Training & Services



“Fantastic trainer - so much knowledge with an incredible ability to convey it to others. Highly recommend this training to all, not just clinicians.”

NATASHA CARSON Housing Manager

“Training far exceeded my already high expectations. Incredible learning experience delivered by a brilliant trainer.”

POLLY HENRY Emergency Relief Counsellor

“The trainer was engaging and intelligent. Finally found a training that was both interesting and relevant to my work. Thank you!”

ANONYMOUS Eastern Sydney Medicare Local

“The facilitator was very knowledgeable, engaging, very clear and informative. The training was easy to digest and implement into practice.”


“Fantastic workshop, trainer excellent and made a 'heavy' topic very interesting. Able to ask questions comfortably. Feel more confident to deal with this cohort of clients now.”

CAROLINE FIELD Kangaroo Island Medicare Local

Our Trainers

Blue Knot Foundation's education and training sessions are well supported by our team of nation-wide trainers, all of whom are skilled, experienced and suitably qualified to inspire adult learners. Whether it is to enhance safety and understanding for survivors and family/friends of survivors, or to build knowledge and skills for professional personnel, the diversity of skills and experience in the team expertly meets the needs of each group.

The team is underpinned by its collective expertise in complex trauma, trauma-informed practice and vicarious trauma. Please see below for individual trainer profiles. For more information, please call us on (02) 8920 3611 during office hours AEST/ADST.

Bradley Foxlewin

MAppSc (Social Ecology), Cert. IV in Training and Assessment, Diploma: Community Studies (Welfare) with Honours

Bradley Foxlewin photoBradley is an independent Mental Health Consumer Consultant, member and past Chair of the Australian Capital Territory, ACT, Mental Health Consumer Network. Bradley works as a trainer, group-worker, consultant and researcher, all from a consumer-first position. Bradley has a deep and abiding interest in issues affecting consumers of mental health services and survivors of childhood abuse and a strong commitment to partnerships across mental health settings that support better outcomes for consumers and those who care about consumers. Bradley has previously worked, over a period of 20 years, as a manager in community services, a counsellor for young men who have survived sexual abuse as children and he has had significant input into the development of men’s services in the ACT. Bradley is, at present, finalising a funded research project on reducing seclusion and restraint in acute mental health in the Aust. Capital Territory. Bradley lives in New South Wales in a rural village, “cos it’s good for my health” with his partner and their daughter, 4 horses, 2 cats, a little dog (not pesky) and 4 chickens. Bradley is also a 1st time Grandfather and takes great joy from this experience.

"Excellent presentation by Bradley. Information relevant and interesting. Very good facilitator and ran a tight ship. Bring back more of this training." - Josephine O'Hanlon, Team Leader

"Bradley was an excellent presenter who obviously knows the content of T.I.C. A very interesting and beneficial day." - Mindy

"Thoroughly enjoyed this training! Very interactive. Bradley has a wonderful way of imparting knowledge." - Jo, Therapeutic Play Facilitator

Dragan Wright

Grad. Dip. Psychotherapy/Counselling, Cert. Transactional Analysis, Therapeutic Skills Cert. Trauma, Facilitator and Educator residential childhood trauma retreat, Cert. IV TAA

Dragan Wright photoDragan is an experienced Psychotherapist who runs Creating Differently, a service that specializes in working with adults from a background of childhood abuse and trauma. As a survivor of such a background himself, with the physical and mental health issues that ensued, he holds the holistic perspective of having been a consumer of services and then experiencing the other side working as a professional.

Dragan offers a skillful and passionate attitude and has trained and worked in a recovery focus with residential groups and individuals from extensive trauma backgrounds who exhibit the adaptations one would expect to see. He is also committed to a psycho-educational role – helping professionals and consumers understand how interpersonal trauma impacts the developing brain, ongoing interpersonal relationships, personal coping mechanisms, how trauma affects a persons relationship with services and how services can provide a Trauma Informed Care approach.

