College of Healthcare Sciences
9 August 2022
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A path to practicing psychology
As a child, JCU Alumni Lauren Cavati says she was always the person who enjoyed providing her friends with support and lending an ear to those in need. But it was later in life that Lauren moved to Townsville to study psychology and decided to forge her own path by opening her own practice, Deep Speak.
Graduating from a Bachelor of Psychology (now Bachelor of Psychological Science) in 2011, Lauren says her decision to study psychology was a natural choice.
“I grew up in a small town and my friends would always come and talk to me and tell me things, and they said I was very helpful. They actually suggested I should study psychology,” Lauren says.
“It was one of those few times where you have someone else reflect your strengths back at you and it was really affirming for me,” she says. “So, after some deep thought I realised I really enjoyed talking to people and helping them. I decided to study psychology.”
After graduating from her degree in 2011, Lauren was able to get a job straight away and so didn’t follow the route of further study to become a registered Psychologist. Instead, she began working in group therapy. “In that role, I was working a lot with parents and children and I felt that it was really important to work with people’s capacities.”
Wanting to understand her clients better, Lauren went on to further her studies with a Master of Social Work with another university. “I wanted to learn more about people’s and society’s behaviours from the macro-scale to understand some of the challenges that my clients were facing,” she says.
After working in community counselling for about ten years and returning to work following the birth of her second child, Lauren says she felt like she wanted to start reaching out to people in her own way. “I wanted to just cut right to the part where I can talk directly with people. So, I thought, why not just start my own practice?”
That’s exactly what Lauren did. “Two days later I had registered my own practice. My goal was to create meaningful therapeutic relationships with people and meet them where they’re at to help get them where they want to be.”
Talking about things that matter most
Lauren opened Deep Speak in 2020 and began seeing a few clients each month. Now two years later, her practice has grown exponentially. “It’s just exploded. I had my two-year anniversary in April this year and I’ve recently hired another therapist and administration person. We’re getting busier by the day,” she says.
“The name Deep Speak is from my belief that people often have very surface level conversations and keep our talk general when asking how people are going,” she says. “It’s important to me that people talk about what matters to them, so the concept of deep speak is that in my practice we are talking deeply about what is most important.”
In fact, talk therapy is one of the key aspects of Lauren’s practice. “I offer counselling that involves a lot of talk therapy with a focus on psychological strategies,” she says. “The sessions are very free flowing; I allow the clients to direct what they need. I offer specific therapies if clients request that, or I provide an open and safe space to discuss anything.”
But not everything is about talking. “One of the cooler therapies I do is a type of ‘non talk’ therapy which is called eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). You don’t really talk much in the session but it’s more about helping the brain to process trauma,” she says.
Lauren says she works hard to make sure Deep Speak is a space that is comfortable and welcoming to clients. “It’s really important that the clinic is a homely space. A lot of the feedback I’ve had from clients is that they feel quite comfortable when they come to sessions.”
Sometimes, that means there are two or four-legged friends at the clinic. “I have a little bird and two dogs that often make appearances in sessions with younger people,” Lauren says. “Some of my younger clients particularly like the bird just because it’s cheeky and funny and hangs around their shoulder while they’re chatting,” Lauren says.
“I’m really happy for anything that makes it easier for clients to access therapy. It can be a big first step for some people to talk to someone, so I want to make sure that is made easier for them.”
"As a really extroverted person, talking to and meeting with people all the time gives me a lot of joy and energy. I could see people all day long and not tire of that, which is one of the aspects that has kept me so fulfilled in my own practice."
JCU Alumni and Deep Speak Founder, Lauren Cavati
Breaking down brainy behaviours
During 2021, Lauren says that her work with young children presented some challenges in helping them to understand their brains.
“For a lot of young people who were experiencing anxiety and were struggling with negative thoughts, I was teaching them cognitive behavioural therapy to help them become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and behaviours, but it was a little challenging to help kids understand,” she says.
“I found myself looking for a resource or a storybook to read to little kids about this topic, but I couldn’t find one.”
Lauren says that she always loved writing when she was younger, so the idea of writing her own book was an ideal solution. She came up with the character of the ‘Cheeky Brain’ and a book series to go with it.
“The plan is to use the character in many different situations to help kids understand that the brain can be cheeky sometimes and the different things the brain can do. It helps kids to challenge their cheeky brains in lots of different situations,” Lauren says.
“I intend to write a few more of the books in this series as a fun side project. I have found that in sessions these books provide the concept in a really straightforward way and help kids to understand their brains,” she says. “I often use this language about brains being cheeky with my kids.”
Lauren says the next step for Deep Speak is to expand the practice so they can support more clients. “I want to help more people in the community. I’m really passionate about working with women and mothers, but I also love encouraging men to come to the clinic and talk more openly about how they’re feeling.
“Our focus at Deep Speak is to make therapy accessible and have the availabilities to support people when they need help.”