Managing Director & Psychologist
Melissa Duckmanton founded United Minds Community Services (formerly Open Minds Psychological Services) in 2013 in response to an opportunity to help close the gap for people who were ‘falling between the cracks’ in various government funded community programs. This service quickly grew to what it is today and continues to expand at a rapid rate. Melissa Duckmanton has over 18 years experience in working with marginalised, disadvantaged and oppressed people in the community. Melissa has worked for a range of non-government organisations and has been active in roles such as advocacy, case management, counselling, program development, business relationship management and evaluation. Melissa has a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology and has completed a Masters in Applied Psychology (Community) and is a member of the AAPi.
Outside of United Minds Community Services, Melissa enjoys spending time with her 5 children.
Melissa was a finalist in the AusMumpreneur Awards 2018.
Dita is a registered (general) psychologist and is a member of the AAPi. She completed a BSc Psychology (Honours) in the UK, Grad Dip of Counselling & Psychotherapy and coursework for a Master of Counselling & Psychotherapy in Australia. Her approach is respectful, caring and client-focused. She utilizes a range of evidence-based therapeutic approaches including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness, Solution Focused Brief therapy, Interpersonal therapy and Emotion-focused therapy. Dita has a nursing background and over 6 years experience counselling adolescents and adults with a diverse range of problems. She is interested in the mind/body connection, women’s issues relating to the perinatal period and the management of chronic illness. Dita promotes a holistic approach to overall health and wellbeing.
Areas of expertise:
Grief and loss
Child and Adolescent Psychologist / Clinical Lead
Jessica is a registered Psychologist with qualifications including Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) (Honours) and Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology). Jess specialises in working with children, adolescents and families and has experience in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment interventions for a wide range of emotional, social and behavioural concerns. Jessica believes in working closely and honestly with clients families to provide support and the best possible outcomes.
In practice Jessica utilises a combination of evidence-based therapeutic interventions and theories including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Mindfulness, Family Systems Therapy and Attachment Theory.
Jessica has experience in addressing concerns including:
trauma and abuse
grief and loss
Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Belinda has worked as a psychologist for for over 20 years, in South African, New Zealand and Australia. She is a registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (PBA)/ Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with her area of practice being educational and developmental psychology and is a member of the AAPi. Belinda brings over 20 years of experience working with adults, families, children and young people, and an ongoing joy in doing so, even when the issues to be tackled are challenging. Her approach involves taking time to connect with you and get to know you and your unique circumstances, exploring what may help, and combining knowledge of approaches shown by research to work, with your own needs, and wisdom, then supporting you as you put things into practice.
Areas of particular expertise are:
Navigating the transition to parenthood
Helping parents be more effective
Helping children through their parents/caregivers (who are their first and best support)
Work with children and families
Helping adults and children learn to manage difficult emotions and behaviour
Anxiety and fear (both children and adults)
Suicidal feelings and urges
Belinda is ook redelike vlot in Afrikaans as u meer op u gemak is in u eie taal
Paula is a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) for the past 12 years. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Paula provides individual therapy to adults experiencing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, trauma, addictions, grief, difficulty adjusting to life changes and work stress.
Paula has gained extensive experience working in the non-government and community health sector as well as in palliative care and is experienced in assisting those approaching end of life as well as supporting carers through bereavement.
Paula brings to the therapeutic relationship respect, warmth, sensitivity and compassion. Her approach focuses on identifying and responding to the unique needs of each person and tailoring this to facilitate meaningful growth and positive change through the healing process.
In therapy, Paula is able to draw upon a range of therapeutic frameworks including Interpersonal Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness techniques.
