Ability Therapy Specialists ~ Armidale and New England NSW

Counselling for Individuals, Couples, Families, and Children ~ NDIS Provider of Behaviour Support and Counselling Therapies

Interview with Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

This interview was recorded by a colleague who wanted to remain unnamed. They gathered this information to share in their organisation.

Dr Bowers, may I call you Joseph? Yes, no worries.

Joseph, why did you create Ability Therapy Specialists (ATS)? About three years ago now, the NSW government and the commonwealth moved forward with plans that would create the NDIS. NSW decided to pull out of direct services in aged care and disabilities, so would disband Ageing Disability and Home Care. Managers and mentors encouraged me to remain rural and regional – we all knew most senior practitioners would move away because the jobs would not be found here in the New England. The vision of ATS was born on white boards in corporate offices, dreaming up a model for community based independent practice.

What is ATS all about? People. ATS is about people in our community. And access to high quality counselling and psychotherapy services. ATS is about keeping senior expertise regional and rural. We are about education and capacity building – because we know that helping helpers goes a long way to building community-based skills.

How is Earth Rattle Publishing connected here? ERP was a project started a number of years ago to help new authors get published. It was part of the explosion of online publishing. Back in the late 90s my first exploring websites and virtual media as a doctoral student was thought by professors to be risky. I remember being told to be cautious. But in the years that followed I founded a new online open access research journal – the first of its kind in Counselling in Australia. ERP came about over the years of supporting Indigenous authors, and seeing the need for earth-based ecological resources for human ecology.

But you revived this project recently, you said? Yes. Health issues got in the way a few years back. But recently ERP is reawakened as a partnership with ATS. One provides the publishing expertise, the other a therapeutic edge. ERP is now publishing ebooks only because this is more ecologically sound, and become more popular and accessible. As a small niche publisher we focus on selling direct only – our customers pay for our product that is emailed to them in PDF format. The author actually keeps the vast majority of income, but our own books are all donated to ATS.

You have a community therapy fund, what is that? It is a fund for money from sale of books. We sell books via the Payhip set up. They take a small fee per sale. We keep the rest. For our own books, we give the proceeds to the fund. When the funds grow enough, we can offer clients sessions that are either subsidized or paid for in full.

How will you determine the need for people to use therapy? The number of needs out there are no problem at all. The issue is with how to allocate limited resources. We simply keep a word of mouth approach that over time develops a clear criteria for need and the practicality of offering a service to a person or family.

We see you have published heaps over the years. Tell us a bit about your own writings. That is like asking a truck driver to tell you about his new Mack truck. He looks at you like, are you ready for the long or short answer?!

LOL, OK… let me try again… What are you working on now? Ha ha ha ha, well… actually I am seeing clearly to publish a series on Counselling Sexology. I’ve just launched a book on retro texts in the Christian western mysticism tradition, and I am writing a book on Counselling Psychotherapy, a text book, based in the therapeutic methods that I have developed over about 25 or 30 years.

Wow, tell us about the Sexology project. This seems a bit out there, no? This is actually a growing area of interest for me since my graduate days of doing research on gay and bisexual men’s experiences. That work was back in the mid 1990s in Canada. Over here in Australia my PhD focused in part on LGBT people’s experiences. But even before my graduate research, my first masters degree courses were focused on couple and family life. My first group therapy work was with men remanded by court to deal with their violent behaviour, and the women who were their partners who were recovering from trauma. These different groups introduced me to the darker side of human sexuality – mostly heterosexual in fact. The GLBTI work I have done over the years has been quite inspiring and nothing like the heteronormative cultures that straight people inherit from their parent’s parents.

Are you saying that heterosexual people are more prone to violence? No, not at all. We all could do with less blanket assumptions like this. What I was saying is that we all actually inherit values, beliefs, and practices from our families. We grow up with these internal mindsets. If we do not have a radical reason to question our assumptions, we tend to keep on keeping on. This is human nature! We think, why fix what is working OK. But for most of us humans, what is working OK actually causes us grief. This is to say, our attitudes and beliefs about gender and sexuality are so twisted by past generations of values and beliefs from old and outdated perspectives, we have not yet faced these issues.

So why is this any different for gay people? Great question! Short answer: It’s not! Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and Two Spirit people get the same inheritance as the rest of us. But being different from the majority forces a change. That change is initially as simple as a different way of thinking. This reality makes minority people question assumptions and look at life differently. Nothing comes as easy, so everything is open for revision. What starts as a perceived weakness becomes a strength.

