We are the clinicians of the Heath Group Practice in Edgecliff. We work with individuals, couples and families treating a wide range of psychological difficulties. We all hold a firm belief that our work improves the quality of people’s lives, and understand how vital it is to develop and thrive. We treat anxiety, depression, loss and bereavement, trauma, emotional aspects of physical conditions and disease, food related difficulties, relationship breakdown, conflict, infidelity, divorce and separation, fertility, parenting issues and more.

Lissy Abrahams

Samira Sidhwani


Paul Jacobson


Patricia Abrahams

Lori Shatenstein-Goodman


Justin Harris

Karen Sarmiento


Shawn Stevenson

.Shawn Stevenson

Alison Riddell

Mim Gavel

Bernard Macleod

Lisa Fleming

Melinda Cavaliere

Lissy Abrahams – Individual and Couples Psychotherapist

Lissy founded the Heath Group Practice in April 2012. At Heath Group she has worked therapeutically with individuals and couples experiencing difficulties such as depression, anxiety, bereavement or loss, childhood trauma, struggles with life transitions, relationship or family distress. Lissy also trained as a mediator and even though she no longer practices as a mediator she still helps couples navigate the complex practical and emotional processes of separation and divorce.

Lissy was selected to train, and then work at in London as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist at the world-renowned Tavistock Relationships . She was a practising clinician, tutor, lecturer and on their clinical committee. Lissy has held positions on both the Executive Committee and Membership Committee of Tavistock Relationships Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors (TRAPC) and was Vice President of the Couple, Child, and Family Psychotherapy Association of Australasia.


Lissy is also on Mamamia’s health expert panel. She is the author of Relationship Reset and produced the online course Fight Less, Love More, both designed to increase understanding of how we all operate in relationships and how to make them happier and more connected. Lissy ensures help is also available through her interviews on podcasts, TV appearances, and via her blogs and resources accessed at


  • Vocational Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (Australian Institute for Relationship Studies)
  • Master in Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Tavistock Relationships, London, UK)
  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Attachment, Psychoanalysis and Couple Relationships (Tavistock Relationships, London, UK)
  • Bachelor of Science (Psychology) (Hons) (University of NSW)
  • Diploma of Teaching (University of Technology, Sydney)

Professional Memberships

  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (Clinical)
  • Couple, Child, and Family Psychotherapy Association of Australasia
  • Tavistock Relationships Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors (Alumni)

Patricia Abrahams – Separation & Divorce Consultant

Patricia graduated in 1985 with a first class honours degree in law, having earlier been awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in psychology.  She has also trained as a mediator and collaborative lawyer. She has practiced as a family lawyer for over 30 years, including as a partner at Henry Davis York, and at the firm she co-founded in 1999, Broun Abrahams Burreket. Patricia now focuses  on providing clients with guidance (rather than legal advice) on matters relating to separation and divorce. She uses her wealth of knowledge, gained as a family lawyer, to provide information and guidance about the family law process, the court system, alternative avenues for the resolution of disputes and the challenges people face in relation to their relationship breakdown.

Justin Harris – Psychologist

Justin is a Psychologist working predominantly with adults and adolescents. He also works in Camperdown with homeless people recently introduced to housing. He returned from the UK at the beginning of 2012. During his time in England he completed a Masters degree at the Tavistock Centre in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Over this period, Justin ran psychotherapy groups for adults with substance dependence and adult males on the autism spectrum often with co-morbid psychotic disorders. This work occurred at the Priory Hospital. Aside from this, he maintained a private practice, offering longer-term weekly psychotherapy to adults with more enduring concerns. Justin’s previous experiences abroad have deepened his understanding of the complexity of his clients and informs his work at the Heath Group Practice.


  • Master of Foundations of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic
  • Master of Health Science (Behavioural Science), University of Sydney
  • Graduate Diploma in Psychology, University of Sydney
  • Diploma of Arts (Philosophy), University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts (Communication Management), Deakin University

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals

Bernard Macleod – Psychotherapist

Bernard has over 18 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families seeking psychotherapy and parental support, as well as long term work with adults and couples. He has worked in both the UK and Australia  in various mental health settings including hospitals, mental health clinics, schools and private practice.  Bernard is trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy whereby he seeks to find the root cause of his clients distress and work with them in finding easier and more productive ways of being.  Bernard works in a multi-disciplinary manner where necessary, using his broad network of mental health professionals as required to treat all aspects of the problem being presented.  He is the President of the Couple, Child and Family Psychotherapy Association of Australia, and is a regular speaker in schools across Sydney on the subject of parenting children across the school years.


