Aurora Psychology was developed to provide therapy, workshops, and groups with a relational focus, drawing on ideas from attachment theory and interpersonal neurobiology. Our experience has demonstrated to us the importance of relationships in helping people to grow and develop, and this is incorporated into our approach. From our experience, clients who do well in therapy typically learn ways of improving their relationships with close others, even when this is not the primary reason for counselling. As such, we keep relationships in mind throughout the process of therapy, in order to help clients to grow and develop outside of therapy.

We draw from contemporary psychological theories, including theories of attachment, relationships, and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology, tailoring our approach to your individual needs.

Our Doncaster location is designed to allow convenient access to psychology services for those living or working in surrounding areas, such as Manningham (including suburbs such as Doncaster East, Donvale, Templestowe, Bulleen, and Warrandyte), Nillumbik (including Eltham), Banyule (including suburbs such as Heidelberg, Macleod, and Montmorency) Whitehorse (including suburbs such as Burwood, Blackburn, Box Hill, and Mitcham), Boroondara (including suburbs such as Balwyn, Surrey Hills, and Kew), and Maroondah (including suburbs such as Ringwood and Croydon).

However, we often find that our clients are willing to travel from other areas in Melbourne in order to access a service that makes them feel supported.


Meet our team


 
 

Alana Howells - Principal Psychologist

BA (Psych) (Hons), MPsych (ClinPsych), MAPS

I am an experienced psychologist who has worked in private practice, psychiatric hospitals, and the community sector. I founded Aurora Psychology as a result of my experiences providing therapy to a range of clients. I have found that when I have been able to help my clients to develop an increased understanding of themselves and connect more with difficult emotions, they tend to make positive progress in therapy.

Prior to founding Aurora Psychology, I spent several years working in the community not-for-profit sector, providing therapy, assessments, and groups to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. My time in the community sector involved considerable work with children and their families, particularly where there had been experiences of trauma, abuse, or other significant relationship difficulties. As part of this role, I managed a therapy service that provided services across the Eastern metropolitan region of Melbourne, providing supervision and training to psychologists, provisional psychologists, and others in helping professions.

I continue to provide supervision and training in addition to providing therapy and cognitive assessments. In addition to my work at Aurora Psychology, I provide sessional lecturing in a Master of Counselling course.

I have a strong commitment to ongoing professional development, and am currently undergoing further training to work towards specialising as a clinical psychologist.

I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. I have particular interests in:

  • Child therapy
  • Parent counselling
  • Cognitive and educational assessments of children and adults
  • PTSD and traumatic experiences
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Helping people to process difficult past events

 

 
 
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Casey O'Brien - Psychologist

I am passionate about helping you have more nurturing, fulfilling relationships. In my experience, many people come to therapy not just to cope better, but to understand why they feel this way in the first place. In therapy I can work with you to develop a deeper understanding of your personal story. In our busy, modern lifestyles many people also find it hard to find calm or stay grounded. In therapy our work may assist you develop these life skills, ‘press pause’, and live in the moment. For over seven years I have worked alongside doctors and nurses in hospitals, helping people adjust to acute and chronic conditions, navigate medical treatments and co-existing mental health difficulties. I have supported carers, friends, and family to express their own forms of grief and feelings.

Professionally, I have experience in public health services, public hospitals, private practice, and the community sector. I have a strong research background including supervision of medical student projects and publications in peer-reviewed journals. I lived in Dublin for four years and was influenced by European culture and tradition. My clinical experience includes therapy, assessments, and group work. I divide my time between Aurora Psychology and my public hospital role. 

I work with adolescents and adults, with particular interests in:

  • Physical health conditions
  • Anxiety
  • Improving relationships
  • Mindfulness and relaxation therapies
  • Helping people navigate life transitions (e.g. new job, school to university, retirement)
  • Using creative strategies, e.g. dream analysis to guide life changes
 
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Dorothy Minca - Psychologist                                                                                               

I am a mature person and have worked in a number of diverse settings. I have been a registered psychologist for 15 years. Prior to this, I was a primary school teacher. After I finished my psychology course I worked in a not-for-profit organisation in substance abuse education and treatment. In this setting I worked with both adults and young people in withdrawal units as well as running groups, providing individual counselling and working with families. I also ran training for staff and supervised student placements during this time. I have been also worked in private practice for more than ten years. 

I enjoy helping people work through issues that are causing difficulties in their lives. It is very rewarding to see clients making positive changes in their lives, being able to help them learn new ways of being in the world and improving their relationships. I am committed to ongoing professional development.   