Lindita is a registered psychologist and is a member of the AAPi. Linda is interested in working with individuals on a deep core level. She is passionate about self-discovery and inner growth, by working with people to better understand the mind and soul connection. She is interested in working with sensitive people from diverse backgrounds; her approach focuses on walking along side the individual to manifest change, letting go of old dying habits which are self defeating and exhausting. She is passionate about supporting people through life lessons and assisting them to develop clarity and depth of their own feelings, thoughts, wishes and interests. She believes she has a welcoming approach and also understands that meeting the right psychologist can take time and patience. Additionally, she understands that contemplating change is difficult when on your own which is why she is invested in developing strong and honest relationships with her clients to move through the discomfort and towards their desired outcome. She believes everyone requires a warm atmosphere to develop feelings of inner security and inner freedom, as this will allow the person to be authentic and inspired. Lindita can assist with can assist with a wide range of issues, including but not limited to:
Depression and Anxiety
Children and Adolescents
Difficulties with Sleep
Interpersonal and communication difficulties
Grief and loss
Suli is a registered psychologist who currently works with children and adolescents who are experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Suli works from a strengths-based approach and is trained in Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Narrative Therapy.
Suli adopts family sensitive practice that is inclusive of parents and caregivers valuing collaboration amongst the family, teachers, mainstream and community services. Suli works from a Social Determinants of Health approach acknowledging that the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age and the systems put in place to deal with mental illness impact on a person’s mental health.
Suli has a Masters degree in Applied Psychology (Community Psychology) with a particular interest in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities. Suli has spent time working within not-for-profit Disability and Community Mental Health. Government and private sectors.
Psychologist / Educational & Psychology Registrar
Michelle has worked with children, adolescents and adults in private practice and schools, including specialist and home settings, with individuals who have additional needs. She enjoys supporting families, assisting learning and skill development, diagnostic assessment and intervention, and helping clients pursue increased self-awareness, goals and well-being.
She takes a collaborative, individualised and friendly approach with clients, and draws on evidence-based methods such as cognitive-behavioural therapies, applied behaviour analysis and mindfulness. She also uses play-based therapies with children.
Her qualifications include Bachelor of Behavioural Science, Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology and Master of Educational Psychology. She is registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).
Michelle’s experience includes:
Assessment and intervention (educational, cognitive, diagnostic including ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia/Dyscalculia)
Positive parenting and behaviour management
anxiety and depression
stress and worry
emotional and self-regulation
Sonia is a registered Psychologist with the Australian Health Practioner Agency (AHPRA) and Member of the Australian Psychological Society. She has over six years counselling experience working with families, young people and adults with a range of presenting issues. Sonia’s aspirations are around supporting people to pursue rich and meaningful lives despite adversities and challenges.
Sonia utilises and integrates a combination of evidence-based treatments (including Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Attachment Theory Framework, Neurobiology of interpersonal trauma framework and Mindfulness) and individualises treatment to ensure a client-cantered approach.
Outside of work, Sonia trains and fights competitively in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) including Muay Thai kick-boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; and is passionate about the short and long term positive impact that regular physical activity has on mental health. Sonia is also fluent in Arabic.
Areas of expertise include:
Working with adolescents
Family violence and Complex Trauma
Grief and Loss
Assertiveness and Communication Training
Grief and Loss
Guided by a person-centered, trauma informed approach, Julia understands the importance of creating safe, trusting and genuine therapeutic relationships. She believes that all people have the capacity for healing and sees the therapeutic space as an opportunity for individuals to develop insights and tools to support them on their journey of self-healing. Her work is grounded in a sense of humour, authenticity, curiosity and compassion and aims to support people to heal from unresolved pain and trauma, deepen connections with self and others and find meaning, purpose and fulfilment. All aspects of a person’s life are taken into consideration, including the psychological, emotional, spiritual, social, relational and environmental influences on a person’s wellbeing.
Julia has experience working within a range of setting including: grief and bereavement, community mental health, educational, residential and drug and alcohol. To assist with the healing process, Julia utilises a range of therapeutic processes and approaches as well as drawing upon the wisdom of her clients, believing that all individuals are the experts of their own lives. Julia works with adolescents and adults and welcomes those from diverse communities, including those identifying as LGBTQIA+ and gender diverse and people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity of all kinds is a cornerstone of her practice.
Julia can assist with a range of issues including (but not limited to):
– Depression, anxiety and stress
– Substance use issues
– Grief and loss (including bereavement after suicide)
– Relational trauma and relationship/attachment difficulties
– Suicidal thoughts and behaviour
– Identity and self-esteem
– Increasing wellbeing and life satisfaction
– Spiritual crisis and integration of past psychedelic experiences
– Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
– Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
– Motivational Interviewing
– Relapse prevention
– Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS)
– Influenced by Attachment theory, Schema Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy & Positive Psychology
Priscilla is a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). She has completed a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours and a Master of Psychology (Educational and Developmental). She has experience working with children and older adults, and is interested in working with individuals from across the lifespan.
