2019 Presenters’ Biographies

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In alphabetical order by first name

C-D | E-F | G-H| J-K| L-M | N-P |R-S | T-Z


Anna Brichacek is completing her Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology at the University of Canberra and is interested in understanding positive body image and its impact on health and well-being in young people. Her Honours thesis examined how social networking sites affect body satisfaction in young adults and sought to identify psychological factors that may protect body image when exposed to idealistic images online. Her current research takes a broader approach by investigating the protective role of psychological flexibility specific to body image (body image flexibility) in improving eating attitudes and other health outcomes in young people. She is drawing on contextual behavioural science to identify protective processes that may be present regardless of how a young person perceives or evaluates their physical appearance and abilities. She loves the energy and creativity of working with young people and hopes to continue this focus in her clinical work.

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Avigail Lev, PsyD, is a psychotherapist and executive coach in the Bay Area. She is the director of the Bay Area CBT Center, a clinic in San Francisco that provides evidence-based treatments for couples and individuals who struggle with interpersonal problems, anxiety, trauma, and mood disorders. Dr. Lev specializes in integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Schema Therapy to strengthen relationships. She is the coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal ProblemsThe Interpersonal Problems Workbookand Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Couples. She has presented her research at regional and international conferences and provides consultation, trainings, and workshops on utilizing evidence-based treatments.

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Ben Sedley is a Clinical Practice Advisor at the School of Psychology at the institution formally known as Victoria University of Wellington and works as a psychologist at the Wellington ACT Centre. He is the author of Stuff that Sucks: “Accepting what you can’t change and Committing to what you can.”

He is also the father of three wonderful noisy kids and loves The Ramones and The Clash.

Ben Sedley - ben-sedley


Brendon Knott is a clinical psychologist from Newcastle, Australia, who has been working from an ACT/

CBS perspective since 2003.   Brendon is a generalist clinician who has worked in both the public and private sectors and has experience in applying ACT and functional contextual interventions to a broad range of client populations.

Brendon has previously run ACT workshops for Macquarie University and currently lectures on ACT   to undergraduate and postgraduate Psychology students at the University of Newcastle. He has also run a number of introductory and advanced ACT workshops in Newcastle, Sydney and regional NSW over the past   8   years.   Brendon is a full-time clinician, and consequently his workshops have a strong clinical focus.   He has a particular interest in demonstrating and explaining the clinically relevant features of functional contextualism and   functional behavioural analysis in ways that are simple to understand, practical, and immediately applicable to the real world roles of all third wave therapists.

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Bruce Arroll is a Professor of General Practice who is from Auckland New Zealand and has developed a rapid mental health consulting service in his general practice. He is an academic with over 300 papers published in the scientific literature and the focus of his current research is on brief diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for common mental disorders such as mood and anxiety. He enjoys teaching and gets high praise from his audiences.

Bruce Arroll

Carl Zabel is a Clinical Psychologist based in Melbourne (Australia). After obtaining degrees from Universidad Nacional de Colombia (MA) and University of Melbourne (DPsych), he has been working in private practice as well as in the Victorian public mental health system for the past 15 years. He is the Senior Psychology Advisor for NorthWestern Mental Health (NWMH) which, through a multi-disciplinary workforce of approximately 1700 staff, provides a comprehensive, integrated range of services to people with a serious mental illness in North-Western Melbourne.

Carl has a keen interest in the delivery of evidence-based psychological interventions to consumers of public mental health services under a recovery-guided model. He supports the expansion and systemic application of mindfulness-based interventions at NWMH through supervision, training and advocacy.

Carl Zabel - Carl Zabel photo

Catherine McEniry is a registered psychologist who successfully completed her Masters of Organisational Psychology in 2008 and is currently completing a Masters in Counselling Psychology at Swinburne University of Technology. She has completed a number of professional development programs in Acceptance Commitment Therapy and has applied the approach in both the workplace as well as counseling practice. Catherine has also completed a 2-day workshop with Paul Gilbert on Compassion Focused Therapy. Catherine has a particular interest in men’s psychological health and wellbeing.

