About Kate Burton, Ph.D.

“Life is a continuing series of enterings, evolvings, and leavings. The major effort should be to make the whole continuum a celebration “

– Virginia Satir


Kate first developed an interest in the intersection between learning and student wellbeing while teaching English to at-risk students in the UK fifteen years ago. During this time, she completed her masters degree focusing on trauma and identity development. She worked as an associate lecturer in the UK prior to moving to Australia where she completed her doctorate focusing on the intersection between trauma theory, addictive behaviour, and giftedness and creativity. Kate also holds a graduate diploma in family therapy and is an invited researcher at the Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research.

Kate specialises in helping parents understand and advocate for children with diverse learning needs, particularly children who are intellectually and/or creatively gifted, and those who are twice-exceptional (gifted with a learning disability or other disorder). She is a passionate advocate for at-risk students. Kate provides assessment for giftedness utilising a combination of qualitative and quantitative information, incorporating developmental history, cognitive and achievement testing. She also offers support in the areas of anxiety, depression, perfectionism, mindset, resiliency, issues with peer relationships, school refusal, and imposter syndrome. Support extends to older gifted children, and help with exams, career counselling and identity issues specific to giftedness is also available. Continuity of care is paramount, therefore, referrals are made to relevant clinicians for diagnoses as required, and support continues into the educational setting if necessary.

Kate believes in helping individuals take control of their own health and wellbeing. Her research and practice meet at the intersection of education and mental health. She is interested in how unhealthy coping strategies and poor mental health develop as a response to stress and trauma in the educational, work and/or family setting. She has a particular interest in eating disorders and other behavioural coping mechanisms that can result in the aftermath of traumatic events, or simply due to the demands of today’s, often frenetic, society. Times of transition, such as the various stages of parenthood, the loss of a loved one, relationship issues, divorce, moving house or school, or even commencing a new job can be particularly problematic for many people. Often, when we feel stressed, depressed or anxious, short-term fixes such as medication are in abundant supply. Sadly, a more holistic approach to why we feel ‘burnt out’ or ‘down’ in the first place, and how we can develop resilience and ongoing positive coping strategies when faced with life’s challenges can be lacking. She believes in empowering  clients to take control of their own mental health, and that an authentic relationship between the therapist and client is an essential part of the therapeutic process.

Kate lives south of Perth with her husband and two teenage children. She is a member of The Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and undertakes regular supervision and professional development as necessitated by her registration body. Her qualifications include a PhD, MA, GradDip (Counselling & Family Therapy) and a BA (H1).

Seeking therapy can be a daunting experience. Kate focuses on making each session a psychological safe space, where clients feel valued, respected and never judged. You can be assured of a warm and compassionate welcome.


  • Psychology of Giftedness and Creativity
  • Gifted Assessment
  • Twice-Exceptionality
  • Perfectionism
  • Resilience
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Self-Destructive Behaviour


  • Gifted WA
  • Australian Assn. for the Education of the Gifted and Talented
  • World Council for Gifted and Talented Children
  • SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted)

Research, Publications & Conference Presentations:

In July 2019, Kate will be presenting at the the World Conference for Gifted and Talented Children in Nashville. She has also been invited to deliver an extended paper at the Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted Conference in Texas.

Currently undertaking research in conjunction with Dr. Eileen Slater (Edith Cowan University) to determine factors that influence parents  to homeschool their children, and a separate project examining academic accommodations for twice-exceptional students.

Book Chapter: ‘Shaping Personality Through Suffering.’ What Happened? Visual Representations of Trauma and Healing. Oxford: Brill Publishers (2018).

University New South Wales (WCGTC): Finding Control in Chaos: Understanding Perfectionism, Substance Abuse and Self-Destructive Behaviour in Gifted Students (July 2017).

University of New South Wales (AAEGT) Paper presented at the Australia Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented. ‘Robbed of Resilience and Self-Regulation: Are we Traumatising our Brightest Students (October 2016).

‘Trauma, Creativity, Giftedness and Healing: Narrative Medicine.’ Trauma: Theory and Practice. Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press. 2015. 4th Global Conference: Trauma: Theory and Practice (Prague, Czech Republic).


Media & Public Speaking 


The Conversation: Article discussing research in relation to homeschooled students and socialisation)

Gifted WA at University of Western Australia (Panel discussion on twice-exceptionality)

Penrhos College (presentation on anxiety in gifted students)

Gifted WA at Edith Cowan University (hosting a discussion on gifted children, friendship and belonging)

ABC Focus: ‘Students in the Hot House’ (radio)

ABC Drive with Geoff Hutchinson: Discussing the proliferation of coaching academies and Academic Selective Entrance/GATE testing (radio)

ABC: ‘Primary School Students Undergo ‘Platinum’ Tutoring to Prepare for Academic Selection Test’ (online)


School Governance News: ‘The Challenges of Gifted and Talented Education for Schools’ (online)

SBS: ‘Life is Not All About Winning’ (online)

SBS: ‘How do the Brains of Child Prodigies Work?’ (online)

ABC: ‘How to Tell if You’ve Got a Gifted Child, and What to do About it’ (online)

6PR: Interview re difficulties that can arise when trying to educate a gifted child (radio)

ABC News: Interview discussing the academic, social and emotional needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children (television)

Penrhos College (presentation on perfectionism)

ABC Focus: ‘Navigating the Challenging Life of a Gifted Child’ (radio) You can listen to the panel discussion here

Christ Church Grammar School (presentation on the social and emotional wellbeing of gifted students)

Presbyterian Ladies College (presentation on the myths relating to giftedness)

Comet Bay College (on behalf of Gifted WA) (presentation on developing resilience and psychological wellbeing in gifted students in high school)



Iona Presentation College

Parent and Professional Learning Event held at Edith Cowan University (Gifted WA Presentation)

Golden Bay Primary School (PL for educators and gifted co-ordinators in the Rockingham and Peel region)

Rockingham Montessori School (PL for teachers)




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