​​​​Chapter Board

President, Melissa Schellekens

Melissa is a researcher, trainer, facilitator, coach and consultant, and has just finished a PhD in educational psychology focusing on the educational attainment of young Indigenous Australians. Melissa uses behavioural science to assist groups, organisations and individuals develop the skills to achieve their objectives with enhanced wellbeing, aligned values and a greater sense of purpose. Drawing on ACT and CBS principles, the Prosocial Core Design Principles, Melissa supports the development of groups and individuals by enhancing organisational flexibility and collaborative governance to help organisations and their people work together and with others, more successfully and authentically. Melissa has over 20 years of experience across a range of organisations from government departments, private consulting, and NGOs, in Australia and in Colombia. Melissa is the current co-convenor of the ACBS Chapter and SIGs Committee, is a past treasurer of ANZ ACBS and a member of the Colombian Chapter of ACBS. She has presented at past ACBS World Conferences, and is a co-founding member of Prosocial Australia.

Melissa Schellekens

President-Elect, Farah Gulamoydeen

Farah Gulamoydeen is a clinical psychology graduate and has been working as a psychologist and trainer for 10 years. Her work experience has largely been in the Employee Assistance Program industry and has been in private practice for the past three years. Farah got to know about ACT when she moved to Perth from Malaysia in 2014 and started practicing ACT exclusively in her work from 2015 onward. Since then she has sought supervision, attended workshops and conferences at chapter and international level to increase her competency in ACT & RFT. She weaves ACT into mental health workshops she does for corporate companies and in her own capacity, runs ACT training workshops for mental health professionals in Malaysia.

Farah joined the board to live her values of contribution and making an impact. She loves all things CBS and wants to further its reach in the region.

Farah Gulamoydeen

Past President, Julie Grove

Julie Grove is a psychologist in private practice in the inner west of Sydney. She is a native West Australian and moved to Sydney after completing her degree at the University of WA in the early 90’s. She has worked in Aboriginal communities, adolescent community health, the drug and alcohol sector and tertiary student counselling. Julie discovered ACT in 2006 and felt like she’d found her professional/spiritual home. Since then she has attended many CBS conferences and thrown herself into contributing to the community in any way she can. She has previously served on the Board as a Member at large, the ACBS Membership Committee, and as Secretary for the ACT SIG of the Australian Psychological Society. Julie is passionate about training and supervising therapists and introducing them to the ACBS family. As well as her clinical work, she regularly runs workshops and supervises teams across a variety of sectors in using CBS approaches. Julie is thrilled to be joining the Board again and working with a team that is dedicated to furthering the work of CBS and making it accessible for all.

Julie Grove

Secretary, Michael Swadling

Michael Swadling is a clinical psychologist and registered supervisor, and currently works as Senior Advisor for Mental Wellbeing Initiatives at RMIT University. He has been the facilitator of the Melbourne Early Career ACT Therapist peer consultation group since 2015. He is one of the organisers of the Melbourne ACT in the Pub event series, and the 2021 ANZ ACBS Conference. His clinical work has focused on student counselling with areas of special interest in impostor syndrome, identity, and trauma. His past research focused on the wellbeing and burnout of psychologists and other human service professionals, and recently on university staff and student experiences of psychosocial safety climate, as well as role engagement and exhaustion.

Treasurer, Grant Dewar

Grant Dewar is a Work Health and Safety Advisor to the Australian Federal Government department Intellectual Property Australia, assisting in the implementation of  the Australian Public Sector Mental Health Framework.  He first came into contact with ANZ ACBS at its 2010 National Conference in Adelaide. He has presented papers and workshops at numerous national and international conferences

He has experience as a health worker, educator, health and safety and welfare adviser and a human resource professional and uses this experience to inform delivery of assistance to the needs of individuals, families and communities. Through this he is able to contribute to improvements in quality of life. He has completed a number of master’s degrees and a PHD which focussed on the benefits of self-forgiveness.  He works collaboratively with a wide range of people in the community to make a contribution to service delivery in business, health and community settings.

Member at Large, Justin Doran

Justin Doran is a Clinical Psychologist working in private practice in Crows Nest, Sydney.  He provides supervision to Intern Clinical Psychologists completing the Master of Clinical Psychology program at Macquarie University.  Justin also consults within the Voice Connection Clinic – a unique multidisciplinary team treating people with voice disorders.

Justin has been a member of the ANZ ACBS since 2016 and has attended ANZ ACBS conferences in Melbourne (2016) and Canberra (2020) and the ACBS World Conference in 2021.  Justin will be presenting a workshop titled ‘Working with Suicidal Clients: Rethinking Risk and Working Contextually’ at the ANZ ACBS 2021 conference.  Justin is passionate about applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) across a variety of settings, and introducing his supervisees to the house of functional contextualism.

Member at Large, Deborah Hart

Deborah has been a professional french horn player since 1985. She held a tenured  position in Orchestra Victoria from 1995 to 2011. She has also worked in the Opera  Australia Orchestra, the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Tasmanian  Symphony Orchestras. Deborah has also held contracts in musicals such as  Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and most recently Shrek the Musical.

