Our Team

At The Hummingbird Centre we have a team of world class Psychologists and Social Workers who are passionate about their jobs.

Dr Rickie Elliott

Dr Rickie Elliott

Clinical Psychologist and Director

Rickie is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of The Hummingbird Centre, with over 15 years of  training and experience in assessing and treating a wide variety of adult, child and adolescent mental health conditions. Rickie is dedicated to providing a relaxed and down-to-earth atmosphere for her clients to feel comfortable and reach their goals. Rickie has previously worked at Newcastle Adult Mental Health Service; drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres; Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services; Coral Tree Family Service (a state-wide, tertiary, inpatient family therapy service for children and their families with severe behavioural and emotional disorders); Perinatal Psychiatry Service; Parent and Infant Mental Health Service; First Steps Parenting Service; and private practice.

Whilst Rickie has diverse experience in many areas, she has particular expertise in Antenatal and postnatal mental health, attachment and bonding concerns and developmental trauma. Rickie completed her Clinical Doctorate in the area of maternal mental health and mother-infant attachment, published in the Infant Journal of Mental Health. Rickie also holds practising rights at Newcastle Private Hospital maternity unit, where patients are seen for these early parenting and mental health concerns.

I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship

- Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Alikki Russell

Alikki Russell

Psychologist and Director

Alikki Russell is the Director of The Hummingbird Centre.
Alikki has over 15 years training and experience in psychological assessment and treatment of a range of mental health and disability presentations, and has a particular interest in trauma and dissociation. Alikki takes a multi-modal treatment approach with her clients, based on their needs, including Trauma Model Therapy, Schema Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Neurofeedback, body-based therapies, and elements of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Alikki's work with children, families and systems is inspired by the Attachment, Regulation and Competency (ARC) framework.

Alikki is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) practitioner with the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA), is a Board Approved Mentor in Neurofeedback for the BCIA-A, is on the membership committee for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), is a member of the EMDR Association of Australia (EMDRAA) and is the coordinator of the Newcastle Complex Trauma Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN). 

Alikki is motivated to find innovative and effective ways to support the clinicians working with The Hummingbird Centre and in the community, and is passionate about providing a great team environment. 

Not everyday is a good day, live anyway.
Not all you love will love you back, love anyway. 
Not everyone will tell you the truth, be honest anyway. 
Not all deals are fair, play fair anyway. 

- unknown

Allira SAllira Sazdanoff

Registered Psychologist

Allira is a registered psychologist, who has experience in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of mental health conditions. Allira has worked extensively with non-government organisations in the out of home care sector; supporting individuals presenting with complex childhood trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment difficulties, anxiety, mood disorders, autism, and behavioural concerns to improve their mental health and strengthen their relationships. This has included delivery of individual and group work, as well as therapeutic parenting programs and positive behaviour support.

Allira is passionate about making therapy an accepting, enjoyable and safe experience for her clients. She takes on a holistic and flexible approach, employing evidence-based practices, determined by individual client goals. This includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, trauma-informed interventions, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Allira also utilises elements of body-based therapies, including yoga and mindfulness, as well as play-based activities to engage her clients in the therapeutic process.

There is a tendency to doubt your growth in the midst of a big leap forward; hold steady and allow yourself to bloom.

- Yung Pueblo

Maddy BMadeleine Berryman

Registered Psychologist

Madeleine Berryman is a registered psychologist who is experienced working with people across the lifespan, from toddlers through to the elderly. Madeleine has a warm and friendly personality and enjoys working within an evidence-based framework, providing therapies including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Having previously worked in both the disability and general populations, she has treated a variety of mental health issues. Madeleine has gained experience in the use of a range of assessments to help informed treatment of mental health concerns, including cognitive assessments. Madeleine enjoys working collaboratively with each person and their family to reach their goals and achieve positive outcomes.

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

- William Shakespeare

LeisaLeisa Pritchard

Registered Psychologist

Leisa is a registered psychologist who is experienced in the assessment and treatment of children, young people and adults with a wide range of needs. Leisa has extensive experience in early intervention, working with attachment difficulties, developmental trauma, and developmental difficulties associated with ASD, ADHD, intellectual disability and a range of other issues presenting in childhood. Leisa is passionate about supporting deeper emotional connection within the child-caregiver relationship to foster greater well-being for children and their families.

Leisa provides a balanced, respectful and safe experience for her clients. She works within a holistic framework, and utilises a variety of treatment modalities to engage and support the whole person. Leisa is trained in play-based, attachment-focused and trauma-informed approaches, and a range of other therapy techniques including mindfulness, CBT and solutions-focused interventions. Leisa is a qualified yoga teacher, and has a special interest in mind-body approaches to support the therapeutic process.

We are always in a natural state of being created and creating ourselves. We will never be the same, and have never been quite the way we are in this moment.

