Our Counsellors

Being diagnosed with breast cancer will often cause significant upheaval to your life and this can result in increased stress, anxiety and depression. To help women deal with the issues that arise as a direct result of being diagnosed with breast cancer, Breast Cancer Care WA currently employs three counsellors who are all tertiary qualified and have an interest in women’s issues and breast cancer. 

Counselling can be accessed by those going through breast cancer or by their loved ones.

Counselling gives you the opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways to help improve the way that you live your life. This inevitably involves helping you sort through problems and discover solutions therefore empowering you to make changes in your life that will increase your well-being.

Anxiety and living with uncertainty is also a significant component of the work that our counsellors do when working with the impact of breast cancer. Often talking to somebody outside your immediate circle of friends and family gives you the space to explore issues that you feel are impacting on you and those around you. We can look at strategies to get you through the day or to discuss your plans for the future and how you might tell those you love about your prognosis or about other stressful aspects of your life.

Our counsellors are also heavily involved in supporting women and their families who are dealing with secondary breast cancer.

We also offer couples counselling and family therapy to help families manage better during this often stressful time.

Our counsellors provide one on one counselling in our office, as well as home visits throughout the metropolitan area including Mandurah and provide telephone counselling to regional clients.

For more information call 9324 3703 or email info@breastcancer.org.au

Meet our counsellors

Cathie Smith

Support Services Manager / Counsellor (M. Couns.)

Cathie joined Breast Cancer Care WA in February 2011 and has a Master of Counselling from The University of Notre Dame.

Cathie has transformed Breast Cancer Care WA's support services by creating a multi-disciplinary environment, ensuring that the team work closely together to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.

Working with women’s issues, empowering women to accept what they can’t change and make the changes that they can in their lives, to help them lead less stressful and more meaningful lives, is central to her practice. Her style of practice is Integrative with an emphasis on Person Centered Counselling, Narrative Therapy, and Family Systems. She also uses Choice Theory and Acceptance Commitment Therapy with most of her clients as this is extremely helpful in dealing with anxiety and uncertainty and ultimately acceptance and change.

She works extensively with clients in one on one intense therapy, couples therapy and group work within our support group system. 

Prior to coming to BCCWA between 2008 and 2010 Cathie set about developing and implementing an individual and group counselling program through Notre Dame’s breast and prostate cancer survivor program and she has also been tutoring in counselling and communication skills along with working privately specialising in relationship and women’s issues and cancer support work.  Her background in nursing and midwifery has also proved very useful in this type of work.

One of her other passions is wine and after studying a Master of Business she and her husband managed a wine business down in Margaret River for over a decade.

Cathie works Monday to Thursday

Aileen McCaul

Counsellor

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Aileen spent a number of years working in London and Japan before settling in Perth.

She spent the best part of a decade in rural Japan, teaching English in both secondary schools and University and after arriving in Australia obtained a Masters of Health Counselling from Curtin University. She was able to combine the two passions in 2012 by teaching a counselling skills course for adults at Tuart Hill College.

Aileen has a strong interest in working with women and comes to Breast Cancer Care WA after 4 years working at Relationships Australia where she ran a program for women and children who had experienced trauma and abuse. Working with women both individually as well as in group settings was extremely rewarding work which greatly contributed to Aileen's passion to provide free supportive services to women in need.

Aileen joined Breast Cancer Care WA in June 2012.

"What attracts me to the work at Breast Cancer Care WA is the vision of providing free personalised services to women at a time in their life that can be particularly challenging and being part of a team that provides such a positive social response is both professionally and personally very rewarding for me"

Aileen works Monday, Tuesday and Friday

Linda Garrett

Counsellor

Linda has spent the past seven years practicing initially as an Art Therapist (Dip. TAT – Ikon Institute) and then as a Counsellor (B. Couns. - University of Notre Dame). Her private practice has evolved to a point of incorporating other practitioners to work in her Centre with a focus on counselling and creating balance.   

Having spent several years involved in community arts and festivals as a volunteer, running various youth and adult groups in the community, Linda enjoys both individual and couple counselling as well as group facilitation. Linda has experience in helping people with cancer, chronic pain and illness, addictive behaviour and mental health difficulties.

Linda joined Breast Cancer Care WA in August 2013. Taking a holistic perspective while walking alongside each person is most important to her. She believes that gently connecting and being with someone in the face of adversity creates a relationship for collaborative efforts towards finding their inner wisdom and resilience – to be able to move forward, tackling new experiences with confidence.  An integrative, humanistic therapeutic approach provides the foundations for Linda’s work.

“I feel most grateful and privileged to be a part of Breast Cancer Care WA, to bear witness to the stories of others and to be able to provide assistance in as many areas of a person’s life experience as possible.  I never cease to be inspired by the courage and capacity of the human spirit.”

Linda works Wednesday and Thursday

Shelley Long

Counsellor

Having spent several years living overseas in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Scotland, Shelley joined the team in September 2014 with a Counselling Degree from The University of Notre Dame.

She has an extensive background as a Counsellor having work at CarersWA counselling the support networks of people with chronic health and mental health conditions and also running support groups for carers.  She takes a person-centred focus to counselling and uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for helping people to manage anxiety.

Shelley is passionate about quilting, growing veggies and teaching her husband to cook and is excited to start a new chapter at Breast Cancer Care WA. 

"It’s an honour to be working as part of a team who provide practical, emotional and financial support to individuals and their families who have a breast cancer diagnosis."

Shelley works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Jacqui Cairns

Counsellor

JacquiJacqui first joined Breast Cancer Care WA in April 2015, on a fixed term contract as Counsellor to fill in for staff on long leave.  She has had several contract renewals since then and finds her role as a Counsellor both challenging and very rewarding.


Jacqui has a nursing background which adds to her understanding of clients’ journeys and complements her role as Counsellor at BCCWA.  She spent almost 20 years overseas (Egypt, Oman, Malaysia and UK) where she had various cultural, lifestyle, motherhood and working experiences.

Jacqui completed a double degree in Behavioural Science and Counselling and did further post graduate studies in Mental Health Counselling at The University of Notre Dame.  She is also involved in her private practice where she and her partner facilitate mental health wellness workshops. Resilience and Mindfulness are topics that Jacqui feels passionate about and brings this into her counselling. She feels that if you can learn to increase your resilience skills and practice mindfulness then you have a good basis for dealing with whatever life may throw at you.  

Jacqui considers Breast Cancer Care WA is a great organisation as it makes such a difference for its clients and it provides such a positive working environment with a great team of people.

 "I love it when I see a client have a 'lightbulb moment' - when they have insights into their inner strengths."

Jacqui works two days per week