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1-On-1 Counselling and Life Coaching to Help You “Make It Happen”

Welcome! I’m Zahava Starak, and I’m a Counsellor and Life Coach based in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Do you feel frustrated or trapped by your situation or relationships? Or maybe you feel impatient to fulfil a goal, or confused about how to get to where you want to be with your relationships, family, career or lifestyle…

Counselling or Life Coaching May Help

As a registered counsellor for 25 years, I’ve helped hundreds of clients to help themselves overcome the obstacles that stand in their way to enjoying the life they want to lead.

Yes it’s a cliché, but “Life is not a rehearsal – this is it“. When you really understand the truth of that statement, you become motivated to take control and “make it happen“. I never want you to wake up one morning and feel regret that you didn’t follow through on what you really wanted to do with your life.

I Offer You Down-to-earth Support

I practise a down-to-earth, hype-free approach to Counselling and Coaching. My sole focus is on helping you…

Make what you want, happen.

If things aren’t as you’d like them to be, I can’t wave a wand and change your life for you. But what I can do is to act as a guide to bring about change within yourself. If you have any questions or enquiries, please feel free to contact me.

What do you want to do now?

– Find out more about Counselling
– Find out more about Life Coaching
What’s the difference between Counselling and Life Coaching?
Contact me with your comments or questions

Latest Articles

Zahava Passing

On March 9th, Saturday night, 2013, Zahava passed away at the Royal Brisbane hospital from a cardiac arrest.

Although it came as a shock in some ways because she was showing signs of improvement and stability, having spent almost two years in hospital she was always vulnerable.

We are all struggling to cope with the loss of such a loving person taken from us too soon.

The funeral arrangements are now set. If you are a friend of Zahava you are welcome to attend –

2pm Friday March 15
Albany Creek Crematorium
400 Albany Ck Rd
Bridgeman Downs

At the lakeside Chapel.

No traditional funeral clothes, Zahava did not like that style of ceremony. Feel free to dress as colourful as you like.

Thank you again for all your support and love during this time, Zahava and her family appreciate it immensely.

Yaro and Phil

Zahava Recovery – June 11th 2012

Zahava has now been in hospital for over a year. Thankfully, besides a brief throat infection that needed treatment with antibiotics, we have had a relatively event free last few months.

Zahava continues to show progress, albeit on a very up and down basis. She spends a lot of time sleeping, in fact similar to the schedule a teenager keeps, sleeping through most of the mornings. When she is awake she can be very alert and interacts with everyone, watches DVDs and does her therapy. Overall she is in good condition, even though she doesn’t do a whole lot of moving around.

This week we have a meeting scheduled with the Ear Nose And Throat doctors to get an update on the progress with her trachy. We still hope that one day the trachy can be removed safely, but we are also learning about options if it is not.

That’s all the news I have for you now. Of course Zahava loves having visitors, so you are welcome to drop by between the hours of 11am and 1pm and 3pm to 8pm, 7 days a week. Even if you just have 20 minutes to tell Zahava what you have been doing with her life, that would be wonderful for her.


Zahava Recovery – March 25th 2012

It has been three months since the last update. We are still in the hospital and Zahava is still on the road to recovery.

Things were going great at the start of 2012, but unfortunately an accident at the hospital in February caused a very dramatic experience for everyone.

Zahava was left alone after being changed by the nurses and did not have her arms secured, which is a precaution taken to make sure she does not pull the trachy from her throat. We do not know exactly what happened because no one was there, but Zahava managed to pull the trachy out herself, which she cannot breath without and was not discovered by nursing staff for 10 minutes.

By this point she had almost passed out, had turned blue in the face, and her heart eventually stopped. She was found, an emergency was called, she was resuscitated and a new trachy put in place. This led to a long weekend spent back in ICU, with Zahava in a situation very much like where she was when the stroke first occurred – not very conscious and not moving very much at all.

It was very hard for Phil and me, and of course Zahava, as we felt like we had climbed a huge mountain only to be pushed right back off just as we were reaching a milestone.

The doctors all told us that because it was a second injury to Zahava’s brain, recovery was not likely, and there was a good chance she would have more brain damage. They also suggested we call in the Palliative care team, which we did.

After 5 days in the ICU, Zahava was taken back to the stroke ward to her old spot, in a condition similar to where she was 6 months ago. We then waited once again for her to show signs of recovery.

Thankfully Zahava defied the doctors and showed signs of recovery almost immediately after returning to the ward. Her speed of recovery has been a lot faster this time as well, as it appears the damage to her brain was minimal.

I am pleased to say that six weeks now since the accident, Zahava is almost back to where she was before it. She is awake, aware and communicative (no voice still of course) and continues to work on her therapy.

Removing the Trachy is still our main goal, but the speech therapists are being extra careful as Zahava has had to once again relearn how to use her tongue, mouth, and swallow properly.

We continue to take each day as it comes, work on physio for her body, coordination with her occupational therapist, and saliva control with her speech therapist.

Visitors are most welcome as Zahava loves seeing her friends when they pop in and enjoys listening to updates from your life.

