About US

Willow Oak Meaning

Willow Oak

The Willow Oak tree combines the best attributes of both the willow and the oak trees in demonstrating the qualities of adaptability, flexibility, strength and wisdom. Willow Oak Psychology strives to grow these qualities in all our clients.

Willow Tree

An incredible trait of the Willow tree is its flexibility, as it is capable of bending in extreme poses without snapping. This is a helpful metaphor for those of us facing difficult life circumstances, where it is critical to recognise when we must accept and adjust, rather than fight or reject our reality.

“Gracefully swaying in the wind with branches stretched out far and wide. The Willow tree whips too and froe. Dancing in the breeze, giving way to the force of nature. It shows how to overcome adversity. When confronted with the storms of life, you must learn to bend but not yield. As the Willow that is firmly rooted, so must you be. Carried through the tumultuous Gale. Tossed and tried, but in the end coming out the other side. Having weathered the storm. Though a few branches may be broken, the roots that hold you firmly in place are intact. As the Willow so must we be, in order to survive, recover and grow beyond what ever storm life may send our way.” – James M Vine

Oak Tree

Oak trees are strong, powerful life-affirming symbols, living for hundreds of years and growing up to 12 metres high, with canopies spanning 21 metres wide. The size and longevity of oak trees reflect resistance, wisdom and knowledge. The fact that an entire forest can grow from one tiny acorn is a metaphor for the importance of holding your ground and believing in yourself when times are tough.

“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.” – Zig Ziglar

Dr Sarah Swannell

Dr Sarah Swannell

Director, Clinical Psychologist

Sarah is driven by a desire to help people live rich and meaningful lives. Sarah predominantly works with adults who struggle with emotional dysregulation and the behaviours that often go along with that (impulsivity, addictions, self-destructive behaviours etc.), with a special interest in borderline personality disorder / complex PTSD and dissociative disorders.

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Reece Flowers

Provisional Psychologist

Reece is a Provisional Psychologist with mental health experience assisting people facing many different challenges in life. He has previously done this as a mental health support worker, a disability support worker and as a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) clinician.

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Gemma Frost

Gemma Frost

Clinical Psychology Registrar – Guest DBT Cofacilitator

Gem is a caring and empathetic psychologist, who completed her Master of Clinical Psychology at QUT in early 2023. Gem is passionate about supporting individuals to reach their full potential, collaborating with clients on what “thriving” means for them.

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Rachel Gobel

Rachel Gobel

Provisional Psychologist

Rachel is a provisional psychologist currently undertaking her Master of Organisational Psychology at UQ. She is also an internationally accredited senior yoga & meditation teacher (Yoga Alliance E-RYT200 & RYT500).

Rachel is passionate about optimising health & wellbeing, adopting a holistic approach with a particular interest in positive psychology (particularly flow, mindful & meditative states). She achieved first-class Honours in Psychological Science and completed her thesis on the creation of a scale to measure the flow state.

Rachel has a warm and empathic therapeutic approach and utilises a range of evidence-based approaches to support each individual in their journey towards fulfilling their highest potential.

Dr Chris May

Dr Chris May

Registered Medical Practitioner – Guest DBT Cofacilitator

Chris graduated from The University of Queensland in 1991 and worked in Queensland Health exclusively in the field of Psychiatry for 26 ½ years both as a Registrar and Senior Medical Officer at different times in a wide range of practice settings. In 2019 Chris completed intensive DBT training with Behavioral Tech and subsequently moved into private practice.

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Bella Windt

Bella Windt

Bella is an experienced administrator, working across private practice and not-for-profit spaces. She has also recently completed her Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) and hopes to continue her post-graduate studies towards a career in Clinical Psychology. Outside of work and study, Bella enjoys playing guitar, film photography, and drinking coffee.

Bella hopes to foster a warm and welcoming environment for all clients at Willow Oak and is here to help with any admin questions or concerns you may have!