Our staff have complementary skills and experience in research, clinical treatment, policy, service development, education and communication.


Our people include clinically trained researchers and specialist psychologists, who are supported by our professional services team. Our specialist practitioners maintain their clinical skills in their private psychology and psychiatry practices.


Professor David Forbes

BA (Hons) MA (Clin Psych) PhD


Professor David Forbes is the Director of Phoenix Australia, and Deputy Head, Department of Psychiatry, the University of Melbourne. David is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems following trauma, and he has worked in both acute crisis and continuing care settings across the community mental health system and in specialist traumatic stress services. David is an international expert in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military mental health, with strong national and international links with other researchers and experts in the field. He was Chair of the Working Party for the inaugural National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in 2007, co-chair of the steering group for the revised Guidelines in 2013, and he is also the Vice Chair of the international PTSD Guidelines Committee developed by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). David has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and sits on the editorial boards of leading international journals. He has been awarded in excess of $8.5 million in competitive research grants, and more than $16.4 million in research translation grants. David is a member of many advisory committees for governments and other organisations, including the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, and the Australian Psychological Society. He has a strong track record in leading initiatives to improve outcomes for people affected by trauma through the translation of research into effective policy and practice. David is a passionate advocate for the use of evidence-based responses following trauma in order to reduce the mental health effects on survivors, their families and communities.

Associate Professor Andrea Phelps

BA (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Deputy Director

Associate Professor Andrea Phelps is the Deputy Director of Phoenix Australia. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in treating posttraumatic mental health problems. Andrea has led a number of major Phoenix Australia projects including the development of the Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (2007, 2013).  She was also the executive lead on the Trauma and Homelessness Consortium project, which developed a framework and practitioner workbook for trauma-informed care in homelessness populations. Andrea has consulted to a range of industry partners and government on research, service development and policy issues regarding organisational responses to psychological trauma. Industry partners include Tracksafe Foundation, state rail organisations, state police, fire and ambulance services; Government departments include Veterans’ Affairs, Defence, Health and Human Services, Australian Border Force, and Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Andrea has also led research into innovative treatments for trauma populations, including the evaluation of an online early intervention “wellbeing toolbox” for military personnel with adjustment and subclinical problems, and imagery rehearsal therapy for posttraumatic nightmares.

Greg Ridder

BBus (Acc) GradDip (Mktg) GAICD CPA

Senior Corporate Services Manager

Greg joined Phoenix Australia in September 2012 as interim CEO. His role has evolved as Phoenix Australia’s needs have changed, and he is currently Senior Corporate Services Manager and a Director of Phoenix Australia. Greg is an experienced business and strategy advisor, with a strong business background in strategy, finance, and general management both in Australia and Asia, having previously been President of NYSE listed packaging company Owens Illinois’ Asia Pacific regional operations. He is an Associate Director at strategy consultants, Bevington Group; serves on the Business Advisory Councils of World Vision Australia and Greenfleet; and is a mentor at Kilfinan Australia. Greg is a past president of the Packaging Council of Australia, a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a CPA.

Professor Meaghan O’Donnell

BAppSci BSci (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Head, Research

Professor Meaghan O’Donnell completed her postgraduate clinical psychology training at the University of Western Australia and her PhD at the University of Melbourne (under the supervision of Professor Mark Creamer). Meaghan has published widely in the area of posttraumatic mental health, holds a number of large research grants, and is involved in both national and international research collaborations. She is Immediate Past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), and is on the editorial board of the European Journal of Psychotraumatology. Meaghan is involved in a number of research projects that encompass a range of areas including epidemiology, phenomenology, intervention, and biology of posttraumatic mental health, and the mental health issues in military and veteran populations. She has been a recipient of the prestigious Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellowship to foster research collaborations in Germany.

Associate Professor Darryl Wade

BA (Hons) MA (Clin Psych) PhD

Head, Policy and Practice

Associate Professor Darryl Wade is a clinical psychologist with many years’ experience in a diverse range of mental health settings. At Phoenix Australia, he has led numerous initiatives to improve the mental health practices of primary care, specialist and other practitioners working with military, veteran, emergency service, health and general populations, and has worked closely with the Commonwealth and state governments including the Commonwealth Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, Defence, and Health, as well as professional and community organisations. He has published widely on posttraumatic, disaster, and youth mental health issues including controlled trials testing novel psychological interventions, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and the evaluation of policy and practice initiatives.

