to purify and cleanse. She did play a small hand drum which felt grounding and beating at the same pace as my heart. The thrumming sound moved through my whole body. Certain types of crystals correspond to the energy centres or chakras, in the body which is why she placed these on my forehead, throat, and torso. The loud pinging was a tuning fork possibly used as a way of raising my vibration.

I don’t do any of this, just so you know. I don’t put crystals on the body as they can fall off and make clattering sounds and disturb the serenity. I have some in the room or on the table then I take them off. My reiki is simple and I explain the process, how, and where I will put my hands on your body, so it’s not creepy and I answer any questions you have before or after. We are allowed to talk and often I check-in to ask questions.

When I was ready to learn more, I connected with the Australian School of Reiki for my Level 1. I discovered the history and origins of Reiki in Japan in the early 1920s, and how it was passed down from teacher to student. It only emerged into the Western world in the 1970s and 80s after a Hawaiian lady brought it back to America. The initiations and teachings are passed down via a lineage to keep the practice pure. After offering Reiki as part of massage treatments for many years, I discontinued massage and began to offer Reiki as a stand-alone treatment. Nearly 20 years later, I completed my Reiki levels 2 and 3 with Soulbyrds in Brisbane.

What is reiki?

Essentially Reiki is a healing technique working with the body’s energy centres, or chakras to balance and maintain equilibrium or wellbeing. It is relaxing, restorative, and healing. Different practitioners have their own style or flavour which they bring to the treatment. A Reiki practitioner may be called a healer, but essentially act as a facilitator, using Reiki to allow the person’s body to come into alignment and heal itself.

Reiki with Rachel

A Reiki session with me although simpler, and without the feathers, also has my own flavour. I have studied psychic mediumship, and am a spiritual coach and holistic counsellor. My reiki has become more of a holistic healing practice. My experience in massage therapy has taught me how to read and feel the energy of the individual. Having an open mind and strong intuition enables me to access the spiritual realm. This has resulted in some amazing experiences. There have been many occasions where spirits have come through, memories and emotions have been processed and released and even illnesses have made themselves apparent. I have learned to trust how reiki becomes the key to access to mind, body, and spirit.

After graduating from student to master, I am honoured to pass the history and teachings of reiki on, attuning students to reiki healing for practice on themselves and A reiki session is so relaxing!others. Reiki can be performed on all living things including plants and animals.  Reiki symbols can be used to clear homes, offices, and energy fields. Self-practice is calming and healing.

Recently, I initiated my first student and she has now entered into her phase of 21 days of self practice. She is able to use reiki on her partner, baby and animals. She said ” I thoroughly enjoyed our training and I have had some great experiences so far!”

Book a Reiki experience with Rachel

Reiki Shares and Level 1 Classes

The next reiki share Sunday is booked out! These mornings are for trained practitioners and those interested in learning so we can share the healing reiki energy and connect like-minded souls together.

Brisbanites – spaces are limited so register your interest for upcoming Reiki Share Sundays by mail to:

Level 1 classes

If you are in Brisbane and are interested in training for Level 1 Reiki please mail to coordinate future dates for October and February 2023.

One size does not fit all!

Some of the worst career advice I have been given as a therapist was “you need to find your niche,” or “you should specialise”. Part of the reason I was drawn to holistic therapy is its wide range and rich diversity. The beauty of holistic therapy is that it offers a flexible approach that tailors to the individual, not a one-size-fits-all structure. For me, the idea of delivering the same type of therapy day in/day out would make me want to bang my head repeatedly on my clipboard groaning and muttering very bad words.

I was told to not offer multiple therapies at once, I was assured I could make more money by separating therapies out to get more repeat business. I’ve never liked being told what to do, I’m a helper and a healer, I work for myself, so I tailor as required.  Holistic therapy with me can involve meditation, moving around, energetic chord cutting, reiki healing, yoga stretches, and much more laughter than tears. I blend everything in because every person is unique and comes for varied reasons plus, I feel better prepared knowing lots of approaches.

