The Sanctuary Byron Bay
hero banner image

Visit by David Chong

Visit by David Chong

Staff at the Sanctuary were recently privileged to participate in a special training by Senior Psychologist, Mr David Chong, Clinical Director at the Left Bank Institute in Melbourne.

David is a psychologist and psychotherapist with 26 years’ experience. As a member of both clinical and counselling specialist boards of the APS, David is trained in Family Therapy, Psychodrama, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Positive Psychology, Morita Therapy and Mindfulness techniques.

David has been a renowned Dual Diagnosis clinician for the Southern Dual Diagnosis Service, Senior Psychologist for CAMHS and a senior Drug and Alcohol clinician in several practice areas including prisons and methadone programmes. He was an editor of VAADA Vine and has provided training and supervision in several key relevant areas including addictions, sexuality, homelessness and complex needs.

He is currently the Clinical Director of the newly created Left Bank Institute, an institute for psychotherapy training and CAPA, a low cost psychotherapeutic centre for Portuguese speakers.  He has a busy private practice providing psychotherapy and clinical supervision for individuals and several organisations.

His international work includes guest lecturing for the University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Miyazaki University in Japan, Friends international in both Cambodia and Laos, and for OXFAM.

David’s visit was entertaining and enlightening. We were incredibly lucky to have such a skilled clinician on board to help our staff gain a better understanding of how we could improve our treatment of people with addictions in both early recovery and in detox phases. One of the key themes in training was learning how to negotiate the careful dance between providing support while still confronting obfuscation and denial such that the truth gets told eventually - but in a palatable way, and at the right time. We learnt more refined approaches and better ways of supporting our clients.

We believe that ongoing training is an integral part of any business to keep staff ahead of the latest changes and to continue to expand our knowledge and skills base. All staff attending the training day reported gaining enormous benefits from David’s guidance.

A broad range of topics were discussed during throughout the day. Here are some of the highlights:

Anxiety: Anxiety is information - what does this tell us about the client? Staff were taught to be more aware of their own anxiety which could be inadvertently mirrored to the client.  We discussed the importance of having a clear understanding about our roles and how to ensure we adhere to and maintain role boundaries to help clients differentiate and identify their own anxiety. We must continually reflect to ensure we are creating clarity and calmness and we must strive to develop our capacity to tolerate anxiety so we can role-model this skill.

Handling Difficult Situations: David gave us some great insight into handling difficult situations that may arise. New tools were discussed and explored to find the best ways to diffuse problems as they emerged.

Moving Forward: Understanding and being clear to the client about the notion of ‘moving forward’.

New Research: David updated our knowledge base with new research and understanding about the psychology behind addictions. This was fascinating and gave us better insight into addictions and mental health issues

Attachment Styles: David discussed at length, the different patterns and structures of early attachment styles and how this impacts on present day relationships.

Some great quotes from the day:

The day ended with some fantastic and rather amusing relaxation techniques we can all incorporate into our daily lives. We were all extremely grateful to David for his time, his wisdom and his knowledge.