John Alder


John Alder

BA, B.Ed (Couns), MA
Counselling & Developmental Psychologist


He works with people experiencing:
Anxiety – general, social/interpersonal or personal/performance
Depression – avoidance, withdrawal or lethargy
Career Doubts – sense of direction, frustration or reviews
Self Development needs – assertiveness, identity and expressiveness
Conflict – career, relationship or family communications and/or planning
Adjustments – in work (RTW) rehabilitation, transitions to retirement/care

John’s training and experience is in:
Person centered approaches
Career choice & development
Couples Counselling – Emotion Focused, Gottman model & CBT
Art therapy – multimodal approach (esp. Therapeutic Landscapes)

Across 30 years of practice as a psychologist, John’s professional interests have covered areas from individual career and rehabilitation counselling, to social/community/organisational consultations. He has been a member of the APS Colleges of Counselling Psychologists, Organisational Psychologists, Educational & Developmental Psychologists and Community Psychologists. Rehabilitation counselling, careers guidance and couples counselling are currently the major threads in his clinical work and supervision of trainee psychologists. He recently (2016) convened and presented on creative art therapies at the National Congress of the Australian Psychological Society (50th National Conference). The “art therapy” of the landscape/garden has become a strong element of his life and professional attention. He has frequently collaborated with senior practitioners and academics in presenting at (national and international) conferences and publishing articles on professional practices.

A sense of safety, engagement and progress are key elements of his couples counselling approach. John recognises how primary (marital/couples) relationships can be significant in maintaining health and work performance. He has developed his approach through training with inter/national authorities in couples counselling, namely Dr. John Gottman (Seattle); Dr. Veronica Kallos-Lilly (Vancouver), Prof Kim Halford (Queensland) and Prof Les Greenberg (Toronto). Enhancing the interaction of individual growth and couple/”team” identity is at the core of his counselling with individuals and couples. His work with couples and the theory/research of Prof. David Blustein (Boston) indicate that career development issues are often involved in couples conflicts. John has delivered workshops for psychologists on “couples careers counselling”.

Currently in the later years of his life/career, he is increasingly working with older clients, family and friends who are facing losses in their capacity and companions. He finds that reshaping of our sense of ourselves and our relationships (family, friends and partner/s) is a major adjustment for older persons, including the grief of leaving the “family home”.
Appreciating :: where we have been in our lives;; with whom and what remains; facing changes in our capacities and recognising that vitality we still experience; are all features of counselling with older persons. A profound respect for the lifetime achievements of older persons and the careful handling of responsibilities for: relocating to a “retirement village”; medical care/decisions and managing financial assets are sensitive family matters, and arise with any decrease in capacity.

His competence in the mental health of older persons is indicated in his longstanding membership of the APS Psychology of Ageing Interest Group and work for the Southern Mental Health Services for Older Persons (SA) where he provided assessments and counselling.