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About Sunflower Mental Health and Wellbeing

Healing and Thriving

Welcome to Sunflower Mental Health and Wellbeing, your gateway to personal growth and overall well-being. Our mission is to create a nurturing space where individuals can express themselves and be compassionately understood without judgment. Beyond merely alleviating symptoms, our focus is on aiding each person in healing their concealed wounds, reclaim their function, rediscovering their authentic selves, and flourishing as they were meant to.


At Sunflower Mental Health and Wellbeing, we seamlessly integrate insights from psychology and social work, offering a holistic, personalized approach to mental health. Rather than viewing mental health conditions solely from a pathological perspective, we take a comprehensive standpoint. Our goal is to empower every individual on their unique journey toward personal growth and fulfilment.


We specialize in addressing intricate mental health challenges, with a particular focus on complex trauma. Whether grappling with personality disorders, depression, or anxiety, our insights reveal that complex trauma significantly contributes to the manifestation of these symptoms. Many individuals find themselves dependent on external validation for happiness, navigating through challenging people-pleasing patterns, often without realizing that these behaviours trace back to childhood trauma or other impactful traumatic experiences.


Tracing back to early life experiences, particularly during childhood, individuals who have had traumatic experience, such as experiences of constant criticism, neglection, abandonment, rejection, bullying or abuse, may have developed coping mechanisms centred around seeking external validation and approval. These individuals may have learned to inhibit their own emotion and emotional needs but prioritize the needs and expectations of others over their own, believing that conforming to external standards is the key to acceptance and safety.


As a result of such early conditioning, various maladaptive schemas may take root in the individual's psyche. Common schemas include a fear of rejection, feelings of defectiveness or shame, unrelenting standards, co-dependency, subjugation, and self-sacrifice. Underneath those self defeating schemas, we notice that the internalised "inner critic" plays a tricky role perpetuating the behaviour patterns, such as people-pleasing behaviour pattern, approval seeking pattern, social avoidance, high standard and the other mal-adaptive coping behaviours. These schemas become ingrained, shaping the person's perception of themselves and their interactions with the world. The self defeating behaviour patterns, such as people-pleasing behaviour pattern, approval seeking pattern often emerges as a survival strategy, driven by an ingrained fear of negative judgment or abandonment.


The impact of the people-pleasing pattern and the other mal-adaptive survival behaviour patterns on mental health can be profound. Individuals trapped in those patterns often struggle with low self-esteem and a diminished sense of self-worth. The constant need for external validation can lead to chronic anxiety, as individuals worry about how others perceive them and whether they are meeting the expectations set by others. Moreover, the reliance on external approval for happiness can contribute to feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction, as the individual may neglect their own needs and desires in the pursuit of pleasing others. Over time, this pattern can result in recurrent relationship issues, heightened stress levels, and even manifest as symptoms of depression or anxiety. Breaking free from the people-pleasing pattern and the other mal-adaptive survival behaviour patterns often involves a journey of self-discovery, addressing underlying schemas, developing self compassion, heal the inner traumatised child and building healthier, more authentic relationships.


Breaking free from the complex trauma induced mal-adaptive behaviour patterns is paramount to paving the way toward a more fulfilling life. Schema therapy emerges as an effective model, diligently aiming to unveil underlying patterns and address unmet emotional needs, ultimately liberating individuals from the entanglements of people-pleasing behaviour and the other mal-adaptive behaviour loop. 


Sunflower Mental Health and Wellbeing draws inspiration from both Oriental and Western cultures, providing humanistic person-centred therapy. Our genuine care is evident in our passion for supporting the healing journey of each unique individual.


We understand that seeking professional mental health support can be daunting, but we are here to ensure you feel comfortable and safe throughout your therapeutic journey. Together, we will work towards discovering a brighter, more vital version of yourself at Sunflower Mental Health and Wellbeing. Your well-being journey starts right here.

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About Me


Lijuan Chen

Hi, I'm Snow Chen, an accredited mental health social worker in Australia and a certified Chinese Psychological Consultant, specializing in treating complex trauma and personality disorder. My journey in psychology commenced in 2010, driven by the pursuit of a psychological consultant certificate in China. However, my true passion blossomed when I recognized the complex trauma and its induced mal-adaptive behaviour patterns that severely hinders individuals and obstructs their well-being. I once tasted it, witnessed it and luckily I broke it. 

Having experienced liberation from the complex trauma induced people-pleasing pattern and now feeling profoundly content with myself and my life, I am fuelled by a passionate commitment to work with you in overcoming and dismantling this pattern.


