Meet the Practitioners: Dora Abbondanza



When did you start at NBP? 

I started at the end of July this year.  Although that makes me the new kid on the block at NBP, I have been around for a while.  

What were you doing before that?

I was working as a psychologist in Employment Services helping job seekers with their mental health.  Before that, I worked in research and conducted neurocognitive assessments at the Qld Children’s Hospital.

Why did you get into psychology/therapy in the first place? 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Circumstances made me take a good look at my life and I decided I needed to make some changes.  Firstly, I revisited my old dreams and decided to go back to university.  When I was looking at degrees, I was drawn to the social sciences and human behaviour.  I found that studying psychology made me more compassionate and understanding of people in everyday situations. 

What would you have done if you didn’t become a psychologist/therapist? 

There wasn’t any one specific career.  I remember at the end of high school, one of my teachers asked the class what we wanted to do when we left school. Some said they wanted to be teachers, others said nurses.  I said I wanted to be a teacher, a hairdresser, a scientist, a police officer, an air hostess, and an actor.  My teacher’s response was unexpected.  She said, ‘why not everything!’.  Yes, why not indeed!

What do you like best about your job? 

People. Meeting so many diverse individuals.  Everyone is unique and so is their story.  I find it a privilege to be given the opportunity to hear personal stories and to help make changes so that the person experiences a more fulfilling life.

Which are your favourite therapies to draw from and why? 

I use a client-centred approach. One of the first things I do is to build rapport with my clients, and give them unconditional positive regard.  I find it important to accept and support the person as they are without judgment.  There are many different types of therapies I like to draw from depending on the person’s needs.  One of my favourite is Schema Therapy because it helps the person understand how they view themselves, others and the world around them.

What activities do you enjoy outside work? 

I am a self-confessed ‘epicurean’, meaning that I am devoted to the enjoyment of good food and drink, a connoisseur of the arts of life.  Sounds posh, doesn’t it! Not really, I just appreciate good food.  This means a visit to a winery, local restaurant or café with friends is always on the cards.  I also love visiting art galleries or listening to live music.   

I have a bucket list which never gets empty because I’ve been finding new items to add as others are ticked off.  Items include doing a wine tasting course,  learning to tap dance or learning how to sail.  So much fun!

Family is always central in my life and we have loads of fun and laughter when we all get together.  Of course, there’s food involved.  I love the way the kids and grandkids banter with each other.  

When I need some ‘me’ time, I love walking along the waterfront, bush walking or staying home and watching a French film on Netflix.