Counselling, Coaching & Medical Psychotherapy

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Stress | Anxiety | Depression | Grief | more »

Dr. Thomas Downey

B.Sc., M.B.B.S., M.Med. (Psychotherapy)

I am a registered medical practitioner, with a university qualified background in Neuroscience, Medicine and Psychotherapy.

I hold a Master of Medicine degree in Psychotherapy from Sydney University.

I have been a Psychotherapist and Counsellor in private practice for almost 20 years. During this time I have maintained regular ongoing professional supervision and continuing professional education. All this is underpinned by my long established daily mindfulness practise.

My professional practise is built on offering evidence-based processes which focus on alleviating the symptoms of distressed states including: anxiety and depression, chronic lethargy, self sabotaging behaviour, low self worth and feeling fraudulent. Together, we explore the client’s unique history. We acknowledge past and present challenges as well as their strengths.

With new understanding comes the development of new skills. These skills help the client to be less reactive and more able to make appropriate and helpful responses. With newly acquired self knowledge and wisdom the client can move forward with their personal and professional lives more intact.

  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency
  • Medical Reg. No: MED 0001162606
  • Member: Australia and New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy
  • Australian Association Of Buddhist Counsellors And Psychotherapists:

    I was a founding member of the Steering Committee for the formation of AABCAP.

    I helped organise the one-day Symposium and Inaugural General Meeting: Saturday 30th September 2006 Dixon Room, N.S.W. State Library, Macquarie St., Sydney

    I chaired the afternoon Discussion Panel entitled: The Interface between Psychotherapy and Buddhism featuring Ven. Tejadhammo, Dr. Wai Mun Tang and Ms. Renate Ogilvie.

  • M.Med. (Psychotherapy) The Quest for Intimacy: The development of a re-connectedness in men with a Disorder of Self via a slow-to-open, open-ended Self-Psychologically orientated Group.(2003; U.SYD.)
  • Thesis for M.Sc. (Qualifying) Morphology and Distribution of NPY – Immunoreactive neurons and fibres in the cerebral cortex and subcortical grey matter of the cat. (1985; U.N.S.W)
  • T.C. Downey, J. Oliver and I. Tork. Demonstration of Neuropeptide – Y containing neurons in the
    cat neocortex. Proceedings of the Australian Physiological and Pharmacological Society. 1985. Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 127.


My clients come from a diverse range of professions including: Law, I.T., Finance, Medicine, Psychology, Social Work, Government, Administration, Literature, Arts and Management.

My therapies are personalised, discreet and effective in delivering life-changing outcomes.

Within a safe and confidential space the client’s professional and personal challenges are respectfully heard, held and explored.

I support and encourage the client’s capacity for self observation — particularly looking for any reoccurring patterns of thoughts and behaviours which may be confusing or, even, damaging to themselves or their relationships.

Unhelpful belief systems only dampen or disrupt a client’s sense of self worth and effectiveness in the world.

By utilising a range of therapeutic techniques we can negate these beliefs.

Through acknowledging, reflecting and deconstructing these patterns there is room for developing a set of new and more appropriate beliefs.

The result achieved is to live a more confident and rewarding life; one filled with successes and a sense of freedom.


Femala and male colleagues working at laptops

Corporate Psychotherapy, Counselling and Executive Coaching

The contemporary workplace is challenging, and change is ever present. Redundancy, seeking promotion, dealing with challenging leaders, clients, deadlines or team dynamics can all lead to anxiety. This anxiety can be chronic, incremental and therefore unidentified; until it becomes overwhelming and can easily trigger depressive thoughts.

I support clients to excel in the workplace and life, navigate toxic situations, confidently handle life’s challenges and proudly own their personal achievements. Working together we can construct a solution and build a pathway to negotiate the best outcome.

I work with

  • uncertainty regarding vocational choices
  • procrastination and self-sabotage
  • fear of being exposed as ‘fraudulent’
  • overt and covert bullying, office gossip, poor cultural fit, personality clashes
  • addictions including work and substance (including alcohol, food and recreational drugs),
  • disquiet due to real or perceived lack of being adequately financially remunerated
  • lack of acknowledgement re: earned kudos, fear of redundancy or company closures
  • business owners dealing with the stress of lack of profitability and ongoing staffing challenges
  • of special concern for some working women, is the motherhood / career challenge and any expectations of needing to ‘have it all’. And then the ‘guilt’ re: work and child care dilemma.
Man standing at fork in road

Individual & Couples Psychotherapy and Counselling

I offer both psychotherapy and counselling services to individuals and couples. Love and work challenges are not mutually exclusive. According to Sigmund Freud, “Work and Love, Love and Work that’s all there is” would infer that their balance is paramount for happiness. This balance could only be achieved if both areas were stable and rewarding.

Many individuals struggle to be kind and gentle towards themselves; they are their own harshest critic. Individual therapy can help silence inner criticism and restore self respect. Couples therapy can explore a way back to a more mutually respectful place.

I work with

  • grief and loss
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • personality disorders
  • relationship and marriage counselling
  • loss of libido, ‘midlife crises’
  • fertility and childless grief
  • physical health issues
  • mental health issues
  • crises of confidence
  • anger issues
  • addictions


What are the benefits of having a Counsellor / Psychotherapist who is also a Medical Practitioner in Australia in 2019?

