Therapeutic Play and Child Play Advisory Board

Our play therapy courses are the first of their kind offered by an Australian university. Our advisory board contributes to the relevancy of these courses and our research. This ensures learning outcomes are informed by the latest knowledge from industry figures and Deakin representatives.

Industry members

Michelle Perin (Chair)

Michelle has been working as a child life therapist in paediatric hospitals in NSW for over 20 years. She is currently working at John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, where she supports children and families from diverse backgrounds in their healthcare experience. She has a focus on improving procedural care outcomes for children and young people during their treatment. Michelle uses a play-based approach to connect with children and young people and to empower them to be active participants in their treatment. Michelle represents the child life profession and the Association of Child Life Therapists Australia (ACLTA) on the advisory board.

Dr Lorri Yasenik

Lorri Yasenik PhD, RSW, RFM, RPT-S, CPT-S is the Director of Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute (RMPTI) in Calgary, Alberta Canada and the co-director of the International Centre for Children and Family Law (ICCFL) in Australia/Canada. Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute is approved by the Association of Play Therapy (USA) and the Canadian Association for Play Therapy to provide the necessary hours to register/certify as a play therapist.

Lorri is a Registered and Certified Supervisor of Child Psychotherapy and Play Therapy and delivers approved training programs nationally and internationally in the areas of child and play therapy, play therapy supervision and child inclusive practice in the family law sectors. Lorri has delivered approved play therapy training in the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Ireland, and the UK.

Lorri is the co-author of the books Play Therapy Dimensions Model: A Decision-Making Guide for Integrative Play Therapists and Turning Points in Play Therapy and the Immergence of Self: Applications of the Play Therapy Dimensions Model. In addition, Lorri has authored and co-authored over 12 chapters and peer-reviewed articles in the areas of play therapy supervision, play therapy practice, play therapy case conceptualisation, children’s voices and children and family law. Lorri is the recent past president for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AB), the past President of the Alberta Family Mediation Society and a founding past board member for the Alberta Play Therapy Association.

Pip Westwood

Pip Westwood has a Bachelor of Psychology (University of Newcastle, 2011) and a Master of Child Play Therapy from Deakin University, completed in 2021. She has worked to provide group and family therapy delivered resilience-based programs in schools and worked alongside case managers in a foster care agency to promote a child-centred and therapeutic approach. She has also worked in child protection within South-West Sydney.

Since graduating from her masters, Pip has opened Wildflower Play Therapy, a play therapy private practice in Prospect, Adelaide, delivering integrative play therapy interventions to children and families across Adelaide. She also works sessionally for Deakin University.

Kelly Pickford

Kelly Pickford owns and operates Attach Therapy, where she works as a registered play therapist and parent/carer coach. Kelly is passionate about working with children and young people with complex and difficult histories and neurodivergent children, including supporting parents/carers and the systems around the child, such as educational facilities. With a history in teaching, counselling and the performing arts, Kelly utilised these skills to develop programs to support confidence and resilience in children. Through this work, Kelly observed the benefit of play and playfulness and formalised her understanding through the Master of Child Play Therapy, graduating in 2023.

Tania Taylor

Tania Taylor, Be Centre CEO, has held senior positions across the health, IT, and profit-for-purpose sectors, demonstrating a broad and adaptable skill set. She holds a Master of Marketing from Charles Sturt University and is deeply passionate about mental health and child development. Tania believes that every child deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy, happy and supported. With a career dedicated to making a positive impact, she aims to bring her extensive industry experience to the Deakin Therapeutic Play and Child Play Advisory Board. Tania is committed to helping the University design innovative programs that prepare students for real-world challenges. By leveraging her expertise, she aspires to contribute to Deakin’s mission of fostering entrepreneurship and ensuring students are well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

Deakin members

Professor Jenny Watts, Head of School, School of Health and Social Development

Dr Judi Parson, Discipline Lead, Child Play Therapy

Dr Natalie Hadiprodjo, Course Director, Child Play Therapy

Student representative

Sophie Fernandes

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