Catherine McInery

Dr Daniel Simsion is a clinical psychology registrar with the Victorian forensic public mental health service, Forensicare, as well as the current ANZ ACBS Board Secretary. Following undergraduate studies in law and psychology, he completed his clinical training at La Trobe University, where he was introduced to ACT and CBS through training and supervision with Dr. Eric Morris. Since this time, Daniel has focused particularly on the implementing ACT interventions with acute populations, both in a community mental health service and in a forensic inpatient context. Daniel is an active member of the ANZ ACBS, including organising and presenting at conferences, as well as involvement in the development of a student ACT study day.

Daniel Simsion

Dr Emily K. Sandoz is the Emma Louise LeBlanc Burguieres/BORSF Endowed Professor of Social Sciences in the Psychology Department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Emily is the Director of the Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. She has co-authored three books on acceptance and commitment therapy for struggles with eating and body image, along with chapters and journal articles on ACT, Relational Frame Theory, values, the therapeutic relationship, and psychological flexibility. Emily has led more than 60 professional training workshops around the world, and serves as a peer-reviewed ACT trainer. She also practices as a Clinical Psychologist, focusing on clinical behavior analysis of body-related difficulties.

Emily Sandoz

Dr Emma Caruana is a clinical psychology registrar with Orygen Youth Health, a specialised youth mental health program which is part of the public mental health system in Melbourne, Australia. In her role, Emma works with young people aged 15 to 25 experiencing psychosis, or who are at ultra-high-risk of developing psychosis, with a focus on early intervention and youth specific approaches, using contextual behavioural science as a framework to guide intervention. Emma also has an interest in research, focussing on vocational functioning among youth with severe mental illness, and has co-authored a number of publications in this area. Emma is passionate about engaging with the ANZ ACBS community, and has been involved in organising professional development events, including a student ACT study day.

Emma caruana

Dr Eric Morris is a clinical psychologist and Director of the La Trobe University Psychology Clinic in Melbourne, Australia. Eric has developed and researched acceptance and commitment therapy as an individual- and group-based intervention for people recovering from psychosis, for caregivers, and for those experiencing problems such as social anxiety, and insomnia. He has also evaluated ACT groups as a workplace wellbeing and effectiveness training in mental health services and higher education settings. Eric is a co-editor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness for Psychosis, co-author of the self-help guide, ACTivate Your Life, and co-author of the group treatment manual, ACT for Psychosis Recovery.Eric Morris

Giselle Bahr is a clinical psychologist in Wellington, New Zealand. Since a colleague serendipitously intruded her to ACT in 2008 she has immersed herself in ACT, RFT and CBS training, conferencing, reading, practice, SIGing and sharing. And cofounded the Wellington ACT Centre, hub of things ACT for the lower North Island.Giselle currently works with adults and young people in private practice, and facilitates groups introducing ACT to Parents. She also uses EMDR and Compassion Focused Therapy.Before moving into private practice she spent 15 years working in Wellington’s public health system and teaching in a university clinical training programme. Giselle Bahr pic

Geetanjali Basarkod is a researcher at the Black Dog Institute, where she is involved in the development of a smartphone app to support the mental health of junior doctors. She is concurrently completing her PhD at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, supervised by Professor Joseph Ciarrochi and Dr. Baljinder Sahdra. Through her PhD, she developed a new measure called the Six Ways to Well-Being, which assesses valued action in six behaviour domains (i.e., connecting with others, challenging oneself, giving to others, engaging in physical activity, embracing the moment, and caring for oneself) that promote well-being. Geet also has a keen interest in body image research and psychometrics.

