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About Melanie Foulkes | Chronic illness and disability counsellor

I am Autistic, ADHD and have lived experience of chronic illness and persistent pain.


Melanie Foulkes | Neurodivergent, chronically ill counsellor

Affordable online mental health counselling with someone who understands

I have a lifetime of lived experience with mental health and disability — so I understand what it’s like to struggle.

In fact, that’s actually the whole reason I started my online counselling business.

I began experiencing all kinds of painful, life-altering symptoms—like debilitating fatigue, widespread pain and weakness, brain fog, and flu-like symptoms. Sometimes, I was so unwell, that I wouldn’t even be able to leave my bed—which affected my relationships, and my career.

As my health declined, so too did my mental health. So, I reached out to mental health counsellors and psychologists for help coping with my feelings and these significant changes in my life.

But like many other disabled people, I was gaslighted by my doctor. They misunderstood me, and made me feel awful about myself. They made me feel like it was all my fault, and all in my head. At this time, I already had a Master of Counselling from Monash University and had been wanting to start a private practice for a long time—and so I turned my experiences with medical gaslighting into an opportunity to start my own counselling business.

Because I didn't want anyone else with a chronic illness to have to feel that way. Especially in a vulnerable space where you're trying to get help.

So, in July 2021, I officially opened up my doors as an online chronic illness and mental health counsellor.

I have diverse experience across many sectors, all of which focus on making a difference in people’s lives—and these skills are an asset now to my private practice.

I began my career as a primary teacher, after getting a Bachelor of Education from James Cook University. In the classroom, I'd need to support 30 different emerging personalities with care, understanding and compassion, and I'd often find myself helping them to work through their thoughts and feelings. It felt like such a gift to watch their personal development, and I cherished being part of that.

Later, I became a student support worker, working with groups and individuals in schools to equip students with emotional regulation skills and knowledge, and help them work through problems inside and outside of school.

During this time, I was also studying a Master in Counselling from Monash University—because I wanted to make a difference to even more people.

I eventually also worked as a support worker, where I saw the impacts mental illness, disability and chronic illness could have on someone’s life—and how alone it could make them feel, without the right support.

I have over a decade of experience working in the disability, mental health and education sectors.

people laughing and talking outside during daytime

My approach: neurodivergent counselling with care

Golden Retriever lying on bed

When you’re neurodivergent, it can be difficult to navigate a neurotypical world—particularly if you have self-identified or don’t have a formal diagnosis.

My trauma-informed counselling services are strength-based, and neurodivergent affirming. Each therapy session is tailored to your specific needs and goals.

When I'm not counselling you'll often find me down a hyperfocus rabbit hole of ND affirming podcasts, articles and research. The topic is just one of my many special interests.

Like many others, I discovered my Autistic ADHD self as an adult.


My lived experience with chronic illness, mental health and neurodivergence is an asset

When it comes to counselling, lived experience makes such a difference. It makes me a better counsellor, because I have struggled with my disabilities, and I do know what it’s like to feel burnt out, and trudge through life, going through the motions while watching your passions fade. It’s hard—especially when those around you just don’t get it.

I truly believe that a mental health counsellor is just who I was made to be.

Get in touch today. I can’t wait to work with you.