"Dragan is one of the best facilitators I have ever had the privilege of having been taught by. Warm, real, honest, fun and so so knowledgeable!" - Kate Priddle, Specialist Rehabilitation Clinician

"Dragan is an excellent facilitator, educator and communicator, he leads with and demonstrates a deep understanding of the topic with compassion." - Margaret Watson, Counsellor

"Dragan is an outstanding trainer. He comes with a wealth of knowledge and understands the needs/wants of a group in training. So engaging and intuitive. Thank you!" - Melanie Charlton, Enrolled Nurse

Estelle Snelling

Dip.AOD, B.SocSci, M.MHSc

Estelle Snelling photoEstelle has 18 years professional experience working in varied and dynamic roles within organisations, as well as private practice. She holds a Master Degree in Mental Health Sciences (clinical) through the School of Medicine, Flinders University Dept of Psychiatry.  

Her focus is in the area of trauma, supporting people to move towards an embodied sense of safety, and a value driven, “life worth living”, by using mindful, behavioural, cognitive and neurobiological therapies and modalities.  Her initial training was in dual diagnosis inpatient treatment, working with substance misuse/abuse and complex trauma. 

For the past 7 years, Estelle has worked closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (nationally), in prison settings, the community, and employment and training programs. Estelle has strong social justice principals, enjoys working with individuals, as well as groups, and is also a PACFA endorsed Clinical Supervisor.

Heather Goddard

B.Sc Sociology, BSW (Social Work), Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Cert. IV Training & Assessment

Heather Goddard photoHeather has over 27 years of experience as a Social Worker and Clinical counsellor in a range of settings, such as the with the Victim Support Service and Employee Assistance programs. Heather has been in private practise for the past 8 years specialising in early childhood trauma, PTSD, loss & grief domestic violence and war veteran’s issues. Heather brings to her facilitator role with Blue Knot Foundation, extensive practice knowledge and expertise regarding counselling, mediation, consultancy and clinical supervision practice. 

Heather is a member of the Association of Contextual Behaviour Science and an accredited mental practitioner with the AASW (Aust. Association of Social Workers). She is passionate about assisting individuals to live the best life they can irrespective of early childhood experiences.

"Presenter was excellent - clearly has a passion and knowledge of the subject matter. Kept us all engaged." - Debra Tierney, Social Worker, Rockingham General Hospital

Jenne Perlstein

MBBS, BSW, AASW(Adv.Accred.), Cert IV TAE, CMC

Jenne Perlstein photoJenne has 28 years as a Social Worker; 8 years as an Educator, uniquely qualified with a Medical Degree. Jenne’s experience includes Clinical and Community Health Education: Childhood Complex Trauma, Aged Care, Dementia, Mental Health, Disability, Psycho-Social and Counselling Skills; Patient Advocacy training, Community Health, and Quit Smoking programs. Jenne offers highly skilled, flexible education delivery in a confident and warm personal style. She has an ability to connect with audiences and incorporate their professional and life experiences into her facilitation. 

Jenne has developed, written and delivered workshops such as: Person Centred Care- Dementia, Empathy and Behaviours, Depression and Dementia, Capacity and Dementia, Sexuality and Dementia, Elder Abuse and Dementia, Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s, Cornell Scale in Aged Care , Suicide and Older People, Dementia and Dying; Counselling and Mental Health skills/ Relationship skills/ Difficult clients courses for ‘non counselling' helpers.

"Fantastic practical training. Jenne was a fantastic facilitator and the content was awesome!" - Esther, Albury NSW

Joan Washington

Graduate Diploma in Education (Adult/Vocational), Bachelor of Social Science, Certificate of Nursing, Migration Law

Specialist Trainer/Educator with over 15 years’ experience working with individuals, families and communities affected by migration and other trauma experiences. Experienced case manager of complex clients including torture and trauma survivors and asylum seekers, this has included children, adolescents and adults individually and as family or otherwise connected groups. Extensive experience in delivering workshops about the effects of trauma, long term advocacy & coordination with other relevant stakeholders. Program coordination and management experience, Research and writing experience for reporting, articles in various publications, and workshop development.Extensive community development with local communities.