Greet Bassarkod

Grant Dewar, a Health Psychologist, was a late starter in the world of psychology gaining his registration at the age of 51 through the Master of Psychology (Health). He has Masters degree in Education and has graduated in 2017 with a PhD and Master of Psychology (Clinical). He implements the scientist-practitioner model of service delivery practice in the delivery of psychological skills to the needs of individuals, families and communities. He has a particular interest in developing new approaches allowing the effective application of psychological skills to real-life settings – one such area is self-forgiveness. He has addressed a series of ACBS world conference workshops and symposia on the work he is doing to join self-forgiveness research with contextual behavioural science. His practice as a Health Psychologist has a focus on: health promotion, treatment of chronic diseases, the treatment of anxiety, depression, and the treatment of alcohol and drug use.

Grant Dewar - Grant_Dewar

James Bennett-Levy is Professor in Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing at the University of Sydney’s University Centre for Rural Health, based in Lismore. He is a recognised leader in the field of therapist training with 40+ training publications, including five books. In particular, his pioneering self-experiential approach to therapist training, known as self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR), has become increasingly influential internationally. This has led to the development of the first theoretical model of personal practice (Bennett-Levy & Finlay-Jones, 2018; Bennett-Levy, 2018). James is a Series Editor for Guilford Press’ Self-Practice/Self-Reflection (SP/SR) Guides for Psychotherapists, co-authoring two of these books, Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out: A Self-Practice/Self-Reflection Workbook for Therapists (Bennett-Levy, Thwaites, Haarhoff & Perry, 2015) and Experiencing Compassion focused therapy from the Inside Out; : A Self-Practice/Self-Reflection Workbook for Therapists (Kolts, Bell, Bennett-Levy & Irons, 2018).

James Bennett-Ley photo

Jennifer Kemp (BSc (Psych)Hons, GradDipAppSc (Psychology of Coaching), MPsych (Clinical), MAPS) is a Clinical Psychologist who works both in private practice and at the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. She works with adolescents and adults, and has a special interest in working with people with issues related to perfectionism, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and complex medical conditions. She speaks regularly at national and international conferences on topics including perfectionism and chronic illness. Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Australia and a Graduate Diploma in the Psychology of Coaching from the University of Sydney.

Prior to training in clinical practice, Jennifer worked in organisational psychology, in particular in the field of coaching, training and organisational change. She is an experienced facilitator and has delivered a range of accredited training programs, including train-the-trainer programs. Jennifer finds that applying her contextual behavioural framework blends seamlessly with a solution-focused coaching approach for many clients, and enjoys the diversity of client outcomes allowed for by these approaches.


Jodie Wassner is an educational and developmental psychologist who divides her time equally between clinic work with young people and educational training for psychologists and other health professionals. She completed her Masters of Psychology (Educational and Developmental) degree at Monash University, Melbourne. She went on to spend the next fifteen years working as a psychologist in Primary and Secondary schools and is especially familiar with the issues that are likely to emerge across the developmental period.

Jodie has a strong commitment to education for herself and others. She has successfully supervised many school psychologists as well as over 20 provisional psychologists to full registration. Jodie has presented at local and international conferences and developed workshops including mental health and well-being programs for professionals, young people and parenting programs. Jodie also presents workshops on behalf of renowned organisations including Learning Links and The Black Dog Institute.

Jodie’s two professional passions are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She has presented her work internationally and has successfully helped dozens of families in her clinic to navigate the challenges of ASD. Jodie has co-written a ten-session ACT manual for therapists working with anxious children, which is currently being used in clinics on a global scale.

Jodie is President of the ACT and Autism ACBS SIG and is a Fellow of the APS College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists.

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Joseph Ciarrochi is professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University. Joseph has published over 110 scientific journal articles and many books, including the best-selling Get out of your mind and into your life teens, and the influential book, Thriving Adolescent. In the adult area, Joseph has published The Weight Escape, and Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology: The seven foundations of well-being, and Emotional intelligence: A practitioner’s guide. He has been honoured with over four million dollars in research funding. His work has been discussed on T.V., and in magazines, newspaper articles, and radio.