Deborah spent two years in The Netherlands where the highlight of her career was  playing first horn with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra in the  Concertgebouw in Amsterdam for two weeks in performances that were broadcast  all over Europe.

Deborah has taught all levels of brass players from beginners at country primary  schools to The University of Melbourne, but Deborah has always been interested in  musical performance anxiety – trying to work out how to play your best during  auditions and on the concert platform, when stage fright inevitably shows up.

In 2010 Deborah was introduced to ACT as a client struggling with burnout and  stress, and since then has applied ACT to her own mental wellbeing as well as  performance anxiety. In 2014 Deborah began teaching ACT to other musicians,

some who have gone on to win at a number of auditions for professional orchestras  both in Australia and internationally.

After completing her Master of Counselling in 2016 Deborah began running  workshops and has presented at the Australian National Academy of Music, Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland Conservatoria, West Australian Academy of  Performing Arts, The University of Western Australia and Monash University as well  as secondary schools in Victoria. In 2020 was invited to Atlanta, USA to give a week  of workshops (COVID cancelled) and Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (upcoming). During COVID Deborah has delivered ACT for performance workshop to  Auckland University and University of Melbourne.

In 2019 she became an associate practitioner at ACT of Living, Melbourne’s dedicated Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Centre. At ACT of Living, Deborah sees clients who struggle with life direction, relationship issues, stress and worry.  She receives supervision from Dr Eric Morris, Tiffany Rochester and Julian McNally.

Deborah Hart

Member at Large, Toni Hanna

I am an Accredited Clinical Social Worker based in rural SA. I have been a therapist since 1995 and have worked in a wide range of locations and settings. I love a challenge and innovation, so have worked in rural and remote areas (some with the RFDS), set up new programs such as a Methadone clinic and a training program for workers in brief interventions for the SA Police Drug Diversion program, run a youth homeless centre, as well as being the clinical adviser to SA’s first Drug Court. I attended my first ACT training in 2009 and found its evidence and values-based approach a natural fit for me as a social worker. Since then I have attended many conferences, workshops, and online trainings in ACT. I also access peer and clinical supervision in ACT. I provide ACT therapy for those with anxiety, depression, trauma; as well as couples, and for people with ASD. I have a strong connection to indigenous Australians and have developed and run workshops with indigenous communities across SA. I currently have a private practice where I provide clinical ACT placements for final year social work students.

Toni Hanna

New Zealand Representative, Bruce Arroll

Bruce is a Professor of General Practice and Primary Health Care at the University of Auckland New Zealand, current Head of Department and a practising GP at Greenstone Family Clinic in Manurewa in South Auckland- an economically deprived suburb. He does regular general practice at that clinic. Also, he does special consultations using Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (FACT) for people who feel stuck in their lives by stress, pain or low energy. He does this work with his patients and those referred from his clinic colleagues and people outside of the clinic. He has many patients with diabetes who get improvements in their HBA1c results by attending to their psychosocial issues. He is also director of the Goodfellow Unit, writes the two weekly GEMs and researches non-drug treatments for mental health issues. He is also the Head of Department. In terms of publications, he has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

New Zealand Representative, Vin Allen

I work as a PhD student at the University of Auckland in the department of Psychological Medicine. My team and I are currently working on a project to develop digital tools to support the deliver of Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (fACT) in New Zealand primary care contexts. I’m a big fan of third-wave behavioural therapies such as ACT and fACT, and extending the use of these to solve population health problems is a primary focus of our research.

Mental health research is a bit of a passion of mine, and I feel very lucky to be able to make a living out of doing research in this area. I’ve always been passionate about the philosophy of Behaviourism, and it was B. F. Skinner’s Radical Behaviourism which initially sparked my interest in Relational Frame Theory, and subsequently Contextual Behavioural Sciences. These approaches underlie all of my research endeavours, and I’m rather keen to be a part of a community of fellow CBS researchers.

Student Representative, Lisa Mastin-Purcell

Lisa Mastin-Purcell is a Clinical PhD student with Swinburne University and a Research Assistant with  the CBS Lab at La Trobe University. Before undertaking psychology, Lisa spent 5 years working in  corporate Learning and Development – she loved helping people to learn but something was  missing. She wanted to help people to live more meaningful lives, to find the things they were  passionate about, the things that really matter to them. She first came across ACT in her undergraduate years and it resonated with her immediately. Lisa then had the opportunity in 2019 to undertake her honour thesis under the supervision of Eric Morris looking at the role of  Psychological Flexibility in sleep and that’s where her ACT journey really began. Since then she has become interested in both the research and applied sides of ACT, Psychological Flexibility and CBS.  This year, Lisa started her Clinical PhD looking at the role of Psychological Flexibility processes in  reward-related maladaptive behaviours, she also began her clinical training where she looks forward  to learning more about the clinical side of ACT.

Lisa Mastin-Purcell

The 2021-2022 board was elected by members in November 2021.

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