Cassandra Dunn – Psychologist, Sunshine Coast
Hi, I’m Cass.
I believe I have the best job in the world because I get to meet so many wonderful people and help them find freedom from psychological struggles and live happier, more meaningful and vital lives.
Ultimately what I want for you is what I have found for myself – and that is a life that is lived with intention and purpose, and in alignment with your highest values. I want you to ruthlessly carve out time for the things you love, connecting with whatever inspires you and lights you up from the inside. I want you to feel a deep sense of peace and contentment no matter how crazy and chaotic life gets.
It wasn’t always this way for me though. In fact, it’s been quite a journey getting to this point. If you’ll indulge me, I’ll give you the short version…
I’ve always had an interest in psychology… and I’ve always loved to write, so when I left school I couldn’t decide between studying journalism or psychology. I opted for journalism with a psychology elective and within the first semester I knew I had to change majors because I loved my psychology course so much.
I’d love to say the rest is history but it wasn’t quite that straight forward!
When I finished my undergraduate degree, I was keen to get out into the real world (read: make some money!) so I worked with homeless and disadvantaged young people for a few years and then, as happens to many people when they’re not paying attention, life detoured me into a job working with international students. By the time I was 27, I found myself managing the international student program for one of the largest educational institutions in Queensland.
It was a fabulous shiny job and I wore lovely suits and jet-setted off overseas regularly, so I was the envy of a lot of my friends but deep down, that job never made me happy. I knew in my heart that I wanted to complete my postgraduate psychology qualifications but at that point, I’d created a lifestyle that didn’t allow me to go back to full time study in order to pursue my passion. I know lots of people find themselves feeling stuck, just like I felt.
Thankfully, my opportunity came a couple of years later when I was newly married and my husband took a job interstate and I was forced to leave my job and move to Sydney.
That was truly a transformative time, allowing me time to reflect on my values and my purpose in life and take back control of my career direction.
I enrolled in the University of Sydney’s brand new Masters of Coaching Psychology and set up my Life Coaching business, “Soul Purpose Personal Coaching”. Two years later, I had a Masters degree, a thriving coaching practice – and was pregnant with our daughter!
After Annabelle was born in 2006, I again had some time to reflect on my values and life direction. I absolutely LOVED life coaching but I couldn’t dismiss the nagging feeling that my psychology journey was still unfinished.
Despite the financial setback it would cause and the amount of hard slog it would take, I knew in my heart that I had to heed the call, so I took a very deep breath, and threw myself back into another three years of postgraduate study (with a baby on my hip) to get my Masters in Clinical Psychology.
(Throw in another two interstate moves, a spiritual journey leading me through various types of meditation and ultimately Buddhist philosophy / psychology, and a couple of years spent creating, running and selling an online retail store in my abundant spare time – and then you can say the rest is history!)
What I do now…
As a clinical psychologist I assess and treat a wide range of psychological disorders. I have experience in helping people overcome depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder, relationship and parenting difficulties.
As a coaching psychologist, I feel drawn to teaching people what I have learned about HAPPINESS.
Coaching is not therapy but for people who are feeling stuck, directionless, stressed out, lacking a clear sense of their values or purpose; or who are just feeling bored with life, coaching is a brilliant option.
I also practice and teach mindfulness meditation because I know its benefits first hand, and because of its immense and proven benefits in helping people manage, stress, anxiety and depression. If you work with me, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be learning to meditate at some point. 🙂
Other stuff I do
I’m qualified to teach Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and I’m a registered Circle of Security parent educator, both of which are awesome 8-week courses, each with an international reputation for excellence and results.
On a personal note, my family and I have recently moved to an acreage property in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland. I’m passionate about animal welfare and our goal here is to create a home for rescued farm animals as well as create a retreat space for writers, authors and meditators. You can keep up to date with our progress by subscribing to my blog.
The formal bit – my qualifications:
Master of Psychology (Clinical)
Master of Science (Coaching Psychology)
PostGrad Diploma Psychology (with distinction)