My favourite word is diversity, I have an unbridled curiosity if I don’t know something I will research and get back to you, if I can’t support you, I will find someone who can, but I won’t be niche, it’s too limiting and dull. If I have an expectation for growth and expansion from others, it’s unfair of me to sit in stagnancy and not do the work on myself. Therapists are required to have regular mentoring. In addition, I read multiple books at once, and see practitioners for my self-care. I regularly join in spirituality, meditation, and yoga practices. I’m nowhere near close to nirvana but I’m closer than yesterday.

I commenced counselling thinking my niche would be with teens and anxiety, which I did for a while, but those teens grow up and need support for their next transition, finishing school, moving out of home, starting careers, or university, forming relationships, facing challenges of starting a family and finding their place in the world. I then began to enjoy supporting women through career, family, and relationship challenges transitions of menopause as well as finding purpose and meaning in life.

Every person is a unique discovery and a work in progress and I want to be that too. I’m no expert. I can’t be, not in someone else’s life. All I can do is offer the space and time for reflection and ask questions to inquire more deeply, but ultimately, I don’t make decisions or dictate how others should live their lives.  We work together to gently consider how to find ways to make space for happiness and freedom. This then can create a flow through all aspects of life.

I work with individuals, couples, families, youth, and LGBTIQ+ people for:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Highly Sensitive Person (HSP or empaths)
  • Separated families
  • Couples counselling
  • Family support
  • Career challenges
  • Identity
  • Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Complex families
  • Spirituality
  • Purpose
  • so much more

I practice heart-centered, client-focused strength-based, family system, narrative, and inclusive therapy for any person, identifying as any gender in any relationship. I choose not to limit my scope because people are varied, unique, and changeable. We are all connection-seeking individuals who do not fit into one box, we are fluid, constantly changing, and moving through different challenges, life stages, and transformations. Life experiences come to shape, teach, and heal us, and none of us is the same person we were yesterday.


Please share if this may help anyone you know – in a world of increasing stress, no one needs a six-month waiting list to get help. Counsellors are unfortunately not Medicare rebateable, but charges are similar to out-of-pocket rates for psychologists, with less of a waitlist.


Rachel Wilkinson is a Holistic Counsellor with qualifications in communications, infant massage, kids’ yoga, remedial massage, reiki healing, spiritual coaching, and counselling. She lives in Brisbane and works in private practice with a small teddy bear humping Cavoodle. She is currently completing her Master of Counselling.

Website: Email: Mobile: 0402 329 259

For bookings click here.

Here is the link to Bay FM’s Rainbow Conversation’s most engaging radio shows put together by Radio Husbands Tony Tranter and Jasper Manfield. This show on grief delivered the highest audience engagement in the program’s history. It is clearly evident why they were awarded BayFM 100.3’s program of the year award.

Their preparation, research, and commitment to educating and supporting the community are always humbling. It was an honour to join fellow guest Brian McCartney of McCartney Family Funerals. Get the tissues out for this first radio show for 2022.

Click here to listen to the podcast of the Bay FM’s Rainbow Conversations on Grief.

Working from home used to be something people did when they had pre-school children, lived remotely, or ran their own business, and didn’t want to pay for office space. Now, in the interest of keeping everyone safe and well, it is something we all need to be prepared to do, to operate independently, or pivot, as they say, to manage our own health and the safety of others.

Not everyone is ready for this. After working from home for almost 5 years managing renovations, kids on school holidays, and not always wanting to pay for office space, let me share what I’ve learned about receiving people in my home. If you are lucky enough to work from home and don’t have visitors – power to you. Rock those zoom calls in your trackie daks and business shirt, cook strong-smelling food and leave the dishes for tomorrow. Wear pants or not. When meeting others in their homes, however, consider these suggestions.