And for straight people, what is an assumed strength is actually a weakness? Perhaps so… Mostly likely an unconscious weakness for most. Things do not come up in awareness around these issues until couples find their marriage breaking down. Or they find they have a child or young adult child who is gay. In later years and in different forms of crisis, people find their value system challenged. Mostly these times do not lead to a real convergence of change and openness to evolution, because the human system demands preparation and training toward the more profound layers of growth.

What do you mean here, that spiritual growth relies on prior preparation? In some ways yes and in other ways no. Someone like Tina Turner carries a great deal of insight and very likely wisdom, based in her life experience. Nothing against her by the way, as she is pretty freaking awesome. But all due respect, Tina Turner is not the Dali Lama of Tibet. But if you got them in one room, sparks of spiritual enlightenment and many other sexy sparks would very likely fly. Two passionate and driven people in one room does that regardless of vows to the contrary. Now few of us are at the height of either of these people. But point be taken, Tina writes music and revolution. The Lama writes silence and awakening. Both are at the top of their game. That does not happen overnight. The Lama becomes a Buddha because he tips the scales on years of practice. The Turner becomes a pop icon and goddess of music because she tips the scales on years of practice. Both people take their game seriously, and both are pretty awesome.

So how does this relate to everyday people dealing with gender stereotypes and attitudes toward sex and sexuality? That is a very funny question, like, don’t you see that already?! What is the matter with you?! LOL Here you got the insight when you see the Lama and Turner in one room. She is all dolled up and sexy. He is in a robe all holy and saintly. But they both shine like stars. Gender and sexuality are here in the room with us too. American family values, at various levels. And Tibetan spiritual traditions, in various ways. When we meet, any of us in real life, we carry our heritage and traditions with us too. Couples who come for therapy because they are fighting and he wants to abuse her and she wants to displace her anger on her kids but holds back, they also carry a lot of baggage like the Lama and Turner do. The difference? Our stars are a bit older and maybe wiser. Those of us still at the coal face have to deal with our reality of lack of practice and lack of preparation. But we all have to start somewhere.

So your child is gay, what do you do? You grow the hell up and realise it is not your fault and that actually, being gay is a freaking awesome thing to be when you fall in love with someone and your life is going well because you got a decent job and your bills are paid. You might even think about having children with your gay partner. So you parents once you grow up and face your attitudes and beliefs are outdated and just plain impractical, you start to realise how bloody unjust the world might be for your child. You start to become an advocate for change. That is what real human evolution is all about.

You are very passionate about this stuff. Yes, and don’t invite me to your workplace unless you want to be enlightened by truth and confronted by passion.

We were thinking you might want to visit. Sure why not.

So therapy, writing, publishing, building a regional practice, NDIS, Earth Rattle Publishing, Ability Therapy Specialists, scholarship, research, you even have a Youtube channel for music you have written in past… what else do you like to do, in your spare time? (with a wicked grin). Well, I love to cook. And this espresso coffee machine is by best friend. I’ve tried my hand at painting using acrylics on canvas. We had a show a few years back in Canada, at Cape Breton University. It was a feature of Canadian Indian and Australian Aboriginal artists called Three Artists: Two Countries: One Heart. It was pretty awesome and very exciting to see our work on the huge gallery walls.

Who were the Australian artists that did that show with you? Dr Dwayne Kennedy and Grace Kennedy, from Guyra NSW. Their work was highly sought after and I had to fight people off to keep some of their paintings.

What are you doing in the next few weeks or months? Funny enough a bit more landscaping and I hope gardening… I’d love to visit family in Canada but that seems a distant vision at the moment…

No dull moments I am sure! How do people find you? We like to be hard to find actually, LOL. But if you insist we can be found via email and phone (0468863740). Email is best as we are actually in session most of the time. We want to stay close to people, so no admin answering service as yet. You get us directly. Surprise, surprise we get back to clients fairly quickly. People see us by appointment only.

Thanks for this talk, much enjoyable. And thank you, I am sure your CEO will raise an eyebrow and wonder why you bothered.

The bother is all mine, thanks again. LOL, no worries mate.


