Qualifications: Advanced diploma in social work (Northumbria University, United Kingdom); Master Degree in Non-Directive Play Therapy (York University, United Kingdom); Clinical Master Degree in psychology (Griffith University, Australia).
Helen has worked therapeutically with children and families for over 25 years. She began her career as a residential social worker in the United Kingdom where she worked for a voluntary organisation in a program responsible for preparing children for long term fostering and adoption placements. It was in this post that Helen first practiced play therapy skills in a therapeutic context.
After gaining a diploma in social work Helen worked as a child protection social worker before gaining a position with Barnardos in a bereavement unit supporting children and families affected by serious illness and traumatic bereavement. It was whilst employed in this unit that she was sponsored to undertake a master degree in non-Directive Play Therapy at York University where she had the privilege to be supervised by Dr Virgnia Ryan.
Helen has worked in various government and non-government organisations in practice and management roles since this time. For the last twelve years Helen has worked in private practice at Kidzontrack, where she is the clinical director, as a play therapist/counsellor and more recently as a psychologist.
Helen was passionate about advocating for the professionalism of play therapy in Australia from her arrival in 2002. She was vice-president of the first Play Therapy Association (APPTA) and presented at its inaugural conference in Darwin in 2007. Since that time Helen has undertaken further studies in clinical psychology where the content of her theses involved a pilot study augmenting play therapy with the gold standard one-session exposure treatment of specific phobia for young children with a dog phobia. The outcome of this research was positive and attempts to secure further funding to undertake a clinical trial are underway.
Helen is a registered play therapy supervisor and currently supervises university students and others studying play therapy qualifications and working within the field of play therapy in Australia. Helen delivers training for government and non-government organisations. Helen has undertaken Filial Therapy training post qualifying and is keen to see Filial Therapy become as popular here in Australia as it is in Europe and the USA in the near future.