Our Professional Learning Facilitators and Consultants
General Manager, Practice Development and Learning
Rudy Gonzalez has extensive experience in work with people from refugee backgrounds and migrant communities. Prior to arriving at Foundation House, Rudy worked as a Psychologist and the Principal Consultant at Salus Psychology and Consulting; as the Principal Practice Leader of Department of Health and Human Services in Secure Services(Youth Justice, Secure Welfare and Forensic Disability Assessment and Treatment Services).
He was the founding Executive Director of Lighthouse Institute, an attachment and trauma informed knowledge centre that provided clinical supervision, training and consultancy to practitioners and organisations working with survivors of trauma, as well as conducting research on trauma informed therapeutic systems. He is a Board approved supervisor and member of the APS.
Rudy has also previously worked as the Director of Care Services at Lighthouse Foundation, as well as roles in child youth and family services and therapeutic communities in forensic settings. Rudy was a lecturer with the School of Psychology and Social Sciences at Victoria University, and is an Honorary Fellow of University of Melbourne. Rudy co-authored the book Therapeutic Residential for Children and Young People: An Attachment and Trauma Informed Model for Practice. Rudy’s work as a leader was recognized in 2013 receiving the SACS and Leadership Victoria Award for Excellence for Executives working in Not for Profit organisations. Rudy was also on the Board for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, the peak body for Child, Youth and Family Services in Victoria.
Rudy has lived experience as member of a survivor community, having migrated to Australia with family in the 1970’s due to political conflict in his country of birth, Uruguay. This has contributed to his passion for the work with survivor communities.
Dr Renzo Vittorino
Manager, Practice and Professional Learning
Dr Renzo Vittorino is a Psychologist (endorsed Community Psychology), Principal Consultant at Psychology Services, a Board approved supervisor, Sessional Lecturer in the College of Health and Biomedicine, Psychology Discipline at Victoria University, and Associate Editor of The Australian Community Psychologist. Renzo holds a PhD in Psychology, a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education and a Psychologist Degree (Uruguay).
He is an active member of the Australian Psychological Society’s College of Community Psychology currently serving as Treasurer of the National College, and has served as Chairperson in the Victorian Community Psychology Committee.
Renzo is interested in implementing individual and family focused therapeutic interventions and group-based programs that are evidence-based, trauma informed and considers the social determinants of health to improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
Renzo provides strong leadership in transferring knowledge into practice, program implementation, evaluation and research. He has worked in Family Services, Parenting Services and Alcohol & Other Drugs Counselling Services. As a Team Leader- Leader Clinical Support, he co-developed the United Connections Trauma-Informed Care Organisational Framework (TIC-OF) and provided clinical and reflective supervision, training and secondary consultation to practitioners.
He has participated in several research projects and conference presentations, has co-authored book chapters and been published in peer reviewed journals.
Professional Learning Programs Coordinator
Amy Kludas is a social worker with extensive experience working across a number of practice areas including counselling, community capacity building, group work, advocacy, case management, project management and workshop facilitation.
Prior to her current role, Amy has also worked at Foundation House as a Counsellor Advocate with children, young people and adult survivors of torture and other traumatic events; and as a School Support Officer in Melbourne’s northern suburbs to enhance the educational outcomes for students of refugee backgrounds. Amy has a particular interest in working with vulnerable young people on issues such as identity, family relationships, and recovery from trauma.
Dr Ida Kaplan
Principal Consultant, Practice and Research
Dr. Ida Kaplan is a Research Fellow of the Department Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne and a clinical psychologist. At Foundation House she is responsible for research, evaluation and knowledge transfer. Ida is the author of Rebuilding Shattered Lives, which documents the Foundation House approach to working with refugee survivors of torture and other traumatic events, and guides the way programs and services are delivered by Foundation House. In her previous role at Foundation House, Ida led Client Services and the development of service provision models for people from refugee and asylum seeking background.
Ida has had extensive experience, locally and internationally training professionals in the provision of interventions for survivors of torture and other traumatic events. She has conducted and published research into the effects of long term detention, cognitive assessment of refugee children, rights of refugee children, reviewed the effectiveness of interventions for torture survivors, and is currently investigating methods for assessing the well-being of refugee children and young people using innovative computer assisted interviews.
Ida has a longstanding policy, practice and research interest in the intersection of mental health, social justice and human rights issues in understanding recovery from torture and other traumatic events associated with the refugee experience. Ida is recognised internationally as a pioneer and leader in the field of refugee trauma recovery work, with her work and literature influencing the way practitioners and organisations respond to the needs of people from refugee and asylum seeking background internationally.
Practice Leaders and Professional Learning Facilitators
Dr Guy Coffey
Practice Advisor, Legal, Forensic and Complex Needs
Guy has worked as a clinical psychologist for 30 years, working in public mental health and specialist psychological trauma services, providing assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment for people with severe mental disorders in public inpatient and community settings. He has worked within Veterans’ Psychiatry and the Psychological Trauma Recovery Service at the Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, the state-wide specialist posttraumatic mental health service.
At Foundation House, he has provided psychological treatment and support services for refugees. In the area of cross cultural mental health he has had an interest in the psychological well-being of refugee and migrant communities and developing culturally informed approaches to psychological treatment. He has conducted research into mental health among asylum seekers and refugees and has published extensively in this area. He has contributed to numerous Australian government inquiries into asylum seeker mental health and policy including parliamentary and Australian Human Rights Commission investigations. He has delivered programs of training, written guidelines and provided consultancy to the UNHCR, the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Department of Home Affairs and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. A further area of focus has been the provision of expert psychological evidence, providing forensic psychological reports for the criminal courts in Victoria, and psychological assessments of applicants for refugee status.
