Meet our friendly staff members
Brenda Aguilar Senior Clinician, Psychologist
Brenda loves to work with clients to overcome challenges. She enjoys working with children and adolescents and has lots of experience in assessments, counselling, providing family support and upskilling teachers. In her free time, Brenda enjoys hiking and going on road trips with her beautiful dog, Cosa!
Caroline EllisMental Health Social Worker
Caroline has over 11 years experience as a Mental Health Social Worker, with a passion for working with vulnerable families. She has worked in several service settings, between NSW, the NT and the ACT. Caroline has a keen interest in Somatic Therapies and is a qualified Sensorimotor Art Therapist. When she’s not working, she’s living on her semi rural oasis enjoying a slow life with the farm animals.
Emilie Traeger Social Worker
Emilie comes from a background in Care and Protection, working in in South Australia and New Zealand. She has a passion for understanding how the systems around a child and their family can help them be the best they can be. Emilie loves gardening and going bushwalking.
Freddie Cooke Operations Support
Freddie joined us straight from the UK, where she managed projects within a theatre context. Alongside her work with us at the ACT Group, Freddie is involved in community schemes with the Red Cross and the ASRC and loves hiking, biking and exploring this new hemisphere!
Gregory Nicolau Founder, Consultant Psychologist
Gregory is the Founder of ACT Group and former CEO. He’s a consultant psychologist, but before that he was an outreach youth worker after a stint in the army. He invented Ripple a technology that allows us to track the health and wellbeing of a person, team or organisation. He loves movies, martial arts and his therapy dog Matilda.
Hannah VerassSocial Worker
Hannah has a background in care and protection and community mental health. She works to empower children to reach their full potential through the use of strength-based approaches. Using a holistic perspective to better understand a child’s situation, she looks to work collaboratively with children and their family to support them in achieving their goals. Hannah also loves to camp, swim, and always ticks off a few music festivals and gigs every summer!
Katrina Michalanney Social Worker
Katrina’s work focuses on building positive outcomes for children who experience trauma and understands that healing can only occur through responsive and reciprocal relationships. Outside of work she enjoys travel and continuing with her passion for learning.
Kenneth Spedding Educational and Developmental Psychology Registrar
Ken uses a person-centred approach, creating an explorative and self-reflective working relationship based in authenticity, acceptance and openness. He believes that everyone has the capacity to reach their full potential with the right support. Fun fact about Ken is that he is a martial arts advocate, with experience in Shotokan Karate, foot-and-fist boxing, kendo and, most recently, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!
Nick GraingerSocial Worker - Consultant
Nick has been with the ACT Group for a number of years, presenting many of our training sessions across Victoria. Nick has nearly 2 decades of experience working with vulnerable and high risk; children, young people and families in a range of support contexts.
Richard has many years of experience in providing multidisciplinary assessments, counselling and advocacy to children and young adults who are in extreme circumstances. He loves to work closely with allied health professionals, educators, and families and has experience in both clinical and forensic settings, providing group therapy as well as individual therapy. Richard is fluent in Mandarin and is capable of working with clients who speak in their mother tongue. Outside of work, Richard enjoys rock climbing.
Sophie Corbett Operations Lead
Sophie runs the show at the ACT Group, with years of experience in youth work and alternative education, there’s nothing she doesn’t know. On Friday nights she can be found bow and arrow in hand, re-enacting alongside her Viking band, or dancing at a disco!
Wahaj Badri Operations Support
Wahaj comes with a background in mental health and bio-medicine. He is passionate about advocating for the LGBTQI+ community, languages, history, and adapting access mental health services to a wider audience via multimedia such as music and video games. In his spare time, he seeks out dogs for his Instagram story, hikes, and volunteers with various crisis housing providors.
Yasodha Samaranayake Clinical Lead Melbourne, Mental Health Social Worker
Yaso is our inhouse expert in Play Therapy – within minutes of arriving at the ACT Group we had a full playroom refurb! She is interested in working with parents and carers in child focused parenting support and is also experienced in therapies for eating disorders. Her out of work passions are travel and baking.