Our Team

Our team are experienced, qualified and caring.

Dr Natalie Shockley, BSc (Hons) PhD (Clin)

Principal & Clinical Psychologist

Natalie is an experienced clinician, having worked in adult mental health in a variety of inpatient and outpatient areas (psychiatric wards, drug and alcohol outpatient services, custodial facilities) before spending over eight years at a private practice at Capalaba. Natalie then moved to Samford and chose to open her own practice in the tranquil garden setting of the Lifestyle Centre in 2012.

Natalie has a special interest in working with highly traumatized adults, who require long-term therapy. She will accept new referrals for adults or older adolescents, and is primarily interested in referrals for trauma-related presentations (childhood, adulthood, PTSD, Dissociative Disorders), anxiety disorders (including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Phobias, Generalised Anxiety Disorder), grief & loss, and couples therapy.

Natalie also often works with issues of self-harm and substance misuse, as these are common coping mechanisms for people with significant trauma histories.

Works With

  • Adults
  • Older Adults
  • Couples

Special Interests

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder / DDNOS
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Childhood trauma
  • Addictions – co-morbid or primary condition
  • Grief & Loss

Maria Sami, BBehavSc (Psych), PGDip (Psych), MClinPsych

Clinical Psychologist

Maria has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults and has worked in a variety of different settings including outpatient and inpatient. Maria is a warm and compassionate therapist who understands that therapy needs to be flexible to meet the needs and goals of the client.

Maria draws on a number of therapeutic interventions including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Schema Therapy. She has experience treating a variety of disorders including anxiety disorders, mood disorders and personality disorders.

Maria particularly enjoys working with adolescents and adults to identify patterns in their life which are keeping them “stuck” and finding new ways to let go of these unhelpful patterns and live a more fulfilling life.

Works With

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults

Special Interests

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Life Transitions

 

  • Specific Phobias
  • OCD
  • Stress
  • Grief and Loss
  • Emotional Regulation Difficulties
  • Self-harm Behaviours

Dr Claudia A. Petherick, BA (Hons), PhD, MClinPsych

Clinical Psychologist

Claudia is a Clinical Psychologist who previously worked in research for several years in the US and Australia. She believes her research background has contributed to her establishing an evidence-based practice while remaining a warm and compassionate clinician.

Claudia fundamentally believes that therapeutic success largely relies on the client-clinician relationship, which she nurtures by using humour, having unconditional positive regard and genuinely caring for the client. She also adopts various therapeutic approaches and strategies to help clients, including Cognitive Behavioural therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, among others.

Her interests encompass gender dysphoria, eating disorders, depression, trauma, substance misuse, anxiety and self-esteem, among other adult mental health issues.

Works With

  • Older Adolescents (17+)
  • Adults
  • Older Adults

Special Interests

  • Gender Dysphoria
  • Eating Disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress

Sonya Melbourne, BSc (Hons), MClinPsych

Psychologist & Clinical Registrar

Sonya is a psychologist and clinical registrar who has experience in working with children, adolescents and adults across both private and public health sectors. Sonya has a warm, compassionate and caring approach and works with clients who experience difficult life changes, anxiety, panic, depression, complex trauma, grief and loss, personality and mood disorders and chronic pain.

Sonya draws from a range of therapeutic approaches to provide evidence-based treatments tailored to suit her clients’ needs.

Sonya also has specific expertise in conducting cognitive and achievement assessments. These assessments can be helpful for children and adolescents who are struggling at school by identifying their ability and potential, as well as their specific strengths and needs.

Works With

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Older Adults

Special Interests

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Trauma
  • Grief & Loss
  • Mood Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Chronic Pain
  • Stress
  • Cognitive & Achievement Assessments

Bernie Fitzgerald, BBehSc (Hons), MClinPsych

Psychologist

After completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology, Bernie has practiced as a psychologist for over 15 years, working with children, adolescents, adults and families in various settings. She is experienced in working with a broad range of issues including anxiety and stress, mood disorders, childhood trauma, child behaviour, parenting, and addiction.

After working extensively in the areas of child protection, child abuse and trauma, and domestic violence she has developed a particular interest and expertise working with these issues.

Bernie draws on a range of evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy and Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P). This is complimented by a compassionate, client-centred approach tailored to the individual needs of every client.

She is very experienced in providing play-based, creative, and flexible therapies for children and young people.

Works With

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Families

Special Interests

  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Mood Disorders
  • Parenting
  • Addiction
Dr David Ward

Please note that Dr David Ward is fully booked and is not accepting new clients at the present.

Dr David Ward, MB, CHB, MRCPSYCH, FRCPSYCH, FRANZCP

Psychiatrist

Dr David Ward is a highly experienced specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry, having spent 27 years caring for troubled children, adolescents and adults. David initially trained in the United Kingdom and was the clinical lead for specialist child and adolescence services for the large metropolitan city Newcastle Upon Tyne. He was involved nationally in establishment of early psychosis services and was co-author of “National Treatment Guidelines for the Treatment of Psychosis in Children and Adolescence”.

David has a deep breadth of training in evidence-based treatment approaches, including cognitive behaviour therapy, family therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, solution focus therapy and cognitive analytical therapy amongst others.

Upon moving to Australia in 2011 he has gained further qualifications and has undertaken extensive training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and also Open Dialogue.

Works With

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Assessment/Medication Review

Special Interests

  • Child and adolescent neurodevelopmental disorders [EG ADHD, ASD etc.]
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders including OCD
  • Psychosis
  • Reactions to trauma including PTSD
  • Child adolescent and young adult adjustment issues including gender identity issues , anger management and family relationship difficulties.
Vicki Essex

Vicki Essex

Practice Manager

Our practice manager, Vicki Essex, is warm, friendly and professional, and supports our psychologists, psychiatrist and clients at Samford Psychology.

Originally from the UK, Vicki worked as a primary school teaching assistant before moving to Australia. When not in the clinic she walks her two labradoodles, and enjoys swimming and bush walking.

Vicki will help connect you with the right therapist for your needs and will assist you with booking in and changing appointments as needed.

Feel free to call our team on 3289 2992 and have a chat about coming in to see someone as you start on your way to finding a healthier ‘you’.

Sandy Cozens

Sandy Cozens

Receptionist

Sandy provides our psychologists, psychiatrist, clients and our practice manager with warm, welcoming and friendly administrative support services. 

Sandy is a local through and through. When not in the clinic, she is married, has two beautiful long-haired German Shepherd dogs who rule the roost. She is a passionate scrap-booker, and loves having a good laugh, discovering great parts of Australia, bushwalking & camping with friends.

She will help connect you with the right therapist for your needs and will assist you with booking in and changing appointments as needed.

Feel free to call our team on 3289 2992 and have a chat about coming in to see someone as you start on your way to finding a healthier ‘you’.