Meet Our Team

The University counselling team are here to help you sort out anything that is getting in the way of your life or study.

Welcome!  Contact us and our Admin team will assist you in getting connected with our counsellors. We have a diverse team with a range of skills and backgrounds. No issue is too small or too big for us. You can look at our biographies below and get to know us a little before coming in.

The best way to reach our counselling team is by phoning us (+61 8) 8313 5663, or if it is your first time seeing us then register here.

North Terrace counsellors

Click on a counsellor to find out more about them.

North Terrace admin staff 

Roseworthy team

Some counsellors from the North Terrace team also provide counselling at the Roseworthy campus.

Biographies are provided for counselling and triage staff.

  • Vicki McCoy

    Vicki McCoy

    I am a qualified social worker and I’ve worked in a range of settings for over thirty years; the last twenty-five years here at the University of Adelaide. 

    I have always had a passion for working with young people; adopting a person-centred, strength-based and solution-focussed approach to my work. I love working with the diverse client group we have at the University of Adelaide and I draw on a range of evidence-based therapies to meet each individual’s need. 

    During my first ten years at the university, I worked as an education and welfare officer within the Student Union. I then moved to Counselling Support as a counsellor, later taking up my current role as the service manager. Managing my diverse and very skilled team has allowed me to develop a new range of skills in relationship management, supervision, critical evaluation and change management. I enjoy working within a genuinely supportive and motivated team. 

    Outside of work I like to read, I love being in nature, travelling, spending time with my family, and being entertained by my chickens and cat when I garden.     

    Go to top

  • Greg Smith

    Greg Smith

    I am a psychologist who has worked for more than thirty years in a range of contexts, including running a private practice and lecturing counselling and psychotherapy at both at the University of Adelaide and UniSA.

    I believe in creating a safe, accepting counselling relationship in which people are helped to find their own solutions. Drawing upon a range of brief, empowering models of therapy, I’ve regularly worked with people having difficulties with depression, anxiety, the effects of trauma, relationship issues and family problems, as well as life crises of all kinds.

    In addition to being focused on helping people to overcome problems, I have an interest in positive psychology and Eastern approaches to health, wellbeing, and the links between mind, body and spirit. I have completed a doctorate on the topic of ‘Inspiration in Everyday Life’ and written a book on purposeful breathing.

    I am a qualified yoga teacher, so I also teach mindfulness and meditation classes through Student Life at this university.

    I love working at the university, helping students to overcome difficulties and achieve more of their potential.

    When not working, I love travel, beaches, food, wine, yoga, meditation and music.

    Go to top

  • Demi Giakoumis

    Demi Giakoumis

     

     

     

    Having worked with communities across Asia and Australia, including remote Aboriginal communities, rural areas, and urban environments, I bring a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of real-life experiences to my role as a counsellor. With a background in social science and human services, my previous area of expertise extends to working within the criminal justice system, homelessness sector, providing intensive family support, addressing family violence, and supporting people with exceptional needs.

    Adopting a collaborative, non-judgmental, and strength-based approach to therapy, I aim to empower students to overcome challenges and reach their goals. With my empathetic nature and knowledge of how mental health and childhood experiences intricately shape our lives, my goal is to offer a safe and supportive environment for students to work through barriers they are facing personally or academically.

    With a strong commitment to social justice and equality, I am passionate about supporting individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from different cultural origins who may face unique difficulties in the academic realm. I take great pride in offering comprehensive support, combining empathy, practical guidance, and a non-judgmental ear to assist students to find effective solutions and navigate their individual challenges.

    In addition to providing counselling services at the University and within Wirltu Yarlu, I maintain my professional development through ongoing post-graduate education in social work and strive to maintain a harmonious balance with my personal life and family.

     Go to top

  • Kellie Bozic

    Kellie Hodder

    I am a registered psychologist with a Master’s degree in health psychology. I have worked over the past ten years in a range of settings across Sydney and Adelaide, including Headspace, private practice, and inpatient services for those with eating disorders. I have published articles on the relationship between mothers’ and daughters’ food consumption, and the impact of body image in burns survivors.

    I understand that relationships and connection are fundamental to our quality of life. As such, in my role as a student counsellor, I aim to provide a relationship and a space where students can feel a sense of safety, calm and care when sharing their challenges with me. I work with a range of difficulties including anxiety, stress, depression, family and relationship issues, eating and body image concerns, perfectionism, and developmental trauma. I utilise a range of evidence-based therapies that are tailored to suit the individual needs of the person I’m working with.  