Dr John Cooper


Consultant Psychiatrist

John Cooper is a Consultant Psychiatrist who has worked part time at Phoenix Australia since 1999, providing psychiatry expertise across the policy and service development, training and education, and research domains. During this same period, John has held senior clinical and advisory positions in posttraumatic mental health at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS), as well as maintaining a busy private practice specialising in the treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems. John’s particular expertise is in veterans’ mental health, assessment, pharmacotherapy, and service development. Recently, John has moved much of his clinical work into youth and community clinical settings where high rates of posttraumatic mental health disorders impact upon all aspects of patient care.


Jane Nursey

BBSc Grad Dip Child & Adol Psych MPsych (Clin Neuro)

Director, Centenary of Anzac Centre Practitioner Support Service

With 25 years’ experience as a clinician and manager/director of programs and services in the public hospital acute and mental health sectors, across the lifespan, Jane brings a wealth of experience to her role at Phoenix Australia. Her clinical experience includes delivering evidence-based assessment, clinical treatment and secondary consultation to sufferers of trauma-related mental health disorders including children, adolescents, veterans, current serving members of the defence force, police and other emergency service personnel and disaster survivors. She has also worked in the alcohol and drug, traumatic brain injury, aged care and developmental disability sectors. Jane is an experienced trainer, developing and facilitating training workshops to health professionals on evidence-based neuropsychological and clinical assessments and treatments for trauma-related mental health disorders, as well educational workshops on trauma response and recovery. Since joining Phoenix Australia, Jane has led and contributed to a range of service development and training and research projects that focus on translating evidence into practice, improving community and industry’s knowledge of and capacity to manage the impact of traumatic events, and enhancing the capacity of mental health practitioners to deliver evidence-based treatments. Jane’s training in Clinical Neuropsychology and Developmental Psychology fuel her research interests in exploring the neurobiological and neuropsychological aspects of trauma and exploring innovative treatments that help to improve the clinical and cognitive symptoms of PTSD.

Dr Richard Cash

BA (Hons) PsyD

Director, Education and Training

Richard is a psychologist with experience in the treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems within the veteran community, and was previously the Deputy Director of the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service in Victoria. He has worked extensively in the alcohol and drug sector in clinical service and research roles. He is an experienced trainer and is passionate about championing evidence-based interventions within allied health. At Phoenix Australia, Richard is the Director of Education and Training, with responsibility for the development and delivery of training programs to a broad range of professionals, organisations and sectors. Richard is also involved in policy and service development consultancy and the development of digital mental health resources.

Anne-Laure Couineau

BA (Psych) MA (Psych) Grad Dip (Psych)

Director, Policy and Service Development

Anne-Laure is a psychologist with extensive experience in the treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems in hospital and community settings. She has specialised in the treatment of war veterans and emergency personnel diagnosed with PTSD and the effects of long-term childhood sexual abuse and neglect. Anne-Laure has a strong background in education and knowledge translation and has led several projects aimed at improving the uptake of evidence-based practice among mental health practitioners. Recent projects led by Anne-Laure include a Department of Veterans’ Affairs national training initiative to up-skill mental health practitioners, and an ADF national training program. Anne-Laure has also completed a fellowship with the National Institute of Clinical Studies focusing on the implementation of evidence-based treatment of PTSD.

Nicole Sadler

MPsych (Clin)

Director, Military and High Risk Organisations

Through her 23-year career as a full-time Army psychology officer, Nicole has developed considerable expertise in military mental health, including in the issues and challenges for serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families, and the systems and services to improve and maintain mental health and wellbeing within high risk populations. Nicole has worked in psychology service provision, training, research, policy development and strategic planning, and has deployed in support of numerous Australian Defence Force operations. She held the senior psychology position within the Australian Army from August 2012 to January 2017. Nicole continues to serve as a Colonel in the Army Reserves and she is one of the Defence investigators on the joint Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme. She is currently completing a PhD.


Renée Armstrong

BA (Hons) PGDip (Psych)

Research Assistant

Renée joined Phoenix Australia in 2012 on the Trauma and Homelessness Initiative (THI) project both as a Research Assistant and a PhD candidate. Her PhD is investigating Complex PTSD. Prior to her degree in Psychology, Renée was a case manager in the homeless sector for seven years. At Phoenix Australia, she works on the clinical data collection project for DVA-funded Trauma Recovery Programmes.

Dr Katherine Chisholm (On leave)

BA (Hons) DPsych (Health)

Research Fellow I

Katherine is a psychologist and has completed a DPsych (Health) at Deakin University. She has clinical experience working with traumatic injury survivors. Katherine’s research interests extend to this area at Phoenix Australia, where she currently works on an NHMRC-funded randomised controlled trial in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital. This trial aims to evaluate the efficacy of a transdiagnostic therapeutic approach for people who have experienced anxiety, depression or posttraumatic stress following traumatic injury.

