Professor Jennifer Hudson, Director

Having a child who experiences difficulties with anxiety or sadness can take its toll on parents and families. Since having children, and developing a greater awareness of the pressures families face, I can understand this now with greater clarity.  Understanding the factors that contribute to children’s emotional health, and continuing to improve the services we provide for children and families is my passion. My research endeavours to improve our understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to excessive anxiety and fear.  I am committed to developing, evaluating and disseminating programs to continually improve outcomes for children’s emotional health.

Learn more about Jennie's career as a research leader.

View Jennie's 2013 TEDx presentation.

Doctor Melissa Norberg, Deputy Director

My interest in psychology involves helping people change unwanted behaviour and maintaining that change. Such unwanted behaviour includes seeking reassurance when feeling uncertain (OCD), saving too many items (Hoarding Disorder), experiencing a panic attack when confronted by a spider (Specific Phobia), and abusing psychoactive substances. Some of these behaviours require minimal help from a therapist. For example, most people are able to let a spider crawl on them after less than a few hours of graded exposure. Other behaviours require more extensive help. For instance, some people may only reduce their substance use by half after being in treatment for months. Regardless of whether unwanted behaviours are easy or difficult to change, most people will experience relapse. Relapse can be triggered by new situations, stressful events, or merely by the passage of time. My research involves finding methods to improve treatment and reduce sources of relapse. I help translate this research knowledge by maintaining a small practice through the CEH clinic and by providing clinical supervision to therapists working in Sydney.

Research Members

Honorary Associate Members
Clinic Team
Advisory Committee Members 


Research Members

Associate Professor Andrew Baillie, Member

I am an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Macquarie University, a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use and an honorary Clinical Psychologist with Drug Health Services at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. My research focuses on testing diagnostic systems, on understanding and treating problems with alcohol anxiety and depression, and on testing new treatments for mental disorders. I work as a clinical psychologist with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with people who have problems with drinking, anxiety, and depression. We know a lot about these problems and there is so much more to learn. In my spare time I enjoy being with my family, soccer, bushwalking, and building things.

Learn about Andrew's publications and grants.

Associate Professor Kay Bussey, Member

I am committed to understanding more about how children learn to guide and self-regulate their behaviour. The self-regulatory processes that children select to use have profound effects on the skills they develop and on their socioemotional development. The main features of my research include a strong theoretical basis derived from Bandura’s social cognitive theory, a focus on the child’s perspective, and the investigation of psychological processes that are amenable to intervention. From these guiding principles, I consider not only personal factors related to the child such as their temperament, thought processes, and biological makeup but also social influences from parents, teachers, peers, and the media. I am particularly interested in how children construct their beliefs about themselves and about others from diverse experiences and how they use this information to self-regulate their own behavior. I have researched and published articles in leading psychology journals on children’s self-regulatory development in a number of areas including bullying and victimization, trust and honesty, gender relations, parent-child interactions, and children’s participation in the legal system.

Learn about Kay's publications and grants.

Doctor Erica Crome, Member

I’m a postdoctoral researcher and registered psychologist currently working on a study related to alcohol use and anxiety. My research interests are in maximising research investments by using existing clinical research and epidemiological datasets to further understanding about the prevention and treatment of disorders such as anxiety, depression and substance use. I also have a strong interest in novel ways to translate research into clinical outcomes that benefit the wider community. When I'm not working on my research I am a practising psychologist at the Centre for Emotional Health Clinic where I treat teens and adults with anxiety, depression and other emotional health issues.

Learn about Erica's publications and grants.

Doctor Sally Fitzpatrick, Member

Peer victimisation and bullying are significant problems in Australian schools. My research is focussed on implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce bullying and the negative outcomes associated with bullying behaviours. I am a postdoctoral researcher managing a large research trial examining the efficacy of two different bullying interventions, and their combination, to reduce peer victimisation in NSW and WA schools. Read more about PAVe (Preventing Anxiety and Victimisation through education). In addition to my research work I also conduct individual therapy at the Centre for Emotional Health Clinic.

Learn about Sally's publications and grants.

Associate Professor Maria Kangas, Member

Although it is an unfortunate fact, a high proportion of people throughout their lifespan will experience highly stressful events, including being diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions or caring for persons with life-threatening or progressive medical conditions (e.g., cancer and dementia). However, people are also quite resilient in psychologically adapting to highly traumatic events. In my research, I am very interested in understanding what factors help people emotionally recover from medical and other stressful life events, as well as helping family carers. Through my research, I am also testing therapy programs tailored towards specific stress and carer populations to help people recover and enhance their resiliency.  I find my clinical research rewarding as I endeavour to contribute to the improvement of psychosocial screening and treatment programs for stressed members of the community. Currently, I am assisting clients with a range of issues at the Centre for Emotional Health Clinic.  In 2009, I was honoured that my research in this field was recognized internationally, by receiving the Early Career Research Investigator Award by the Society of Behavioral Medicine (USA).

