Dr Zac Elizabeth Buchanan | Clinical Psychologist

BA (Hons), DipYoga, DPsych (Clinical Doctorate), MAPS

Dr Zac Elizabeth Buchanan | Clinical Psychologist

As a Clinical Psychologist, I work with adults, teenagers and kids (8+) and their families needing support in dealing with internal and external struggles. These may include issues with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, OCD, social and relationship difficulties, parenting concerns and perinatal counselling. I am also a Board-approved registered Supervisor and can provide supervision services to Junior Psychologists and Registered Psychologists including those in the Clinical Registrar Program.

I strive to connect with warmth and compassion and am committed to building a strong and safe therapeutic relationship, as evidence shows this is a crucial foundation for positive change. My therapeutic approach draws upon a range of specialised and evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and ACT.

My services include diagnostic assessments, individual therapy and family-based therapies, however I understand that each person is unique and I tailor the sessions to suit your individual needs. I aim to provide a safe space where clients might gain insights into themselves and their relationships, reflect on their inner-dialogue, emotions and reactions, and make the necessary changes to overcoming barriers and reaching goals. Most importantly, I aim to treat each individual as a whole, helping them to tap into their inner strength, rather than solely focusing on the conditions or symptoms they are experiencing.

Through my own personal journey, I have also come to discover and appreciate the many complementary aspects of yoga philosophy & practice in understanding the mind and mind-body connection, how we relate to ourselves and others, and strategies for enhancing personal wellbeing. I am an avid believer in thorough scientific research, and it is exciting to see a growing body of western psychology research supporting this +2000 year-old tradition! (for a summary see here). When indicated, I offer clients selected research-backed yoga ‘approaches’ in the therapy room, including breathing/pranayama techniques and mindful meditation practices.

I hold a graduate Degree with Honours in Psychology (The University of Melbourne) and a postgraduate Doctor of Clinical Psychology (La Trobe University). I have also completed an Advanced Diploma in Yoga Teaching and use this training to inform the mindful meditation techniques I offer in individual therapy and group-based mental health workshops. I have training and experience working with all age groups, from children to older adults; from those with more severe mental health difficulties to those with more common concerns. I have worked in a range of settings including community-based centres, hospitals and private practice.

To find out more about the range of corporate and community-based workshops I offer, please click here.

An interview with Dr Zac Elizabeth Buchanan

How did you decide to become a psychologist?

I became a psychologist for a few different reasons. I guess first of all, I grew up overseas which gave me a strong appreciation for different cultures and understanding how different beliefs, values and ways of behaving can really impact someone’s well-being. Being overseas gave me many opportunities to witness how resilient humans can be. And from an early age, I was really impressed by that. I’ve always wanted to be in a helping profession. So that interest, that wish made psychology an easy choice.

What are you passionate about in Psychology?

There’s a couple of things that I’m really passionate about in psychology. The first one being self-compassion, helping people understand and appreciate their innate value as a human being, helping them discover ways to talk to themselves in a kind and caring way, in a way they would talk with a family member or a good friend. And I see a lot of people struggling with that. I could see the power in self-compassion and what that can do for mental health, levels of contentment and happiness in life. 

What gives you a sense of satisfaction?

Helping clients have these ‘aha moments’ in the therapy room, where they come to realise how a particular way of thinking or behaving has impacted the way that they’re feeling – developing a deep understanding of the way they work. I love seeing clients slowly but surely develop more and more confidence in themselves but also in their ability to manage, look after themselves and their mental well-being. At the end of the day, my job is to make myself redundant, I don’t want my clients to constantly feel the need to come back to a session. I want to support them and help develop the right tools to send them on their way. 

What can a client expect in their first session?

First sessions typically involve the client talking a lot and we’re doing a lot of listening. I’d be asking them to tell me their story. The reasons why they’ve decided to come to therapy now versus a year’s time or three months ago. Then we’ll talk about goals and what they’re hoping to get out of therapy. I’d also administer a few different questionnaires for us to get an objective measure of the levels of symptoms that they’re experiencing. Then we’ll talk about ways to move forward after the first session, thinking about some concrete goals together and a way forward.