As a survivor herself, Joan believes in a holistic approach that is client centred and strength based. The concepts surrounding neuroscience of how trauma impacts the brain and nervous system, developmental period and ultimately our perceptions of world, people and our sense of belonging and safety are significant in her work. Joan holds strong interests around resilience and protective factors as well as promoting psycho-education as part of working with trauma are particularly challenging in spaces where cultural competency is so important.

Julie Dombrowski

BA (Psych) Grad Dip App Sc (App Psyc) MA Forensic Psychology

Julie is a registered psychologist with a Masters in Forensic Psychology. She has worked extensively in the area of sexual and domestic violence and trauma for the past 20 years. Having worked with both people who use violence and people who have been harmed by violence. Julie brings a balanced and well-rounded perspective to understanding the causes and consequences of violence and trauma. She is passionate about bringing together knowledge and research from the fields of traumatology and behaviour change. As an experienced practitioner and supervisor, she is well-informed and skilled in applying her knowledge of vicarious trauma to support other practitioners working with trauma and build workplace cultures that support practitioners in their work.

Julie Porter-Stephens

M. App. Soc. Sci. (Counselling), M. Education (Adult Ed.), Dip. Community Organisations, CIV Assessment & Workplace Training (TAE40110)

Julie Porter Stephens photoJulie is an educator, trainer, counsellor/psychotherapist and supervisor who has worked with children, adults and families at risk in the community services sector since 1987. She has worked for community, government, and peak organisations. As an academic and trainer, Julie is interested in facilitating high quality learning experiences via a range of learning and teaching methods - whether it be face to face or online. 

Julie encourages participants to connect their experiences and knowledge with the training content, and she is passionate about promoting good practice and self-care, particularly in the areas of case management, child protection, communication, counselling, mental health and trauma informed care. 

As a counsellor Julie works with individuals and groups on a wide range of issues including addiction, anxiety, depression, grief, inter-personal relationships and parenting. She is a trained Acceptance Commitment Therapy Practitioner, (which incorporates aspects of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness) but essentially relies on an eclectic range of therapeutic approaches to encourage client growth and change.

"Julie has a lovely effervescent personality that kept our attention. Trauma is a serious subject to talk about but Julie delivered the training with a good mix of seriousness and laughs as well as willing to share some self reflective stories of her own experience. Thanks for an enjoyable and informative training day Julie." - Gloria Taylor, Social Worker, Centrelink

"Thanks so much Julie, I thoroughly enjoyed your workshop today. It was exactly what I needed and I learned a lot." - Lyndsey Blake, Counsellor, Medibank Health Solutions

"An invaluable session. Julie is a fantastic trainer and the day provided lots of interaction and time for reflection." - Anonymous

Karin El-Monir

MA, Grad. Dip. Counselling, Cert IV TAE

Karin ElMinor photoKarin El-Monir was born in Austria from bi-cultural background. She completed her Masters Degree of Social Pedagogy (Theories of Social Learning and Development) in Austria before moving to Ireland and then Australia. Karin has spent most of her career straddling clinical and education work. Her passion is working with survivors of complex trauma, and she is proud to have supported people with their submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse. 

Karin works from a very integrative and holistic approach with a strong focus on somatic and creative therapies. Other subject areas that she has delivered training in are alcohol and other drugs, cultural competency, domestic violence, gender, sexual orientation, abuse prevention (with children and young people) and mythology. She is also a facilitator of theatre in social fields and has a strong background of Boal Work (Theatre of the Oppressed). 

