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Feb 01, 2024

Let’s talk about sex (and relationships) baby

News Sexuality and Relationship Education

In this profile story Patrick and Amanda share a little bit about their career journeys and how they ended up working at Northcott.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Pat – First things first, I’m a big fan of the 80’s. In my spare time you’ll either find me thrifting vintage pieces from my local thrift store or rocking out to 80’s aerobics tunes in retro active-wear. You may also find me at the local beach reading a book or going for a dip in the ocean. After a big day in the office I enjoy dinners with friends or putting my feet up to watch Rupaul’s Dragrace.    

Amanda – I love getting into nature by going camping with my wife and not so little family (three kids, five and under). I am an avid book reader and never turn down a good trashy reality TV show to destress at the end of the day!

Tell us a little bit about your career background and how you ended up working at Northcott.

Pat – I’ve been working in the mental health sector for the last few years. Prior to this, I was an artist though my own mental health and recovery journey led me down the path of finding my true vocation: therapy. I was inspired to give back what I had received when I needed help. Since, I have had the privilege of working with a variety of organisations supporting a variety of people experiencing trauma, addiction, relational conflict, homelessness and disability.  Being able to walk alongside another in their journey of healing and self-discovery is a true gift that I cherish.

Amanda – I entered the disability sector at age seventeen and have been working in the social services sector ever since! After working my way up to the position of Team Leader in a mental health NFP, I opened up my own private practice, specialising in supporting people on the NDIS. I am now lucky enough to be a Counsellor in the Sexuality and Relationships team at Northcott!

Is there anything about Northcott that made you decide this was the place you want to work here?

Pat – My little sister received a range of support from Northcott years back and I always remember just how incredible the staff were with supporting her to reach her goals. I was also aware of the large gap in the disability sector in providing sexuality and relationship support to people with disabilities. The prospect of filling that gap by helping people with disabilities foster fulfilling and joyful relationships was way too exciting for me to pass up. So, joining the SRE Team Northcott was a no brainer. 

Amanda – Northcott’s values were the driving force behind my decision to come aboard. I recognise that there are many gaps in services for people with a disability, and it gives me so much pride every day that I get to work for such an innovative organisation. No day is ever the same!

Can you tell us a little bit about the Sexuality and Relationships team? What does the team do here at Northcott?

Pat – The Sexuality and Relationship team is a unique and exciting venture of Northcott’s that was created in response to increasing demand from people with disabilities wanting education and counselling support to achieve their sexuality and relationship goals and desires. In fact, it is Australia’s very first sexuality and relationship service provided by a disability organisation. The team supports customers in three ways: through the support of individual counselling; education; and hosting exciting events!

Amanda  We work with people to enhance their overall wellbeing, by identifying and supporting their sexuality and relationship needs and desires. This is done by providing a safe, non-judgmental space for people to talk openly about themselves and their experiences. We also assist people to navigate the tumultuous waters around relationships by using different counselling modalities to evoke self-discovery. We provide crucial education around consent, safer sex and healthy relationships. Our role is also to create and manage events and networking opportunities. The events also advocates for a higher awareness of the sexual and relationship needs of people with a disability.

What are your current roles and what do they involve?

Pat – I am a Counsellor based in North Parramatta. Day-to-day, you can find me either counselling customers in the therapy rooms, writing education programs in the Hub, or on Zoom with the rest of our SRE superstars, Amanda and Kat, planning our next exciting sexuality and relationships events! 

Amanda  I am also a Counsellor based in Illawarra and two days are never the same in my role, which is exciting! You can catch me either in face-to-face sessions at the Wollongong office, on my laptop in Zoom networking meetings or sitting on the floor surrounded by brainstorming sheets and markers! We also get the opportunity to take part in really fun things, such as Mardi Gras, Feel the Vibe and recording podcasts.

Do you have any exciting projects or events coming up?

Absolutely! We have a lot in store for 2023, and welcome anyone interested in being involved!

  • Fair Day (February, 2023)
  • Mardi Gras Parade (March, 2023)
  • Pride March (March, 2023)
  • World Pride Human Rights Conference – we are hosting a panel discussion called, Inclusion Squared: breaking down barriers surrounding the LGBTQIA+ disability community. 
  • Northcott Pride – monthly meetings for LGBTQI+ staff
  • Feel The Vibe – an expo on sex and sexuality for people with disabilities! (November, 2023)
  • Speed Dating events for people with a disability
Sexuality and Relationship Education

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