At The Hummingbird Centre we have a team of world class Psychologists and Social Workers who are passionate about their jobs.
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
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.
Clinical Psychology Registrar
Samantha has worked with individuals across the life span in a variety of settings, including public hospital settings, community mental health services, Out of Home Care services and a university clinic. She has experience working with children, adolescents and adults presenting with attachment issues, family distress and parenting issues, anxiety and depression, suicide and self-harm, emotion regulation difficulties, foster and kinship care issues, domestic violence, abuse, neglect and children demonstrating sexually harmful behaviour. Samantha holds a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Technology Sydney and is a registered psychologist.
Supporting people experiencing difficulties associated with complex trauma is a particular area of interest for Samantha, with over 9 years’ experience and training in the assessment and treatment of children and adults with complex emotional and psychological difficulties stemming from childhood trauma and adversity.
Samantha is a warm, down-to-earth, open minded and compassionate psychologist. She has a flexible approach to therapy, drawing upon a number of evidence-based therapies including Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Schema Therapy, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion Therapy, expressive and play modalities, systemic family therapy models and behavioural and attachment-based parenting interventions, including Parent Child Interaction Therapy and Reparative Parenting. She has a particular interest in the application of body-based approaches in the clinical setting.
There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
- Leonard Cohen
Dr Tim Regan
Tim is a warm and friendly Clinical Psychologist with experience in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults. Tim emphasises the therapeutic alliance and utilises Motivational Interviewing strategies to develop a collaborative approach to improving mental health. Tim has experience and training in providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Tim enjoys working a with range of mental health disorders, including anxiety and mood disorders, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma, substance use disorders, behavioural issues including Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), psycho-oncology and other chronic or ongoing health conditions. Tim has a PhD and a research background in psycho-oncology, mental health, and health behaviour.
It's chaos, be kind.
- Michelle McNamara
Accredited Mental Health Social Worker
Vicki Mansfield is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with over 25 years of training and experience in providing mental health services to individuals and families from infancy through to geriatrics. Vicki has training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviours Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Circle of Security, Bringing up Great Kids & Parents Child Interaction Therapy.
Vicki has previously worked at Victims of Crime Counselling; Headspace and Toronto Private Hospital in Mental Health, Rehabilitation and Palliative Care; several Ante Natal Clinics & Maternity Wards; The Parent and Infant Mental Health Service; First Steps Parenting Service; Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service; Child and Family Counselling .
Vicki previously coordinated the State-wide Outreach Perinatal Service for Mental Health for the Hunter New England Area Health Service. Vicki currently provides reflective clinical supervision & consultation to a wide range of clinicians within child and family services across the state, this includes Social Workers, Child & Family Nurses, Perinatal Infant Mental Health Clinicians and Child & Family NGO teams. Vicki is also a Sessional Academic at University of Newcastle teaching Social Work students. Above all else, Vicki brings warmth, humour, creativity and compassion to all her endeavours and interactions.
Woke up this morning
I suddenly realised
We’re all in this together
I started smiling
‘Cos you were smiling
And we’re all in this together….
- Ben Lee
Dr Lisa Millar
Lisa is a Clinical Psychologist with over 15 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of mental health and wellbeing concerns including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, adjustment difficulties, stress, trauma, emotional difficulties, weight management, and family and relationship problems for individuals. Lisa is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and the EMDR Association of Australia (EMDRAA) and has worked across a variety of clinical settings including government and non-government services, private practice, community and inpatient mental health services, psychiatric rehabilitation, community counselling, and supervision within a university setting.
Lisa takes a holistic approach in developing individualised psychological treatments to optimise her clients' mental health and wellbeing, enhance quality of life, and promote positive change. She has skills and experience in therapeutic modalities including Schema Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Mindfulness-based approaches, Neuropsychotherapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
Every challenge that we face is the opportunity to become more than we've been before.
- Lyena Strelkoff
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 (PTSD), 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, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, trauma-informed interventions, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). 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
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 Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), 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
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 Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal therapy, DBT, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (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
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
Dr Aaron Simpson
Aaron is a Clinical Psychologist with over 15 years training and experience. Aaron holds a Doctorate in Clinical psychology. He has also worked in senior leadership roles in both the private and not-for-profit sectors.
Aaron enjoys working alongside adults experiencing a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, co-existing mental health and substance use problems, posttraumatic stress disorder, adjustment to change, work related stress, and hoarding disorder. He is skilled in a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioural therapy, schema-focussed cognitive therapy, acceotance and commitment therapy, motivational interviewing, and psychodynamic counselling.
Aaron is a warm and personable therapist, and is committed to helping people achieve their goals. Aaron is a Member of the Australian Psychology Society and Medicare accredited.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind
- Charlie Brown
Clinical Psychology Registrar
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 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
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
Accredited Mental Health Social Worker
Chris is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) who is experienced in working with people of all ages. He recognises the importance of using a holistic approach when working with people and their support networks.
Chris is warm and personable and is passionate about utilising evidence-based and trauma-informed interventions, based on his client’s needs. These include Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing and Neurofeedback.
Chris has a strong interest in working alongside those who have experienced trauma, grief and loss, and those with other mental health presentations and best practice for achieving this. He has presented his research on working with grief and loss at Hunter New England Health’s Annual Social Work Conference and is a Casual Academic at The University Of Newcastle.
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.
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
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
Paediatric, Adult & Community
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
Dr. Caroline Hodge
Developmental Paedeatrician/Paedeatric Rehabilitation Physician
Dr Hodge's initial Paediatric sub-specialty training focused on child behaviour, development and learning issues, including children in foster or kinship care. She undertook further specialist training in children with severe physical disability and established the HNEKidsHealth Paediatric Rehabilitation Service in 2010. She has worked at John Hunter Children’s Hospital since 2002, leaving in 2016 to start private practice to explore more encompassing models of care for children and families. She has also undertaken training in Tasmania, Adelaide and Dorset UK.
Dr Hodge works with children and their families from a strengths based, holistic approach to health that encompasses family needs. She also works closely with key people around the child to ensure best outcomes for each child and family. She welcomes working with allied health professionals regardless of location to achieve optimal care.
Dr. 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.
Renee works therapeutically with children, adolescents, adults, and carers. 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
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, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Neurofeedback, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (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
Psychology 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.
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
And where would we be without the wonderful assistance of our Administration team?
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
- Stephen Covey
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.
- Anne Frank
Be kind wherever possible. It is always possible.
- Dalai Lama
Family is not an important thing; it is everything.
- Michael J. Fox