Effective Working with High Levels of Stress and Overwhelm

Key Facts

Study Load: 1 Day
Location: Hawthorn East, Victoria
Delivery Mode: In-Person
Intake: Yearly
Fees: $40-200

Course Overview

Helping clients effectively and immediately regulate high levels of stress and state of overwhelm.

Many clients present to therapy highly stressed, overwhelmed or “numb” and distant from their emotional experiencing. In both ways, they are stuck in a ‘reactive state’ and unable to process what they experience and make adaptive choices in their life situations. Neurologically, they are not in “a social engagement” or optimal processing zone. They are either stuck in being unable to make important decisions or making hasty ones which further perpetuate problems.

Consequently, it is often very challenging for therapists to engage such clients and start establishing a therapeutic alliance without helping them to regulate first. In such states, the clients cannot say what they need or what their goals are. Unfortunately, relaxation techniques can have unwanted effects – highly stressed people cannot engage or get irritable, and already withdrawn or emotionally “numb” clients get even further distant from their experience.

What does this course offer?

This workshop is going to provide practical learning of the process called Clearing a Space which has been developed in the context of FocusingOriented Therapy (FOT). It has been researched and utilised as a stand-alone process with many applications. Various research studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the Clearing a Space process in the

  • Immediate reduction of a high level of stress 
  • Efficient dealing with a state of overwhelm, overstimulation and consequent numbing 
  • Facilitating a sense of self that is separate from the problems, which enables instantaneous a shift of the whole experience of the problems 
  • Providing incremental release of the bodily tension 
  • Dealing with sleeping problems 
  • Promoting a sense of wellbeing in people recovering from cancer and other challenging health issues 
  • Promoting the students learning in all educational settings 
  • As a tool for mental hygiene for all health professionals 

Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to apply the Clearing a Space process in their personal life and professional settings.

Course Structure

Delivery Method

This course is delivered from 9.30am until 4.00pm, at 391-393 Tooronga Road, Hawthorn East VIC 3123.


Upcoming Course Dates

For 2025 course dates, please submit your interest here, and you will be notified when enrolments open.

Please note, this course is subject to a minimum number of enrolments and conditional on Government restrictions at the time the course commences. If we are unable to deliver the course face-to-face, the event will be transferred to online delivery. We will email all registered attendees as soon as possible if changes are required. In this case, a free course transfer will also be available for an alternative course date, or a full refund of the course will be made minus any platform ticketing fees.

Our Trainers

Biliana Dearly, Senior Lecturer:

Ms Biliana Dearly is a psychotherapist, supervisor and educator who has experience in working with people of all walks of life presenting with a wide range of problems, including working with individuals, couples, and health professionals. She has a particular interest in experiential, process-oriented therapy and working with the ‘whole person’. Biliana is a senior lecturer at the Cairnmillar Institute and a Certifying Coordinator for The International Focusing Institute, USA.

Further Information


Our course fees are inclusive of GST and cover all course materials, such as presentation slides, handouts and a certificate of completion.

Standard Enrolment: $200
Concession*: $180
External Students or Cairnmillar Alumni: $150
Cairnmillar Student: $40

*Our programs attract a 10% concession for health care card holders, pensioners and people receiving benefits. Those applying for concessions must provide a copy (photo evidence is accepted) of their social security card, or health care card together with their application, via email to [email protected].


Cairnmillar can offer this or other tailored courses for your organisation’s needs. If you have a group of 10 or more participants, we can come to you. For further information, email the Professional Development Team at [email protected] or phone 03 9813 3400.

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