Solitude, Mysticism, and Spiritual Growth: Retrospective Christian Texts by Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

SolitudeAndSpiritualGrowth2017-FPSolitude, Mysticism, and Spiritual Growth: Retrospective Christian Texts by Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

A study in western mysticism based in medieval, ecological, and eremitic contemplative practice. Historic foundations for solitude and spiritual growth from postmodern psychotherapeutic perspectives with metaphors of enduring value.

Work written over a 30 year time frame. A personal but social and familial project. Expressive of service and dedication to ongoing learning, mindfulness, and enlightenment.

Ebook, 2017, ISBN 978-1-925034-04-2

281 Pages

$10.00+ Or pay more to support our work.

New Title – Counselling LGBTI+, First Nation, and Two Spirit: Queer and Indigenous Identity for Helpers and Healers

Click here to go to purchase page: Counselling LGBTI+, First Nation, and Two Spirit: Queer and Indigenous Identity for Helpers and Healers

Counselling needs to be culturally grounded or infused to be ethical and of high quality. Practitioners need to grow in relationships of trust over years within Indigenous and/or multicultural settings. One size fits all and graduate training programs that assume therapists can practice in literally every and any setting are deeply flawed and dangerous assumptions promoted by the therapeutic industry. Using ecological transpersonal subjectivism and postmodern analysis as a background, this book explores healing and integration of race, identity, and empowerment. LGBTI+ and Two Spirit issues are highlighted by a case study of a 36 year old, female, lesbian, Indigenous Canadian, immigrant to Australia. Values clarification, identity-reframing, social acknowledgment, healing, and transformation are mobilised in a ‘post-colonial’ environment.

Author, Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers.

ISBN 978-1-925034-03-5

54 pages PDF

5 MB

Click on image to to go purchase page:


The Politics of Faith: A Psychotherapist’s Critical Reflection on ‘Lumen Fidei’ Light of Faith by Pope Francis

The Politics of Faith: A Psychotherapist’s Critical Reflection on ‘Lumen Fidei’ Light of Faith by Pope Francis

Critically reflecting on Pope Francis encyclical letter to the faithful of the Roman Catholic world ’Lumen Fidei’ that was published during June 2013, Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers brings over thirty years of community based practice, reflection, and advanced studies to this inter-professional dialogue. His response to +Francis provides insight for Catholics, non-Catholics, and secular people, while casting notions of faith into a broad psychological perspective, relies on attachment and developmental theories, as well as Indigenous perspectives. Written for the layperson, The Politics of Faith is an accessible, enlightening, and provocative reflection on contemporary social, political, sexual, and spiritual issues. Of tremendous value to counselling psychotherapists and to clients who wish to explore issues and questions of faith, this document is a primer that may encourage people with their therapeutic pathwork.


$4.00+ Or Pay More To Support Our Work

© 2017 Joseph Randolph Bowers

84 Pages

ISBN 978-1-925034-00-4 Ebook

Earth Rattle Publishing and Ability Therapy Specialists







Homophobia and the everyday mechanisms of prejudice: Findings from a qualitative study, Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

During a time when overt and often militant homophobia is actually on the increase and resistance to LGBTI+ human rights including to equal access to marriage under secular civil law, this ebook is both timely and shows how little yet how far we have come over the past 20+ years. This is a pivotal and ground breaking contribution to the literature of its day, and just as relevant at this time.

Happy to bring you this quality ebook to support our therapy community fund to assist with proceeds in our social enterprising efforts. We are especially proud of the cover image by Dr Dwayne Andrew Kennedy. Thank you to Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers for making this valuable resource newly available in this accessible format and for a good cause.


Click Image for product information:


$4.00+ Pay More To Support Therapy Services

Homophobia and the everyday mechanisms of prejudice: Findings from a qualitative study

Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

Earth Rattle Publishing 2017 (c) 2006, 42 Pages PDF

ISBN 978-1-925034-01-1 Ebook

Wholistic applications of counselling with the aging in dialogue with pastoral care concerns: A postmodern and transcendental analysis, Ebook by Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

Exploring notions of aging during the early years of increasing awareness of population trends gave rise to many research and professional initiatives. Twenty+ years into this mix, this ebook reflects on the trends and philosophic issues by reminding us of the human element – the pastoral, personal, and familial element.

Timely and effective for today as much as then, this ebook arose from a keynote address at a Canadian Conference in Windsor Ontario during the spring of 2005. Thank you to Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers for making this resource available again under such an accessible format and for a good cause. Proceeds go to support a community therapy fund for those in need.

