Our story

Our Clinicians

Meet the team

Christine Harkin

Director – Supervisor – Senior Clinician

MEd(IncSpec). MCouns (Hons). Post Graduate Clinical Play Therapy . CertSPT. RPT.

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Christine has a special interest in working with children who have experienced family violence. She also strives to weave the findings from Interpersonal Neurobiology and Polyvagal theory into her practice.

Christine is grateful for all the children and families she has had the opportunity to work with and thanks them for extending to her the privilege of being part of their journey.  Christine likes to work with all children to support them to integrate their challenges and move towards reaching their full potentiality and healing.

  • B.A.E., Master of Counselling (Honours)

  • Master of Education (Special Ed)

  • Advanced Certification Clinical Play Therapy

  • Synergetic Play Therapy

  • Certification (Completion May, 2020)

  • Associate member of the Australian Play Therapists Association

  • Registered member of the Australian Counselling Association

  • Registered Supervisor ACA

  • Member of the Association For Play Therapy U.S.

ASH golbasi

Senior Clinician

Provisional Psychologist.  RPT.

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Ash is a Provisional Psychologist who has completed a Masters of Professional Psychology and is currently completing a Certificate of Child Centered Play Therapy. She is also in the process of fulfilling the hours required to become a registered psychologist.

Ash has experience working with children with anxiety, autism, challenging behaviours, and emotional dysregulation. She is passionate about helping children use their inner strength to find new ways to heal and connect, by promoting positive self-esteem and resilience, improved ways of communicating, and providing them with healthier coping strategies.

katrina bell

Senior Clinician – Supervisor

PostGradPlayTh. CertSPT. BaSW. AMHSW. RPT

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Katrina Bell (BaSW) has worked with children and families in a variety of roles for over 15 years. Katrina is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) and Registered Clinical Play Therapist (RPT).

Katrina has extensive experience working in case management and clinical roles with children and families. She has worked within both the Child Protection and Education systems within Victoria in social work and therapy roles in addition to working in private practice.

As a play therapist, Katrina supports children to explore their feelings and process their experiences using the medium of play. Katrina is also committed to supporting the caregivers and systems that interact with children and young people on a day-to-day basis through coaching and training.

Katrina also has particular interest in therapeutic modalities that allow client to express themselves or emotionally regulate without being reliant on ‘finding the right words’. This includes yoga (particularly trauma-sensitive yoga), iRest and meditation practices, creative expression through art and music (including therapeutic drumming).

Katrina also provides professional supervision and support for social workers, play therapists and other professionals needing support around their work with children, families, systems or their own broader professional development and support.

  • Bachelor of Social Work and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) with the Australian Association of Social Work
  • Post Graduate Training in Family Therapy and Systems Theory.
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy.
  • Certified Synergetic Play Therapist and Registered Play Therapist (RPT).
  • Level One Certificate in Theraplay.
  • Level Two iRest Meditation Teacher.
  • Accredited DRUMBEAT Facilitator
  • Currently completing Certification as Synergetic Play Therapy Supervisor
  • Currently completing Advanced Diploma in Children’s Yoga (YogaFun) and 200hour Yoga Teacher Training (Axis Yoga).
  • Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) with the Australian Association of Social Work.
  • Accredited Registered Play Therapist (RPT)/Clinical Play Therapist with Australian Association of Play Therapists (APTA).

Chermaine Yeng

Senior Clinician

MCouns. RPT.

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Chermaine is a Specialist Counsellor and a fully accredited Play Therapist who has completed a Masters of Counselling and specialised training in Child Centered Play Therapy.

Chermaine has an interest in neurodevelopment, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders and trauma. She is passionate in helping children to go through their learning journey, reconstruct their world and regain inner resilience through Child Centred Play Therapy, Sand Tray Play and Filial Therapy with parents.

mandy easton

Clinician – Animal Assisted Therapist

BaSW. Registered AAT. MBusCoach. PPT.

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Mandy is a Social Worker and and Animal Assisted Therapist. She is currently completing a Certificate in Child Centered Play Therapy.

Mandy has a passion for early intervention, empowerment, strengths based practices, narrative therapy, play therapy and the use of Animal Assisted Therapy using her own dog, Rubi.

orla gilheany

Senior Clinician
GradDipArts/Play Therapy. RPT
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Orla is a Specialist Counsellor and a fully accredited Play Therapist who has completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Play Therapy and a Certificate in Youth Arts. ​ Orla is interested in visual arts and symbolic and imaginary play, as a means to discover children’s rich inner world and help them develop a healthy sense of self. Orla’s focus is on helping children and their families recover joy and confidence.

Robynne

Senior Clinician/AAT/Training-Community Liaison

Bachelor of Behavioural Science. PostGrad Educational Psychology

Robynne Tongue has post graduate qualifications in psychology and has worked for 10 years specialising in mental health and wellbeing for the education, workplace and not for profit sectors.

Her experience includes counselling students at primary and secondary levels, implementing wellbeing programs, consulting to schools and health professionals on mental health and delivering mental health training and programs at headspace.

She is a parent of two teenage daughters and is an active member of their school wellbeing group.

Her earlier career for over 15 years was in organisational development and HR at a large corporate.  During this period, Robynne was involved in counselling staff with vocational support, and coaching managers in leadership competencies.  She led teams of staff on projects and developed and delivered training and facilitated programs.

Robynne career transitioned into mental health as a result of a family tragedy with mental health, and she is now dedicated to supporting young people and parents with information, skills and resources to improve wellbeing and mental health. She often works with her therapy dog, Bella*, who is highly popular with her young clients.  Robynne is very personable and able to quickly develop rapport and trust with the young people she works with.   Robynne also has experience with families from a variety of CALD communities and works to ensure that families are linked in with appropriate community supports that may also assist them, and that ensures a holistic approach that considers underpinning and contributing factors to any mental health concerns.

Robynne has supervised social work students and enjoys mentoring others.  Robynne uses a strength based and client centred approach in her work.

Robynne is currently enrolled in Synergetic Play Therapy and will complete this training in March. She resides in Eltham and is passionate about supporting the local community.

Qualifications and professional Development includes:

  • Bachelor of Behavioural Science – La Trobe University
  • Postgraduate in Educational Psychology – Monash University
  • Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society
  • Cultural Competency – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Focus – headspace
  • Culturally competent training with vulnerable families – Vicseg
  • Managing trauma and challenging behaviour – The Austin School
  • Respond to Client Needs – Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare
  • Work with people with mental health needs – Excellence in Child & Family Welfare
  • Curriculum and classroom strategies (4-day intensive workshop) – Berry Street Education Model
  • Culturally competent training with vulnerable families – Vicseg
  • *Lead the Way – Visiting Therapy Dog and Handler Certificate Course (certification finalised upon current Melbourne COVID restrictions changed)
  • Online Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy – enrolled and completion date in March 2021

dan howell

Senior Clinician
BaSW. AMHSW. RPT.

Dan is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and Certified Synergetic Play Therapist and is in the process of completing training in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

Dan has specialised in providing counselling to children and adolescents impacted by relational trauma, particularly neglect, family violence and sexual abuse. Dan works with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety.

tess drummond

Associate Clinician
Mental Health Cert. CertPlayTherapy. PPT.

Tess is a Specialist Counsellor who is has completed Mental Health Certification and is in the process of completing a Clinical Level Program in Child Centred Play Therapy.

Tess enjoys working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She delights in connecting with them and discovering their unique personalities. She likes to explore beneath this label and learn what is distressing the child.

yenee khoo

Associate Clinician
PostGradDip PlayTherapy. RPT.

Yenee is an associate play therapist who has completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills and is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy. She has worked with children for more than a decade in the field of early childhood and primary education. She furthered her skills in play therapy in 2016 and has experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum, with ADHD, childhood trauma and behavioural problems. She is registered as a certified practitioner with Play Therapy International. 
Yenee strongly believes in the power of play and has a particular interest in using therapeutic stories and metaphors in helping children heal themselves. 

golnaz behgoo

Senior Clinician
Masters Child Play Therapy. MSW. RPT.

Golnaz is a clinical social worker and play therapist who has completed a Master of Social Work and a Master of Play Therapy. Golnaz has extensive experience working with children, young people and their families involved with the child protection system and living in out of home care. she is passionate about uncovering the effects of adverse childhood experiences and attachment security, in young children.

Golnaz is interested in child assessment, therapy, parenting education and skills training. she uses information about attachment, trauma, child development theory and neuroscience to work with children’s emotional, psychological and behavioural difficulties. Much of her work is also with the families, providing the necessary support to strengthen their relationships and build parenting skill.

nicole bester

Occupational Therapist
BOccThy.


Nicole is an Occupational Therapist who is extremely passionate about working with children of all ages and abilities and their families and supporting them to reach their full potential. Nicole has several years of experience volunteering in the early intervention setting, assisting with group therapy and combines her love of working with children along with her knowledge on the development of fine and gross motor skills and social skills to create fun, play-based activities. Nicole has an interest in neurodiversity and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Nicole is also very creative and has a strong interest in the arts and how they can be used to express emotions and enhance wellbeing whilst incorporating goals of Occupational Therapy.

 

Nicole uses a strength based approach as she believes that everyone should be given opportunities to share their skills and participate in society. Nicole has a strong interest in the arts, especially visual arts, dance and music and incorporates them into Occupational Therapy goals.

Genevieve Connolly

Senior Clinician

PostGradDip Ed. RPT. 


Genevieve is a credentialed Child Centred Play Therapist, with a Graduate Diploma in Education and specialised experience working with children impacted by family violence and homelessness.

 

She has a background in working with children who have experienced complex trauma; supporting them through life transitions, encouraging them to overcome challenges and helping them to reconnect with their caregivers.

 

Genevieve is passionate about empowering children to reach their potential. She recognises children as individuals and encourages them to understand their unique life experiences, develop their self expression and self esteem through child centred play therapy.

Zoe

Zoe Tee

Clinician

BAppSc(Psych). MCouns&PsychTh. PPT.

Zoe is a dedicated Child Clinician with broad experience working with Children including with the Ardoch Youth Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services. Zoe has a Psychology background and experience in working with children and Families in a variety of capacities including case support work and counselling Zoe is currently completing Child-Centred Play Therapy Clinical Training Program 2019. Completion Aug 2020. PPT.
Loretta

Loretta ho

Senior Clinician
MC-MHSC. GradDipPsych. PostGradDipPlayTherapy. M.Sc (Aud). RPT.

Certified Play Therapist (PTI)

Audiologist and Full member of Audiology Australia (AudA)

PG Dip Play Therapy

GradDipPsychAdv

 MSc in Audiology BSc in Psychology, Speech and Hearing Sciences

Loretta (PGD, GradDipPsychAdv, MSc, BSc) is an audiologist with specific interests in children with hearing disorders and communication difficulties. She has experience working in both public hospital and private clinical settings, providing her a diverse exposure to people with multiple disabilities and special needs.

As a play therapist, Loretta values her therapeutic relationships with children. She is passionate about holistic childhood development. She believes that children can be empowered through play to utilise their inner strengths to cope with challenges in life.

Loretta is interested in attachment theories and how early childhood experiences impact a person later in life. She is aspired to integrate audiological knowledge and psychological principles to help children with auditory, emotional and psychosocial needs.

Vicki Soar Senior Clinician Play Therapy

vicki soar

Senior Clinician
BA(Hons)
MA ArtTh. 

Registrations:
HCPC. ANZACATA – AThR (registered Art Therapist). BAAT – Art Psychotherapist.

Vicki is a qualified Art Therapist, who has worked across England and Australia in many diverse settings including: Probation, Schools, Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Units and a Centre Against Sexual Assault. Vicki is experienced working with vulnerable children and has specialised training in treating symptoms of Trauma through Art and Synergetic Play Therapy. 
Understanding that each child is unique and will approach internal conflicts differently. Vicki helps children understand, regulate and explore their experiences through Art and Play. This is nurtured through compassion, neurobiological research and a client centred approach. From this foundation Vicki believes client’s can achieve their goals in a very gentle, creative and safe way. Allowing for the child and care givers to have an empowering, enriching experience of the therapeutic journey.


sarah gordon

Senior Clinician
GradDipArts/Play Therapy. Certified Synergetic Play Therapist.

Sara Gordon is a qualified creative arts therapist, with a speciality in synergetic play therapy.
 
Sara has extensive experience across a wide-range of age groups and has successfully guided clients through the projective qualities of the creative art and play therapy processes.
 
Sara values the relationship she shares with her clients as a fundamental component of her work, which helps facilitates optimal growth and client self-awareness.
 
Sara’s experience working with children on the ASD spectrum combines a number of strategies, including nervous system regulation and interpersonal neurobiology, that can help children respond better to his or her environment.
 
Sara works with parents and carers to ascertain a child’s behavioural strengths and challenges and collaboratively devise specific therapy goals.
 
By utilising evidence-based interventions such as the ‘Learn to Play’ program, Sarahelps children with ASD improve their play skills, self-esteem communication, self-regulation and overall health and wellbeing.
 
Sara balances her art and play therapy practice with her growing family of 4 little children.

Sian Toney

Senior Clinician
Registered Psychologist

Master of Psychology (Educational and Developmental)

Sian is a registered psychologist currently seeking endorsement as an Educational and Developmental psychologist. She has experience working with children with autism, ADHD, challenging behaviours, anxiety and depression. Sian is passionate about working with children and their families to help young people reach their full potential. She has had many years of experience working with children with ASD as an Applied Behavioural Analyst (ABA) therapist and she now works as a psychologist both in schools and privately.

 

Sian is experienced in providing counselling and assessment services and is trained in the application of:

 

  • The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI – IV)
  • The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC – V)
  • The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS – IV)
  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT – III)
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition (CARS-2)
  • Conners 3
  • Behaviour Assessment System for Children (BASC – 3)
  • Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL)
  • Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (Vineland – 3)

LANI CASTAN

Senior Clinician

Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Social Work, Advanced Clinical Training in Play Therapy
Member of Australian Association of Social Work (AASW).
Masters of Narrative Therapy & Community Work, Melbourne University

Lani is an accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Play and Narrative Therapist who has been working with children, for the past 20 years. Since completing her social work degree, Lani has worked with young people and families in the human services field. Lani has worked as a coordinator of a grassroots service organisation in Melbourne that focused on family violence and sexual assault before moving into case management in the refuge system both in Victoria and Western Australia. Lani’s work within refuge centred on case management of women and children. Lani’s approach aimed to help develop and acknowledge client’s strengths. In her last role, Lani became child advocate at the refuge she worked at, focusing on children’s processing of their trauma, and the provision of a safe space to express and process their emotions and their experiences. Lani’s interest in working with children lead her on a fascinating journey in furthering her theoretical knowledge of therapeutic interventions for children and young people and the acquisition of skills to appropriately work with this group. Lani’s personal philosophy of the importance of play for children and the vital role it has in children’s development lead to her interest in Child Centred Play Therapy, which takes the view that within the safety of a strong and positive relationship, and with the use of empathy, non-judgment and unconditional positive regard, it is possible for every individual to reach his or her full potential and be the best version of themselves they can be. For most children, play is natural and toys are their words. It is the perfect way for children to express their world and try out new ways of being, to tell their story and to feel supported. From this base, Lani has expanded her repertoire in the ways she can work with children, young people adults and families.

Elishia Harding

Registered Psychologist

M.Psych (Counselling Psych), PostgradDip (Psych), B.Sc (Psych), B.Com (Economics)

Cert Child Centred Play Therapy

Registrations / Memberships:

Registered Psychologist, MAPS

Elishia is a psychologist who holds general registration with AHPRA and full membership to the Australian Psychological Society.

Elishia has a warm, collaborative approach to therapy. She has experience in providing play-based therapy to preschool and primary school-aged children using both non-directive (child led) and directive (therapist led) approaches, as per client age, support needs and presentation. Elishia is particularly drawn to the practice of Child Centred Play Therapy, in which she has recently completed her clinical training program.

Separate to her work with Play Therapy Melbourne, Elishia provides individual therapy to both child and adult clients with a mix of presentations in a private clinic setting.

In her therapeutic practice with both children and adults Elishia is drawn to humanistic approaches, and draws upon attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology and polyvagal theory to support her clients.

MADY

Payroll Associate


Mady is a highly motivated, process driven and dedicated team player.


There is nothing she loves more than implementing processes which are rock solid to exceed client and company expectations.

 

Mady is a qualified bookkeeper and payroll associate, she is very passionate about her career but also very passionate about personal and professional growth. She loves the concept of consistent learning, evolution and adapting to new industry techniques as they arise.

 

When she finds time up her sleeve, you will catch Mady with her husband and kids enjoying the Victorian high country, camping and exploring.

LeESA

Administrator Director
Leesa is responsible for a variety of administrative tasks related to the NDIS, and the smooth running of the practice. Leesa joins us with great knowledge and experience in the field of private practice and working with families and accessing NDIS services.

coral tymms

Office Administrator

Coral is Play Therapy Melbourne’s wonderfully talented Office Administrator. She comes to us with over 30 years experience as an Office and Practice Manager. She is the backbone of Play Therapy Melbourne, ensuring that every day runs smoothly.

Bella

Therapy Dog

Bella works with her handler Robynne, who is highly popular with her young clients.   

Animal Assisted Play Therapy

ruby

Therapy Dog

Rubi and her handler Mandy Easton were trained in Animal Assisted Therapy in 2012. Rubi has a natural ability to help children and young people through daily struggles, stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Through creative ways Rubi loves to bring about self awareness, reflection, play, mindfulness, empathy and love in children and young peoples lives.

GradDipArts/Play Therapy. Certified Synergetic Play Therapist.

We proudly accept referrals from 

We are proud of the work we do with the following organisations and thank them for their support.
Melbourne City Mission
Elizabeth Morgan House