Our counsellors

Our counsellors are fully qualified and experienced psychologists and social workers with extensive knowledge and understanding of the personal, family and work problems of students and staff. They continue to meet their professional bodies’ ongoing professional development and other membership requirements to ensure you get quality and up-to-date support for your issues.

Our staff

Our counsellors are:

Julie Burn

Sunshine Campus
BA, GradDip Child & Adolescent Psych, GradDipEd, MEd Studies, MAPS.

A specialist counselling psychologist in tertiary education settings for over 20 years, Julie is passionate about making psychological support accessible and meaningful for students at Sunshine campus. She does this by collaborating with students and by offering a range of flexible, creative and evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions.

Freda Dimitrakakis

St Albans Campus & Werribee Campus
BA, GradDipEd, GradDipCouns, MEd (Psych), MAPS.

Freda has worked as a counsellor within tertiary educational settings for over 20 years. She has experience in counselling a diverse range of students such as mature age, youth and international and has worked with a wide range of issues including developing self- esteem, relationships, dealing with grief and loss, time and stress management. Freda uses a client centred approach in her work with students.

Belinda Gibson, Senior Counsellor

Footscray Park & Footscray Nicholson campuses
BA (Psych), GradDipEd Psych, MPsych (Comm).

Belinda is a registered psychologist with over 10 years of experience. Belinda highly values the therapeutic relationship using it as a ground from which she works collaboratively with clients to ensure the counselling goals are mutually understood, and re-assessed over time. Although influenced by Gestalt Therapy, Belinda uses a range of evidence-based techniques in the counselling process to work towards these goals.

Jennifer Halat

City Flinders Lane Campus
BTheol, CertGen Nursing (PHH), BA, GradDip Couns Psych, MPsych (Couns), MAPS.

Jennifer is a counselling psychologist with over 10 years' experience counselling in the tertiary education sector. She has also worked as a registered nurse, a lecturer, in pastoral care and in private practice. She is trained in a range of therapeutic models and evidence based therapies and works collaboratively with clients to facilitate change and help clients achieve their goals.

Liz Kianidis

Footscray Park Campus
BSW, MA (Education), GradDip (Community Development), GradCert (Narrative Therapy).

Liz has over 20 years counselling experience within the tertiary education sector, having previously worked in community health. She has a great commitment to the West and an appreciation of the cultural and social diversity of the region. She has a holistic approach to counselling, with extensive experience working with clients across a broad range of personal, family and relationship issues. Liz has a particular interest in Narrative Therapy and other strength based, collaborative approaches, valuing the importance of the therapeutic relationship.

Priscilla Lee

Footscray Nicholson Campus
BSc, GradDipEd Psych, MPsych (Couns), MAPS.

Priscilla is a psychologist with over 12 years’ experience providing counselling and support to students in tertiary settings. She has also worked in the areas of disability, crisis support and private agencies. Priscilla works with a collaborative, client-centred approach to assist people to explore and better understand their concerns so that they can find solutions to their issues. Incorporating a range of techniques and approaches in her counselling, she is also an accredited Master Instructor in Mental Health First Aid and is passionate about reducing the stigma of mental health issues.

Ravi Lulla, Manager Student Wellbeing

Footscray Park Campus
BA, MA (Medical & Psychiatric Social Work), MPhil, MACSW, MAASW.

Ravi has worked in tertiary education, drugs & alcohol, UNHCR, adult and youth mental health. He works collaboratively with clients to work through presenting issues towards developing personal and social skills and competencies. He values an experiential perspective in the range of issues presented by the environment. He is interested in cross cultural and strength based approaches including NLP, Brain Based Learning, Emotional Intelligence and Hypnosis.

Adriana McMahon

Footscray Park Campus
BA (Phil), BSW, DPC (Dev Psych), MAASW (Acc), MFSM.

Adriana is an AASW Accredited Mental Health Clinician with specialist training and experience in Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Her approach to counselling uses a combination of analytic, cognitive, psychodynamic and phenomenological approaches. She has a strong interest in the areas of developmental trauma, complicated grief, existential, personal and academic difficulties, relationship distress, and attachment issues. She has worked with children, adolescents, young adults, and families in a range of settings.

Mary Orfanidis

Footscray Park Campus
BA (Psych), GradDip (Loss & Grief Couns), MCounselling, GradDip (Psych), Assoc MAPS.

Mary is a registered psychologist and Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). She has worked in schools, community centres and in the drug and alcohol field. She currently works in private practice with adolescents, adults and couples. She has over 13 years of counselling experience using clinically tested and evidenced-based interventions. Her treatment approaches include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based approaches and Person Centred Therapy.

Linda van Draanen

City Flinders Lane Campus & Footscray Park Campus
BA, BEd (Couns), DipSoln Oriented Hypnosis, MAPS.

A psychologist with the Counselling Service for more than 15 years, Linda's previous career has been in the area of sexual health, sexuality, disability, local government, and private practice, all of which she draws on in her present work. She works in an eclectic way with students, however her main interests are in solutions or strength based approaches, mindfulness practices and hypnosis.

Christopher Winkler

St Albans Campus & Footscray Park Campus
BArts (Hons), MA (ClinPsych), MAPS, CCLIN.

Chris is a professional, genuine, and caring psychologist who will work collaboratively with you to support you in understanding the issue of concern and to help you progress towards your goals. Chris will tailor his approach to suit your needs and preferences and is informed by mental health research and best practice. He has experience working with children, youth, adults and older adults in public and private settings for a wide range of psychological issues from short term to longstanding and complex. He has training in CBT and Schema Therapy and also draws from DBT and ACT.

Placements for counsellors-in-training

Counselling services periodically offers supervised placements when there is an available staff psychologist or social worker. Find out more about the program.

Contact VU Counselling

Contact us to find out more about our services or to make an appointment with a counsellor (available at various campus locations).