B. App. Sci. O.T., Master Art Therapy, PhD

Dr. Cate Sinclair is an occupational therapist with extensive clinical experience in pain management. She has previously been closely involved in child and youth mental health, and treatment for symptoms related to cystic fibrosis, respiratory disease, and cancer.

Cate also works as the senior occupational therapist with the Children’s Pain Management Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She has clinical experience across the lifespan, with children, adolescents and adults experiencing persistent pain.

Cate completed a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with The University of Queensland in 2018. She has presented her work at national and international conferences, and has disseminated her research in publications. She has also been invited to tour nationally and present workshops on pain management across the lifespan throughout Australia. Cate completed a Master in Art Therapy in 2003 and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy in 1986.

Cate has a particular interest the interaction between complex factors like disease, previous injures, and unique life events. In combination, these factors can have a profound impact on the nervous system, affecting:

  • how sensations are perceived,

  • the way bodily systems function, and

  • engagement with everyday activities.

Cate begins treatment by helping you to understand the connections between the mind and body, the environment, and pain. To achieve this, Cate helps her patients learn how different levels of alertness can impact pain, fatigue and wellbeing. Cate employs a number of strategies to assist her patients to return to a vital, healthy active life:

  • Sensory modulation and mindfulness for focus and calmness,

  • Values-based goal-setting to establish meaningful targets,

  • Daily routines to regulate the nervous system, and improve sleep and daytime alertness,

  • Mapping a personal support team, including family, to underpin active living,

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy to understand the mind-body connection,

  • Trauma-informed care, for hypo- or hyper-aroused systems, and

  • Expressive therapies - because pain is often hard to put into words.

Cate is passionate about assisting people to optimise their capacity to engage in daily life, and to restoring a sense of vitality. Her occupational therapy treatment focuses on skills development, and practical strategies for home, school, work, or university environments. 

Cate is also engaged with the design and management of a range of special projects. In this capacity, she aims to promote the spectrum of allied health services available at Pain Specialists Australia and to highlight the importance of these providers in multidisciplinary pain management. 

I believe everyday sensations and experiences can change pain, restore a sense of vitality, and help young people get back to living.
— Dr Cate Sinclair