Doctor Lauren McLellan, Member

Anxiety and related emotional health issues are increasingly common. These issues not only affect adults, but are sadly experienced by more and more children and adolescents each year. Broadly speaking, my research aims to understand how anxiety develops and is maintained so it can be prevented and effectively treated. I am passionate about increasing access to effective treatments so that more young people can live emotionally healthy lives. I am also passionate about improving outcomes for anxiety treatments in youth. While psychological treatment is effective for many, my research aims to identify (before treatment) those individuals that may not respond as well as others to standard treatment programs. By understanding the differences between individuals that impact on treatment response, unique treatment packages can be developed that may lead to improved outcomes for more young people experiencing anxiety and related emotional health problems.

Associate Professor Cathy McMahon, Member

My research focuses on the earliest origins of parenting: the psychological experience of pregnancy and how parents come to establish attachment relationships with their infants. A recent study has focused on the trend to delayed childbearing and describes the experience of pregnancy and early parenthood for older compared with younger parents as well as the impact of prior infertility and assisted reproductive technology on psychological wellbeing during this time. Unsettled infant behaviour (particularly excessive crying) is the most common reason for new parents to seek professional help and my research has also examined associations between infant crying, postnatal depression and infant development. An exciting new study explores associations between mothers' mood and stress responses in pregnancy their care giving and their infants' behaviour in the early months of life. We hope to understand the earliest origins of individual differences in a child's capacity to regulate their emotions. I have a commitment to research findings being translated into better services for parents and I am involved in several initiatives to assist parents in better understanding their infant's development and behaviour during the early years of life.


Doctor Jonathan Mond, Member

Although trained as a psychologist, I have a keen interest in sociological and epidemiological approaches to mental health problems. Aspects of the sociological perspective that interest me include the need to critically examine the way that mental health problems are conceptualised in manuals such as the DSM and to highlight the way in which individuals with mental health problems are perceived, and treated, by others.  Aspects of the epidemiological perspective that interest me include the need to examine the full spectrum of mental health problems that occurs at the population level, as opposed to the small proportion of individuals within this spectrum who receive mental health care, and the need to identify factors, such as lack of insight and perceived stigma associated with disclosure, that reduce the likelihood that treatment is received by those who need it.  Much as I admire the work of the psychologists and other health professionals who treat mental health problems, I believe that far greater progress can be made through public health programs that pursue population-level, as opposed to individual-level, change.  My goal is to work with other CEH members to develop truly comprehensive programs that integrate health promotion, early intervention and treatment approaches to improving mental health.  My particular passion is community-based studies of eating-disordered behaviour.  After nearly 15 years of research in this field, I still don’t understand why problems that cause so much distress and disability for so many people receive so little attention as mental and public health problems.  I also have a keen interest in the links between body image, eating-disordered behaviour and body weight and in why these links are given so little attention when considering the “obesity epidemic”.


Doctor Carol Newell, Member

My career began in behavioural neuroscience with a great deal of time spent in a white lab coat chatting to baby rats ("why can't you give me good data?!") and working over weekends during my doctoral thesis at the University of New South Wales. During my postdoc, I transitioned into working more normal hours, with a focus on children and mental health at the Centre for Emotional Health.  My first research specialty is fear memories early in life. Specifically, my research focuses on how children reduce the impact of fear memories through classical and indirect learning (ie. modelling by adults).  This can help inform the treatment and prevention of childhood anxiety disorders. My other research areas include parental factors in the childhood psychopathology. My aim is to bridge the gap between the laboratory and real-world applications.  Therefore, I work in the field of 'translational' research, using pre-clinical rodent models to inform human research.  I'm also a clinical psychologist and enjoy working with parents and children at the Centre for Emotional Health Clinic to help improve mental health outcomes. As a lecturer at the Macquarie University Institute of Early Childhood and a member of the Centre for Emotional Health, I hope to promote an appreciation of scientific applications to mental health and education.