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Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and winner of multiple teaching awards at the University at Mississippi. He is Past President and Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Wilson has devoted himself to the development and dissemination of ACT and its underlying theory and philosophy for the past 25 years, and has published more than 90 articles and chapters, as well as 11 books including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change, ACT for Chronic Pain, and most recently Using ACT to Treat Anorexia and the Spectrum of Anorectic Behavior. He has central interests in the application of behavioral principles to understanding topics such as purpose, meaning and values. In recent years, he has become fascinated by the link between ACT, evolution science, and the modern pidemic of chronic life-style illnesses. Wilson is one of the founders of Accceptance and Commitment Therapy and has presented workshops and provided consultancy in 32 countries.

Kelly wilson

Kristen Murray is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Canberra. Her clinical and research interests focus on body image, health behaviour change, weight management, stress, eating disorders and interprofessional practice. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) at the Australian National University in 2013, where she was awarded the Steven Klimidis Memorial Prize for Excellence in Clinical Psychology and APS College of Clinical Psychologists Student Prize. She is currently Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of Canberra. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate clinical and health psychology, supervises students undertaking research projects and clinical placements, and publishes original research. She was awarded the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Early Career Teaching Award in 2018, and is also a member of the APS Early Career Advisory Group. She is passionate about promoting health and well-being in the population, particularly through the development of positive body-self relations.

Kristen murray

Dr Lisa Soares is a Clinical Psychologist from Melbourne, Australia. Lisa has over 15 years’ experience working in public mental health and private practice. As well as providing psychological therapies, Lisa has worked in managerial roles and within the University sector, and provides professional supervision to psychologists and other health workers across within a variety of sectors. Over the past five years, Lisa has focused her attention on introducing and embedding ACT within a public mental health setting and is currently the co-ordinator of the newly formed ACTivating Recovery Program at NWMH.

lisa soares

Dr Linda Nicholson is the Manager of the Australian National University Psychology Clinic in Canberra, Australia. Linda’s journey with CBS and ACT started back in early 2000 after attending ACT training and commencing a PhD where an ACT intervention was applied to NSW Police to help police officers address organisational and individual stress in a workable way. Since then, Linda has presented her research at several conferences, been involved in facilitating ACT related workshops in Australia and at CBS conferences overseas.

Linda is also a clinical psychologist and has been working with clients in NGO and private organisation settings, as well as in private practice. She has been utilising ACT with her clients and has been providing supervision in ACT as well. Recently, she has co-authored a paper with Dr Eric Morris that outlines the SHAPE model for supervision and that uses contextual behavioural / ACT principles in supervision.


Dr Lisa Olive completed her PhD (Clinical Psychology) at the Australian National University, Canberra and is the recipient of an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship and a Senior Lecturer at Deakin University. Lisa’s is also a clinical psychologist with expertise in behavioural medicine, clinical health psychology and performance psychology. She co-leads the Behavioural Medicine Innovation Hub in the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Australian National University Medical School. Clinically, Lisa has worked in cardiac rehabilitation, community mental health and in high performance sport, including positions at the Australian Institute of Sport and ACT Academy of Sport, where she uses ACT to address performance and mental health issues in Australian athletes.

Lisa Olive - Lisa_Olive Photo

Dr Louise Hayes

Organisation: The University of Melbourne & Orygen The National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health

Louise Hayes is a clinical psychologist who focusses on using acceptance, mindfulness, and positive growth treatments. She is well known for her work using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for young people and is currently the President of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science. Louise uses acceptance and mindfulness based treatments with young people in schools and clinical settings. She is an author, international speaker, a senior fellow with The University of Melbourne and Orygen, and a peer reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) trainer. She is the co-author of the best-selling book, Get Out of Your Mind and into your Life for Teenagers: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life, and the newly released book, The Thriving Adolescent: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology to Help Teens Manage Emotions, Achieve Goals, and Build Connection. Together with Joseph Ciarrochi she conducts research and treatment development; the latest work is DNA-v, a treatment model for young people. Louise is an active philanthropist, taking mental health professionals into the Himalaya to develop their mindfulness skills and raising funds for poor children in remote Nepal. For more information on Louise go to – www.louishayes.com.au or www.thrivingadolescent.com