"Karin was fantastic in inspiring me to encourage more TIC in my practice. Her passion made it inspiring to learn more." - Renee, Case Support Officer

"Fantastic therapeutic training run by Karin. Very informative, challenging and affirming. I thoroughly enjoyed the training and found it very helpful." - Robyn, Social Worker

"Great facilitation Karin - thank you very much. There's always something to learn in this field. I hope this ensures we work more appropriately with the survivors who enter our process." - Marie, Case Officer

Kelleigh Ryan

B.Beh.Sc., B.Psy.Sc.(Hons), Assoc MAPS AIPA IAHA

Kelleigh RyanKelleigh Ryan is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi people of South-East Queensland and the Australian South Sea Islanders with connections to the people of the Loyalty Islands on her mother’s side.

Kelleigh is a registered Psychologist and a member of the Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association (AIPA) and sits on the AIPA Steering Committee. Kelleigh is serving her second term as the Co-chair of the Australian Psychological Society’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Psychology Interest Group.

Kelleigh’s clinical work involves providing counselling, therapeutic intervention, critical response work and psycho education delivery in response to trauma, crisis and mental health issues. She currently runs a Social Consultancy Psychology practice in Queensland providing supervision for Indigenous workers and is a director of The Seedling Group who specialise in Intercultural projects. Kelleigh also works as the Senior Project Officer Royal Commission Specialist Support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

Kevin Keith

BBA (Hons) (University of North Texas 1973); MA and STL (University of Louvain, Belgium, 1986 & 88); MPhil (Oxford University, 1991); Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (Jansen Newman Institute, 2005); PhD Candidate (University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Research interest Attachment Theory)

Kevin Keith photoKevin is a counsellor/psychotherapist, supervisor, educator and researcher. He has been teaching off and on for most of his career. He currently splits his clinical time between community service work and private practice. He has worked at ACON for nearly 10 years where he served as Senior Counsellor and gained deep experience working with trauma, especially in the context of HIV risk. He has presented research “Can Attachment Theory shed light on adult risks and HIV?” in February 2014 at UNSW conference on Social Science. He also teaches in the Masters program at the Jansen Newman Institute in Sydney. Kevin is a recognised presenter in the field of Attachment Theory (his PhD interest) and regularly provides professional development for his fellow mental health workers.

Kevin is a clinical member of CAPA NSW and PACFA (professional societies). He is also a member of several academic societies, including the International Society for Psychotherapy Research, the International Society for Emotion Research and the Australian Association of Philosophy. Kevin is now an Australian citizen and has become a convert to Australian Rules Football as a keen Sydney Swans supporter.

"Kevin is extremely knowledgeable, and was a very engaging presenter. The information he provided was extensive, but concise. Thank you! This workshop has inspired me to continue to strive to provide my clients with a well informed and holistic service." - Anonymous, Kiama NSW

"Kevin's presentation was excellent and finished the day with lots to think about. Highly recommend this program." - Denise, Registered Nurse

"Kevin is a very credible presenter, obviously knows the subject matter well, is clear, informative, and was careful to ensure participant's expectations were met." E. Hutching, Melbourne VIC

Matthew Ball

Diploma in Higher Education Nursing – Mental Health (UK), Adv dip on Counselling and Therapy (Psychodynamic) (UK)

Matthew Ball imageMatt's work, that includes clinical and educational components across a range of public, NGO and private environments, has been informed by training in psychodynamic, Rogarian person centred, cognitively behavioural and existential therapy, Voice Dialogue and mental health nursing.

Alongside the theoretical approaches, Matt has a long experience of engaging in Buddhist approaches with a range of Buddhist teachers that have impacted upon and informed his work. He takes inspiration from theorists and teachers including Mary Duhig and Denise Blagden, Romme and Escher, Yalom, RD Laing, Loren Mosher, Victor Frankl, Hal and Sidra Stone, Luang Por Sumedho.

More valuable than any theorist, the individuals (people in mental distress) that Matt has had the opportunity to work and live alongside have been his greatest teachers. Individuals that have shown courage, understanding, personal spirit, self-acceptance and hope have inspired Matt to seek alternative ways to provide therapy and education and to view personal recovery as a unique journey to which any person should be able to encounter in making meaning in their life.