  1. Show up on time – If you make an appointment with someone in their home, make sure this is confirmed and arrive at the agreed time. Don’t show up 10 or 15 minutes early because you got a run of green lights, they may answer the door in their sweaty gym gear pants and a bowl of cereal because they don’t have a waiting room and they are not expecting you for 10 minutes. To the teenage girl who had to spend an hour with me in my leopard print leggings and sweatiness, I’m sorry. Your early arrival was unplanned. I was hoping you were a parcel.
  2. Don’t make them wait or leave them hanging – If you are running late, be respectful and let the person know. Pull your car over safely and send a quick text. Don’t arrive late and expect the full appointment time. If you forget or miss the appointment, phone, apologise and reschedule. If you can’t make it last minute or an emergency comes up, phone or message. Nothing sucks more than being stood up in your own home, wearing a dress, heels, and a full face of make-up, then having to empty the dishwasher.
  3. Shoes on or off? Follow their cue. If they answer the door in bare feet, it’s always shoes off. If they have a nice carpet, leave your shoes at the door. If it’s raining, don’t add mopping to their list of things to do, they already need to put the dryer on, walk the dog, get dinner ready. Don’t make them mop, even if they assure you, shoes are fine, they are never fine unless everyone is wearing them.
  4. Check if it’s a good time to call – If you phone someone working from home, remember politely asking “Is this a good time for you,”  is helpful. Just because you are at your desk, doesn’t mean they are. I have answered calls in the supermarket frozen section, had several speakerphone conversations at school pick up whilst playing spot my kids when they all look the same, and another memorable phone call right after picking up excrement in the dog park. None of those times were good. It is also possible you’ve timed it badly and the person may have just arrived from the shops with a huge pile of melty groceries on the kitchen bench depositing meat juice.
  5. Don’t overstay – Just because it’s someone’s home and feels relaxed don’t overstay your welcome. The working from home person will always have other things to do. If it’s school holidays they may have kids banished to their rooms waiting for the all-clear so they can forage in the pantry, then complain there is never anything good to eat. Remember it’s their house and they can’t find an excuse to leave. They have so many things to do – like wipe over hard services, spray some air freshener, grab a piece of fruit, make a cup of tea, or pee before their next appointment.  Thank them for their time and leave.

Also for the home office – never skrimp on an office chair. It will pay for itself and save you a fortune in panadol, massage, and chiropractic bills. Trust me. Unless you are sharing a table with your fantasy dinner party guest list, a dining chair is not meant to be used for longer than the duration of a meal.


I am so grateful when I get a call to come in and chat on radio with these two amazing humans Tony Tranter and Jasper Manfield. They do so much good work educating the community and engaging support for the rainbow community as well as interviewing special guests, researching facts and they allow me to contribute my experience counselling in the LGBTIQI+ community.

Bay FM Radio Program Searchlight – Rainbow Conversations ( LGBTQI+)

  • October 2021 – Searchlight – Rainbow Conversations. Transgender episode 1. You can listen to the full program here.
  • November 2020Suicide in LGBTIQI+ communities, depression spikes in the lead up to Christmas.

To listen to more podcasts by the gorgeous radio husbands follow this link.




Guest Podcasts – The Balanced Wrap – with Nutritionist Katie King and Jessica Cheney

June 13, 2018 – Mental health -strategies for life and health – Podcast

November 21, 2018 –  Emotional Eating – Podcast






While divination and mystical arts may all sound a bit Harry Potterish, one Brisbane business owner has discovered these additional services added to holistic counselling have been a surprising source of income in a challenging year for small businesses.

Australia now has many people who call themselves spiritual but not religious, and according to the online Buddhist forum Lion’s Roar, it is a growing trend increasing in numbers with spiritual not religious now the fastest-growing philosophy in the United States.