General medical knowledge

In private practice most clients present initially with a particularly disturbing event which they hold with a specific understanding. And, while every person and their circumstances are unique, some stressors (when psychotherapy is working) tend to be somewhat relieved within a similar timeframe. Not necessarily resolved but somewhat eased.

When symptoms don’t abate within a reasonable and timely manner, or indeed the client’s condition is worsening, I can utilise other aspects of my medical knowledge.

I would question and review the current working diagnosis.

I would consider if there was a need for the judicious use of medication adjunctive to the psychotherapy. This would be a decision in which the client and I explore the options and potential side effects which may result in an agreed trial. The client would make an informed choice.

Compliance can be monitored; concerns expressed and heard.

If taken, the medication would be regularly assessed for benefits in the form of relief of symptoms as well as the development of (if any) potential side effects. This would lead to the dosage being reviewed, adjusted or perhaps ceased.

If circumstances fail to progress then a more thorough/ formal physical, mental and family health medical history would be a must.

Is there an underlying but unidentified physical condition? This is significant question as some physiological disorders mimic common mental health symptoms and disorders e.g. thyroid disorders, diabetes, etc.

It is also possible for a person to have existing co-morbidly i.e. both a psychological and physical condition.

Perhaps a previously unrecognised and undisclosed (normalised) drug and/ or alcohol problem may be revealed. The use of substances often impinges upon the maximum benefit of medication which influences the successful relief of symptoms and treatment progress. Complete wellness will not be obtained if any underlying medical conditions go undiagnosed and untreated.

As a registered medical practitioner I can organise the necessary tests, interpret the results and refer the client to one of my medical specialist peers for appropriate review if necessary. I can help the client to be supported and treated by an appropriate cohort.

Being a medical practitioner my services are eligible for Medicare rebates where applicable. These rebates are only available for face to face sessions. Sessions do not incur GST.

Skype and Telephone consultations do not qualify for Medicare rebates and do incur an additional GST component.

No referral from another medical provider is needed for you to book an appointment for a session.
I do not bulk bill clients. I do not offer reduced fees nor a sliding scale.

Please get in contact for cost of services.

There are many different schools of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Most professional therapists are trained primarily in one school and, over time, supplement that training with other modalities and ongoing professional training.

Ideally, the therapist would have undertaken an extensive course of their own personal psychotherapy or counselling.

A professional therapist must have ongoing and regular supervision. Supervision is for the benefit of both the therapist and the client.

Regardless of the actual primary school of thought, the underpinning commonality is the quality of the actual therapeutic relationship.

Current Neuroscience and Relational Psychotherapy literature strongly attests to the phenomenal healing potential of the professional therapist/ client connection which exists within the therapeutic process itself.

The relationship between the professional therapist/counsellor and the client is paramount to achieving a successful outcome. The relationship is contained within a clearly defined framework. These boundaries provide a safe environment and hold the therapist accountable to highest ethical standards. The client’s confidentiality and privacy are guaranteed.

Rewarding therapy can only occur as a result of a “good fit” between the therapist and the client. The process is organic and dynamic.

The therapist endeavours to really hear and understand the client’s unique experiences. Both parties need to feel appropriately connected which generates a combined, mutually respectful sense of curiosity. The relationship should allow for the client to feel supported by the therapist, while allowing for a robust exchange of view points.

The duration of the therapy / counselling journey will be determined by the complexity of the presenting situation/stressor and the want / need of the client.

Regularly assessing “where are we placed now?” keeps us on course. This allows for adapting the approach if necessary to better enhance what is most needed in each session; sessions are non prescriptive.

Counselling is commonly perceived as useful for a specific / less complex issue. Therefore, it tends to be of a shorter duration than the more in-depth work of Psychotherapy, which may take longer.

Sometimes the Counselling itself reveals that Psychotherapy might be a more thorough and necessary process.

It is not uncommon for a client to reflect and recognise their own individual patterns of behaviour that are much more engrained than realised. For some this pattern is (yet again) being “acted out” and contributing to the presenting problem.

Ultimately we are all the constant in our own equation.

Such a revelation may encourage the client to decide to be more thorough in the exploration of this pattern.

Psychotherapy brings insight to those historically, unconscious entrenched habits and creates change. That timeline is more open ended.

Each session is 50 minutes in length.
Be Curious, Be Free® counselling and psychotherapy practise is located in Glebe, covers the Sydney CBD and is close to the Eastern Suburbs and North Sydney — including Surry Hills, Bondi Junction, Rose Bay, Darling Point, Woollahra, Edgecliff, Kings Cross, Darling Point, Double Bay, Paddington, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Potts Point, Darlinghurst, Central, Broadway, Glebe, Chippendale, Ultimo, Pyrmont, Redfern, North Sydney, Lavender Bay, McMahons Point, St Peters, Marrickville, Stanmore, Enmore, Erskineville and Botany.



Be Curious, Be Free® is conveniently located 10 minutes from Sydney’s CBD and also near the light rail. I offer Skype chat sessions on request. If you’re ready to take the next step or want more information, fill in our enquiry form or use the click to call button below.

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