Microsoft Word - AgingPastoralCare2017-FP.doc

Wholistic applications of counselling with the aging in dialogue with pastoral care concerns: A postmodern and transcendental analysis

Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers

32 pages ebook, (c) 2017, 2006

ISBN 978-1-925034-02-8

Studies indicate that the influence of institutionalised religion is waning in most Western nations. In contrast, personal, spiritual, and subjective approaches to faith are on the rise. The latter may or may not relate to traditional Christian frameworks. These trends are most apparent with the aging ‘baby boomer’ population, thus changing notions of pastoral care in many countries. Counselling, as a secular and scientific modality, is well placed to meet the needs of a highly educated and articulate aging population whose values are, in many ways, representative of ‘post-Christian’ and ‘post-colonial’ worldviews. Exploring the applications of counselling in dialogue with pastoral care for the aging is a new area for practice and research. This paper explores these issues in light of a wholistic model of counselling that honours how meaning and spirituality are constructed in everyday life through personal and social experiences. This is accomplished through analysis of the social construction of aging via discursive techniques of difference, also admitting the post-secular. Issues of meaning are highlighted that place aging, counselling, and pastoral care into wider social and historical contexts. Deconstructing aging in the postmodern includes articulation of a postmodern transcendental method in critical social analysis, including acknowledgement of theological and philosophical issues. The discussion concludes with suggesting a queer critical social analysis to assist in understanding the politics of aging.

Click to get purchase information: $4.00+ add any amount to support our work with therapy for those in need.

A partnership of Earth Rattle Publishing and Ability Therapy Specialists ~ Social enterprising for the sake of social outcomes

Integrative CEBH Therapy for Anxiety and Social Phobias

Exploring methods in counselling and psychotherapy for anxiety based responses including social phobias one faces the classic issue of 1. Abundant research on CBT over the past 30 years largely because CBT has been the preferred baby of psychologists verses 2. Less research and more need to search outside of dominant publishing frameworks on integrational and complementary methods.

Suffice to say, the issue is not new and using multi-model methods often sits with therapists who tailor strategies for each case. Cognitive Emotive Behavioural (Ericksonian) Hypnotherapy is generally a method that I have used for many years that grew out of my early years of working with women in recovery from rape, domestic violence, and patterns of abuse in relationships mostly with men albeit several were female only contexts. 

Although we did not label the method this way during the mid 1990s, a prior tenure of full time university training of counsellors and my last several years of clinical work in specialist behaviour support therapy has expanded my understanding of the utility of integrating methods for optimal outcomes. 

A good place to start is this resource:

Integrative Cbt for Anxiety Disorders – an Evidence-based Approach to Enhancing Cbt with Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy

An Evidence-Based Approach to Enhancing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy

By: Assen Alladin

Behaviour Support Insights


Many people are now learning about “behaviour support” for the first time! Very exciting! Unfortunately, good information is rare and what is out there is often confused. All the more now that the NDIS is rolling out across Australia.

Behaviour Support is actually a beautiful field all about helping each other and empowering choice and control, change and growth, learning and development.

The terms “behaviour management” are being used by many people now, even whole agencies. Yes there is a long standing field of behaviour management within Psychology. Old habits die hard. Across western countries since the last century, and especially over the past 50 years, behaviour support has largely replaced behaviour management for many significant reasons.

The first reason is that support is about a holistic and ecological person centred method.

The second reason is that research suggested since the 1970s that a behaviour management focus on surface behaviours tends not to be as effective in the long term. Yes there are short term gains but overall the method has struggled to take on more supportive person centred approaches.

The third reason is that support approaches seek to get to the underlying reasons for behavioural issues and then addressing them in positive supportive practices – by understanding the causes and drivers that are often unconscious and contextual we can actually support a person rather than try to influence and control behaviours. In contrast management methods as a scientific field sought to study individuals and social environments, not necessarily for therapeutic reasons but more so to understand human psychology.

I’m sure in everyday life many of us would appreciate a practitioner having a focus on behavioural support rather than management. Yes people want to solve behavioural issues, and yes intervention seeks safety and to reduce behaviours of concern wherever possible. But the point is that there are ways of doing this within a person centred framework.

What is Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Here is a new Youtube video in our series to address questions, topics, and ideas that people bring forward. If you have ideas send us your comment by filling in the form at the Contact page. Thanks.

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