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Joanna Jaaniste (Sydney)

Joanna Jaaniste, PhD, AThR (Drama), B.A.(Hons.), Dip.Ed., Dip.Dramatherapy, is a registered Dramatherapist who has spent 19 years practising dramatherapy in the mental health area, and has extensive experience in the adolescent and substance abuse fields. She specialises in story work, roleplay and improvisational interventions. Her lively approach is influenced by the work of Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner. She believes strongly in the power of dramatherapy to assist participants to find new directions for their lives. She is Director of the Dramatherapy Centre in Sydney, and runs courses together with colleagues. She teaches at masters level at Western Sydney University, and has co-written a Postgraduate Diploma in Dramatherapy at IKON Australia. She has presented papers in Europe, USA and South Africa and has published widely on dramatherapy in many international journals and chapters in edited books, especially in the area of dramatherapy and dementia, her specialist field.


Kitty Saleh (Lismore)

Kitty Saleh is a social worker and dramatherapist, completing a master’s degree in social work at Griffith University, Queensland and a graduate diploma in dramatherapy from IKON College, Brisbane, graduating in July 2018.

Kitty has extensive experience working in community service and education. Kitty spent four years working for the Attorney General’s Department in the Office of the Public Guardian in Sydney with clients who had a range of additional needs, from organic brain disorder, developmental disability and mental health issues. She then worked in the community sector in the Northern Rivers with individuals and families experiencing a range of issues from homelessness to family violence. She also worked in an aged care program and initiated using dramatherapy in groups at various aged-care facilities in the Northern Rivers. 

Most recently Kitty worked in the Educational Support Service at UNSW in Sydney and in student welfare and counselling at ANU College, Canberra. Kitty now runs her own private practice in Lismore working with children and young people with additional needs and mental health issues. Kitty is passionate about working with students and her main area of interest is equal access to education for students, from primary through to tertiary education.


Natalie Mackenzie (Sydney)

Natalie Mackenzie is a Registered Dramatherapist with over 10 years’ experience working in the areas of childhood trauma, early intervention psychosis , addiction and in her own private practice, Playful Minds. She obtained her Masters in Dramatherapy from Roehampton University in London, UK and is registered with both ANZACATA and the British Association of Dramatherapists in the UK. 

As a dramatherapist, Natalie takes storytelling and play seriously. She is currently working in a mental health service supporting young people who are experiencing psychosis, using her creative approach as part of a multidisciplinary team. Prior to this, she worked for many years in a therapy centre for children who had experienced trauma. 

In her private practice, Playful Minds, she works with children, young people, adults and their families offering a creative approach to dealing with life’s serious stuff. Natalie also delivers training and consults to a range of mental health services and community organisations developing bespoke dramatherapy programs.


Lana Sussman Davis (Sydney)

Lana Sussman Davis is Clinical Social Worker, and Dramatherapist, achieving her Masters degree in Drama & Movement Therapy (Sesame) at The Central School of Speech and Drama, London University. Lana has extensive experience working both in Sydney and London with a wide variety of client groups including children and families, the aged, adolescents, people living with disabilities and their carers, as well as adult survivors of domestic abuse and children who have experienced trauma. Lana employs a combination of evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well psychotherapy and mindfulness based techniques, and her sessions are tailor made to suit the individual needs of each client. Lana’s integration of the creative arts such as drama, music, movement, ritual, play, storytelling and visual art into her counselling approach allows her clients additional options for conveying and understanding their feelings particularly in times when “words are not enough”.

In 2016 Lana Co-Founded The Parents Village where she supports expectant and new parents as they transition into parenthood, helping them to cope with changes to identity, relationships, and careers. Lana's sessions are available to individuals, groups, couples and families.


Kirsten Meyer (Melbourne)

Kirsten Meyer is a dramatherapist by training and brings with her over 18 years of experience as therapist, facilitator and educator in both South Africa and Australia. She has worked in clinical, educational and community settings, with a particular interest in group work and the intertwining of the psychological, social and political dimensions of stasis and change. In 2001 she co-founded the Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation in South Africa, with the aim of working collaboratively across arts therapy modalities and with communities. Kirsten completed her PhD in 2017, through Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. She focused on arts active methods, the underlying core dramatherapeutic processes of change and how these might enhance care workers’ capacity to respond to children and young people. She has published a number of peer reviewed chapters and articles relating to her work.


Suzanne Perry (Sydney)

Suzanne Perry MA ATh, BA, has many years of clinical experience working with children and adults who have experienced complex trauma and grief as a result of violence, abuse and neglect. She is a clinically focused academic and Unit Coordinator on the Masters of Art Therapy at Western Sydney University and provides arts based clinical supervision to child protection NGO services as well as trainee and practising arts therapists. Suzanne is a practising artist whose work explores art, the unconscious and cultural mythology. Her publications include a chapter in the 2019 book Art Therapy in Australia, Gilroy et al. (Eds.), Brill Sense.

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