Louise Hayes


Madeleine Rose Dober is a provisional psychologist currently undertaking her Master of Clinical Psychology at Deakin University. Madeleine holds qualifications in a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) (Honours). She is currently employed as a research assistant at Deakin University in Melbourne exploring the biopsychosocial wellbeing of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and she has previously held an honorary research fellow position at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne investigating the cognitive functioning of people with IBD. Madeleine has a strong interest in psychogastroenterology, in particular, the presentation of psychopathology for people with gastrointestinal conditions like IBD. Thus, Madeleine has a passion for exploring the effectiveness of mind-body interventions for gastrointestinal conditions, and is conducting her own qualitative research regarding the acceptability and feasibility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for IBD.

Madeleine dober 

Mary Sawyer is a psychologist with wide experience as an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) therapist and trainer. Mary is one of the most experienced and foremost ACT therapists in Australia. She has trained with leading ACT researchers and clinicians in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and USA over the past 15 years.

Mary is a peer reviewed ACT Trainer and former board member of the Association of Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) and regularly presents at ACBS World Conferences. She applies ACT working with a variety of psychological problems such as; depression and anxiety, grief and loss, post traumatic stress disorder, addictions, adult survivors of sexual abuse and relationship issues.

Mary is committed to enhancing Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) with Contextual Behavioural Science (CBS) by facilitating workshops. Mary is an accredited APS supervisor and provides supervision for a variety of mental health professionals. She is the former convener of a monthly ACT discussion group in Sydney that provides ACT therapists mentoring and assistance in developing case conceptualization.

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Megan Harrison is a Clinical Psychologist at Inner West Area Mental Health Service in Melbourne, Australia. Megan has a strong interest in supporting adult consumers in their recovery and aims to target interventions to support the individual client’s values and goals. She has developed a strong interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and is one of the co-facilitators of the Wise Choices group. Seeing the benefits of this group program for consumers has increased Megan’s passion for the use of individual and group based ACT programs in public mental health services.

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Melissa Schellekens is a PhD candidate at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney at the Institute of Positive Psychology and Education. She is looking into interventions that facilitate youth reengagement with school and prevent drop-out. Before that, she was in Bogota, Colombia, doing wellbeing coaching, group facilitation and running art-based ACT workshops with a local Colombian NGO that supports internally displaced youth and their families, ex-child soldiers and other victims of with the internal conflict in Colombia. She has developed training materials and workshops for professionals that work with these groups. Melissa is also a practicing artist using mindful art-making processes.

Melissa Schellekens


NeLi Martin is a psychologist currently working in private practice in Noosa, Qld with individuals, couples and groups. Her love affair with ACT therapy and ACBS began in 2007. She has attended and presented at conferences and training workshops in Australia, USA and Italy.

NeLi helped facilitate the Brisbane ACT interest group for many years. And helped organise the conference in 2010. She supervises other psychologists and therapists and has trained other mental health professionals in ACT and Embodied Mindfulness since 2010. Previously, she worked in child protection, juvenile justice, domestic violence and organisational settings. NeLi is a Senior Teacher with Yoga Australia and a member of Australian Western Insight Teachers; a secular Buddhist Dharma Tradition. NeLi teaches meditation and yoga and walking retreats. She is a teacher and founding member of

Conscious Dance Noosa and a TreeSister.

NeLi Martin - NeLi_Martin 

 Dr Paul Atkins is a facilitator, executive coach and researcher. He is a member of the international design team implementing PROSOCIAL, an approach for enhancing collaboration in groups of all sorts based on the idea of the commons and the psychosocial capabilities needed to build trust and engagement. He is project coordinator for the Templeton World Charity Fund grant investigating Prosocial and Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (ACU) facilitating and researching resilience, wellbeing and teamwork. He has had extensive experience teaching leadership, organisational behaviour and psychology and numerous peer-reviewed publications in international journals. He co-edited the book “Mindfulness in Organisations” (CUP) and is currently completing the book “Prosocial: Using Evolutionary Science to Build Productive, Equitable, and Collaborative Groups” with Steven Hayes and David Sloan Wilson. He is a Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) and past-President of the ANZ ACBS.

