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Owning My Space & Light Bulb Moments

This year so far, has been a huge learning experience for me, both on a personal and professional level. The year started with me in a deep depression triggered by the constant stresses of 2020 and I was struggling to find self-coherence. I was becoming fused to my feared self and there was a discrimination between who I hoped to be and who I was becoming. I had been through depression many times throughout my life, I knew what I had to do to get me out of this hole. I got some counselling, ramped up my mindfulness, went back on antidepressants, started doing things that made me, me and I dropped the struggle with trying to get rid of depression. Depression was there and it wasn’t nice, but I focused on what I could control and over a couple of months I slowly improved, and I started to see the world again in HD and understanding more about me.

In February I enrolled in an online course that was right up my alley, ACT in the clinic with Laura Rathbone, a Specialist Physio from the UK. I was a bit worried going into the workshop that I was maybe not qualified enough, or my knowledge wasn’t in depth enough. This self-doubt had been there throughout my life, but I never realised how much it controlled and influenced me. After the first week of the workshop, I quickly realised that the journey I had been on over the past few decades had put me ahead of the pack, but my self-doubt was still strong. By the end of the course, I had let the group know of my worries, self-doubt and I noticed a few confused looking faces looking back at me in the computer screen. A powerful moment happened at the end of the course for me, when Laura messaged me:

 “You clearly have a huge body of knowledge and experience already, I know you mentioned that you weren’t sure if you would be qualified, this was a bit of surprise to me because I sat with worry that I couldn’t add much to your journey!”

 This was a powerful moment, as I have a huge respect for Laura. My self-doubt was starting to have less of an influence over me and I was learning to own my space.


At the same time, I was doing the ACT course, I was doing some work on self-doubt and values with a local counsellor Amy. Some powerful words from Amy who I also highly respect were “Mat, it’s time to drop the self-doubt and own the space”. I was again dropping the struggle with another part of me and embracing the person I am, guided by what I value highly care, empathy, relationships, learning and helping others. When people used to give me compliments, I would always deflect it and not own it, now I am embracing it. I found the process of exploring who I am and why I do what I do, to be really stimulating and fascinating, a process I will continue to do throughout my life.


A few months later I was involved in group discussion on ACT run by Laura. I presented a case study for the group to pick apart. This session was another light bulb moment for me, as it showed that I was trying to blend different frameworks like CFT, Explain Pain etc together, instead of looking at the processes at play. A process-based approach was something I had been working towards for many years, but I didn’t know how to define it until this moment.

“Instead of taking a protocol off the shelf and delivering a protocol, everybody comes in with unique problems, lets make sure we identify problems and goals in an individual way” (Professor Lance McCracken)

“What core biopsychosocial processes should be targeted with this client given this goal in this situation and how can they most efficiently be changed?” (Hofmann and Hayes 2018)

 Now when I am reflecting on case formulations in the clinic, I am exploring the different processes at play, what is maintaining the predicament? what process can I help to cultivate a change? Which processes can trigger a cascade of change in other processes? Letting go of protocols and really exploring the person and how we can help them.


In June this year, I decided to leave the practice I had been working at for 19 years, I was actually still working in the same room I started the business in all those years ago. One thing for sure, I am a committed and loyal person, that was strongly attached to the building and the amazing people there. But it was time for a change, it had been something I had been working on with the counsellor over the last 6 months, when I realised change was imminent.  When the time came in June, I was ready to make the move that would allow Bec, Sally and I to grow. I found a warm inviting space that I will share with Lachlan and Clare at Upwey Chiropractic. Networking with Upwey Chiropractic over the past 6 years, I knew that we shared a lot of the same values. When hiring new clinicians or working with others, having similar values is one of the keys to a strong relationship in a practice and amongst clinicians. While the lockdowns through June, July and August were challenging on many levels, it gave me a chance to fit out the clinic and go back to my tradie roots and clinic looks amazing. In the new space Tecoma Myotherapy will infuse our spirit through the clinic of love, care, respect and a stimulating learning environment, where will grow and help others.


This second half of year I will be doing an intense course with Mick Thacker, who is a giant and legend in the science of pain. We will explore pain from a predictive processing, philosophical and phenomenological perspectives, this will challenge what I think I know about pain and human experience. Being challenged is how I grow, even though at the time I might get defensive, when I reflect on being challenged this is where I grow and learn on this journey of becoming less wrong.



Professor Lance McCraken, LePub Scientific, 2020

Hayes & Hofmann, process based CBT, New Harbinger Publications, 2018