Meet Asian Australian psychologist, Sheyan Gunapala

interview mental health Jul 05, 2022
Asian psychologist, Sheyan Gunapala

We know that it's not always easy trying to work out which therapist we might like to work with: Because the decision isn't just about where they're located and when they're available, but there's a bit more of a human, relational element to the decision too.

So here at Shapes and Sounds, we want to help make that process just a little easier.

Every month, we'll be introducing a therapist from the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List to help you gain a bit more insight into who you feel might be a good fit for you or someone that you know.

This month we're excited to connect you with Sheyan Gunapala who is a registered psychologist, based in Melbourne. Sheyan is passionate about reducing the stigma around men seeking mental health suppor and we hope you enjoy connecting with Sheyan below!


1. What led you to choose psychology as a career?

To be honest, I didn’t! My first few years of my undergrad in Psychology I was not motivated at all and was considering dropping out. An opportunity came up to volunteer overseas in a special needs school and an in-patient unit in Sri Lanka for 4 weeks and in what was probably an early quarter life crisis I impulsively applied. The bravery of the clients I met in this setting inspired me to become a psychologist.

I thrive off making a difference in my clients lives and being able to help conceptualise their difficulties and whilst working collaboratively to help them address their struggles.

2. What is your unique cultural heritage?

I am an Australian born Sri Lankan.

3. What are your areas of specialty and what kind of frameworks do you work from?

Firstly, one of my biggest passions is psychological assessment. In clinical practice, you would be more likely to find me exploring the underlying causes of why someone has difficulty learning, staying focused or making friends. I have experience assessing Autism, ADHD and Specific Learning Difficulties in children and adults.

My second area of interest is reducing the stigma associated with men seeking help.

I have a passion in working with clients experiencing depression, anxiety (social and generalised) anger, excessive gaming. I enjoy supporting clients through big life transitions, postnatal depression in men, relationship difficulties and enjoys working with neurodiverse adolescents & adults.

Therapeutically, I try to take a human first, psychologist second approach. I will never put on a fake voice or pretend I am some guru of all human wisdom. You are already the expert in your own life my job is help provide you with the tools you need to meet your goals. I provide counselling utilising elements of Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Schema Therapy.

4. What kind of clients are you best able to support?

I enjoy providing assessments to individuals aged 6yr+ & Counselling services to males aged 13yrs+. I enjoy working with anyone that is feeling ‘stuck’ and needs the support to better understand themselves create meaningful changes in their lives.

5. If you could be your own therapist right now, what do you think you would say to yourself?

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength.


Connect with Sheyan via our Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List HERE.

Alternatively, if you feel like Sheyan may be a good fit for someone that you know, be sure to forward this page on to them too. Let us continue to not only support ourselves but all those around us too!

If you require urgent assistance, please do not contact Sheyan or any of the practitioners on this list. Instead, please call emergency services on 000 or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Shapes and Sounds does not recommend or endorse Sheyan or any of the practitioners listed on the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List.

Please always consult your GP before making changes to your mental health care plan.

💡Free resource: The essential guide to Asian Australian mental health.

We created our "Essential Guide for Asian Australian Mental Health" by surveying over 350 Asian Australians during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Download our guide and learn about the three most pertinent areas of concern for the Asian community, with tips and strategies to support you through.

Download now