    In my spare time, you’ll find me cooking, eating out, reading, and spending time with my sassy daughter, my husband and our family and friends.

    Go to top

  • Leah Heath

    Leah Heath

    I am a passionate Social Worker with over 12 years’ experience in a variety of community and mental health settings. I am especially passionate about supporting marginalised groups to find success in life, and in their studies, and I relish the diversity of our student population. I always feel it is such a privilege to have someone come to me during times of vulnerability and hardship, regardless of the nature. This is a privilege I don’t take lightly; I aim to create a safe environment, free of judgement, and full of empathy, respect, genuineness, and humanness, where all experiences and feelings are welcome.

    I believe I am caring, supportive, and easy to relate to, and my goal is to collaborate with, and empower students to explore their own experiences, and feel more positivity, hope, and control over their lives. My practice is very adaptive, and I lean into CBT theory, ACT, Solution-Focussed, and Social Work theories such as Empowerment, Systems, Strength-Based and Cultural Humility.

    My experience is underpinned by lots of study – I have qualifications in Psychology, Counselling, Social Work and Education, so I can definitely relate to the pressures, challenges and competing demands that come with it!  And when I’m not at work, I’m trying to practice my own advice of prioritising balance and self-care. This means spending time with my dog, family and friends – usually outside, being active and going on random adventures.

    Go to top

  • Joanne McNamara

    Joanne McNamara

    My role at Counselling Support is a specialist position, dedicated to improving the university's responses to student disclosures of sexual harm, as well as enhancing prevention initiatives. I have a background in social work, psychology and family therapy, and I have been engaged in counselling and health promotion in both government and non-government settings for almost thirty years. This includes working in primary health (women’s health and sexual health) and also working for some periods in varied settings, such as education and research.

    I have a passion for working with diverse groups on cultural change and social justice issues, having worked both in Australia and overseas with communities who are most 'at risk' of poor health outcomes. My particular areas of expertise are sexual violence/trauma, relationships and sexuality. When working with these issues, I believe it is important to take an intersectional approach and analyse the impact of power and disadvantage.

    When I am not working, I am walking my dog, riding my bike around Adelaide and enjoying being with my family and friends. I have recently renovated my home and I’m still in the process of setting it up so it is liveable, which is keeping me very occupied.

    Go to top

  • Heather Hanks

    Heather Hanks

    I am an accredited social worker and have twenty years of counselling experience across public mental health, education, and private practice environments. This allows me to offer a depth of knowledge and understanding to support the breadth of human experience. I draw upon a wide selection of evidence-based therapeutic approaches; tailoring sessions to meet the needs, personalities, cultural context, and life experiences of the people I work with. I am interested in working with a diverse range of student issues, including anxiety, grief, depression, stress, relationship issues and fears, worries about sexuality, identity challenges, family issues and trauma.

    It can feel daunting to come and speak to someone you don’t know, especially about very personal concerns. I aim to create a warm, compassionate and calming space, free of judgement, in which students feel safe to talk through any challenges that are getting in the way of the life they want to lead. My intent in this environment is for students to find hope, along with some recognition that they do possess what it takes to direct their own lives.

    When I’m not counselling, I like to spend time cooking (and eating), reading, growing organic veggies, hiking, being anywhere near water, and spending as much time as I can with the people I love.

    Go to top

  • Stan Sarac

    Stan Sarac

    As a registered psychologist with extensive experience in mental health, I am dedicated to helping students overcome challenges that stand in the way of their personal and academic success. My background includes a focus on trauma and cross-cultural counselling, which has equipped me with the skills necessary to provide a safe and supportive environment for students. My ultimate goal is to facilitate a positive university experience that will shape students' lives for years to come.

    I am known for being easy to talk to, caring, and results-oriented. I believe in the importance of active listening, empathy, and a collaborative approach in helping students achieve their goals. Whether it is through individual counselling sessions or group training workshops, I strive to create a safe space where students can explore their thoughts and feelings and develop the skills they need to succeed.

