Interview With Psychotherapist Amanda Robins

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Basically I wanted to help young people. I retrained in social work after a successful career in the visual arts and progressed to working in public mental health, where I learnt a lot about families and and serious mental illness. My overall aim was to be a psychotherapist and to work specifically with young people.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love the possibility for connection and empathy within the therapeutic relationship. There is always the potential for transforming lives – that is the most rewarding part of the job.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My background in supporting and nurturing young artists through my career as a visual artist and academic has taught me a lot about how precious finding one’s own voice is and how we can learn to value everyone’s individuality. My own art practice has given me the opportunity to grow and learn about myself through the creative process. I am interested in expanding this and in giving back to others through the therapeutic space and connection.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

The most important relationship advice I can give is to listen to your partner – to try to work out what are they really saying and what they really want? What are the emotions at the heart of what their demands? In any relationship it is vital to allow yourself to be open and vulnerable and to tell your partner how you really feel. Don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions about what they might mean.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy isn’t a quick fix. Nor is it about the therapist being all-wise and all-knowing. A therapist just needs to be good enough to hold the patient’s emotional self for the moment of therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Patients don’t make mistakes – its all grist for the mill! If therapy is going to work then there needs to be a commitment from both parties and the patient does need to learn to trust and to be open and honest.
I have sometimes made the mistake of overvaluing my own statements/thoughts and theories when the client is trying to tell me their truth. I have learnt that the best therapy happens when I can sit with, think through and feel with them in their struggles. I don’t have all the answers and any therapist who says that they do is fooling themselves – and misleading their clients.


I am an artist/writer and psychotherapist based in Melbourne, Australia. After a successful career as an artist and academic, I decided to retrain in order to work therapeutically with young people and studied Social Work at the University of Melbourne. I now specialise in working with young people and families and am particularly interested in early intervention for Borderline Personality Disorder. I love writing about mental health, from my own experiences and from my work with young people. I currently have a blog where I write about mental health issues of interest to young people and parents. My articles have been published on The Mighty, Therapy Route, PsychCentral and This Woman Can.

I hope my stories will resonate with those who are struggling with mental health issues and maybe help others understand more about the journey.


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