He is Credentialed Mental Health (Australian College of mental health nursing) and full member of the Australian Association of Buddhist Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Merle Conyer

Master of Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy, Master of Education, Graduate Diploma of Communication Management (Human Resource Development), Diploma of Somatic Psychotherapy, Diploma of Energetic Healing, Certificate IV in Telephone Counselling Skills, Certificate of Meditation Facilitation

Merle Conyer photoMerle is the manager of the Blue Knot Helpline and counselling team which delivers specialist telephone-based services for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse and those who support them professionally and personally. She also facilitates trauma-informed workshops for health professionals, service providers and survivors and has customised and culturally attuned these for specific contexts and communities.

Merle adopts a respectful strengths-based, recovery-oriented, social justice approach. Her experience includes working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (informed by ongoing cultural mentoring), people and organisations impacted by matters heard before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, refugees and asylum seekers, survivors of domestic violence, people with disabilities and their carers, and people seeking justice and healing for themselves and their communities. She also works in private practice and draws upon a career spanning government, not-for-profit and corporate sectors.

"Merle's presentation was clear, calm and sensitively delivered. It was clear that she has a wealth and depth of experience; it was a very rich, authentic learning opportunity. Thank you Merle." - J. Shaw, Deputy Principal

"Merle is an excellent presenter; great content and a good combination of activities and information." - Catherine, Director

"Many of our course participants commented that it was the best training they had ever done by the best trainer they had ever experienced. Merle presented difficult material in a safe and engaging way." - Urvashi, Mangrove Mountain NSW

Merrin Wake

Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Graduate Diploma of Journalism, Master of Professional Education and Training 

Merrin Wake photoMerrin is a health professional with a range of experience in child and adolescent health, mental health, mentoring, teaching, government agenda and clinical practice. She currently works as a lecturer at Deakin University, a tutor for indigenous youth, a paediatric registered nurse and a child safety trauma informed practice consultant. 

Being a survivor of child abuse informs her passion for breaking down the stigma and advocating for the stories of survivors to be heard. She is proud to of made a submission to the Royal Commission, to stand up and use her story to change attitudes. She says it was tough and impossible at times but survival is achievable when we honour our stories, our lives and our own strengths.

"An excellent thought-provoking training and presenter [Merrin] was clear, confident and very respectful of the knowledge and skills of those attending." - Alison Bogdanowicz, Librarian, Victim Support Service Inc

"Great and informative training. Merrin is a really engaging facilitator." - Inez Carey, Clinical Lead, Medibank Health Solutions

"Presenter [Merrin] is excellent - incredibly knowledgeable and non-blaming, non-judgemental.” - Kate Francis, Social Worker, VIC

Linda Itamly

Michelle Everett

B.A. (Hons) M. Clin. Psych. M.A.P.S

Michelle Everett photoMichelle has a professional background in Clinical Psychology with over twenty years experience working primarily within mental health services, including a period on the West Coast of Canada. Based on some training regarding trauma in her first year of practice, Michelle has recognised that people who have survived abuse early in their lives and come into contact with mental health services may not always have their needs recognised or well met and are particularly vulnerable to experiencing further trauma within services.

Michelle has worked at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry since 2008, and has been involved in writing and teaching units of study regarding trauma and mental health. Although it didn't come easily at first, Michelle now enjoys group work and teaching and recognises that every person enters the learning environment with wisdom and skills from many sources.

"All our participants were most appreciative of Michelle’s knowledge and presentation skills. She made it  a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile day." - Denis, VWCCS Coordinator

Mirna Tarabay

Bachelor of Education, Post Grad Diploma in Counselling and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Mirna Tarabay photoMirna is a psychotherapist and counsellor whose work experience with survivors of trauma spans over a decade. Mirna has worked in a range of capacities primarily with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Mirna has a practice in Sydney where the focus of her clinical work is with adult survivors of child abuse.