Dr Sean Cowlishaw

BA (Psych) (Hons) PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Sean completed his PhD at La Trobe University in 2009, which addressed the impacts of occupational and traumatic stressors on families of volunteer emergency service workers. He has held positions at Monash University and Lancaster University (UK), and most recently within the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol. Sean has expertise in gambling problems and addictive behaviours, including treatments and comorbidities, early identification and interventions, as well as industry influences on research and policy. He has further interests in family dynamics and posttraumatic stress, as well as organisational and health services (e.g., primary care) research. Sean has methodological expertise incorporating experimental and observational designs (cross-sectional, prospective and multi-informant methodologies), and with advanced statistical analyses of primary and secondary data sources. Sean is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol.

Tilly Crozier

BBSc PGDipPsych MPsych (Clin)

Senior Clinical Specialist

Tilly is a clinical psychologist with over seven years’ experience using evidence-based strategies with young people and adults experiencing trauma-related mental health difficulties, including posttraumatic stress disorder. Previously, she worked in research examining how people cope emotionally and psychologically following a traumatic event. Tilly has worked extensively with high risk industries and services, supporting people affected by exposure to trauma, including veterans, Defence Force personnel, emergency service workers, staff in forensic settings, and others. Tilly’s experience in applying leading edge research in a delivery context is one the strengths she brings to her role at Phoenix Australia, where she is involved in the development and delivery of education, training, service development and project activities.

Dr Lisa Dell

BAppSci (Hons) PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Lisa joined Phoenix Australia in 2009, having previously worked as Director of Training with the Canadian Air Force managing a range of projects including the development of a comprehensive e-learning training program. She has a PhD in stress management and emotional intelligence, and developed one of the first Australian workplace emotional intelligence training programs. In her role as a Research Fellow, Lisa is responsible for the design, implementation and oversight of a range of policy and service development projects and evaluations.

Dr Julia Fredrickson

BSci (Hons) DPsych (Health)

Clinical Research Specialist

Julia is a psychologist with a background in cognitive and health psychology, and over nine years of research experience. She previously worked in a clinical setting, assessing and treating individuals who had experienced a traumatic event in their workplace. Julia is experienced in conducting literature reviews, statistical analysis, and preparing research for publication. She has a particular interest in translating evidence to practice. At Phoenix Australia, Julia is involved in projects in the area of veteran mental health.

Kari Gibson

BA (Hons) MPsych (Clin)

Research Assistant

Kari is a provisional psychologist with a background in international development and refugee health. She previously worked in a clinical setting, assessing and treating individuals from refugee and asylum seeking background who had experienced torture or trauma prior to resettling in Australia. Kari is completing a combined Masters of Clinical Psychology and PhD program at the University of Melbourne. Her PhD examines the intersections of climate change and psychological distress in the South Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu. Kari has experience conducting narrative literature reviews, rapid evidence assessments, clinical research assessments, statistical and qualitative analyses, and preparing research for publication.

Alexandra Howard

BPsych (Hons) MPsych (Clin)

Senior Clinical Specialist

Alexandra joined Phoenix Australia in 2010, having worked previously as a clinical psychologist in the private, public and university sectors. In these roles she specialised in anxiety and youth mental health, and developed and facilitated group therapy programs. She also has experience in project management of clinical research trials and community health service program evaluation. She completed her Masters of Psychology (Clinical) from the University of NSW. Alexandra is currently working for Phoenix Australia on a research project providing psychological therapy to people who have experienced posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety following trauma.

Dr Dzenana Kartal

BSocSc PGDip (Psych) PhD

Research Specialist

Dzenana has over 15 years’ experience working in public and university mental health research specialising in posttraumatic mental health problems among refugees and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She completed her PhD investigating the influence of war-related traumatic exposure, acculturative stress, and acculturation on the mental health of long-term resettled refugees in Australia and Austria. At Phoenix Australia, Dzenana specialises in mental health service delivery and research including implementation and evaluation of evidence-based treatments and knowledge translation.

Dr Holly Knight

BA MA PhD (Clinical Psychology)

Clinical Research Specialist

Holly is a clinical psychologist with a background in health psychology. She has previously worked in clinical settings, assessing and treating a range of mental health conditions, including work with veterans with complex PTSD. Holly’s current work at Phoenix Australia involves projects promoting veteran mental health awareness, prevention, and treatment. She has a broad range of research interests, including trialling treatment approaches to military trauma and the interaction between trauma and health outcomes.