It seems desperate times call for desperate measures with Australians looking elsewhere for support and guidance in a post-pandemic world. According to the Guardian newsprint service, the fear and upheaval spread by the pandemic have driven an extra need for reassurance, whether being unable to attend the funeral of a loved one, or changes in employment or businesses seeking a way forward. Many services from healing, mediumship, astrology, and tarot cards have experienced an increase in activity with Forbes magazine reporting a spike of 136% increase since 2020.

Holistic Counsellor, Rachel Wilkinson became aware of this shift in focus this year, as her requests for reiki, an ancient Japanese form of energy healing increased. For several years her most popular modality was counselling, with occasional reiki. After studying with The School of Mystical Arts in July 2021, she now offers Spiritual Coaching. This includes the use of guided meditation, journaling, and looking at values and interests to arrive at one’s purpose. The use of reiki and listening with an open awareness are ways she uses divination to access the higher self, using clairvoyance (clear seeing) clairaudience, (clear hearing) and claircognizance (clear knowing), and clairsentience (clear feeling). As an empath and a highly sensitive person (HSP), these elements are used to access deeper healing by tapping into the energy channels in the body as well as using a person’s external energy fields, soul family, and guides.

Meditation over medication
Rachel said, “After I started talking on social media about my use of intuition and spirituality, my appointments increased, and I realised just as many people were coming to be counselled for depression, anxiety, and relationship breakdowns, like healing, reiki, and spiritual guidance – this was a first. I checked my booking system and sure enough in the last quarter, I’d seen 49% of people for reiki/energy healing and 51% for counselling. Pre-pandemic, reiki made up about 10% of my work.”

“I began to leave my reiki treatment table up permanently. People were bringing in the most fascinating life stories and were open to discovering more about themselves and were willing to be vulnerable and curious. My role changed from observer to collaborator as I listened and allowed these emotions and stories, creating space for the person to heal themselves.”

One client texted after a Master Healing session:

I was so impressed with your insight and intuitions into my life. No one has ever read me so deeply or so spot on. I felt so light like a massive weight had been taken off my shoulders. I am rejuvenated with an extra spring in my step – head held high, a smile on my face radiating from the inside!

As people are beginning to show distrust of the medical model of psychology and pharmacology, many are choosing unique and ancient healing modalities such as meditation, yoga, kinesiology, kahuna massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and reiki as self-care options. With opportunities for interstate and overseas travel limited, these therapies can be like a mini-vacation for the soul.

Rachel said she is finding, “people want a deeper connection due to the isolation of working from home, and often they miss friends and family who may be interstate or overseas. We all have more time on our hands, and fewer places to go, so self-care is now becoming critical to avoid burnout and social disconnect.”

Remote Healing
The benefits of Reiki can be felt immediately as a calming, relaxed state or can also be sent virtually to help support people through loss and grief, relationship breakdowns, workplace stress, and recovery from addiction. After more than a decade of sitting in spiritual circles, a keen meditator and yoga student, Rachel uses reiki as a pure channel for spirit communication.

Adapting to this current climate takes a little flexibility and resourcefulness. To provide services to people in remote areas, or people at home with children, counselling services, spiritual coaching, and remote reiki were adapted to online appointments using Facetime, Zoom, and Skype. As a lifelong learner and seeker, Rachel is currently completing her Master of Counselling as well as exploring the idea of studying Buddhism in 2022 to supplement her holistic approach to wellbeing.


Rachel Wilkinson is the author of the e-book Hell in a handbag documenting her 90-day journal into sobriety. She is also a regular guest and counselling advisor for Rainbow Conversations on the local Brisbane radio station Bay FM and quite the Harry Potter fan.


Research weblinks

Image from a website called Pacific Teen

They say after the dust settles you often find perspective, the pain eases with time. Apparently, people have trouble remembering the physical pain of trauma after it has passed, like childbirth, abuse, or injury because the body goes into shock, shutting down and the brain tries to help us by forgetting.

