Author, teacher, thought leader, keynote speaker
Holly is the Australian author of ‘Re-frame Your Thinking Around Autism’, and the creator of A.R.T. – a new and progressive approach to therapy.
Holly Bridges lives in Perth, Western Australia and travels regularly to North America and Europe She has a husband, two kids, three chickens, two dogs and two cats in a small house with a large outside living area and a huge garden.
Holly studied Psychology and Women’s studies at ECU then worked as a youth worker and educator before having children – whom she home-schooled whilst intermittently following her husband, with their children, into the depths of the Australian Pilbara (outback), sleeping in swags under the stars and running soil sampling programs.
Holly grew up in WA, the daughter of an Anglican priest father and a feminist theologian mother. Many of her parent’s friends were Jungian analysts and intellectuals and Holly had a great upbringing looking at the world from multiple perspectives.
Her passion is teaching children and adults how to enhance their capacity to learn. She is an author, teacher and keynote speaker.
Holly has had a lifelong passion for neuroplasticity and working with the body/mind. She thrives on making complex psychology simple and available to lay people. This impulse to simplify and convey has taken her on a three-continent journey where she is now a leading light in progressive autism therapy.
Holly won the Excellence In Innovation Award in 2018 for her neuroplasticity work that helps people with disabilities improve their physical and social presentations.
She has also been recognised internationally for her book ‘Reframe Your Thinking Around Autism’ which outlines this work.
Commission Secretary Kane Blackman congratulated Ms Bridges on the award and recognised her contribution to people with disabilities and their families.
“The Insurance Commission sponsors the Excellence in Innovation Award at the Disability Support Awards because we want to promote new and improved care approaches that can improve the lives of Australians.
Innovation is key in ensuring the disability sector continues to deliver effective and efficient outcomes to people living with a disability.”
The Early Years
After graduating from Australia’s ECU with a degree in psychology Holly was employed in private and government organisations, working creatively with disadvantaged youth.
After taking time out of public life to raise and home school her two children, she began writing her first book, ‘The Theory of Post Natal Depression and Intergalactic Space Travel’.
Upon returning full-time to the workplace, she began her business ‘License to Think’ to work with children and young adults using brain plasticity techniques as a therapeutic approach to scholastic/learning difficulties.
Many of her students were on the autism spectrum, and it was at this time that she began creating and refining what would become A.R.T. (Autism Reframe Technique).
The Autism & Asperger’s Puzzle
Autism became more and more fascinating to Holly as she came to recognise the syndrome in herself.
It explained, as for so many adult women on the spectrum, her life to date.
This spurred her to dig a bit deeper into the theory, research and therapy practices. She discovered that:
- Current thinking, attitude and opinions did not make any sense.
- Therapies that were being applied to autistic people were not as useful as they could be.
Working With and Supporting Those on the Spectrum
Since then Holly has worked for a leading autism provider – earning her a nomination for the Australian National Disability Awards in 2014 – as well as a Post School Options Coordinator and a Community Inclusion Project Officer as part of Australia’s NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).
Holly was involved in planning and implementation for NDIS with individual clients and she worked closely with a number of organizations around Australia in ideation and collaboration of ideas for implementing co-design and community inclusion. She developed programs for PSO, ran workshops on co-design and mentored staff. All of this was satisfying, yet there was a yearning for more.
A.R.T. – A New Direction
Holly gained a strong desire to develop a more conducive autism therapy. The idea that autism as a ‘brain deficit’ meant that therapists came hard up against a ‘glass ceiling’ of what could be achieved for people on the spectrum. She also saw just how many people were disenchanted with the current system and how much they needed a more expansive and positive model.
Holly began working privately with people based upon the principles of her book.
- She found that certain techniques were extremely beneficial in helping people on the spectrum feel better in their body and better about themselves.
- The changes that she witnessed were powerful, empowering and most of all developed autonomy and self-confidence in her students.
What people had to say…
“Holly is one of those rare “translators” of science into application and practice. She teaches professionals and families and supports those with developmental difficulties with deep understanding, passion and care. She is a gift to our work.”
Dr. Gerard Costa
“Holly has a gifted presentation style that enables her to communicate the optimistic and important principles of the Polyvagal Theory….. (she) continues to refine her clinical style, embodying aspects of Polyvagal Theory, that enable her to support her clients’ journey to have richer lives.”
Stephen W. Porges, PhD
“…her teaching creates such a resonance in her audience: it rings true, and one can feel that her heart is in it. This is clearly illustrated in the grateful and highly positive feedback she receives…”
Dr. Maarten Aalbeerse