Dr Winnie Lau

BBSC (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Senior Clinical Research Specialist

Winnie is a psychologist who has worked across academic, clinical and community settings. Having spent much time in the public child and adolescent mental health sector, she joined Phoenix Australia to work as a clinical specialist and project manager. Winnie has been involved in projects investigating the impact of trauma on injury survivors; the development of a treatment manual for use in the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires; and clinical intervention trials for traumatic injury patients. She has broad interests in trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapies, child and adolescent mental health, refugee trauma, complex trauma, and trauma-informed care.

Dr Paulina Mech

BPsySc PGDip (Psych) DPsych (Health)

Research Fellow

Paulina has a background in health psychology and chronic health. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia, Paulina completed a Doctor of Psychology (Health) at Deakin University and has clinical experience working in oncology and disability. She also has research experience in conducting literature reviews, statistical analysis, and preparing research for publication. Paulina is passionate about prevention and early intervention of psychological disorders and chronic/lifestyle diseases. At Phoenix Australia, she is involved in the Centenary of Anzac Centre’s Practitioner Support Service.

Dr Olivia Metcalf

BA BSc (Hons) PhD

Clinical Research Specialist

Olivia has a background in cognitive and experimental psychology, as well as training in science communication. She is passionate about translating research findings to a wide audience, including trauma professionals and the general public. Olivia’s work at Phoenix Australia involves educating mental health professionals about the unique experiences of military and veteran populations and synthesising best-practice research for the treatment of mental health conditions resulting from trauma.

Dr Kim Murray

BSc (Hons) DClinPsy

Clinical Research Specialist

Kim trained in the UK as a clinical psychologist. Prior to working at Phoenix Australia, he worked in public mental health services in the UK and conducted research into the mental health and psychosocial impacts of modern slavery in Nepal. At Phoenix Australia Kim is involved in clinical research and service development projects. Kim’s broad interests are in global and refugee mental health, mindfulness-based approaches, and trauma-focussed clinical research.

Amanda Pearce

BPsych (Hons)

Research Assistant

Amanda completed her undergraduate studies in Adelaide and has since gained experience working in injury management and clinical research, in areas such as mental health following traumatic injury and assisting with rehabilitation and return to work. She is currently completing her Clinical Masters in Psychology with a particular interest in posttraumatic stress and health psychology. At Phoenix Australia, Amanda works as a Research Assistant on the SPRITE trial in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne and Alfred hospitals, evaluating a transdiagnostic therapy for traumatic injury survivors. Amanda’s Master’s thesis explores the relationship between PTSD, chronic pain, and sleep following traumatic injury.

Dr Andrea Putica

BAppPsych, PostGradDipPsych, MPsych(Clin), DClinPsych

Outreach Clinical Psychologist & Research Assistant

Andrea has over 10 years’ experience in various clinical settings and has extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems following trauma in acute, community, and private settings. At Phoenix Australia she is an outreach clinical psychologist on the SPRITE trial (Screening and Promoting Recovery after Injury by Treating Early), and research assistant helping design evidence-based training packages for public and private sector organisations.

Dr Naomi Ralph

BAppSc (Hons) PhD

Research Fellow I

Naomi has worked as a Research Fellow at Phoenix Australia since 2013. Her particular interest is in the area of Aboriginal trauma and healing in Australia. Naomi lived and worked for a number of years in the Kimberley region of Western Australia while undertaking her PhD which looked at the influence of trauma on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adolescents in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, in particular in relation to posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide. Naomi completed her PhD thesis in 2010.

Alyssa Sbisa

BAppSocSc (Counselling) (Hons) GDip (Psych) PhD

Research Assistant

Alyssa is a mental health researcher with a background in psychology and behavioural neuroscience. She has previously worked in clinical settings, counselling and assessing victims of crime, drink-drivers, and high-risk individuals. Alyssa is experienced in conducting literature reviews, statistical analyses, and publication of research, and has broad interests in sexual and military-related trauma. At Phoenix Australia, Alyssa is involved in the RESTORE trial, investigating intensive delivery of prolonged exposure therapy for military personnel and veterans with PTSD.

Anu Shrikhande

BA (Psych) PGDip (Psych)

Research Assistant

Anu is a Master of Psychology (Clinical) student at the University of Melbourne. She completed her undergraduate and fourth year psychology study in India and New Zealand. She has clinical exposure in areas of older adult psychiatry assessment and treatment, and trauma following invasive medical treatments in young children. At Phoenix Australia, Anu works as a Research Assistant on the SPRITE trial (Screening and Promoting Recovery after Injury by Treating Early), that is run in collaboration with the Alfred Hospital, evaluating a transdiagnostic therapy for traumatic injury survivors.