I remember and feel everything. It can be a blessing and a curse. It is also possibly why I decided to have only two children and why I will do anything I can to protect them from undue stress and pain. Recently, as a family, we have had to walk alongside our children on a horrendous path which they kept silent about for a long period of time, hoping to protect us or themselves. This didn’t happen. We are exhausted, medicated, raw, and in pain, but have learned the lesson. Somehow, it feels like we have all been through it, but we are taking all that anger and hurt and using it to stand up for ourselves and others.

What is the definition of bullying?

The National definition for Australian schools says:
Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical, and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social, and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power…over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.  Bullying can happen in person or online…Bullying behaviour is repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records).  Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium, and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

It is worthwhile to point out this common misconception that: Single incidents, conflict, or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

I’m currently selling off my children’s school uniforms, backpacks, ties, hats, swimwear, and sports gear, for a fraction of their original cost. As I hand over the small bundles of shirts and bags, to other mothers, it feels like I am selling off my daughters’ body parts after death. The grief is a weight. As a family, we had so many aspirations for the girls at high school. None of them were academic, they were all based around friendship and integration into the local community.

In my previous career, I was often told to keep my head down in meetings, not to say what was on my mind, don’t speak up, out, buck the system, or eye roll. I used to draw pictures of those people in meetings, marking their faces with deep lines, sketching in horns and fangs. I was unable to voice my opinion because I was the minority, too emotional, or oppositional, and I shouldn’t rock the boat. I was placated with archaic phrases like ‘big ships take a long time to turn’, ‘we can’t change the system, this is just how it is,’ and the worst phrase which I refuse to accept, ‘it is what it is ‘.

Let me say, it has been refreshing to work for myself. There is no one to shush me, and I will speak up. I don’t care how big your fucking ship is. Kids are being harassed on and offline, beaten up, assaulted, raped, turning to drugs to escape the torment, and suiciding. I will not be silenced. I will bang on about this until policies are revised and updated, until schools and boards take accountability, and until parents and kids understand the consequences. I will no longer advise my children and others to ignore or block cyber cowards. Once blocked, evidence is lost, and the evidence, I have discovered is the key. I will support young people to name these bullies, because I know how to do that now.

Types of bullying

The National Centre against bullying identifies 5 types of bullying:

  1. Physical – including damage to property
  2. Verbal – name-calling, insults, and verbal abuse
  3. Covert bullying – spreading rumours or damaging reputation
  4. Psychological bullying – by an individual or group
  5. Cyberbullying – online harassment, menacing or abuse

Current practice for some schools around cyberbullying is, if it’s not sent on a school device or out of school hours, it’s not their problem. This get-out-of-jail-free card did not sit well with me. To me, students have behavioural expectations in and out of uniform. The kids being hassled after school must front up every day and face these tormentors. I researched some school policies, which in fact had quite a few pages about online harassment and cyberbullying basically suggesting it was not kind. Do you know what else it is? Illegal.

I know this because I popped into the police station after a trip to Aldi one Sunday. I sat in the car park thinking “Am I that parent?” then on reflection of the trauma, I had seen both in my own children and families coming in for therapy who have been told both face-to-face and online “you are a slut/bitch/whore/weirdo,” or “go kill yourself,” I decided I was. After watching my kids experience the emotional and psychological stress, school refusal and withdrawal, the academic and social impacts, the light going out of their eyes, and their confidence shattered, I decided I am that parent, I am that mother and I am that therapist. I will advocate for those who feel powerless, diminished, crushed, and unable to speak. After hearing about and knowing kids who have hung themselves, jumped off rooves, overdosed, and died in single-vehicle accidents, or farming accidents, you bet, I am that person, and I want to talk about it.