Mirna is also an educator and provides training to student counsellors at one of the leading counsellor educator institutions in Sydney. She also conducts training programs in the subject areas of Child Protection and The Impact of Trauma on Children’s Development. Mirna is a Clinical Member of CAPA (Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW).

"Mirna was fantastic. Very professional, knowledgeable and flexible which you need to be out here! We were so happy with her and the way she presented." - Janine

"Training with Mirna was fantastic, she is very great at communicating and teaching." - Jett, Senior Client Service Officer

"Mirna Tarabay was an excellent presenter, connected well with the group and kept it interesting an enjoyable." - Brendon, Social Worker

Nicole Tujague

Bachelor of Indigenous Studies; Cert IV TAA

Nicole TujagueNicole is a descendant of the Gubbi Gubbi first Nations Peoples of North Queensland and the South Sea Islander community. She has grown up in and worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, training, capacity building and co-developing culturally safe, trauma-informed resources. Nicole is particularly concerned with working alongside individuals and organisations to support social and emotional wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Nicole is a member of ASTSS Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Pam Stavropoulos

PhD in Politics (University of Melbourne, 1989), Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (Jansen Newman Institute, 2001), Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment (2004), BA Hons (University of Melbourne, 1983)

Pam photoPam, a former Fulbright Scholar, has held lectureships at Macquarie University and the University of New England, taught in two Master of Counselling courses, and is a former Program Director of the Jansen Newman Institute. She has written research reports in the community health sector, and was a Senior Research Officer with the Mental Health Association NSW.

Pam is a practising therapist, and a supervisor in the area of complex trauma. Her research interests relate to trauma, depression, and the politics of subjectivity. She is the author of Living under Liberalism: The Politics of Depression in Western Democracies (Florida: Universal, 2008), co-author of Gender Studies: Terms and Debates (New York: Palgrave, 2003) and has published several book chapters, articles and reviews. She is the lead author of `Perceptions and Experiences of Cannabis Use by Young Adults Living with a Mental Illness: A Qualitative Study’ [paper based on What Works? Report into Cannabis Use by Young Adults Living with a Mental Illness, Partners in Mental Health Publishing Consortium and Social Justice Social Change Research Group, University of Western Sydney, 2010] Australian Social Policy Journal (No.10, 2011), pp.51-69. 

Pam is Head of Research at Blue Knot Foundation and co-author of its Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery. Pam is a member of the scientific committee of the International Society for Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

Peter Streker

PhD, GradDip App Psych, BA, BBus, Assoc Dip Fit Lead

Peter Streker photoDr Peter Streker is a psychologist who has worked on many complex community topics over 20 years, such as family violence, homelessness, drugs and alcohol, street sex work, racism and Indigenous health. As a community psychologist, Peter has worked with survivors, their supporters, professionals and the general public to help them deal with the wide ranging impacts of trauma on their clients, the broader community, on the systems they work within and on themselves.  Peter has used a variety of approaches, such as individual therapy, group facilitation, training, research, community development, policy and the pragmatic program development to empower individuals and reduce stigma (e.g., employment programs, International Overdose Awareness Day).

Peter completed his PhD on psychological and emotional abuse, which was subsequently published as a book titled “I Wish That He Hit Me: Working with psychological and emotional abuse”. The title was a quote from a survivor who was frustrated that nobody took her ordeal seriously. Peter currently supervises other therapists, is a member of the Australian Psychological Society’s Public Issues Advisory Committee and sits on the ethics boards of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service.

"Peter was an excellent presenter who had superb knowledge of the topic. He was able to share his knowledge brilliantly." - Martyn, PIR Support Facilitator

"Peter is a responsive trainer - very flexible in addressing the questions of a very large group. He is extremely knowledgeable and his enthusiasm is infectious." - Jacquie, Psychotherapist

"Very interactive. Lots of different learning styles covered well. Very good presenter with Peter. Concreted work I already do as well as learning new skills." - Kim, ChildFIRST Worker

Rebecca Moran

BSc (Hons) Psychology and Crime, MA Criminological Research

Rebecca Moran photoRebecca has a diverse background in youth work, mental health, criminology research, and training. She has specialised in trauma and recovery for many years, and has served as a trainer and consultant for government and non-government agencies in Australia and the United Kingdom. Rebecca also has a lived experience of trauma and recovery, and draws on a mix of professional and personal experience when facilitating training. Throughout her career, Rebecca has been a dedicated advocate for the dignity and compassionate treatment of survivors.