Priscilla draws on evidence-based interventions, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Reminiscence Therapy. Her approach includes providing a safe, non-judgmental space, understanding the client’s story, and working collaboratively with the client to set goals for therapy.
Areas of practice:
Adjustment issues (including issues with ageing, school transitions, and immigration issues)
Psychologist / Clinical Lead
Shelley is a registered Psychologist with qualifications including a Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours and Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology). Shelley has worked with children, adolescents, and adults. She has experience working in schools, the drug and alcohol sector and a psychiatric hospital. Shelley has facilitated group therapy sessions on a wide range of topics including recovery, sleep, self-compassion, coping skills, managing anxiety, and depression
Shelley believes in a collaborative approach with her clients to ensure appropriate goals are set and effective interventions are used. Shelley applies a range of evidence-based therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness, Attachment Therapy, Health First Aid and Crisis management, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
Areas of expertise include:
Grief and loss
Psychologist since 2001; M.Psych
Background in Counselling since 1992
Sports Coaching since 18 yo
Drugs and alcohol
Primary, secondary, tertiary and special schools
Program design and implementation
ASD and learning difficulties and assessments
Main Tool: Transactional Analysis
Main Philosophy: To facilitate the client’s awareness to allow better choices in their lives; Teach them to fish, not feed them.
Nick aims to establish a warm, safe, and genuine therapeutic relationship at the onset of therapy. He is a registered Psychologist with a BA in Psychology (Hons), and a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology.
Nick adopts a tailored approach to therapy focused upon understanding the unique treatment needs of each client. He values regular client collaboration and feedback, and always endeavours to align therapy to client preferences. Nick helps adults and older adolescents to better understand the factors that contribute to their distress. Nick can assist clients to explore their past in order to make sense of current experiences. He assists clients to foster more helpful and compassionate interpretations of self, and to build lasting skills to improve psychological wellbeing. He is change-focused, and will work to both support & challenge clients to meet their own personal goals for therapy. His experience extends across family/community-based mental health, out-patient private hospital, and private practice Psychology settings.
Nick’s competencies and interests include:
– Trauma in childhood and adulthood (Complex Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress)
– Problematic long-term relational patterns (e.g., recurring behavioural issues resulting in unsatisfying relationships and psychological distress)
– Anxiety and depression
– Anger management
– Relationship conflict and disputes
– Life transition and adjustment issues
– Parenting support counselling (particularly for parents of children who have experienced trauma)
– Vocational / Career concerns
Nick utilises various evidence-based therapeutic approaches in his work, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Schema Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, and Insight-Oriented approaches. His underlying counselling philosophy is humanistic, and non-pathologising in nature.
Bree is a registered Counsellor who has a strong focus on providing support to families, individuals and relationships facing stress and challenges in everyday life. With a background in teaching, Bree has extensive experience working with families, adolescents and children, co coordinating wellbeing in education, supporting students and parents with a range of behavioural, educational and family concerns.Bree has a special interest in relationship counselling and aims at offering affordable access to therapies for couples. Bree’s work with couples support the development of long-lasting strategies and insight able to be applied outside of the therapeutic space. Through counselling, couples are supported in forming goals which focus on developing a deeper understanding of each other and their relationship. Bree uses a range of therapeutic approaches including The Gottman Method, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness.Bree has a respectful, empathetic and authentic nature grown through experience supporting a diverse range of community members, always working collaboratively to understand issues together. Bree is now available for counselling sessions on a Saturday at the United Minds Yarrambat Office. Session are charged at $110 per hour (cancellation fees apply.) After March Bree will be conducting Bringing Baby Home workshops focusing on preparing couples for the transition into parenthood and the challenges to a relationship this time brings.
