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 child well-being while working with at-risk students over 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 at the intersection of trauma theory, addiction, self-destructive behaviour, and giftedness and creativity. Kate also holds a Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy. She is an invited researcher at the Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research and regularly provides media commentary in relation to education, and mental health.   

Kate specialises in helping individuals who are neuro-diverse, especially those who are twice-exceptional, and has a keen interest in emotional regulation as this relates to giftedness and neuro-developmental disorders such as ADHD, ASD, DCD and Specific Learning Disorders. She prefers to take a strengths-based, whole child approach when working with families in order to understand the functional difficulties a child may be experiencing. She is a passionate advocate for at-risk students and has a particular interest in anxiety, resilience, perfectionism, and academic acceleration. Support extends to adults, and help with imposter syndrome and multi-potentiality is also available. Kate additionally provides trauma-informed therapy, particularly to those impacted by sexual and emotional abuse, and individuals experiencing trauma as a result of narcissistic abuse and/or emotional deprivation. Continuity of care is paramount: 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. She is interested in how unhealthy coping strategies and poor mental health develop as a response to stress and trauma in the education, 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 difficult 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 is a member of The Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. 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.

Areas of Interest:

  • Psychology of Giftedness and Creativity
  • Gifted Assessment
  • Twice-Exceptionality (including ADHD, ASD, DCD, and Specific Learning Disorders)
  • Perfectionism
  • Resilience
  • Anxiety
  • High Levels of Sensitivity and Empathy
  • Trauma and Complex PTSD
  • Addiction and Self-Destructive Behaviour
  • Narcissism

Affiliations:

  • 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)

Recent Research, Publications & Conference Presentations:

November 2020: Paper on Whole Grade Acceleration and Psychosocial Well-Being presented at the Department of Education’s (WA) Conference on Gifted and Talented Students.

July 2019: Scheduled to present at the the World Conference for Gifted and Talented Children in Nashville, and an extended paper at the Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted Conference in Texas. Sadly, unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.

Currently undertaking research in conjunction with Dr. Eileen Slater examining academic accommodations for twice-exceptional students, Family Adaptation in response to Covid-19, and reasons for the increase in the number of students being home-schooled in Australia.

Journal Article: Slater, E., Burton, K., McKillop, D., Reasons for home educating in Australia: who and why?. Educational Review (2020) DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2020.1728232.

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

2020:

The West Australian: Feel like a fraud in your job? You’re not the only one (print)

The Geraldton Guardian: Imposter syndrome can bite (print)

ABC Mornings: Crisis schooling during Covid-19 (radio)

ABC Focus: Why are more Australian families choosing to home school? (radio)

Education Review: ‘GATEway to Brighter Futures’ (print)   

2019:

Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Surprise, Blessing, Gift: Home Schooling Numbers Reach Record’ (print) 

SBS: Article reflecting on the minds of gifted children in relation to Child Genius series (online)

ABC: ‘Perth Modern School Still out of Reach for Gifted Students, Experts Warn’ (online)

The Conversation: ‘Homeschooled Children are More Socially Engaged than you Might Think’ 

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)

2018:

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)

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

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