Dr Sonia Terhaag

BA (Hons) PhD

Research Fellow I

Sonia completed her PhD in 2017 at Phoenix Australia and the University of Melbourne on psychological and social contributors to mental health outcomes after burn injury. Her role as a Research Fellow includes working across various clinical research projects with military personnel, emergency services, and other high-risk organisations. She is project manager of the SPRITE trial (Screening and Promoting Recovery after Injury by Treating Early) in collaboration with the Alfred Hospital to evaluate transdiagnostic therapy after traumatic injury. Sonia is experienced in conducting literature reviews, protocol development, statistical analyses and writing technical reports and research articles.

Dr Tracey Varker

BSc (Hons) PGDip (Statistics) PhD

Senior Research Specialist

Tracey has over 12 years’ experience in posttraumatic mental health, and has worked with emergency services and military personnel, traumatic injury patients, and survivors of disaster, including the 2009 Victorian bushfires. She is a trial methodology expert, having worked on and consulted to, a number of prevention and intervention trials. Tracey is also an expert in evidence synthesis and is experienced in review methodologies including rapid evidence assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, as well as general literature reviews. She is experienced in working with clients to develop reviews that best suit their needs and has published systematic reviews and papers on review methodology. Tracey has published over 35 articles on posttraumatic mental health and has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Loretta Watson

BBus (Acc) GDipPsychAdv

Research Assistant

Loretta is a PhD candidate and Research Assistant. Prior to completing her psychology undergraduate studies she was a Certified Practicing Accountant and worked for many years as a Financial Controller in the hospitality industry. At Phoenix Australia, Loretta is involved in a wide variety of projects in such areas as police and veteran mental health, and workplace violence. Her PhD is on promoting healthy ageing in Australian Vietnam Veterans.


Lilian Ferguson

Receptionist/Office Administrator

Lilian is an experienced administration and audit professional,  with experience in the financial services industry. She is skilled in customer service and communication. At Phoenix Australia Lilian provides administrative support, and responds to telephone and email enquiries. She has an Advanced Diploma focused in Advertising from RMIT University.

Suzie Firth

Centre Manager

As Centre Manager, Suzie is responsible for managing human resources and organisational administration as well as resources and facilities for Phoenix Australia’s Carlton and Royal Park campuses. Suzie has extensive experience in team leadership and providing high level executive support to Directors, C-Suite level executives and Boards.

Jaiganesh G Swamy


Financial Accountant

Jaiganesh joined Phoenix Australia in 2009, having worked with a number of accounting professionals for many years. He has previously worked in another area of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Psychiatry as Accounts Officer. Jaiganesh is responsible for managing Phoenix Australia’s day-to-day finances, year-end audit, project support and other administration-related work.

Maria Humphries

Communications Manager

Maria is responsible for managing Phoenix Australia’s communications, marketing and brand. She oversaw the organisation’s recent renaming and brand identity development, as well as the redevelopment of the website. Maria is a skilful writer and editor, with a keen eye for detail. She provides high level support and advice to senior staff and projects. She has considerable experience in administration of post-graduate training and in project administration, and she manages Phoenix Australia’s nation-wide training programs.

Lee Merzel

Executive Assistant

With a passion for front line service delivery, a commitment to continuous improvement and an eagle eye for detail, Lee has built an enviable reputation in executive support. She is Executive Assistant to Professor David Forbes and Dr Andrea Phelps and also provides secretariat support to the Board of Management and the Finance & Risk Committee. Lee’s career has included experience in the disciplines of human resources, corporate and external affairs, and investor relations. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia Lee and her husband operated a boutique professional services firm.

Daniel Redman

Information Technology Officer

Dan joined Phoenix Australia in 2011 and has more than 10 years’ experience in all areas of information technology support and management. At Phoenix Australia, he is responsible for managing the IT network and systems and providing IT support to the whole team.

Rebecca Sheehan

Business Services Officer

Rebecca began working as Phoenix Australia’s receptionist in 2011. She has considerable experience in reception and administration, mainly in the real estate sector. Rebecca’s role is to provide general assistance, administrative support and respond to telephone and email enquiries.



Professor Mark Creamer

Professor Richard Bryant

Associate Professor Virginia Lewis

Associate Professor Reg Nixon

Dr Peter Elliott

Dr Lynda Matthews