  • PgD, Integrative Psychotherapy, Regents College
  • Masters, Psychodynamic Counselling for Children and Adolescents, London University

Professional Memberships 

  • Couples and Family Psychotherapy Association of Australia (CAFPAA), President

Dr Samira Sidhwani – Clinical Psychologist

Samira specialises in the assessment and treatment of a range of psychological difficulties experienced by adults and adolescents including mood and anxiety disorders, grief/loss and adjustment issues, perfectionism, panic attacks and emotion regulation difficulties. Samira has a number of years of experience working with adults and teenagers in a wide range of locations throughout Sydney including hospital settings, community mental health and private practice. She treats adults and adolescents with low self-esteem, eating disorders, trauma and relationship difficulties, self-harm and personality disorders. Samira uses an eclectic approach in her clinical work with a blend of attachment, psychodynamic and systemic family therapeutic models to treat each individual’s needs.


  • Doctor of Clinical Psychology (University of Sydney)
  • Masters of Science (University of Sydney)
  • Bachelor of Psychology – Honours (University of Sydney)


  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • Australian Clinical Psychology Association (MACPA)

Lori Shatenstein-Goodman – Clinical Social Worker

Lori is a Clinical Social Worker who works therapeutically with adolescents and adults with a range of difficulties affecting their psycho-social functioning, including depression and anxiety, substance dependence, relationship difficulties and past experiences of trauma. She worked for several years at the Child Protection Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in St Leonards, providing counselling to children who had been abused and their families. For the past 12 years Lori has worked within a women’s drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre. Here, Jace and Lori designed and facilitated a six week residential treatment program for women with a history of substance dependence and past experiences of trauma. Lori’s work focuses on attachment issues, relationships, past trauma and parenting. She is trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and has run DBT groups. All of this experience brings richness to Lori’s way of working as a therapist at the Heath Group Practice.


  • BA Social Work (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • MA (Psychodynamic) Counselling (Reading University, England)

Professional Memberships

  • Member of the Australian Association of Social Workers

Paul Jacobson – Psychotherapist

Paul has more than 20 years professional experience supporting individuals, couples, and families through significant life transitions.  Through his work in hospitals, care facilities, and crisis refuge centres, he has encountered and worked successfully with clients experiencing anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, life-threatening illness, grief, bereavement, and complex trauma.  

Paul has also held leadership positions in multiple communal organisations.  In his most recent role, he provided therapeutic services to children and adolescents in more than 15 schools, while equipping parents and carers with strategies to better navigate their children’s emotional needs.  He also takes a keen interest in men’s mental health and guiding men to explore their emotions more deeply.

Paul believes that establishing a strong relational connection with his clients is the key to successful therapy.  Using a person-centred, narrative approach, along with other therapeutic modalities, he patiently takes the time to listen to his clients’ needs, helping his clients to discover their own voice and feel more empowered.  


  • Master of Psychotherapy & Counselling with Distinction (Western Sydney University)
  •  Master of Arts (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, USA)
  • Bachelor of Arts with College Honours (Washington University, St. Louis, USA)
  • Dulwich Centre Narrative Therapy Intensive Training (Adelaide, SA)
  • Coursework in Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness
  • Qualified Prepare/Enrich Facilitator