- Dan Siegel

Greta HGreta Hundley

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker

Greta Hundley is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with 30 years experience in the Mental Health field. Greta has an interest in working therapeutically with individuals who have backgrounds of trauma, including single incident trauma, sexual and physical abuse and family violence. Greta also has a background in working with adults and young people experiencing anxiety, depression, body image issues, eating disorders and grief. Clients may have had previous diagnoses of complex PTSD or developmental trauma Bipolar Disorder. Therapies Greta uses includes CBT, Interpersonal therapy, DBT, EMDR and Neurofeedback.

Greta has been approved to provide therapy services under Better Access for Mental Health Victims Services, Workcover, Open Arms and NDIS.

Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you'll be doing what you thought was impossible.

- Francis Assisi

Stacey HStacey Hosking

Clinical Psychologist

Stacey is a Clinical Psychologist with 10 years experience providing psychological assessment and treatment in government, non-government and private organisations.

Stacey has experience in the assessment and treatment of a wide range of emotional and behavioural conditions. Stacey has extensive experience in developmental trauma, attachment disorders, developmental disorders (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder) and child and adolescent mental health. She also has a particular interest in anxiety and mood disorders, eating disorders, parenting support, health related difficulties and the promotion of positive lifestyle changes. Stacey strives to develop holistic individualised therapy plans using a range of approaches.

Stacey enjoys supporting psychologists in training and is an APHRA approved supervisor. 

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction your choose.

- Dr Seuss

Renae YRenae Yarnold

Registered Psychologist

Renae is a Registered Psychologist who has experience working with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities across the lifespan; providing assessment, behaviour support, and counselling services for people with a disability. Renae considers the role of parents, schools, and services in promoting the wellbeing of an individual, and liaises where appropriate. With experience working in a multidisciplinary team, Renae acknowledges the importance of a collaborative approach with other allied health professionals for a holistic approach to an individual’s care.

Renae enjoys working across the lifespan, being mindful of specific issues that can present at each life stage. Renae has experience with working with behavioural, anxiety, and mood disorders, personality and developmental disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex Developmental Trauma.

Renae uses various therapeutic techniques based on her clients needs, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Neurofeedback and Trauma Model Therapy.

It is the honest connection between two human beings, that, in the end, makes what we endured together understandable and meaningful

- Lynn I. Wilson

Nimra Bilgrami

Registered Psychologist

Nimra Bilgrami is a registered psychologist who works with people from across the lifespan, from children through to older adults. Nimra is experienced in assessment and treatment of various mental health presentations, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, childhood behavioural concerns, anger management issues, workplace stress, suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviour. Nimra has a warm and friendly interpersonal style and is committed to providing a client-focused service that supports individual needs. Nimra also provides psychological assessments for intellectual ability, learning difficulties, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

- Maria Robinson

Phil BPhil Bird

Registered Psychologist

Phil is a Registered Psychologist who has experience working with children, adolescents and adults with a range of challenges including complex developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, bullying, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, aggressive behaviours, attachment difficulties and complex behaviour problems.

Phil has a particular interest in helping people who have experienced trauma and recovering from early childhood trauma and attachment difficulties. He utilises a range of treatment approaches to meet the specific needs of his clients including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Neuropsychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Neurofeedback, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Phil is also passionate about utilising trauma informed interventions to assist children and adolescents 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.

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

A. A. Milne

Ash FAshleigh Fitzgerald

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker

Ashleigh is a highly experienced mental health Social Worker, who's passion is in the area of perinatal mental health, including antenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression and grief and loss surrounding stillbirth and miscarriage. Supporting families through these tough times in their lives is crucial. Ashleigh has worked within NSW health in inpatient and community teams in this area for many years. Ashleigh believes in providing holistic treatment to families with a mental health and attachment focus on relationships between parents and children.

Ashleigh fits extremely well into the Hummingbird team due to her warm and friendly personality and passion and commitment to her clients.

Don't dilute yourself for any person or any reason. You are enough! Be unapologetically you.

- Dr Steve Maraboli

Renee BRenee Butler

Registered Psychologist

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 (PTSD), 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 (EMDR) Therapy, Mindfulness-based approaches, Neurofeedback, 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.

Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together.

- Taylor Swift

Chris BChris Butler

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker

Chris Butler is a social worker who is experienced in working with people of all ages, from children to older adults. Chris has a warm personable approach and is passionate about utilising evidence-based and trauma-informed interventions, these include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Chris has a strong interest in helping people who have experienced trauma, grief and loss and people with other mental health presentations. His experience in working with children with developmental trauma and people in their support networks has seen him work with people from an array of backgrounds and with a variety of mental health presentations. Chris recognises the importance of using a holistic approach working with people and their support networks.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

- Kübler-Ross

JoelleJoelle Clark

Registered Psychologist

Joelle Clark is a Registered Psychologist who has relocated to Newcastle from Central Western New South Wales. Joelle is passionate about providing high quality, tailored psychological interventions for individuals and families. She values creating a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients to set the foundation for successful clinical outcomes.