Thanks again for your well wishes, on behalf of Zahava, Phil and Yaro.

Zahava Recovery – December 26th 2011

Happy christmas to those who celebrate. I’m writing this on Boxing day here in Brisbane, at the hospital next to Zahava. She is sitting in her oxford chair reading a cosmopolitan magazine Phil bought for her.

Since updating you last October Zahava has slowly and steadily progressed. The improvement curve is very slow, but it is heading in the right direction.

The trachy remains the big goal – to have it removed. Zahava had surgery on her throat a month ago to remove some scar tissue that had built up from having the trachy for a long time. The tissue blocks her airway, which must be cleared in order to breath without the trachy.

Zahava had the surgery under a local anaesthetic. She took about two weeks to heal properly, which was about two weeks ago. Since then her speech pathologists have begun the cuff deflations again, which is where the balloon that protects her airway is deflated so she has to handle protecting it herself.

When the balloon is down a speaking valve can be attached so air passes through Zahava’s vocal cords and she can talk. Her voice is quite “wet”, covered in saliva and gurgling, but she can say understandable words in a deep voice.

The whole process is tasking on her breathing, so sessions last for 30 minutes to an hour. The goal is to get these sessions happening every day and increase how long they go for. When Zahava can tolerate the balloon being down all the time and handle the breathing and swallowing etc by herself, the trachy can come out. At the moment it’s about stability and building endurance.

The rest of her body is improving slowly. Zahava goes for short walks with her physio and a assistant holding her up with a walker with wheels. Her left side is good, her right side is slowly getting better. Her left hand works fine, her right hand is getting better.

We do daily exercises to help Zahava with her swallow/mouth and her right arm, in addition to the treatment she gets from the hospital staff.

In terms of mood, Zahava is relaxed, except during the cuff deflations where she does a lot of coughing. Most of the time she jokes around with us, smiling and laughing, has long naps, watches tv and reads magazines. The nurses have regular treatments for Zahava to keep things stable and for the most part the days follow a similar pattern.

Visitors are welcome to pop in for short visits any time. Zahava can remember all of her long time friends very well and will greet you with a big smile. Her concentration and short term memory isn’t great, but in general she is just as she always has been.

Happy new year from all of us at the hospital.


Zahava Recovery – October 16th 2011

Hello again, here is the latest news on the recovery of my mother, Zahava.

Zahava has been through a tough month or so. Unfortunately about six weeks ago her active left hand pulled out the trachy tube from her throat one night on the weekend. This is not a good thing as it causes quite a bit of trauma and she needs it in to help her breath.

The emergency team were called in and put in a new trachy, but unfortunately the damage was done, setting us back a few weeks.

Since then she has been on a roller coaster ride of respiratory issues, often resulting in changes to plans at the last minute, multiple doses of antibiotics just in case of infection, and several not-so-fun late night emergencies. We have been taking it day by day, dealing with each challenge as it comes.

The week before last Zahava had another new trachy put in place, this time deliberately, with a new mechanism that allows some of the secretions to be removed from the top of her cuff. Since then she has had a stable 10 days thanks to some extra cautious planning doing not much more than the basics.

The goal now is to maintain the stability and slowly again begin the process towards removing the trachy from her throat so she can drink, eat and hopefully talk again. In order for this to happen the important thing is for Zahava to practice swallowing, which is what we do every day.

Physio continues, with Zahava having taken a few steps standing up, albeit with several people holding her up. She tires very quickly and sleeps a couple of hours after most physio sessions.

The timeframe for her recovery is unknown, but very likely we are talking years for a complete recovery. For the moment we take a little tiny step forward each day, with the main current goal of getting the trachy out of her throat.

Visitors Welcome

I asked Zahava last week if she would like guests to come visit and she said she is ready for people to come and say hello (with a nod of her head).

Bear in mind her short term memory is not good and she cannot talk to you, so if you do decide to come visit you have to be able to carry a one-way conversation and stick to positive subjects. Zahava would like to hear about the good things going on in your life. She can listen, and respond with smiles, yes and no with her head, facial expressions and hold your hand with her left hand.

She has good long term memory, so will remember who you are assuming she knew you before the stroke.

The best times to visit are Monday at 5Pm, Wednesday at 4PM, Thursday at 5pm or Saturday and Sunday from 3pm onwards. Phil or myself should be with Zahava during these times.

Officially visiting hours are 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 8pm. Chances are if you show up in the mornings Zahava will be working with a physio, speech pathologist, doctor, nurse or occupational therapist, so I recommend the times suggested. I also recommend you plan a short visit of about 30 minutes maximum.

Zahava is located on Level 7BNorth of the Royal Brisbane in the main building, Ned Hanlon, currently bed 48 (check at reception as the bed number can change as we get moved around if you are reading this long after the publication date).

As always, please please please keep the prayers coming, the well wishes and positive thoughts – Zahava needs it all if she is to get through this and recover something like the life she had before.

Thank you for the support.

Yaro and Phil and of course, Zahava.