Susie Burke
Peace is possible

Susie is a psychologist who specialises in relationship therapy, conflict resolution, mediation and parenting issues.

“’Peace is possible’ is a catch phrase that some colleagues and I adopted several years ago when designing a gold badge for a group, Psychologists for Peace. People often ask us if it’s true. I reckon so. It’s certainly a good starting place. And at the very least, believing that peace is possible makes it easier to get out of bed each day!”

Susie’s work with people in conflict began many years ago at Relationships Australia, where she worked as a couples’ therapist, as well as with men and women in violent relationships. She has also trained as a mediator, and often facilitates for people or groups who are dealing with difficult situations. For several years Susie also worked as a parent educator, and ran groups for parents and children with emotional and behavioural problems.

“Often, in conflict, people quickly grab onto one of the first solutions they think of, and try to convince the other person that they are right. Underneath these ‘solutions’, though, are a whole lot of genuine needs, wants, fears and concerns. This is where we need to start looking. People are often surprised to discover that some of these underlying needs are more important than others, some are even the same as the other person’s, and some can be left for another day. This is the place from which to start brainstorming solutions to the conflict”.

Susie wrote a PhD on the different ways women with breast cancer cope with their illness and treatment, and ran support groups with women with cancer. She was inspired by the transformations that many people facing a life threatening illness undergo as they learn to become more authentic, and to focus on the heart of what really matters in their life. These days she also works with people who have been affected by disasters, and is again awed by the strength of human spirit that enables people to survive, re-build, live again and love again.

“Counselling is a good place for reflection, for identifying unhelpful patterns, for finding ways of putting important feelings and thoughts into words, for learning skills, and for trying out new ideas. Sometimes people need this space to help them develop a different perspective, find uncommon solutions, breathe more easily, or live more lightly.

“I’m energised by friendships, the weather, small towns, elegant ideas, and passionate people”.

Susie is a registered psychologist and Medicare provider. She has trained in cognitive behavioural therapy, family violence, and as a mediator.

Qualifications

Doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in Psychology