Some of the signs your child may be being bullied

  • Social anxiety, not wanting to go to shopping centres or into the local community for fear of running into bullies
  • Changes in eating or sleeping – sleeping more, eating less, eating more, sleeping less
  • Health problems, headaches, or stomach aches
  • Unhappiness, tearfulness, mood swings, temper tantrums, quick to anger
  • Reluctance to go to school, changes in academic performance

I grew up, in the dark ages according to my kids. They once asked me if I rode in a horse and cart to school. So apparently being born last century makes me a peasant farmer. I may not have had apps and facetime, but I did have to remember my PIN number, the combination lock on my bike, and my friends’ phone numbers off by heart. What I didn’t realise then, amongst all my teenage angst, was how simple it was, if I did’t want to take a call or speak to anyone I didn’t have to. I unwound by flicking on the radio or listening to a mixtape. The most stressful part of my afternoon was having mum interrupt me taping a Clash song from the radio, to call me for dinner, or the tape getting caught and mangled and having to patiently roll it back in with my Bic biro. Unless someone literally knocked on my front door, they couldn’t get to me.

I remember the names of the two boys who picked on me relentlessly in Year 6 even though I was the principal’s daughter, seems I was not off-limits. I googled them both once in a fit of pique, happy to see one had disappeared entirely and the other was still in the same small town with a menial job. I felt vindicated. Ignoring behaviour does not mean it is forgotten. The repercussions of bullying are long-lasting. I still remember the hurt and isolation, forty years on.

Immediate intervention punishing the bullies does not heal the damage or take away the threat. The nervous system continues to stay on high alert and in stress mode. This can also become triggered and reactivated in future high-stress situations causing feelings of inadequacy, and thoughts of “I’m dumb, I’m ugly, Nobody likes me, or I’m not good enough,” re-emerging throughout adulthood.

I have worked in counselling sessions with adults still impacted by harassment from students in high school.  The repercussions of bullying can be felt long after the abuse has stopped. Bullying can result in substance abuse, self-harm, promiscuity, illness, social withdrawal, relationship breakups, unemployment, and sometimes suicide.

What are the school’s obligations?

  • Let the student know of a bullying contact person
  • Offer support strategies for individuals experiencing bullying, outline what will happen next
  • Report to appropriate staff members such as Dept. Head of Middle School, Head of Middle School
  • Deliver appropriate support and consequences for students who behave inappropriately
  • Provide preventative strategies
  • Ensure not to model bullying behaviour in interactions with students

The thing is, if you’ve never experienced bullying, and are not familiar with reporting procedures, you may not know how to book an appointment with the school counsellor, psychologist or chaplain. Schools say they don’t highlight these in case it might encourage students to bully others, like talking about taboo subjects like suicide, drug-taking or sex might give people ideas. It doesn’t. It creates awareness and educates. It allows students to be proactive rather than reactive. It allows them to be responsible for their own mental health.

Bullies often get away with their menacing behaviour. Students become labelled as overly sensitive, emotional, or prone to drama. There is no other choice for the victims but to leave the school or workplace. I have witnessed this, working in schools and in small, medium, and large companies. Bullies can be protected in the workplace because they are in high-level management or are good at their job. They may be an asset to the school if they are a scholar or swim star, from an important family, or part of an educator’s family. The bullies themselves might even suggest they have been victimised.


Many kids don’t understand the long-term repercussions of their actions.  Neurologist Dr. Daniel Siegel suggests the adolescent brain is not fully developed, high-level executive functioning does not happen until after the age of 25 or, sometimes closer to 30 years of age. Young people do not have the capacity to fully comprehend the consequences. They are unable to be reflective, to pause and think, and the risk often outweighs the punishment. They do not see the extent of the damage or the greater picture.

Then there is the question of what happens to these pests and menaces, after the punishment, the dressing down, or disciplinary action? What do they do with their displaced anger? How are they able to express their rage about life, or their own pressure to perform? Do they move on to attack someone else, perhaps in their own family or outside their small community, do they become cyber menaces? Where in the policy does it suggest both victim and bully need support rather than further bullying by the institution, in the shape of punishment or shaming. This has to be addressed. Very often, acting out, behavioural problems, and anger hint at a deeper underlying sadness, fear, shame or trauma. Where is the empathy for the angry person? It seems we further bully the individual to stop them from bullying. This often makes them stop, but it doesn’t diffuse their anger, it can often incite more.

