+ gestalt psychotherapy

B I G B R O W N B O O T S |
E L W O O D , W I L L I A M S T O W N & O N L I N E |
B O O K I N G S |

A contemporary Gestalt Psychotherapy practice in Melbourne, Australia, Michelle offers holistic trauma informed clinical sessions that can be in connection with treatment from your GP and / or other health professionals

This practice is for those wanting a therapeutic experience with a clinician that has experience, passion and humility, practicing contemporary and internationally recognised mental health practices and theory.
Inspired by therapists such as Irvin Yalom, Bessel van de Kolk, Peter Levine and Stephen Porges, Michelle has 8+ years experience across community settings and in private practice. Her work has included specialist trauma counselling for those who are experiencing domestic violence and / or sexual assault, and as lead crisis clinician in a secondary college working with at risk youth and in residential care. Michelle has clients from Employment Assistant Programs (EAP), the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and assessment and psychotherapy for the Victims of Crime Tribunal (VOCAT).

Michelle is a gem of a therapist. Her work is highly attuned, safe and deep. Michelle has a way of connecting to the visceral which allows her to support change at a very deep level safely. She is a well sought-after therapist who is loved by her clients.

Joanne Walker MA PACFA

+ about Michelle…

Hello, I am Michelle. I’m a Gestalt Psychotherapist and Equine Assisted Practitioner who specialises in trauma. I support people to find emotional regulation and processing capacity in a complex world.

I came to this work after a week of leaning into Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, well over a decade ago. I had always wondered why I felt different after spending time with my horses. Horse are prey animals – wary of their surroundings and process their environment through connection in their herd. This is also how they know when it is safe to rest and graze. As a person stepping into their world, I had to face how I embodied my experiences, that is, how the horses experienced my presence. From this I learnt the differences between rest and hypervigilance, and in doing so became aware of emotionally processing events and traumatic experiences – what I later learned as relational and/or attachment wounds. I learnt how I “showed up”. I also learnt about leadership without dominance, boundaries, and creating a safe (enough) attachment space for others.

From this my study interest led to Gestalt Psychotherapy, a 4 year experiential course and starting as an intern psychotherapist working with cult survivors under the guidance of an international specialist. Onto embracing more – healing narcissistic wounds, complex trauma, personality disorders, attachment wounds, domestic violence, and sexual assault. All this while holding mental health diagnosis as a language, I find the person within their complex experiences and look into their unique emotional map (ref. Bessel van der Kolk) with evidence based practice. I walk with my clients sifting through what shows up for them as individuals. In more recent years I’ve stepped towards working with Victims of Crime here in Victoria, and with adolescents who experience trauma. 8 years later, back to study to become an accredited supervisor, which I will complete this November.

Should you wish to get in touch, you can book a telephone call back for a time that suits or reach out via email.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle. (Oct. 2023)

Therapy can support

healing, deepening your connections, and developing a greater sense of self and your vitality.

+ what is gestalt psychotherapy?

A trauma informed approach, Gestalt psychotherapy is a holistic framework that is sensitive and mindful of your attachment history, supports (both internal and external), your creativity in adapting to your context, and choices. Largely unknown in Australia, Gestalt is an influential mental health modality throughout Europe, the UK and USA. People study and practice Gestalt to understand the human experience, foster curiosity and creativity, and heal from past experiences and creative adaptions that hinder you in the present. People typically undertake therapy with a Gestalt psychotherapist for longer term therapeutic work.

+ equine assisted therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning offers an interpersonal experience with a horse, or herd, for an attuned authentic relational experience. Equine therapy is a well recognised therapeutic approach which can be particularly valuable for children and adolescents, who present with anxiety, depression and/or difficulty in relating to others. Horses are an engagement piece that embody regulation in their way of being present, and for trauma they show us vigilance, action and rest. Equine-assisted therapy and learning are well-recognised therapeutic approaches, which are particularly valuable for children who present with anxiety, depression and/or difficulty in relating to others. On the farm, in the Yarra Valley, adults and children alike are encouraged to observe and connect with a horse, in the therapeutically safe and supportive environment.

+ next steps


Book an appointment

Where are you located? Room-based sessions are held in Elwood (109 Brighton Rd) and Williamstown (66 Stevedore St.), or access sessions online via digital health for both local and interstate clients.
*New clinic location in November 2023 – The Health Sanctuary, 66 Stevedore St., Williamstown (Tuesday and Wednesdays).
Equine assisted therapy is available by special arrangement at a boutique farm north of Melbourne in the Yarra Valley. 

Arranging a session can be by simply booking an appointment yourself or reaching out for a time for telephone chat to see if you think this work might be supportive for you. Schedule an appointment directly via the online booking platform, tel/txt 0407 718 700, or email michelle@bigbrownboots.com. No referral is required. Equine assisted appointments are to be booked by special arrangement. For Employment Assistance Program (EAP) funding, please speak with your human resources department to see what can be arranged. The number of sessions funded via an EAP varies between organisations. NDIS clients can include psychotherapy and equine therapy as part of their self managed plans. Contact your case manager for details. If you are a VOCAT award recipient for counselling sessions, you will need your award to be officially transferred through the court registrar, which your lawyer will be able to complete for you. Alternatively, your GP or health professional can write a referral for you. A Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) is not required however can be useful for clarity of presenting issues, symptoms and treatment, when in conjunction with your GP.
Your initial appointment is an opportunity to get to know the therapist and discuss what you would like to explore. You may have a presenting issue or formal mental health diagnosis that you wish to focus on, or a past experience for which you are seeking support.
How many sessions will I need? Psychotherapy is generally considered a longer term therapy modality. Frequency of appointments and number of sessions can be discussed upon booking and reviewed at any time. Equine sessions are based on a framework of six sessions which can be interspersed with room-based sessions.
Am I eligible for a Medicare rebate for these appointments? Psychotherapists and counsellors are not currently listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule and a MHCP is not required. A sliding fee scale is available under exceptional circumstances.

+ contact

Please reach out if you have any questions.
Warmly, Michelle.

Michelle van Kampen
earth | equine | human

PO BOX 1206 Hampton North VIC 3188
tel/SMS: 0407 718 700

ABN: 70 469 930 393

+ locations

In clinic appointments at two locations: 109 Brighton Rd., Elwood (near Chapel St.) 66 Stevedore St., Williamstown (as of November 2023) Digital health inc. telephone or online video conferencing (Zoom).

Clinic locations as of Ist November 2023:
TUE & WED – Williamstown
The Health Sanctuary 
66 Stevedore St, Williamstown – tel: 9397 7139

THU – Williamstown
Williamstown Wellness Co. 
46 Thompson St, Williamstown (for November), then online only. 

FRI – Elwood
This is Life 
109 Brighton Rd, Elwood

Available for interstate clients. Access equine therapy/learning at a boutique farm near the Yarra Valley, 60mins north of Melbourne.

Gestalt Psychotherapy
ABN 70 469 930 393