Guy is a lawyer in the migration and refugee law section of Victoria Legal Aid, involved in providing legal assistance with primary applications for refugee status, judicial review of protection visa decisions and visa cancellations, and litigation in the Australian Federal and High Court in relation to the law governing refugee status and immigration detention. The intersection of asylum seeker and refugee mental health and the operation of migration law and policy is a keen area of interest.
Practice Leader (Child and Youth)
Shubha Gokhale is an experienced psychotherapist who has worked with children, young people, adults and families in India and Australia. Shubha has postgraduate qualifications in the Arts and in Psychotherapy and Counselling and a Diploma in Community Welfare Work. Shubha is a member of the Freudian School of Melbourne.
As Practice Leader, Shubha provides reflective practice supervision to Counsellor Advocates working with children and young people, individually and in groups and provides case consultation as required. Shubha also contributes to developing and delivering training, internally and externally.
In previous roles at Foundation House, Shubha acted as Practice Leader (Mental Health) providing reflective supervision to counsellor advocates working with adults and families and to complementary therapists and cultural liaison workers, as Team Leader (Child, Youth and Families) in the North and as Counsellor Advocate, providing assessment and trauma focussed counselling to refugees and asylum seekers, of all ages, in community and detention settings.
Shubha has previously worked in educational, justice and community settings: as counsellor in primary and secondary schools, in community health in Ballarat counselling individuals with complex and chronic mental illness, families and couples, providing supervision to counsellors, and delivering training and secondary consultations to community services. She has case management experience from working at the Children’s Court Clinic in Melbourne.
Shubha has a keen interest in the creative and generative function of therapy and supervision, especially in the context of working with trauma.
Practice Leader (Asylum Seeker)
Graciela Lopez is a registered psychologist and member of the APS with over 26 years’ experience working in clinical settings. She has been employed at Foundation House since 1999.Graciela has extensive experience in providing specialised counselling to asylum seekers in community and detention settings, as well as other refugees and humanitarian entrants who have survived torture and trauma. In the role of Practice Leader she provides individual and group supervision to Counsellor Advocates as well as facilitating internal and external professional learning. In previous roles at Foundation House she has worked as a Counsellor Advocate, Coordinator and Team Leader.
Graciela has also worked in private practice where she specialised in mood, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders, including with victims of crime and family violence, and in community mental health where she provided assessment and counselling support to people with severe and chronic mental illness.
Practice Leader (Mental Health)
Krista Senden is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Clinical Social Work degree from Boston College, USA with further studies in Global Practice and International Human Rights.
Krista has previously managed mental health programs with highly traumatised refugee populations in low resource and crisis settings in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya and Bangkok, Thailand. During these roles she provided clinical and psychosocial interventions, facilitated group and individual clinical supervision, and developed and facilitated mental health capacity building programs for staff. Within Australia, Krista worked as a clinician at STARTTS in NSW and at Refugee Health & Wellbeing at Monash Health.
Dr Susannah Tipping
Practice Leader (Families and Communities)
Dr Susannah Tipping is a registered clinical psychologist who has worked as a practitioner and researcher in a diverse range of mental health settings since 1998, in Australia and in the USA. She is an experienced professional learning facilitator and has worked therapeutically with traumatic injury survivors, young people with psychosis in justice settings, and in an inpatient psychiatric unit. At Foundation House, Susannah has worked as a Counsellor Advocate, Research Fellow, sessional psychologist, and facilitator.
Susannah has completed a Doctor of Philosophy in the area of refugee mental health, focusing on the resettlement experiences of Sudanese-Australians. Other interests include the psychosocial support of staff, in particular those working in humanitarian and development roles.
Professional Learning Facilitator
Mike Bromhead is an experienced professional learning facilitator who draws from his 17 years of experience as a Counsellor Advocate at Foundation House providing assessment, therapeutic interventions and advocacy for children, adolescent and adult survivors of torture, war-related trauma and persecution. He has also worked as a Coordinator at Foundation House in Direct Services in the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne managing a team of Counsellor Advocates.
Mike has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology and politics, and has completed further studies in trauma psychotherapy. For the past 10 years, Mike has specialised in working with people seeking asylum. He has developed a sound understanding of the socio-political and/or persecutory context of clients from Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey. Mike also has experience in working with abused and at-risk adolescents, psycho-geriatric patients, and children and adults with severe intellectual disabilities, the latter both in Australia and Canada.
Dr Esme Dark
Community of Practice Facilitator (Child and Youth Refugee Mental Health)
Dr Esme Dark is a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in supporting refugee children and families who have experienced trauma. Prior to her current role she worked as a senior practitioner and coordinator in the child, adolescent and family team. Her doctorate in Clinical Psychology had a systemic and community psychology focus and her doctoral research was carried out in the area of cross-cultural mental health.
She has extensive experience working in a diverse range of mental health settings in the UK, Thailand and Australia, specialising in child and adolescent mental health and complex trauma. Prior to her move to Australia she worked as a consultant psychologist on the Thai/Myanmar border with Karen refugee children and families. She has a wealth of experience facilitating professional development in health and education sectors, as well as providing clinical supervision and consultation to individuals and organisations. The human rights lens underpins her work in all areas of her practice.