"I have never been so focused in a training course, it was very informative and Bec was fantastic at presenting the content and sharing her experiences, in a highly professional manner." - Kimberly, Provisional Psychologist

"Bec was incredibly engaging and articulate. Her use of metaphors helped to retain information and sharing lived experiences was much appreciated to gain deeper insight into effect of trauma." - Leah, Youth Engagement Worker

"This training has given me more knowledge in an area I did not feel 100% confidence in. Bec was a great presenter, very knowledgeable and passionate. Thank you." - Rebecca, Intake Worker

Sarah Coconis

Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Sciences (Community Mental Health), Graduate Certificate in Specialty Nursing (Mental Health), Bachelor of Nursing

Sarah Coconis photoSarah has nearly ten years experience as a mental health nurse in public health settings in both NSW and Victoria. She has held various senior roles, with a strong focus on education in inpatient and community mental health settings, as well as homeless outreach teams. Sarah is, first and foremost, a consumer advocate. She is particularly interested in issues of power, trauma, recovery, and reform of the mental health system. These interests led her to work as a clinical nurse consultant with a particular focus on trauma informed mental health nursing approaches, seclusion and restraint reduction, staff education, and trauma informed service implementation.

Sarah is also a clinical supervisor and is currently undertaking a Masters of Psychotherapy in The Conversational Model. In addition to her professional experience, Sarah has the perspective and expertise as someone with lived experience of childhood trauma and recovery, and also as a carer.

"Very good presentation Sarah, your delivery was very clear and gentle, you came across as a very humane, compassionate and knowledgeable person. I wish you well." - Nathalie, Counsellor

"This training was informative and very relevant to my practice and the whole of the service. Sarah is a fantastic presenter. The mixture of Powerpoint presentation and group work was helpful. This should be a mandatory presentation for the LHD." - Michelle, Clinical Nurse

Sigrid Herring

TAE, CIV Aboriginal Family Health (Family Violence, Sexual Assault, Child Protection, Advanced Diploma Aboriginal Specialist Trauma Counselling, Graduate Certificate Human and Community Services, Bachelor of Education

Sigrid Herring photoMore than 25 years experience developing, implementing and managing community based services and projects for families, community groups, children and young people. 20 years experience training community and workforce groups in family violence, sexual violence, child protection, case management, working with adult survivors, and working with Aboriginal families and communities.

Stefan Durlach

M.A., MAPS, AFBPsS, C. Psychol. (BPS)

Stefan Durlach photoStefan’s interest in trauma goes back to his Master’s thesis in 1993 when he investigated Jeffrey Masson’s challenge of Freud’s early ideas of his patients’ sexual abuse. 

He has since worked in public and private settings as a Counselling Psychologist and Psychotherapist gaining first hand experience of the prevalence of childhood trauma and its long-term effects on people’s health and well-being. For the last 15 years he has held 2 positions in the field of grief, loss, and bereavement within the public health system, which has included regular facilitation of workshops and training events to health professionals.

He has had a Sydney based private practice for the last 15 years. In both contexts he has come across the devastating effects caused by childhood trauma in people who present with a range of issues to services and practitioners. During this time it has become obvious to him that many organisations lack awareness of and insight into the signs of childhood trauma, and often inadvertently traumatise sufferers further. He has a particular interest in Attachment Theory as a way to understand a range of mental health symptoms, and as a foundational system, which gets severely disrupted as a result of childhood abuse.