Paul Atkins 

Dr Paul Mason is a medical anthropologist who has conducted fieldwork with vulnerable communities in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil and Australia. His research is on global mental health, infectious diseases and neuroanthropology. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate anthropology at Monash University.paul mason

Rachel Collis has been providing executive coaching, facilitation and training to private and public sector organisations since 2002. She has clients in Australia, England, America and Europe.

She has worked with senior and high potential leaders in a wide range of organisations – – including ASX listed companies; federal and state government departments, franchise organisations and startups.
Rachel also teaches in the Executive MBA program at the Graduate School of Business at QUT. She has been awarded the QUT, Faculty of Business, Student Choice, ‘Awesome Tutor’ Award in recognition of her: “passion and enthusiasm in promoting and supporting student learning, the development of critical thought and ability to inspire students to achieve success.” She has also been nominated for a Vice-Chancellors Award.
Rachel qualified in medicine in London, UK and then trained and qualified as a psychiatrist. Before moving into consultancy and coaching, Rachel worked in private practice and also led multi-disciplinary teams in the public health system in both QLD and the UK.
Rachel has presented at a number of conferences on subjects relating to executive coaching and leadership including three ACBS world conferences.
Rachel co-authors a blog on applying research findings from behavioural science to the workplace: www.workingwithact.com. Her book ‘Applying ACT to Work-Related Coaching’ has been translated into French and Farsi.

rachel collis

Robert Bruno is an early career psychologist from Melbourne, Australia. Robert graduated from La Trobe University with a Master of Clinical Psychology in 2017, and was introduced to ACT during his training. After obtaining registration in early 2018, Robert began working in public mental health and is currently undergoing the Clinical Registrar Program. Robert is a co-facilitator of Wise Choices at the IWAMHS, a group program informed by ACT.Robert Bruno - Robert_Bruno_Photo

Dr Robert Styles is an academic at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University and a Consultant in Organisational Leadership and Performance. He advises and consults into corporations and public-sector agencies on strategic and prosocial approaches in human capital development and the sustainability of individual and collective endeavours. His research focus is on how language and cognition functions to influence covert and overt behavior.

Robert Styles - Robert Styles 

Dr Rob Purssey is a Consultant Psychiatrist with over 20 years’ experience and is also a highly skilled ACT therapist. After completing psychiatric training Rob trained extensively in the theory and practice of ACT and specialised in its application in psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. He is a Clinical Senior Lecture in Psychiatry at the University of Queensland and trains psychologists, doctors and others in ACT as well as providing ACT based psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy to his clients at the Brisbane ACT Centre.

 rob purssey

Dr Russell Harris, M.B.B.S., is a medical practitioner, psychotherapist and executive coach, in private practice in Melbourne, Australia. He graduated in medicine from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, in 1989, and emigrated to Melbourne in 1991. As a GP he became increasingly interested in the psychological aspects of health and wellbeing, and increasingly disenchanted with writing prescriptions.

Ultimately this interest led to a total career change, and he now works in two different, yet complementary roles: both as a therapist and life coach. Author of the international best-seller, ‘The Happiness Trap’, Russ is a world-renowned trainer of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). Since 2005, Russ has run over 600 2-day workshops, providing ACT training for over 30,000 therapists, coaches, counselors, doctors, and other health professionals around the world. He has authored three ACT textbooks and 4 ACT-based self-help books, (and co-authored a further two self-help books). His first book, The Happiness Trap, is now the most widely-translated ACT book in the world, with over 600,000 copies sold in over thirty languages.

russ harris

Dr Ryan Kaplan is a clinical psychologist and psychology researcher, and expert in body dysmorphic disorder. He is the director of the Sydney Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Body Image Clinic, and principal clinical psychologist at Be Psychology & Mental Health, a general psychology private practice with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. Dr Kaplan is a trained ACT therapist with an innovative and integrative clinical approach. He is on the Board of Directors of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) and has previously served on the National Committee of the Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists.