Melanie is a registered psychologist with qualifications including a Bachelor of Psychological Science, Graduate Diploma of Psychology Advanced and Master of Professional Psychology. Melanie has worked in a variety of settings including private practice, schools and within a psychological laboratory at Monash University as part of the ‘Parenting Resilient Kids Team.’ Melanie has an interest in working with individuals from all age groups across the lifespan, and has worked with children, adolescents and adults. Melanie has worked as a school counsellor in a variety of schools. Melanie embraces a warm, supportive and collaborative approach in working with clients, adapting her therapeutic approach to suit the individual needs of each client. Melanie believes in developing an authentic relationship with the client in order to understand their experiences. She aims to create a safe space for clients to share their story and to be heard and understood, allowing clients to reflect on their experiences and develop a deeper understanding of themselves, enabling them to take positive steps towards creating lasting change in their lives. Melanie applies a range of evidence-based therapeutic approaches including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Person Centered Therapy and Mindfulness. Melanie also has experience in play therapy. Melanie has experience in addressing concerns including: • Depression • Anxiety • Self-esteem • Stress management • Relationship issues/breakdown • Grief and loss • Behavioural difficulties • Emotional dysregulation
Constance Rubino Psychologist Constance is a registered Psychologist with qualifications including Bachelor of Psychological Science and Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) and is currently completing her clinical registrar. Constance specialises in working with young people. Constance enjoys working with children who have behavioural difficulties and autism spectrum disorder.
Constance creates a supportive and inclusive space to encourage children to engage.
Kristin is a registered psychologist and member of the APS. She holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, Postgraduate Diploma of Applied Psychology, Masters of Counselling and Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology. Kristin has experience working with clients across the lifespan including: children (aged 3 years and over), adolescents, adults and older adults. Kristin has worked in a range of settings (family violence, addiction, mental health, schools, universities) and is able to support individuals with a range of areas including:
Children and adolescents:
Difficulties with school
Family violence (survivors)
Study related difficulties such as perfectionism.
Gamze is a registered psychologist who has worked with children and adolescents in a range of settings including schools, private practice and community settings. She has worked with a variety of mental health conditions and presenting issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, adjustment issues, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, speech and social difficulties, and behavioural difficulties.
Gamze uses a combination of therapeutic interventions and techniques, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness. Gamze has worked as a Student Support Services Officer with the Department of Education and Training (DET), providing counselling to students and working with school staff, allied health professionals and parents. Gamze also has extensive experience conducting behavioural, cognitive and educational assessments with children and adolescents to assess for Specific Learning Disorders such as Dyslexia, Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Language Disorder.
Binita is a registered psychologist with qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Master of Science in Counselling Studies, and a Master of Psychology (Educational and Developmental). She is currently completing a PhD in Psychology, and her research focuses on identifying strategies that improve reading comprehension among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Binita is interested in working with individuals across the lifespan. She has had experience working with children, adolescents, and young and older adults, conducting psycho-educational assessments and providing counselling. Binita believes in working collaboratively with her clients, and strongly values creating a non-judgemental environment within which clients can feel open, safe, and comfortable to express themselves. Using a client centered approach, Binita draws from evidence-based interventions including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Gestalt Therapy.
Areas of work include: Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Learning difficulties, Self-Esteem, Adjusting to transitions and challenges across the lifespan (e.g. divorce / separation, job loss, and ageing), Psycho-educational assessment, Suicidal ideation and behaviour, Emotional regulation
Nicole is currently completing a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. With a focus on children and
adolescents this will complement her previous education which includes a Bachelor Degree in Social
Science (Psychology) and Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Nicole’s volunteers her counselling expertise. Previously she has supported and guided at risk youth,
currently she assists adults and young adults experiencing mental and emotional anxieties. Her aim
is to positively impact their ability to achieve workplace enjoyment, engagement and performance.
Nicole is passionate about supporting all people, regardless of background or issue, through difficult
stages of their life, including depression, anxiety, grief and loss, bullying and low self-esteem.
Nicole is exploring a variety of therapy skills through study including Art, Play and Movement
Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Person Centred and Positive Therapy. She holds training in Applied
Behavioural Analysis and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Administration / Fundraising
Meet our office 'mum', Tracey. Tracey is the friendly voice at the end of the phone when you phone up with an enquiry or to rebook an appointment.
Intake / Accounts
Meet our office guru Allira. Allira wears multiple hats within our service but you will meet her via phone for your intake session.