    In addition to traditional counselling services, I am also available to provide training workshops, such as Mental Health First Aid. Through these workshops, I aim to educate and empower students to take an active role in their own mental health and well-being. I believe that by providing the right tools and resources, students can achieve their full potential and enjoy a happy and fulfilling university experience.

    Go to top

  • Jacintha Power

    Jacintha power

    I am an accredited mental health social worker and I have been working in the primary and mental health sector for the past fifteen years. My professional experience has led me to work in a broad range of areas, in particular but not limited to domestic and family violence, youth mental health, relationship difficulties, psychosis, women’s health and LGBTIQ issues.

    I use a range of therapeutic approaches which vary according to what works best for the person I am seeing. This flexibility is grounded in my value of meeting people where they are at right now; acknowledging we are largely just humans trying to find connection and some meaning in life. I believe knowledge is power and I’m passionate about exploring a greater understanding of the mind with all its mysteries.

    When I’m not at work, I’m home spending time with my family. This typically involves listening to music round the clock while my son and spouse enjoy (hopefully) my very amateur ukulele skills.

    Go to top

  • Jacqui Liu

    Jacqui Liu

    I am a qualified social worker with a deep passion for social justice, and work experience across education settings, rural/remote community health, and domestic violence services. While my specialty is to support survivors who have experienced domestic and/or family violence, and/or sexual violence through case management and trauma counselling, my practice has also included experience in broad mental health support, palliative care counselling, and working with groups. I have worked with a broad diversity of population, including children, youth, elderly, people who live with disabilities, people who are from different cultural and language backgrounds, and refugees. I utilise various evidence-based approaches in my practice. Using narrative therapy as a main approach, my practice is also influenced by polyvagal theory, sensorimotor psychotherapy, and the neurobiology of safety. I always focus on an individual’s needs and situation to tailor my approach so they can feel understood and heard, therefore feeling safe to explore their own way forward to the place they want to be.

    I am dedicated to empowering and supporting our students to address their needs across a broad range of varieties, while I always hold a strong interest in working to prevent gender-based violence and promoting healthy relationships. In addition, my ongoing interest is supporting complex trauma survivors through evidence-based therapies in healing.

    In my personal world, I do enjoy gardening, cooking, reading, listening to music (classic, pop, jazz). If I get some luxury spare time, you may find me in a swimming pool or belly dancing with a group of beautiful women.

    Go to top

  • Jessica Robinson

    Jessica Robinson

    I am an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and have worked for over 10 years in a range of settings, including counselling with young people at headspace, early intervention support, and helping people with longer term mental health difficulties. I am especially interested in helping students work through anxiety, perfectionism, relationship challenges, worries about sexuality or your body, psychosis, and power imbalances or oppression. I have worked extensively with the LGBTIQ community, as well as people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

    I aim to provide a judgement-free, compassionate space where all feelings and experiences are welcome, and my goal is to help students feel more hopeful and in control of their lives. I do this using ACT, Self-Compassion Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, DBT, and a number of social work theories including systems, feminist theory, attachment theory, and cultural humility.

    I read a lot of books, and recently I made the strange decision to complete some further postgrad study “just for fun” – so I understand the pressures of fitting in studies around a busy life! I also enjoy hiking, being at the beach, hanging with family, and exploring new music and food.

    Go to top

  • Soomedha Khanna

    Soomedha Khanna

    As a registered lawyer in India and a holder of a master's degree in Social Work, I have gained experience working with various housing and homelessness organisations across Melbourne. My work has involved supporting individuals with a wide range of needs, including those experiencing primary homelessness, at risk of homelessness, affected by family violence, struggling with complex mental health issues, newly arrived immigrants (such as asylum seekers or refugees), and international students seeking support. Throughout my career, I have worked collaboratively with my clients, helping them liaise with courts, hospitals, government services, and other agencies as part of my social justice approach to social work.

    I am aware that many social factors can impact our life experiences. In my role as a Triage and Assessment Advisor, my goal is to create a safe and empathetic environment for students, where they can feel understood, supported, and validated. My work is guided by principles of social justice and professional integrity, and I draw on a range of theoretical frameworks, such as person-centered, biopsychosocial, strength-based, and critical social work theories.

    In my free time, I enjoy cooking, spending quality time with my loved ones, and exploring new places.

