Succeeding at school, higher education, trade training or any other level has a number of psychological demands for learners of all
ages. Geoff has particular skills in guiding learners to achieve their goals in these pursuits.
This work is often focussed on the individual, but Geoff also works with families when childhood and adolescent factors within a family
situation intrude on learning opportunities - sometimes the children’s and sometimes for parents returning to study.
Overcoming barriers to learning is a huge opportunity for celebration in Geoff’s work. These barriers are sometimes cognitive or
neurological (e.g., a learning disorder), sometimes psychological (e.g., distorted values around being successful), sometimes
physical/physiological (e.g., managing health issues), sometimes age-related (e.g., in using technology), sometimes cultural
(e.g., in working with migrant/CALD/refugee people to understand Western ideas of academic expectations).
Many factors are explored in Geoff’s work with learners:
ü Intellect is an obvious one, but we shouldn’t confuse the ability to learn with IQ. There are many paths to achievement that
motivated learners establish, excel at and celebrate.
ü Family situations for adult learners can be intrusive on academic pursuits if not managed effectively. Finding
commitment around juggling finances, family demands, work, etc. is important in the work Geoff does with clients.
ü Having connection with positive peers and being part of a ‘community of learners’ is often the difference between success
and distraction, loss of focus and ultimately failure.
ü Money has traditionally intruded on learning when teenagers were influenced to leave school early. Now it is often the
intrusion of part-time work that brings money for a teenager to fit into a peer identity - so it becomes a complex part of
Geoff’s work with younger people.
ü Competing interests are important considerations in general notions of ‘success’. Typically Geoff will work with a family to
understand how two ambitions can be addressed so that, for example, a young athlete may follow their heart in that
direction while keeping the door open for academic pursuits if sport doesn’t turn into a career.
ü Emotional Intelligence is very important for high achievers. This can be applied in perfectionists who risk burnout in
unrealistic pursuits, and also those struggling to hold a dream together under the burden of competing demands.
ü Fun, relaxation, and other nurturing activities are hugely important in a successful academic life. These obviously
balance against the pressure of study etc., and are also important in keeping the inner child strong and available for later
life when you need to balance pressures of careers, family life, etc.
In Geoff’s experience, academic achievement is a very individual path, and the strengths that a counselling psychologist brings to
these demands opens all sorts of options for successfully making the journey.