Stefan has 25 years of professional practice experience and has been a long-standing member of the British and Australian Psychological Societies, and the UK Council for Psychotherapy. He completed his undergraduate psychology studies in Berlin, and postgraduate Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy in London. In 1996 he moved to Sydney with his family where he has since lived and worked.

Steve Meyer

B App Psych, Grad Dip Psych

Stephen MeyerSteve is a psychologist with a focus on trauma treatment. He has practiced across a range of mainstream and cross-cultural settings over the last 10 years, including torture and trauma counselling with refugees and asylum seekers, therapeutic work with remote NT Aboriginal communities, youth development in the Solomon Islands, private practice, and support to survivors of family abuse and violent crimes.

Steve has also provided training and support to Australian overseas volunteers since completing his assignment. Steve maintains an emphasis on neurobiological and psychophysiological treatment approaches and has built an understanding of ethnocultural differences in trauma and healing. He is also interested in how current events, including conflict, colonisation and global movements of people, influence trauma experiences across communities and generations.

Sue Ward

Ad. Cert. in Clinical Psychodynamic Psychotherapy & Counselling (Perth School of Psychotherapy & Counselling), Dip. in Analytic Psychotherapy (Churchill Clinic), Cert. IV Training & Assessment TAE40110, Bachelor of Business (Curtin University), Cert. in Trauma Focus Therapy - Adults (Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health), Clinical Member of PACFA, Clinical Member of PACAWA, Member of MHPN.

Sue Ward photoSue has worked with a wide range of issues ranging from anxiety, depression, grief and relationship breakdown. She has an interest in the area of complex trauma and crisis support and has facilitated workshops for Blue Knot Foundation in the area of trauma-informed care and practice TICP. Prior to entering private practice, Sue worked in various agencies where the focus was on alcohol and substance abuse. Sue believes passionately in the value of psychotherapy and counselling. The process that is entered into in good faith can contribute significantly to personal growth, self awareness and foster more meaningful connection to oneself and others. Sue is respectful and non-judgemental in her approach to gaining an understanding of each client’s unique issues. She works collaboratively with her clients to facilitate a resolution that will ultimately add value to their present and future relationships.

"A great workshop to take. Sue was interactive and spoke well. I liked how she broke up the time with videos and group work and that she provided everyday examples throughout the day." - Sherina, Counsellor

"Sue has a great knowledge base and is able to provide examples of scenarios. The talk was very informative and was a pleasure to be a part of." - Lisa, RN Student

"Thank you so much. Sue was incredibly knowledgeable & could relate knowledge to practice with great examples that put everything into context." - Merryn, Darwin NT

Latest Articles

How to be Trauma-Informed – for Real! by Kate
on Thursday, 2 March 2017.
Catholic Church child sexual abuse statistics are an indictment on the church, say survivors by Cathy
on Thursday, 16 February 2017.
Some good will come from the horror of the royal commission by Kate
on Thursday, 9 February 2017.
A Physician's Confession by admin
on Wednesday, 25 January 2017.
Trauma-informed care (as published in the APA Journal of Physiotherapy) by admin
on Tuesday, 29 November 2016.


Health Direct



“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

“I think Blue Knot Foundation is a fantastic support organisation for people who have experienced childhood trauma/abuse, for their families/close friends and for professionals who would like to learn how to more effectively work with these people.”

Psychologist Melbourne

“It's such a beautiful thing that you are doing. Helping people to get through this.”


“It was only last September when I discovered the Blue Knot Foundation website and I will never forget the feeling of support and empathy that I received when I finally made the first phone call to Blue Knot Helpline, which was also the first time I had ever spoken about my abuse.”


"At last there is some sound education and empathetic support for individuals and partners impacted by such gross boundary violations.”


Contact Us

Phone: 02 8920 3611
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST

Blue Knot Helpline
Phone: 1300 657 380
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

For media comment, please contact:
Dr Cathy Kezelman AM
0425 812 197 or

For media enquiries, please contact: 
Christine Kardashian
0416 005 703 or 02 9492 1007 or