Eriola Sanxhaku acknowledges that it has not been an easy journey to this point; Founder & Principal Psychologist of NQ Family Therapy Centre.
“People who know me well, know I have faced many challenges to be where I am today. My role as a Psychologist and Family Therapist is a privilege, not an entitlement, and I’m extremely grateful to my clients who trust my work and experience,” says Eriola.
Arriving in Townsville in September 2009 with her husband Erjon and their 18 month old son Bjorn from Italy, Eriola was excited to settle into their new home, where in 2016 they welcomed their second child Mia.
Despite English being her third language, Eriola found her feet working at local social services agencies, until she met Professor Maurizio Andolfi, a world-renowned Master Family Therapist and a Co-founder of the European Family Therapy Association, that opened her heart and mind to Family Therapy.
“Professor Andolfi taught me that children often come to therapy carrying a family problem as children are expert witnesses of their families. This impacts their life and mental health. It’s this holistic approach to mental health that I wanted to add to my work,” she says.
In 2017 Eriola and her family decided to move back to Italy so she could complete an internship at the Accademia Di Psicoterapia in Rome.
“It was a fantastic experience to observe experts of Family Therapy and Lecturers of the University of La Sapienza in Rome and be part of their team working with couples and families,” she says.
As a result, Eriola followed her intuition to open a dedicated Family Therapy practice in Townsville in August 2018.
“The need for family therapy in North Queensland is significant and I am passionate about giving back to this incredible community that has been so supportive to us,” says Eriola.
Unfortunately, her new business was soon washed away. Literally. Her first office was located on ground level in a converted Queenslander which was flooded during the monsoon in 2019.
“It was devastating. We had to clean up the building, find somewhere to continue supporting my clients and finish my Masters Degree all at the same time,” she says.
“I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of Erjon and my beautiful children.”
Never one to let challenges slow her down, Eriola applied for a grant from the Queensland Small Business Recovery Centre.
“I will always be grateful to the team at the Small Business Recovery Centre. Their financial support and guidance allowed me to continue working with families severely affected by the floods and grow my business.”
Since opening again in Mundingburra, Eriola has employed a Townsville based Psychologist and two other Psychologists who provide Telehealth services from Brisbane, plus monthly visits to manage assessments for children and adults.
“We are looking forward to welcoming new psychologists to our practice this year who will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge working with children and families,” says Eriola.
“Every family member has a valuable role to play and working with the entire family is the best way to help those affected by emotional, mental health or behavioural issues.
“I’m so thankful to our community for trusting my work and enabling me to establish a practice that works with the entire family system because I do believe that family does come first.”
Image credit: Insight Creative