Doctor Lorna Peters, Member

Since beginning study of psychology in the 1980's, I have been intrigued by how people differ from one another and by the uniqueness of each individual. My passion for understanding how individuals differ from one another has translated into my research which focusses on how the unique characteristics of an individual contribute to their progress in treatment for anxiety disorders. My research has two broad aims: firstly, to discover how psychologists can accurately measure unique characteristics of individuals who suffer from an anxiety disorder; and, secondly, to develop treatment procedures that take each person's unique characteristics into account in order to deliver the best outcomes for people with anxiety disorders.


Distinguished Professor Ron Rapee, Member

Despite a wide range of interests, I have focused most of my research in the last 25 years onto anxiety and its disorders. I am fascinated by the ways people's lives change over time and so my work with anxiety disorders has now covered the entire lifespan, from infancy to older age. This research has culminated in several books and over 300 scientific papers in some of the leading international journals in my area. I was honoured to be recognised in 2009 by awards from the two leading professional organisations in my field, the Australian Psychological Society (Distinguished Contribution to Science) and the Australian Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Distinguished Career Award). And I was most especially honoured to be made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012 for my services to clinical psychology. International recognition of my research leads to invitations to present scientific papers and professional training workshops all over the world. It is particularly rewarding to make a difference to people's lives through my input to scientific, mental health, and government bodies and by developing new and effective treatments that are used by therapists all around the world. 

Doctor Carolyn Schniering, Member

In my experience as a child psychologist, I have seen first-hand the way in which emotional problems can interfere with achieving goals and enjoyment of life, in children and adolescents. Therefore, my passion as a member for the Centre of Emotional Health is to increase our understanding of childhood emotional difficulties, and to improve treatment programs for anxiety and depression in youth. In particular, in recent years I developed and evaluated a new treatment that targets both anxiety and depression simultaneously, for adolescents. This program is one of the only integrated treatments for anxiety and depression in Australia. I also developed a questionnaire called the Children’s Automatic Thoughts Scale (CATS) which has been used on a national and international scale to identify unhelpful thinking styles associated with emotional difficulties in youth. In future, I will continue to develop innovative treatments for anxiety and depression in young people. Early intervention is so important in this age group in order to prevent continued emotional problems and reduced life potential into adulthood.


Associate Professor Kerry Sherman, Member

After witnessing friends and family experience a cancer diagnosis, I have had a passion to apply my knowledge of psychology in this area. Since 2004 I have been working closely with the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, where I have a secondment. I am particularly interested in how we can help women diagnosed with breast cancer to manage this experience in the best way possible. I believe that our families are very important to us when we face a health crisis, and so much of my research focuses on how breast cancer affects family members, and how in turn, family members can support a woman with breast cancer. I am also very interested in how genetic testing for disease affects families. I am looking at ways for people to better understand this complex genetic information and to cope with the testing process. I get a real sense of fulfilment knowing that my research is helping the lives of these women and their families.   In August 2014 I was honoured to be awarded the Distinguished International Affiliate award from Div 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.


Doctor Quincy Wong, Member

Social phobia is debilitating and if untreated can follow a chronic course. I am interested in examining the factors that make individuals vulnerable to developing social phobia, as well as those factors that lead to the persistence of the disorder. In my PhD, I examined the role of ruminative thinking in social phobia. Currently, my research focuses on examining the cognitive factors that predispose young individuals to experience persistent social anxiety. This will lead to the development of strategies to identify young individuals who would benefit from preventive interventions.

Doctor Viviana Wuthrich, Member

I have broad research interests in mental health across the age span. However, I currently have specific interests in understanding and treating anxiety in children and older adults. I have a keen interest in improving the treatment of anxiety in these age groups and my research focuses on developing psychological treatment programs for these populations. I enjoy working with people and teaching them essentially simple techniques that can have a powerful effect on their emotional health and wellbeing. I also have a specific interest in understanding the psychological factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia.  In October 2014, I was honoured to be awarded the Australian Psychological Society, Early Career Research Award.  

View a video about Viviana's research on older adults.  Learn more about her research interests.



Honorary Associate Members

Doctor Miriam Forbes

Miri is a Postdoctoral Fellow who currently works at the University of Minnesota (USA) as part of a program of research that aims to improve our understanding of the co-occurrence between substance abuse and other mental disorders. Miri completed her PhD at Macquarie University under the supervision of two CEH members before being invited to join the Centre in 2014. While at the Centre, Miri worked on several research projects, including the coordination of a large-scale high school study aimed at understanding factors that reduce or increase adolescent girls’ risk of developing anxiety and depression. Her PhD looked at how and why depression and anxiety are so closely related to sexual dysfunction. More broadly, she is interested in understanding how and why mental disorders tend to co-occur in specific patterns.