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Counselling Association

Shawn Stevenson – Individual and Couple Psychotherapist

As a psychotherapist Shawn practices with individuals and couples at Heath Group. He also facilitates Interpersonal “here and now” Process Groups and teaches at the University of Western Sydney. Shawn brings many years experience from studying and practicing therapy in a variety of environments to address concerns of the human condition. He believes at the heart of therapy the relationship between himself and a client is an important factor in realising therapeutic goals. He aims to foster a safe and collaborative working relationship where clients are approached in a humanistic and holistic way. In working with individuals or couples his eclectic style draws upon a variety of evidence based approaches that includes traditional talking therapy, mindfulness, focusing and somatic experiencing, attachment theory, family therapy, current neuropsychological research and trauma informed strategies that develop emotional regulation skills. He often supports clients to address concerns that include mood, both depressive and anxious symptoms, addiction, attachment and relationship issues, gender and sexuality, grief and loss, men’s issues, life transitions and purpose. He often works with clients to develop awareness of their unique cycles of experience and overtime understand what they may wish to find peace with, to integrate and let go, or to nurture and let in. With couples often his support relates to resourcing their communication skills and finding ways to move beyond fear and resentment to nurture healthy boundaries, authenticity, acceptance and emotional intimacy. Shawn often works with clients for several years. In the therapy process with each individual or couple, however long or short that may be, he has learned much about the resilience of the human spirit.

  • Master of Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy (Jensen Newman Institute, Sydney)
  • AABCAP Professional Training Course in Buddhism and Psychotherapy
  • Graduate Diploma of Education (University of Sydney)
  • Diploma of Japanese Studies (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
  • Bachelor of Arts (University of Newcastle)

Professional Memberships

  • PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia) registered.

Alison Riddell – Psychologist

Alison has worked as a psychologist for the past 15 years and is registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

During this time Alison has worked across public sectors of mental health supporting child, adolescent and families. 

More recently Alison has built a private practice supporting adults who are seeking to change patterns around how to think and respond, after acknowledging the ways they’ve been ‘doing life’ doesn’t seem to be working as well anymore. 

This extends to working with couples, where Alison has a particular interest in helping them to relate, communicate and repair in order to make their relationships feel more connected and loving.

Offering a supportive environment, Alison’s aim is to encourage clients to explore the issues they feel challenged by and help them gain insight that brings resolution and/or acceptance.

Alison is registered as a Medicare Psychology Provider and has extensive training in a range of therapeutic approaches. She draws from a relational therapy lens supplemented by systemic (family) therapy, acceptance commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Alison has also worked in crisis support with Lifeline Australia, facilitated seminars on ‘Making Stepfamilies Work’ through Relationships Australia and has featured on ABC radio, discussing clinical issues facing psychologists today. She was also featured on weekly segments in the ‘We’re Here for Women’ campaign with brand Natalija, which creates a space for women to connect and empower one another through shared stories.

Follow Alison on Instagram to gain insights on mental health topics of interest.

Melinda Cavaliere – Individual, Couple and Psychosexual Psychotherapist

Melinda is an Integrative Psychotherapist working with individuals and couples, suffering from a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, isolation and specialises in psychosexual difficulties. She has vast experience working with young offenders in the Juvenile Justice System as well as their families. She trained in London at Regent’s University and developed her specialisation through her involvement with the London Diploma in Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy. For over 18 years Melinda worked in both Family and Psychosexual Services in London. She facilitates therapy in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental space. She believes in empowering and working collaboratively with clients to provide strategies which raise self-awareness, alleviate psychological distress and ensure full participation in the therapeutic process. She helps clients explore and understand how their early attachments and early experiences might have contributed to the present difficulty. Therapy can be conducted in English or Italian.


  • BSc (Hons) in Educational Science (University of Cassino, Italy)
  • Master of Science Criminal Justice System (Greenwich University, London)
  • PG Dip in Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology (Regent’s College, London)
  • PG Dip in Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy (Middlesex University, London)

Professional Memberships

  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
  • College of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (COSRT)
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)
  • Couple, Child and Family Psychotherapy Association of Australia (Associate)


Mim Gavel – Psychotherapist 

Mim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Heath Group where she works as a psychotherapist. She works therapeutically with children, teenagers and adults covering a wide range of issues. Mim has worked extensively in Sweden as a psychologist and psychotherapist helping clients with depression, anxiety, difficulties in relationships, and low self-esteem. She also works closely helping clients with life-threatening illnesses and offers support to their families. Mim works with neuropsychological assessments and specializes in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). 


Mim helps her clients using a variety of techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), schema therapy, and attachment theory. Her therapeutic work is influenced by the importance of mindfulness, presence, and self-compassion. Mim believes that a good alliance between therapist and client offers the best conditions for a successful treatment. She helps her clients create positive changes in their lives. She offers therapy in English or Swedish.