Ryan Kaplan

Sara Boucher PhD, is an early career researcher in Dunedin, New Zealand with a special interest in sustainable health-related behaviour change. Her current work is investigating new diabetes technology among adolescents with unhealthy glycaemic control.

Sara Boucher

Shelley Viskovich is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland under the supervision of Professor Kenneth Pakenham and Dr Jeanie Sheffield. Shelley’s PhD project is the development of a mental health promotion program, called YOLO, which aims to teach students the mental health skills they need to thrive at university and beyond. Shelley has an honours degree in Psychology and over 10 years of clinical experience as a Counsellor before undertaking her PhD in 2015.

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Sheran Kay is a Senior Clinical Psychologist currently working with the Inner West Adult Community Health Team. Sheran works with adults over the age of 18 presenting with a range of issues including psychotic illness, borderline personality disorder, anxiety and mood disorders as well as stress and adjustment difficulties.  Although, Sheran draws on a range of evidence based therapy approaches, she has a particular interest in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approaches.  Shera has had the opportunity to co facilitate several ACT groups (Wise Choices) and also regularly uses ACT concepts in her work with individuals.

 Sheran Kay - sheran_kay

Tiffany Rochester is current President of ANZACBS, and has served as a Board Director for the past three years. Tiff is a clinical psychologist at the Charles Street Clinic in Perth.  With over 15 years’ experience in clinical psychology, she has been using ACT and CBS with children, adults, couples and families for around 10 years. Tiff facilitates a local CBS intervision group, and is part of the WA-ACBS events team. She writes a CBS-infused blog (thesamemountain.com), is an occasional speaker on CBS topics at corporate events, and has had CBS-informed articles published in magazines such as InPsych.  She has a great love for mentoring students and registrars, and bringing them into the ACBS family. Committed to contributing to the science that underpins our practice, Tiff is an Honorary Research Associate at Telethon Kids Institute, conducting an ACT research trial. In the ACBS community Tiff finds a sense of belonging, with people who share a passion to use contextual behavioural science to bring about worldwide change.  Tiff aims to be a part of CBS moving into the fabric of community, in schools, organisations, right through to informing government policy.


Tony Torney is a registered provisional psychologist currently undertaking his Master of Psychology (Counselling Psychology) at Swinburne University of Technology. He has experience in teaching and applying mindfulness strategies in clinical practice, facilitating groups and in particular groups of men through his co-facilitating the Anger Management Group for men at the Swinburne Psychology Clinic. Tony completed both an Introduction and Advanced training program in Compassion Focused Therapy with Paul Gilbert in 2017. Tony has a particular interest in understanding the challenges facing men in rural and regional communities.

tony torney

Toni Hanna is a Mental Health Social Worker and ACT Therapist. Toni began her social work journey in 1987 at the Institute of Technology (now Uni SA) and has been committed to social work as a career and field of excellence. She has worked across the lifespan, in AOD work, DV and sexual assault, mental health and disabilities. One of her passions is working to improve access to people living outside of metropolitan areas –and to that end has worked in country NSW and SA. She currently has a private practice in Strathalbyn – in the Eastern Fleurieu region.
Toni currently sees children with ASD as well as other challenging behaviours. She also works with adolescents, adults and couples. She is registered with the NDIS and Medicare.
Toni’s ACT training commenced in 2009 and she has also been a member of ACBS since that time. She has attended over 30 workshops and conferences with some of the founders and international trainers in the ACBS community. She has received supervision with Professor John Forsyth (author of The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety) and is currently on the ANZACBS communication committee and the International Social Workers SIG Training Group.

Toni Hanna - Antonia (Toni) Hanna pic