Doctor Lisa Iverach

Lisa is a Research Fellow at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre, University of Sydney, and an Honorary Associate at the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University. She recently completed an NHMRC-funded Early Career Fellowship at the Centre for Emotional Health, where she conducted a study investigating the psychological impact of stuttering in childhood (2013-2016). Lisa’s research seeks to understand the relationship between stuttering and anxiety, with particular focus on the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders among those who stutter, and the impact of these disorders on speech treatment outcomes. With her research team at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre, she is currently involved in the development of treatment programs to address stuttering and anxiety. She is also actively collaborating with researchers from the Centre for Emotional Health to validate an online anxiety disorders assessment for children and teenagers.




Clinic Team

Doctor Heidi Lyneham, Clinic Director, Member

As a clinical psychologist and research fellow, over the 15 years that I have been with the CEH, I have focused my research on improving assessment and treatment methods for emotional problems experienced by children and adolescents. In particular I have aimed to improve access to services for families from rural areas. More recently I have developed an interest in developing the competency and training of mental health professionals including collaborating on the first book focused on the competencies needed to treat child and adolescent anxiety and depression. I hope to use this knowledge to drive further research and development into professional training so that when a family seeks help, they have the best chance to access well-trained, confident therapists whether locally, nationally or internationally.



Shari Hendriks, Clinic Manager, Member

Shari has been involved with the Centre for Emotional Health Clinic since early 2012 and holds a first class honours degree in Psychology. Shari has experience as a mental health support worker on the Cool Kids program and as a co-therapist on our child and adolescent group therapy programs. In her role as Clinic Manager, Shari is responsible for the co-ordination of research programs, private group programs and private individual treatment. She also manages the administrative team and helps facilitate student placements and internships, professional development and community seminars, and marketing initiatives. Shari is currently undertaking her Masters in Organisational Psychology.



Emily Cale, Clinical Psychologist

Emily is a clinical psychologist who has worked at the Centre for Emotional Health Clinic (CEHC) since 2012.  She currently enjoys a combined role, providing individual psychological treatment to children, adolescents and adults for a range of presenting issues, as well as providing supervision to psychology students training at CEHC in how to assess and treat anxiety disorders.

Emily has a Master degree in Clinical Psychology, is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and the Anxiety Practitioners Network (APN), and is registered to provide psychological services with Medicare Australia.  She prioritises an empathetic and collaborative therapeutic relationship with her clients.  From within this relationship, Emily engages clients in evidence-based practices and in doing so, provides high quality support for clients, enabling them to make positive and long-lasting changes in their lives.


Merel Dekkers, Clinical Psychologist

Merel is a registered clinical psychologist with the Australian Psychology Board who specialises in the treatment of children, adolescents and families. She has a particular interest in the treatment of anxiety, OCD, self esteem issues and interpersonal problems.  Merel has been working in private practice for over six years. Her approach to treatment is mainly based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness.

Merel completed her Masters in Psychology in 2005 at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. She is a member of the Anxiety Practitioners Network.  Merel regularly attends conferences and specialist training to keep her knowledge up to date to ensure she gives her clients the best possible treatment. 

Merel is very passionate about helping young people feel better about themselves and their lives.  She finds it very rewarding to work with clients and teach them new skills that can really make a difference in their lives. 


Dr Rhiannon Fogliati, Psychologist

Rhiannon Fogliati is a registered psychologist who provides assessment and treatment for children, adolescents, and adults, experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Rhiannon works collaboratively with her clients using a range of therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Schema Therapy. 

Rhiannon has completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) degree and a Combined PhD/Master of Clinical Psychology degree at Macquarie University. Her PhD explored the impact of cross-examination questions on the eyewitness reports of children who testify in court.



Anna Kelly, Psychologist

Anna is a registered psychologist specialising in the treatment of anxiety and related emotional and behavioural difficulties in children, adolescents and adults.  She has a particular interest in working with children with comorbid autism spectrum disorder and anxiety, and is in the final stages of her doctoral thesis focusing on the nature of parent-child interaction in children with autism and anxiety.
Anna is committed to establishing a warm and collaborative therapeutic relationship with each client, and is focused on working together within an evidence-based framework to achieve positive change.  Anna uses cognitive behavioural therapy, and also draws on Acceptance and Commitment therapy and other mindfulness-based techniques as appropriate.



Lesley Smyth, Clinical Psychologist

Lesley is a registered Clinical Psychologist with Medicare (APHRA Certified), a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), a member of the Anxiety Practitioners Network and the Australian Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.   

