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meet Sammy

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Sammy Elliott
BA (Psych), MPsych (Clinical), MAPS
Director | Clinical Psychologist

 


I am passionate about working with young people and their families. I specialize in trauma-informed practice, and love working with LGBTQIA+ people, neurodivergent young people, and people who have complex therapeutic needs.  

I am a Clinical Psychologist but I’m proud to say there is nothing clinical about the way that I practice psychology. I believe that lived experience trumps academic experience always – and I work more holistically to create meaningful change.  I use art, play, dyadic work, animals and movement to creatively meet people where they are at.   

I aim to provide a safe, inclusive, affirming and culturally-appropriate space for ALL human beings. Mental health labels and diagnoses can sometimes be helpful; but they are a colonial construct – and I’m much more interested in getting to know the person underneath.  You are the expert in your own life, and I’m just here to help if I can!

 

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I began my journey into this field over 12 years ago in Western Australia, where I worked in youth homelessness, and developed a passion for creative therapeutic work with a population of people who understandably found it difficult to trust professionals. I learned about the importance of taking things slowly, and realized the power of relationships in healing. I also started understanding that meaningful change happens from the ground up, and involves advocating for broader systemic changes in our communities.  

 As I studied my Psychology Degree, I continued to work in the community mental health sector. I repetitively found myself gravitating towards mis-understood and harder to reach young people; and was soon working in the residential care and foster care spaces. I then worked at Headspace Knox for 6 years, initially as an intake clinician, but then as the Team Leader of Therapeutic Interventions. There I found myself co-facilitating their incredible Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Program. I loved running group programs, and working with complex young people with c-PTSD and BPD. For the last two years I have been working for Take Two – a state-wide therapeutic service for young people and families involved with Child Protection.
 

My dream has always been to run my own private practice – a woman-owned, safe and affirming space for ALL people. I work creatively using Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Polyvagal Theory, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Play Therapy, a little bit of CBT; and some body-based movement work which is influenced by Dr Bruce Perry; and the idea that trauma is often stored in our bodies.

While I love seeing individuals for therapy sessions, I’m also passionate about systems work. I liaise with care teams  and parents. I provide training and group work to schools and other organizations – and I’m passionate about changing the systems AROUND the person; rather than relying solely on the person to change!  I also work with a therapy dog called Billie – who you can read about in the next section.  We have been working together as Girl and Dog Psychology for the last four years!

I am a passionate intersectional feminist – and I continue to commit to my ongoing work as an ally to all marginalized groups. I learn from, and listen to these communities to strengthen my understanding and support of diverse clients. I try to be aware of my privileges, and hold myself accountable to this continued work. I’m so excited and proud to be able to develop and grow Rainbow Muse with Chenai – who I admire and adore.

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Tertiary Qualifications

 

  • Masters in Psychology (Clinical), Swinburne University, Melbourne, 2018

  • Honours in Psychology, University of Western Australia, 2010

  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), University of Western Australia, 2009


Additional Qualifications / Training

  • Board Approved Supervisors Training, 2022

  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Level 1 & 2, DDP Institute,  2021

  • Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, Bruce Perry Institute, 2021

  • Circle of Security Facilitator Training, COS International, 2021

  • Theraplay Level 1, The Theraplay Institute, 2021

  • Treating Complex PTSD, VIC 2019

  • Treating PTSD, VIC, 2019

  • Who’s in Charge – Violence Against Parents Training, VIC, 2019

  • Tuning into Teens Parenting Course, University of Melbourne, 2018

  • The Body Project – Disordered Eating Training, Eating Disorders Victoria, 2018

  • Animal-Assisted Therapy Therapy, Lead the Way Institute, 2017

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Advanced Training, Marsha Linehan, 2016