In his latest book Brainstorm, Dr. Daniel Siegel explains that between the ages of twelve and twenty-four, the brain changes in important and, at times, challenging ways. According to Siegel, during adolescence, we learn vital skills, such as how to leave home and enter the larger world, connect deeply with others, and safely experiment and take risks. As parents, we need to ensure these connections are respectful and kind and the risks are safe.

What can I do as a student or parent?

  1. Report it. Put this in writing, stymie it anonymously if your school has this system. Ask someone else to do it for you if you are worried about being called a dobber or snitch. Once it is emailed you have a date, timeline, and history of harassment. Remember, bullying is not a one-off comment, it is repeated, harmful and menacing.
  2. Collect evidence. Save screenshots. Tell your parents, a therapist, or a trusted adult. Keep a record of dates in your school diary or notes on your phone, what was said and by whom. Name names. This will not make it worse; it will make it clear to the school what is happening so they can act upon it.
  3. Copy in the Head of Year, Head of School, or Principal to ensure it is not overlooked, covered up, or disregarded. Follow up on their progress with a phone call if you don’t get a reply. Ask for a report on future actions.
  4. Check the school anti-bullying policy for breaches by staff and students. What is the responsibility of the school, or staff, how have they failed in their duty of care for your child? What happened after the incident was reported? Parents and students have a right to know. Many of these policies date quickly as technology changes rapidly and these documents need to include apps that may bully by stealth like Snapchat and group shaming  via Tik Tok. Annual revisions to policies must include all emerging apps and potential cyber threats.
  5. If you have evidence of cyber menacing, offensive comments, or death threats and the school will not proceed with this, go directly to the police. This is a criminal offence. Under the age of 14, a child can be called into a police station and interrogated by the police. If they are over 14 they can be charged. This charge will stay on their record as an adult. This will affect their employment status and show up in future police checks for the rest of their lives.
  6. Also, if you send or receive nudes/dick pics and you are under 16 you will be charged with distribution or receiving child pornography. * This criminal charge is a big one, with lifetime employment consequences. The type that may only qualify you for a job cleaning the toilets at your old school.
  7. In the state of Queensland as of July 2021, it has now become mandatory for every adult to report sexual abuse of a minor. Not just educators and health workers. Everyone can and must report if they have been told of abuse by a child under 16 or suspect abuse has occurred.

They say you have to go through it, to grow through it. As a family, we have learned many lessons. I have lost a bit of joie de vivre and hope, but by God, I will push hard to get it back and I will not be a bystander. I will do this by suggesting others speak up, report, screenshot, document, collect evidence, and demand policy changes. Because as the French say, now I’m d’un certain age (middle-aged) it feels okay to rage and roar at the system. There will be no holding my tongue, minding my manners, or suppressing my fury. I will campaign for you with clear evidence and truth. I will not be silenced or intimidated. I am fierce and protective and will stand together with those who cannot speak for themselves. I am here. I hear you.

Other support available:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Kid’s Helpline ( 5 – 25 years) 1800 551 800
  • Suicide call back service 1300 659 467
  • e-safety support website includes tailored support for the LGBTIQ+ community
  • Police 000
  • If pictures of you have been shared you can get these images taken down by contacting

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Rachel Wilkinson is a holistic counsellor, parent of teenagers, and now an ABV. (Anti-bullying vigilante). She works with individuals, families, and teens to manage the stress of life. She supports people through anxiety, depression, grief, loss, communication problems, addiction, change, relationships issues, as well as bullying on and offline.

Follow this link to her website: or email:
Phone: 040 232 9259 | To book an appointment: