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Meet the team

Our People

CatholicCare Hunter-Manning employs a variety of clinicians including psychologists, provisional psychologists, social workers and counsellors. We can match you with the most suitable counsellor or you may request to see a particular counsellor.

Tanya Russell, Manager of Counselling and Clinical Services, Psychologist

TanyaTanya Russell is a registered psychologist with over 10 years experience and is also the manager of the Counselling and Clinical Services team. Tanya completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Newcastle and went on to obtain her Honours degree through the University of New England.

Tanya has worked as a generalist psychologist with training and experience across a wide variety of client presentations including mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, grief and loss, relationship issues, work-related concerns and managing the ordinary and extraordinary stresses of life. Additionally, to support the growing needs of specialist assessment services, Tanya now provides autism assessment services for children and adults.

Tanya works with an eclectic approach and prefers to tailor the therapy to suit her clients’ presenting issues as well as their personalities. She is experienced in therapies such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy, among others.

Prior to working at CatholicCare, Tanya worked in the occupational rehabilitation industry, where her passion for improving workplace cultures was cultivated. Tanya gained a great deal of understanding and experience in the skills required to lead teams successfully with emotionally intelligent leadership. Tanya now uses this experience, in addition to training, in her current work as an executive coach. Tanya provides consultancy services to a number of organisations in the health and education sectors, providing manager and team support within an executive coaching framework. To complement her coaching work, Tanya also presents workshops on a variety of workplace and mental health-related topics.

Tanya continues to share her passion for personal wellbeing by writing a monthly column for Aurora magazine, which is distributed monthly in local newspapers including the Newcastle Herald. She is a psychology board-approved supervisor for provisional psychologists and also provides professional supervision to employees from other allied health backgrounds.


Renee Bennett, Psychologist

Renee

Renee obtained her degree in psychology from the University of Newcastle and participated in a student exchange program at the University of Leeds (UK). Renee has been registered with AHPRA since 2013.

Renee works therapeutically with children, adolescents, adults, carers and couples. Renee has experience working with a range of presenting problems, including anxiety, mood disorders, stress, complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, work-related issues, autism spectrum disorders, challenging behaviours, interpersonal challenges, grief and relationship issues.

Renee is an eclectic psychologist, therefore she individualises her therapy based on the needs and wants of the client. Renee uses a variety of therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy, Mindfulness-based approaches and Brief Psychodynamic Therapy. She also uses elements of Schema Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Brief Solution-Focused Therapy.

Renee is trained in a range of assessments including Autism Assessments. Renee also conducts personality, mental health, behavioural, cognitive and other developmental assessments.


Lauren Freele, Psychologist

LaurenLauren gained a Master of Professional Psychology and has been registered with AHPRA since 2014. Lauren is also an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Lauren has experience working therapeutically with children, adolescents and adults across a variety of settings. She has come from a private practice model, however has experience in other areas such as managing a counselling service, work in Out of Home Care, early intervention services and NDIS.

Lauren prefers to work with a flexible client-centred treatment approach using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Mindfulness-based approaches.  She also employs elements of Family Systems Theory, Schema Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy.  She recently attended the Marsha Linehan DBT training in Sydney, an evidence based therapy used in treating mood disorders. Lauren has also recently completed training in Autism assessments and is trained in cognitive, personality and behavioural assessments.


Chloe Allsop, Psychologist

ChloeChloe obtained her psychology degree at the University of Newcastle, gaining registration with AHPRA in 2012. Since then, she has developed experience in occupational rehabilitation, counselling and clinical practice. Chloe is accredited to provide counselling under both the Medicare Better Access Scheme and NSW Workers Compensation System.

Chloe uses a range of treatment modalities, tailored to client needs, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Mindfulness-based approaches. She also uses elements of Schema Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Brief Solution-Focused Therapy. Chloe is experienced in helping people overcome a range of problems including depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, relationship issues and workplace stress.

Chloe enjoys helping clients of all ages to make sense of their situation and emotions. She is passionate about health and wellbeing in all its forms and aims to assist people in living fulfilling lives.


Phil Bird, Psychologist

PhilPhil is a Registered Psychologist and has been registered with AHPRA since 2014. He is experienced in working with children, adolescents and adults with a range of challenges including developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, bullying, posttraumatic stress disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, aggressive behaviours, attachment difficulties and complex behaviour problems.

Phil has a particular interest, and specialised knowledge, in helping people who have experienced trauma and recovering from early childhood abuse and attachment disturbances. He practices within a Clinical Neuropsychotherapy framework utilising evidence-based approaches including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. Phil is also passionate about utilising play therapy and sensory-based interventions to assist children to regulate their emotions, build resilience and overcome a range of complex difficulties. He is also trained in a range of psychometric assessments including behavioural, memory, personality and cognitive assessments.


 Suzanne Dorrington, Psychologist

SueSue is a registered psychologist who has worked in the field for many years across a range of settings and in a number of locations. She has a degree in Behavioural Sciences and a post graduate qualification in Counselling. Sue has experience in assessments, working with school-based learning difficulties, the ongoing impact of trauma, living with anger, relationship difficulties, domestic violence including working with perpetrators and coping with life’s many challenges.

 


Cheryl Brown, Provisional Psychologist

Cheryl’s career began in Primary Teaching with a Diploma in Teaching from Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education (now known as Southern Cross University) and then a Bachelor of Education from University of New England. Later, this led to work in the Early Childhood environment and then Early Intervention for Special Needs. After a period as a foster carer she returned to study, completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychological Studies (with Distinction) and Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology (with Distinction) at the University of Western Sydney. She has experience in assessments, counselling and clinical practice.

Cheryl uses a range of treatment modalities, tailored to client needs, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Play Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy and Mindfulness-based approaches. She also uses elements of Narrative Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Brief Solution-Focused Therapy.

While Cheryl has a passion for working with children and adolescents she is experienced in helping all age groups to overcome a range of problems including depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, relationship issues and workplace stress.


Katrina Sweeny, Provisional Psychologist

KatrinaKatrina completed her Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology-Honours) in 2014, is an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and extends her professional links through groups such as the Mental Health Practitioner’s Network.

Experiences across the lifespan − from toddlers in foster families to teenagers negotiating adolescence, adults struggling with unemployment or the challenges of physical and psychological health in later life – have developed Katrina’s ability to meet clients where they are and offer real options to support their individual wellbeing and growth.

She draws on a range of methods across Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, motivational interviewing, solution-focused therapy and narrative therapy. Katrina is also qualified to present ‘1-2-3 Magic’ training to parents or teachers and enjoys sharing techniques to improve mindfulness, stress reduction and relaxation.

Katrina is passionate about empowering her clients to make changes and equipping them with the tools needed to face challenging situations in the future. Her person- centred approach will ensure you are feeling heard and supported throughout your treatment.


Jessica Smith, Provisional Psychologist 

JessJessica graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) in 2014. Jessica is an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and is a committee member of the Newcastle APS branch.

Jessica has experience working therapeutically with children, adolescents and adults in one on one and group settings. Jessica has experience with most presenting problems including mood disorders, self-esteem issues, interpersonal challenges, stress, life transitions, complex trauma and challenging behaviours.

Jessica is trained in the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Radical Exposure Tapping, Narrative Therapy and Child Centred Play Therapy. Jessica also enjoys conducting assessments relating to cognitive and learning abilities, living skills, emotional and mental health status and behavioural profiles.

Jessica is a trained facilitator of the Tuning in to Teens parenting program. Jessica also has experience running the Bringing up Great Kids parenting program. Jessica is passionate about assisting parents to become more mindful and attuned to the needs of their children and their own needs. Jessica is a strong advocate of self-care. Jessica, furthermore, enjoys the collaboration involved in developing, writing and implementing trauma-informed behaviour support plans.


Sara Adams, Provisional Psychologist

SaraSara has completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) (Honours) and is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Counselling at Monash University. Sara is an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Sara is experienced in providing assessments and treatment for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. Sara also has several years of experience in working with adult survivors of child sexual abuse and prior to that, she worked in child protection for a period of six years, during which time she worked with families with complex needs and emotional difficulties.

Sara is experienced in working with work-related issues, depression, anxiety, social phobia, complex childhood trauma, self-esteem issues, family relationship issues, attachment and family of origin issues, behavioural issues and eating disorders. Sara’s work is eclectic and she is trained and skilled in using various treatment approaches and therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness, Narrative Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy. She also uses the Gottman Institute research-based approach to strengthening relationships.

Sara has a special interest in working with couples and families and helping clients find a way of living a more rewarding and meaningful life. Through living in different countries, Sara has an understanding of the issues relating to adjustment and has an interest in helping others in this area.


Erwin Webb, Wellbeing Counsellor

ErwinErwin is a registered Counsellor and functions as wellbeing counsellor and Fatherhood worker. Erwin graduated with a Diploma of professional counselling in 2011, Cert IV Training and Assessment in 2013 and is registered with the Australian Counsellors Association at Level 2.

Erwin has experience working therapeutically with adolescents, couples and adults in ‘one on one’ and group and residential clinical settings. Erwin has experience with most presenting problems, including mood disorders, self-esteem issues, interpersonal challenges, stress, life transitions, complex trauma, grief and loss, self-harm, cyber addiction and carers support counselling. Due to his experience as the senior counsellor of a residential crisis centre, he has particular experience in acute anxiety, suicide intervention and stabilisation areas.

Erwin is trained in the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Intervention Therapy and Family Systems Therapy. Erwin is a trained facilitator of the Tuning in to Kids parenting program and RAGE anger management program and is able to create targeted evidence-based programs upon request. Erwin is also able to administer the Jackson Vocational Interest Survey (JVIS) for those considering a career pathway or change.