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 s 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.
President Elect, Melissa Schellekens
Melissa Schellekens is a phD candidate at the Institute of Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney. She is supervised by Professor Joseph Ciarrochi and Dr Baljinder Sahdra and is investigating interventions that facilitate youth reengagement with school and prevent drop-out. She holds a masters in positive psychology from the University of East London and holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Melbourne. She spent 7 years in Bogota, Colombia, doing individual wellbeing coaching and group facilitation. She also ran workshops drawing on principles of ACT with a local Colombian NGO that supports internally displaced youth and their families, ex-child soldiers and other victims associated with the internal conflict in Colombia. She has developed training materials and workshops for professionals that work with these groups. Melissa is also an artist drawing heavily on mindfulness in the creative process. She lives in Wollongong NSW with her husband and two kids.
Past President, Daniel Simsion
Dr Daniel Simsion is a clinical psychologist with the Victorian government specialist forensic mental health service, Forensicare. 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’s professional home has been with the ACBS and he has focused particularly on 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, involvement in the development of a student ACT study day and previously serving on the Board as secretary.
You can contact Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary, Andrew Duirs
Andrew Duirs has been working as a counsellor and psychologist for over 25 years. He has worked in schools, corrections, addictions, refugee and asylum seeker services and a number of universities in New Zealand, China and Australia. He has both a counselling and community psychology background and currently manages the student counselling service at the University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle). Andrew’s interest in ACT began about 6 years ago and he is passionate about how ACT and RFT processes have positively impacted counselling outcomes and improved his enjoyment and satisfaction as a clinician. Andrew has enjoyed discovering the ACBS community and is an organising member of the ANZACBS (WA) community, committed to training and supporting ACT practitioners and promoting the work of ACBS in Western Australia. Andrew is passionate about working with young people. He runs ACT groups for tertiary students and men. He provides workshops promoting the processes of psychological flexibility for thriving at university, at work and in relationships. Andrew is an LGBTIQ+ Ally and provides LGBTIQ+ Ally training. He has a strong social justice interest and works closely with marginalised community groups
Treasurer, 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.
Member at Large, Shelley Viskovich
Shelley Viskovich is a Researcher, Tutor, Research Assistant, and Clinical Master’s student passionate about using ACT to enhance the lives of others. Shelley has over ten years of clinical experience working as a psychotherapist/counsellor and her love of learning and mastery led to her undertake a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology after the birth of her first child. After falling in love with research during honours, Shelley was awarded a PhD (supervised by Kenneth Pakenham), obtained this year from University of Queensland (UQ), for the development of an online mental health promotion program, called YOLO, which aimed to teach students mental health skills using an ACT framework.
UQ are offering YOLO as a mental health resource on their wellbeing page, as well as marketing it for the student body to use so it can be further evaluated over the next 12 months. In addition, further projects are also planned for 2020, including its translation into Italian for evaluation with young carers (Giulia Landi, University of Bologna) and for individuals with subthreshold Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder (Emma Thompson, Monash PhD student).
Shelley has presented her published research at two ANZ ACBS conferences (2016 and 2019) and the international ACBS conference held in Montreal (2018). Shelley has also attended other ACT workshops and courses, and will continue to do so, in order to live her passion for learning and mastery of working within an ACT context, both through research and clinically.
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.
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.
New Zealand Representative, Karen Hielkema
Karen Heikelma is a psychologist practicing in Auckland. She splits her time between working for a public health organization, private practice, and being mum to her 2 daughters and 4 cats. She is also on the board of a charitable organization working with survivors of family violence.
Karen was introduced to ACT and ACBS during her internship and quickly moved towards ACT as a modality and has never looked back! She has been working with ACT in primary health brief intervention, group work, and in longer term therapy in her private practice and uses ACT with youth extensively. She has also supervised student and intern psychologists on their journey to becoming ACT practitioners.
Karen has a special interest in working with teenagers, alongside working with diversity. Karen has strong values around personal and social growth, inclusiveness, collaboration, and social equity which links to her keen interest in expanding ACT availability to New Zealanders in CBS; to grow and develop strong resources and increasing variety within New Zealand to make our mark as the small country with the big voice in the CBS world.
New Zealand Representative, Elizabeth Maher
I am a Behavioural Therapist and a Registered Mental Health Nurse. I completed my Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy training at the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in London. I was introduced to ACT in 2002 in my then role as a Nurse Psychotherapist in a Intensive Behavioural Therapy Service for Anxiety Disorders.
I have continued to practise ACT since than, learning and developing skills by attending workshops and conferences.
I currently work in private practice and facilitate ACT training workshops across New Zealand.
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.
The 2020-2021 board was elected by members in November 2020.