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How to start making a change to your wellbeing

Continuing the series on change, I invited Dr Claire Richardson from Chadstone Region Osteopathy to share her thoughts on change. Claire and her partner Shaun Richardson are the resident osteopaths at The Health and Wellbeing Studio.

One of the things I love about having my counselling practice based at the Studio is being able to draw on the diversity of skills and experience of each and every practitioner to support our clients. Claire has a sensible down to earth approach. 

What do you believe are the biggest changes people seek in their lives?

From my perspective, people seek meaningful change to habits or behaviours that they have identified as being harmful to their mental or physical wellbeing.

I’m an Osteopath, and quite often people who see me are interesting in knowing how to address their physical concerns through exercise, but have an underlying knowledge that lifestyle behavioural change will result in a greater outcome for them. This might mean addressing poor posture or strength, increasing exercise levels, losing weight etc.

Mentally, most patients I consult with are highly stressed due to the cumulative pressures of modern life. Family, social commitments, increasingly demanding careers and working hours all create a detrimental effect on not only mood and productivity, but relationships and general health.

People aren’t silly. Quite often they’re aware that they want to improve aspects such as these in their lives, but might not have the tools to do so just yet.

What do you do when you want to make change in your own life?

Lists! I am a goal-setter, I like to have something to work towards and tick off smaller, digestible achievements along the way. It keeps me accountable, and it keeps me motivated. Whether it’s exercising more, losing weight, being more productive, being more organised, anything! And I always write “make a list” for dot point 1 – that way I can tick something off straight away!

How do you to help people create change in their lives?

I help my patients set realistic, achievable goals.

When setting goals, it’s important to make sure they are something that is likely to happen (with the right tools and effort!). That’s why it’s important to set S.M.A.R.T goals – something I do with my Osteopathic patients.

S: Specific

M: Measurable

A: Achievable

R: Realistic

T: Time frame.

These requirements stop me and my patients from losing sight of our goals, and keeps us accountable. It’s also a great way to ensure that no disheartening happens, as our goals will be realistic! How motivational is that! 

Where do you go for ideas and inspiration when developing a plan for change?

I usually find that having a walk in the park, or time away from the stressors of modern life (away from screens and computers!) to be refreshing. Time to clear your head is a vital component in maintaining a good perspective on life.

Exercise is always beneficial, so getting the blood pumping is always a way of finding my happiness and gives me time to be alone with my thoughts. 


Dr Claire Richardson, B.Sci (Clin.Sci) M.H.S (Osteo) 

Claire is an experienced osteopath who loves consulting with a wide variety of patients, including children, tradespeople, desk workers, pregnant women and older people. Claire has a particular interest in assisting with headaches and TMJ dysfunction (Jaw pain) as well as chronic and complex pain. 

Claire firmly believes in the importance of patient understanding regarding their condition. Claire aims to empower those who consult with her to take control of their condition by understanding what it is, and why it’s there. Claire utilises a wide variety of treatment interventions to get the best results for her patients.

Claire has undertaken further study in the field of chronic and complex pain, and aims to assist those with chronic (longstanding) pain through pain education and team care strategies. 

Claire has been active in the media, and on behalf of Osteopathy Australia, has written blogs and commentary on many topics surrounding musculoskeletal health. 

Claire has a firm emphasis on evidenced based therapy, and as such, has undertaken further study of evidence based interventions in many areas. These include: Explaining the neuroscience of complex and chronic pain (Beyond mechanical pain), Dry Needling (Manual Medicine Australia), Management of Tendon injuries (Complete Sports Care), Biomechanical Assessment of Athletes (New York Sports Medicine) and Functional Movement (The Functional Movement Group).

When Claire isn’t working, she’s begging Shaun (her partner in life and Chadstone Region Osteopathy) to allow them to get a pet dog, or fawning over the next delicious recipe she’s planning to cook.

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