Her philosophy is that the process of psychological therapy is a collaborative one: the therapist assists the client by providing skills, a listening ear and sometimes an alternative perspective; but the client is always the expert on his/her own life.  Her training is solidly based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) but she also utilises other approaches including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness.  

Lesley works with clients across the lifespan and has a particular interest in older adults, caregiver stress and parenting issues. She has worked in a range of clinical environments including Community and Hospital and says she feels privileged to support people through periods of difficulty and stress.


Samantha Woon, Psychologist

Samantha Woon is a Registered Psychologist who specialises in the treatment of anxiety and eating disorders in individuals of all ages. She believes in an evidence-based approach to treatment, while working collaboratively with her clients. Samantha has trained in and held positions in a number of public and private health settings, and has enjoyed working within the therapeutic frameworks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Samantha is in the final stages of completing her Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Macquarie University, where her doctoral research focuses on body image in women with breast cancer.




Advisory Committee Members

The Hon. John Watkins M.A., L.LB., DipEd

Since September 2008, John has been the CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW. This important role is involved in some of the major ageing and dementia challenges facing the New South Wales community over coming years.  Alzheimer’s Australia NSW is based at North Ryde in Sydney and has branch offices in several regional locations.

In November 2010 John was appointed Chair of the Board of the Little Company of Mary Health Care Ltd which is responsible for over twenty public and private hospitals, aged care institutions and extensive community care provision throughout every State and Territory of Australia except Queensland and Western Australia.

Until 2011 John also served as the Chair of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Commemoration Committee which developed a series of events to commemorate Australia’s involvement in WW1. 

John is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University and in 2009 was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Western Sydney.

In October 2011 John was appointed Chair of the McKell Institute, a progressive independent think tank based in New South Wales and designed to encourage community debate with practical, thought provoking ideas through commissioned research.

John has chaired the judging panels for the NSW Premier’s Community Awards since 2010 and was an Australia Day Ambassador in 2011.

Prior to his appointment at Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, John was a member of the NSW Parliament between 1995 and 2008. He was sworn in as Deputy Premier in August 2005 and was NSW Transport Minister from January 2005 and Minister for Finance from April 2007 until his resignation from politics in September 2008.

Previously he had held six other Ministerial appointments including the portfolios of State Development, Police (twice), Education and Training, Corrective Services, Fair Trading and Sport and Recreation. He was also Minister responsible for World Youth Day 2008, the APEC Conference in 2007 and other major events.  He also served as the Legislative Assembly representative on the Macquarie University Council for six years.

John graduated in Arts and Law from the University of NSW. He also holds a Master of Arts from Macquarie University and a Diploma of Education from Sydney Teachers College. He worked as a teacher for 16 years until his election to Parliament in 1995.

He is married to Deborah and they have five children – three girls and two boys.



Prof Peter Lovibond

Professor Peter Lovibond obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology (1980) and M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology (1984) from the University of New South Wales.  He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Cambridge University (1980-1983) and Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sydney (1983-1984) before moving back to the University of New South Wales, where he was Head of the School of Psychology from 2002-2008 and is now Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Science.

His research focuses on human associative learning and expectancy theories of anxiety.  He has also investigated the long term stability of depression, anxiety and stress.  In 1995 he published the DASS, a self-report measure of the negative emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress which is widely used by researchers and clinicians.

Professor Lovibond has served as Chair of the NSW Branch of the Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (AACBT; 1990-1991), National President of the AACBT (1991-1992), and convenor of the 14th National AACBT Conference held in Sydney in 1991.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and has held a number of positions within APS, including Chair of the Organising Committee for the 39th National Conference held in Sydney in 2004.  He is also a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and is a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Learning and Behavior.  He is a past member of the Social Economic and Behavioural Sciences panel of the Australian Research Council.


Prof Susan Spence

Prof Susan H Spence is Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

Sue was previously Pro Vice Chancellor (Quality and Student Outcomes) and prior to joining Griffith University, she was Dean of the Division of Linguistics and Psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney. She has also held the positions of Deputy President of Academic Board, at the University of Queensland where she was also Head of the School of Psychology and Head the School of Journalism and Communication. She is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society, British Psychological Society and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Her research interests lie in the causes, assessment, prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression in young people. She is on the editorial boards of several international journals and has also been a member of numerous State and Commonwealth advisory committees and granting bodies in Australia, in the area of mental health. Her research currently focusses on the use of the internet to deliver effective treatments for anxiety and related problems with children and adolescents.


Administrator Login


Admin Login