The people-pleasing pattern manifests as an insatiable need for external validation, leading to perpetual dissatisfaction and an overwhelming concern for others' opinions and judgments. Individuals caught in this cycle become hypersensitive to comments, struggle to assert themselves, and find it challenging to prioritize their own needs. Self-worth becomes contingent on others' approval, making it difficult to acknowledge personal achievements. This pattern can trap individuals in an endless cycle of self-criticism, constant worry, endless pushing themselves for high standard, worthlessness, and a reluctance to stand up for themselves. Behind the veil of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour, I have observed how the people-pleaser pattern acts as a catalyst for these mental health symptoms.   


Having experienced the entrapment of the people-pleasing pattern in my own life, I embarked on a transformative journey. After obtaining my psychological consultant certificate in China, I delved into two years of psychodynamic training ( self-psychology oriented) and self-development under the guidance of an experienced principle psychologist, coupled with regular meditation practices led by a Taoism Guru. Upon relocating to Australia, I witnessed how the social work discipline expanded its perspective on mental health, emphasizing a systemic view over a purely pathological one.


Inspired by this broader approach, I pursued a Master of Social Work degree, dedicating two additional years to further study. Armed with my endorsement, I spent two full-time years as a mental health clinician in organizational settings, including Headspace and Links to Wellbeing. During this period, I reflected on various evidence-based therapy modalities, eventually choosing to devote myself to the Schema Therapy movement. Schema therapy emerged as an integrative approach, effectively addressing root causes with a person-centred focus, aligning with my professional belief and personal values.


My dedication to Schema Therapy led me to pursue an additional year of systematic training and schema therapy supervision. This commitment ultimately resulted in achieving my next professional milestone: certification as a schema therapist by the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST). The more I use it, the more I love it. I learn from both researches and my practical practice that schema therapy plays a significant role in achieving genuine recovery, characterized not just by symptom reduction but by the establishment of a fulfilling and high-quality life, making it undeniably attractive. The model illustrates how the childhood trauma perpetuated people's present life and how the mal-adaptive behaviour patterns, like people pleasing pattern trapped us in an endless vicious cycle without genuine self satisfaction. 

Recognizing the need for a personalized approach when working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, I established Sunflower Mental Health and Wellbeing. This endeavour is dedicated to helping individuals break free from all those mal-adaptive behaviour patterns, heal the inner traumatised child in order to foster their genuine well-being.

Specializing in treating C-PTSD, I firmly believe in the centrality of the therapeutic relationship in effective psychotherapy. Understanding that each person is unique, I tailor my services to individual needs, with a particular interest in schema therapy.


In my leisure time, I find solace in meditation, diving, reading, and music. I also offer unique relaxation options such as guided meditation, mindful body movement, Chinese Taoism meditation, Tibetan singing bowl sessions, and healing Handpan experiences.


Quoting Allen Ginsberg, "We are all golden sunflowers inside." My mission is to guide individuals toward the sunshine, assisting them in reconnecting with their powerful, authentic selves. If you seek someone to walk with you through the dark tunnel for the sunlight, I eagerly look forward to the privilege of working with you on your path to thriving journey. Break free from the trauma trap and unlock your full potential. The journey begins here.




ISST Certified

Schema Therapist


I.P.H Psychotherapist


(Certified Clinical Trauma Professional)

CCATP ( Certified Anxiety Treatment Professional)

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Story of the Name, Sunflower

I have a profound admiration for flowers, especially sunflowers. Sunflowers are remarkable in their ability to unfailingly turn their faces toward the sun, regardless of the challenges they face. Regardless of your favorite flower, each of us is inherently beautiful. However, when life becomes difficult, the seed of our authentic selves can become obscured or obstructed. Without the proper care and nourishment, we may lose our way in the journey to stand tall and face the sun. I aspire to embody the spirit of a sunflower, radiating a vibrant smile and a colorful presence to brighten your day, helping to unblock your authentic self to flourish. Irrespective of your flower preference, remember that you are born to blossom.


I firmly believe in the inherent self-energy and the wisdom that every individual possesses from birth. My practice is significantly influenced by the principles of Self Psychology and Attachment theory. I hold the conviction that the humanism of a clinician and the quality of the therapeutic relationship far outweigh specific skills. If you are seeking to work with an experienced clinician who genuinely offers compassion and empathy, we warmly invite you to our Sunflower healing harbour.

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