  • Master of Science in Psychology (Linkoping University, Sweden) 
  • Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (Svenska Institutet för Kognitiv Psykoterapi, CBT-oriented Psychotherapy Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Certified in: Motivational interviewing (MI), International Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (Sweden) 
  • Certified in Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Sweden)
  • Certified in Mentalization Based Treatment for Families (Sweden)
  • Schema therapy Module A and D (Svenska Institutet för Kognitiv Psykoterapi, CBT-oriented Psychotherapy Stockholm, Sweden)

Professional Memberships

  • Psychotherapy and Counseling Federation of Australia (Clinical, PACFA – pending approval)
  • Psychologist registration National Board of Health and Welfare (Sweden)
  • Psychotherapist registration National Board of Health and Welfare (Sweden)
  • Swedish Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies
  • Behavioral Therapeutic Association (Sweden)
  • European Association for Behavioral and Cognitive therapies (EABCT)

Lisa Fleming – Individual &Couple Psychotherapist

Lisa works therapeutically with individuals and couples experiencing a range of difficulties in life and relationships. She has studied and trained broadly, working as a trauma informed psychotherapist, integrating somatic (body oriented) psychotherapy and psychodynamic approaches with an emphasis on neuroscience and helping calm the nervous system. Lisa incorporates broader experience and study in EMDR trauma therapy, Internal Family Systems, Neurofeedback, yoga and meditation. She helps clients with a wide array of issues including relationship and family difficulties, childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and addiction. She is especially experienced with individuals who may struggle with boundaries or be people pleasers, or who are highly empathic with a high awareness of the needs of others. Freeing them to be themselves with more ease. 

Lisa has extensive experience working with couples utilising a variety of models depending on their needs. These include Tavistock model of couple therapy, Imago couple therapy, EFT couple therapy (Emotion Focus Therapy) based in attachment theory, and the Relational Psychoanalytic approach to couple therapy. Lisa has a special interest in trans-generational trauma and how the holocaust or other events in people’s histories can be affecting their relationship. She helps people find ways to be themselves in relationship while also working as a team. She helps couples understand why certain things upset them so much and learn to understand and support each other when they get triggered rather than continue in old patterns where they inadvertently set each other off and spiral.

Lisa understands life’s complexities and brings her warmth, understanding and non-judgmental manner to her clients. She understands that it’s normal for all of us to struggle and have areas of difficulty. She knows that working therapeutically with optimism and care eases suffering. Lisa teaches at Australian College of Applied Psychology. At heart Lisa is warm, relational and accepting. A deep thinker who brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to her work combined with a warm welcoming style. 


  • Bachelor Psychological Science (Hons) University of New England
  • BA (Hons) Sociology, Comparative studies in History & Literature (Griffith University)
  • Master Management (Macquarie Graduate School of Management)
  • Diploma Somatic Psychotherapy (Somatics College Rozelle)
  • Conversational Model Trauma Informed Psychoanalytic Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (Westmead & ANZAP)
  • Cert IV Workplace Training & Assessment 

Professional Memberships

  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (Clinical, PACFA)
  • Australia New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy (Clinical, ANZAP)
  • International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy (IARPP)


Karen Sarmiento – Child, Adolescent and Family Therapist

Karen brings her 20 years of experience working in community and inpatient mental health services to the Heath Group Practice. She specialises in the treatment of adolescents and families living with significant mental illness including mood and anxiety disorders, emerging personality disorders, psychotic disorders, PTSD and trauma, self-harm and suicidal ideation, emotion regulation difficulties and parent-child relational issues.

Karen has trained in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and believes that early life experiences play an integral part in shaping how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. She uses an eclectic, person-centred approach to support clients in becoming more curious about their internal world and to develop a richer understanding of their emotions.

Karen’s family therapy practice focuses on supporting members to work towards a variety of goals including improving communication, fostering positive relationships, exploring roles and patterns of behaviour and bringing awareness to the impact of unresolved trauma and intergenerational issues.

In addition to family therapy, Karen offers parent work to help parents better attune to the emotional needs of their children and to heal attachment ruptures.


  • Bachelor of Social Work (Western Sydney University)
  • Graduate Diploma in Couple and Family Therapy (Relationships Australia)
  • Master of Couple and Family Therapy (University of NSW)
  • Certificate in Clinical Studies of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (ICAPP)

Professional Memberships

  • Member of the Australian Association of Social Workers