AISNSW School Counsellors' Conference

Counselling Connections

Join us for the 2024 AISNSW School Counsellors’ Conference, an exclusive online event crafted especially for school counsellors, school psychologists and social workers in NSW Independent schools. 

You will find a stimulating two-day program designed with your needs in mind addressing areas including trauma and school attendance problems. We are excited to share we have international presenters who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise! There will also be ample opportunities to network both formally and informally, creating Counselling Connections.

Your individual registration is required, so act now and secure your spot. This Conference promises to be a highlight of the year for AISNSW school counsellors. Don’t miss out on this valuable professional learning experience.

This professional learning experience meets the criteria for NESA Accredited PD in the Priority Area of Student/child Mental Health.

2024 Feature Presenters

Dr Bruce Perry

Principal, The Neurosequential Network

Dr. Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria Australia.

Over the last thirty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician and researcher in children’s mental health and the neurosciences holding a variety of academic positions. His work on the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs and policy across the world. Dr. Perry is the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing (2021), co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Adjunct Associate Professor Dr Annette Jackson

Executive Director Statewide Services, Berry Street

Dr Annette Jackson has worked in child and family services for 40 years and is Executive Director Statewide Services Berry Street which includes oversight of the Berry Street School. Her expertise and passion are in recovery from child trauma and neglect, the child and family sector, education, human rights, and therapeutic services. 

She is an adjunct with La Trobe University and a Mentor of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMTTM). Her PhD research explored children’s recovery from neglect

Dr Patricia Graczyk

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois - Chicago

Patricia A. Graczyk, Ph. D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and school psychologist in the state of Illinois in the US and an A/Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Institute for Juvenile Research, Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her current research interests focus on the utilization of a school-based tiered framework of evidence-based practices to promote school attendance, decrease school attendance problems, and prevent and treat anxiety, depression, and trauma in children and youth.

Dr. Graczyk is active nationally and internationally in promoting school attendance and addressing school attendance problems. She serves as a member of the Network to Advance State Attendance Policy and Practices (NASAPP) in the US, the International Network for School Attendance (INSA) and collaborates internationally with researchers in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway. She also has served as a consultant on school attendance to policy makers in Ireland and the Netherlands and provides workshops to educators locally, nationally, and internationally.

Dr Louise La Sala

Research Fellow, Suicide Prevention, Orygen, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne

Dr Louise La Sala is a Research Fellow at Orygen, Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. Her research is focused on youth self-harm and suicide prevention, with a specific interest in the impact of social media on the mental health and well-being of young people. Dr La Sala is a lead researcher on the #chatsafe program of work which aims to provide young people, educators, and families with the tools to communicate safely online about self-harm and suicide. 

Her work investigates the complex relationship between social media and youth mental health, and she brings unique expertise in developing effective strategies to promote online safety and prevent self-harm and suicide. Her work has informed online safety and suicide prevention policy at both a national and international level and she regularly works with popular social media platforms to ensure their trust and safety functions keep young people safe online.

Dr Suzanne Barrett & Dr Fiona Zandt

Clinical Psychologist / Clinical Psychologist & Registered PlayTherapist, Creative Child Therapy Workshops

Dr Fiona Zandt, Clinical Psychologist and Registered Play Therapist, and Dr Suzanne Barrett, Clinical Psychologist, both work exclusively with children, adolescents and families. They have over 40 years combined experience working in a range of settings, including the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, child and adolescent mental health services, and private practice with children and adolescents with a broad range of sychological problems. Their approach draws heavily on ACT, DBT and CBT, utilising developmentally appropriate playful strategies. They emphasise working with families and have a strong system focus.

Fiona and Suzanne are authors of the Creative Ways to Help Children book series for therapists published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and founders of Creative Child Therapy Workshops.

Karen Young

Consultant, Hey Sigmund

Karen began her career as a psychologist working extensively with children, teens and families. She is a sought-after speaker and consultant and works with schools, government bodies, and child and adolescent focused organisations both in Australia and overseas to build resources, implement procedures, and support the professional development of staff. Karen is the founder of ‘Hey Sigmund’, an internationally popular online resource that provides contemporary, research-driven information on anxiety and neurodevelopment. She is the author of five books, including the bestselling ‘Hey Warrior’, which creatively assist children to understand and manage anxiety

Dr Rebecca Branstetter

School Psychologist, Thriving Students Collective

Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D., is a school psychologist, international speaker, and author on a mission to help children thrive by supporting mental health providers, educators, and families. She is the founder of The Thriving Students Collective which provides professional development, engaging online courses, and a supportive online community that prioritizes whole-school wellness and equips educators and parents with practical tools to empower every learner’s success. 

A sought-after speaker and national media expert, Rebecca’s expertise in burnout prevention and supporting neurodivergent students has appeared in various publications, including Huffington Post, NPR, CNN, and Parents Magazine.

2024 Conference Program

Explore the full program for the 2024 School Counsellors' Conference.
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