Joelle has six years of experience in training and assessment in a private practice setting. Joelle is skilled in working with anxiety, mood disorders, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex trauma, anger, grief, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, among other presentations.

Whilst Joelle is skilled at working with clients across the lifespan, her background as a secondary education teacher has helped her to develop a particularly strong skillset with adolescent clients. Joelle can also provide parenting strategies to assist parents and carers of children/ adolescents with behaviour management and emotion coaching skills.

Joelle’s approach is holistic, and her main treatment modalities are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and trauma focussed interventions. With her clients she will create the most appropriate treatment plan based on the individual’s goals and needs. Joelle looks forward to working with her clients towards a more mindful and enriched future.

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.

- J.K Rowling

Psychologist NicoleNicole Duffy

Registered Psychologist

Nicole is a Clinical Psychology Registrar who enjoys working with people of all ages, including children, adolescents and adults. She has experience in the assessment and treatment of a range of presenting issues including anxiety and mood disorders, eating disorders, behavioural disorders and chronic illness. She is also trained in conducting cognitive and behavioural assessments.

Nicole takes a strengths-based perspective and works collaboratively to provide holistic care for clients and their networks, including family and other health professions.

Nicole employs a range of therapies based on the needs and preferences of her clients. She is trained in a variety of approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Solution-Focused Therapy (SFBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Little by little, one travels far.

- J.R.R. Tolkien

Leah OTLeah Gencheff

Paediatric, Adult & Community
Occupational Therapist

Leah Gencheff is a registered Occupational Therapist. Originally from the United States, Leah obtained her Master’s Degree from the University of Queensland in Occupational Therapy in 2011. She had planned to return to the USA once she finished her degree, but she fell in love with the beach, lifestyle, and found a home in the community of Newcastle. She has a friendly and easy going personality.

Leah is an experienced paediatric OT who has worked children and adolescents of all levels of ability, including those with coordination difficulties, developmental delay, organisational/ attention difficulties, mental health issues, and children on the autistic spectrum. Leah specialises in play-based therapy and promoting functional skills and independence in learning, play-leisure, and daily living. Leah also enjoys working with adults to promote functional skills and goal-based practice in their specific environment in which they may be struggling with. She is passionate providing therapy that is holistic, strengths-based, collaborative, and meaningful to the client and their family.

Leah is a certified yoga instructor (children, prenatal, trauma-informed, adults) and has a passion for enhancing one’s body awareness (proprioception) , self-esteem, coordination, and concentration in physical activities whilst providing skills that assist with relaxation and calmness. When people learn techniques for self-care, relaxation and inner fulfillment, they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease.

Leah is also a mother of three young children and is learning that having both the role of mother and Occupational Therapist allows her unique perspective on each. Being a mum has enabled Leah to fully appreciate the importance of adopting a family-centred approach, as she works with families to help further their children’s development.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

- Ferris Bueller

costaDeborah Costa

Psychologist, Educator
Training Provider

Deborah has expertise in trauma informed systems, techniques and treatments within education settings. Deborah was awarded the 2017 NSW Premier's Scholarship and travelled throughout the USA and UK researching whole of school reparative and resilience projects for addressing the needs of traumatised students in schools. Deborah has specialist qualifications from the Trauma Center at JRI in Boston, extensive knowledge and experience and is a recognised leader in the field.

Deborah regularly presents to education and health audiences at local, state and national level conferences and forums and delivers directly to schools.

Dr KumuduDr. Kumudu Rathnayaka

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

Kumudu's books are currently CLOSED.

Dr. Kumudu Rathnayaka is a senior Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist working across different service settings including both public and private sectors. Kumudu did her primary medical degree in Sri Lanka, specialising in psychiatry and has been working in Australia since 2005.

Kumudu completed her general adult psychiatry certificate (RANZCP) and proceeded to do her advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and advanced training in psychotherapy. Kumudu has experience in variety of areas such as general Adult Psychiatry, Prenatal Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Family Therapy and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

In her practice, Kumudu is interested working with individuals in a wholistic manner as well as working with the system around them.

Kumudu currently lives in Newcastle with her family.

Join the Hummingbird team

And where would we be without the wonderful assistance of our Administration team?

NicNicole Smith

Practice Manager

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

- Stephen Covey

SimoneSimone Winter


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.

- Anne Frank

BronBronwyn Hallin


Be kind wherever possible. It is always possible.

- Dalai Lama

ReneeRenee Davies

Digital solutions

Family is not an important thing; it is everything.

- Michael J. Fox