I am experienced in working with a wide range of mental health presentations, using a variety of therapeutic modalities to meet individual needs.

I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families, with particular interests in:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Addiction and recovery
  • Grief and loss
  • PTSD and trauma
  • Life transitions
  • Self-esteem 
 

Marion McIntosh - Psychologist

I have over 15 years counselling experience, working in a variety of different environments and with a wide range of people and a broad range of mental health issues and life experiences. 

Additionally, as a mature-aged person, I bring a wealth of life experience to my work, and am able to recognise and relate with empathy and understanding to the experiences of clients. 

I work in a holistic way, incorporating the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions I believes that an integrated therapeutic approach, considering the ‘whole’ person, works best to enable an individual to resolve issues, and restore balance. My work is informed by a breadth of Western and Eastern theories and philosophies, from neuroscience to meditative mindfulness. 

The connections between brain, mind and body as expressions of our human emotional experience remain a source of fascination and inspiration for me. In this vein, as well as psychology, I have studied widely, incorporating the teachings of kinesiology, reiki and physiology in my work. A particular area of interest is that of childhood trauma and its effects. Any trauma can have negative impacts on a person’s life; but childhood trauma often has particularly long-lasting and pervasive effects, creating difficulties in a range of life domains, and affecting how the adult functions emotionally.

I work with adults and couples, and I am trained in the use of a range of psychotherapeutic modalities to assist with problems such as:

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Domestic violence
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Insomnia
  • Life transition
  • PTSD and trauma
  • Relationship concerns
  • Self-esteem
 

Melissa Finlayson - Psychologist

I am a registered psychologist with significant experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. I have worked in a range of settings including schools, community service organisations and crisis intervention services. I have specialised training and experience in family violence and sexual assault counselling. I also have extensive clinical and research experience in suicide prevention and bereavement.   

I tend to draw on a wide variety of therapeutic approaches which I tailor to meet individual needs. These approaches include but are not limited to Somatic Trauma Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy and Play Therapy.

I value creating a supportive and safe environment which allows for an interactive and collaborative counselling experience. As part of this supportive environment I bring warmth, authenticity and compassion. This supportive approach enables me to assist people to develop their potential and achieve goals which are personally meaningful for the individual.

I work with children, adolescents and adults. I have special interest and experience in the following areas:

  • Anxiety (including generalised anxiety, social anxiety, and panic disorder)
  • Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Trauma
  • Relationship and parenting difficulties
  • Grief and loss
  • Sexual assault counselling
  • Suicide bereavement

 

Jessica Pienaar Law - Clinical Psychologist

I am a clinical psychologist with significant experience supporting children, adolescents, adults, and families to manage complex mental health and life issues. I have worked within both public and private psychiatric and drug and alcohol services, as well as general hospital settings. As a result of these experiences, I am passionate about aiding clients in developing more awareness, self-compassion, along with competence in managing difficult emotions and the challenges that life brings. I also have experience working with children, adolescents and families in schools and private practice and am passionate about accurate assessment and supporting families in dealing with trauma, relationship conflict and parenting difficulties. I have found that having a safe place to navigate challenging relationships can aid clients in finding their own solutions.

I have a strong commitment to ongoing professional development. In addition to my work at Aurora Psychology, I continue to be involved in the academic teaching of psychology and counselling students and to work with private psychiatric services. This helps me remain up to date with evidence-based treatments and local services.

I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. I have particular interests in:

  • Child therapy
  • Parent counselling
  • Cognitive and educational assessments of children and adults
  • Difficulty managing intense emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • PTSD and traumatic experiences
  • Relationship difficulties

Please note that Jessica does not have capacity for new clients at this time. However, current clients are welcome to use the online booking system below. If you are a new client wanting to see Jessica, please contact the practice for further details about her availability.

 

Mil Truscott -  Provisional Psychologist

BA, GradDipPsych, BPsychScience (Hons)

I am a provisional psychologist and work in the Low Cost Counselling Service at Aurora Psychology.

To this role I bring a caring, empathetic, and collaborative approach, believing that the therapeutic relationship is the foundation for successful therapy. My training has encompassed a range of approaches, including CBT, Person-Centred Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Therapies.

My area of special interest is Perinatal Mental Health, and I have previously been a phone support worker for Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA), supporting new families transitioning through pregnancy, birth and early years of their child. 

I work with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing a range of issues, with particular interests in:

  • Perinatal mental health
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Family violence
  • Addictions