    Go to top

  • Catherine Leahy

    Catherine image

    My background is somewhat diverse as I’ve explored many interests and my qualifications have provided me with numerous perspectives to draw on in my practice (including visual arts, computer programming and database systems, music composition and electronic music, psychology, social work, and a PhD on the topic of tertiary student and young adult mental health behaviours). I have worked in a variety of discipline areas with a significant portion in the university sector in both professional and academic roles. But it is in Counselling Support that I’ve found an area that really allows me to blend a lot of my experience so that I can creatively assist people address issues of concern and support them to obtain skills to confidently manage their lives.

    As someone who is an avid world and local traveller, I am very curious about cultural differences and the subtleties of interactions and how to navigate these in different contexts. I also love helping people around study management issues, supervisory relationships, performance anxiety (something I had to manage in my music career and as a research academic) and identity exploration. I've worked at Counselling Support for 10 years and I have a good working knowledge of the academic sector and how it is impacted by the variety of problems that students experience when these worlds meet.

    I look forward to meeting, and being amazed by the students who come to our university, their innate skills, interests and determination. It will be a privilege to work with you and assist you to move towards your goals. 

    Go to top

  • Sally Polkinghorne

    Sally Polkinghorne Roseworthy Student Support and Disability Advisor

    Sally's bio is coming soon!

    Go to top

  • Li Li

    Li Li

    I started my career as a university lecturer in Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies and not surprisingly, have always had a natural affinity with young people and the university environment.  During the 9 years’ academic work, my special interest in mythology led me to focused study on Jung’s collective unconscious and archetypes, which further led to acquisition of the knowledge in depth psychology and human development in general.  My 15 years’ social work clinical practice has provided me with a rich ground for learning from the real-life, disadvantaged and vulnerable people and for applying the knowledge and skills I have acquired to facilitate people’s searching for the meanings of life.

    My past work experiences include working with people with dementia and mental illnesses from 39 cultural backgrounds; working in palliative care with people with terminal illnesses; working in Adelaide northern regions with automotive workers (in Holden and its supply chain companies), who were affected by the national closure of the automotive manufacturing industry in Australia in 2017.  My last role was in the palliative care peak body, Palliative Care SA, as the state manager for an education program designed for health professionals (doctors, nurses, & allied health clinicians).  

    In my spare time, I read, walk in the hills, learn to garden, and practise calligraphy.

    Go to top

  • Kylie Millington-Zavadil

    Kyle Millington-Zavadil

    I am a qualified Social Worker who has worked across several sectors in community services. My work has enabled me to support individuals who have experienced domestic and/or family violence, sexual assault, as well as those suffering from grief and loss, or suffering complex mental health.

    In my career I have always made decisions on the basis of a holistic assessment of the needs, strengths, goals and preferences of the individuals I work with. I have worked with many services in collaboration to help provide options for clients, whilst also providing them with support to liaise with services themselves and be empowered by the process and decision making.

    I know that there are many influences or circumstances that can impact our life and potential outcomes for our lives. In my role as a Triage Assessment Advisor, I hope that I can provide a safe space for students to share their journey, to feel supported, validated and empowered. My work is guided by Trauma Informed practice, Systems Theory approaches, Strength and Empowerment approaches, along with social justice principles.

    In my free time, I love spending time with my family and friends, watching my favourite sport teams and getting out into nature. 

    Go to top

  • Lisa Nguyen

    Lisa Nguyen

    I am an accredited Mental Health Social Worker who is passionate about helping individuals achieve their optimal mental wellbeing. I worked for non-government organisations who specialised in mental health for the past four years. I worked with individuals who have had a variety of personal, and mental health issues including emotion dysregulation, complex trauma, depression, stress, anxiety, interpersonal conflict, bullying, procrastination, LGBTIQ issues and excessive screen time use. I also worked with individuals and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with a particular focus on prevention of homelessness, family conflict, disengagement with education, training and gaining employment.

     As a Student Counsellor, I aim to create a safe, supportive and non-judgemental space for all individuals. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about everyone’s backgrounds and life experiences. I provide a client-centred, trauma informed and culturally sensitive approach. I have specialised training in many evidence-based therapeutic interventions including, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Skills Training, Single Session Thinking and Single Session Family Therapy, Crisis Intervention and General Supportive Counselling.

     I am fluent in English and Vietnamese. In my spare time, I like to go on adventures, travel to new places, try new foods, gardening, explore the outdoors, and catch up with friends and family.

    Go to top