DR PAULA BARRETT  B.Sc (Hons), M.Clin.Psych., MAPS, PhD

Paula is internationally recognised as a prominent scholar and groundbreaking researcher in the field of child psychology. Paula has a distinguished international reputation as a keynote presenter, published widely in the area of prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression, and the promotion of resilience through the ‘FRIENDS’ evidence-based programs. Recently, Paula received the Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year Award, was shortlisted for the Australian of the Year Queensland Award and the Queenslander of the Year Award, and received the Highly Commended Certificate in the Human Rights Medal of the Australian Human Rights Commission for her contribution to the wellbeing of children, youth and the wider community.

Paula is the founding Director of the innovative research-based clinic, Pathways Health and Research Centre. In 2008 Pathways Health and Research Centre was a Finalist in the Telstra Business Awards in the category of Innovation. Paula also received the Queensland Telstra Woman of the Year Award for helping thousands of children and families in Queensland, Australia.

Paula is a strong believer in life long learning, staying active and a positive psychology approach. Collectively her prolific writing, generosity of spirit and fervour for research have had a significant impact on the lives of literally thousands of children all over the world.

Dr SACHA ROMBOUTS  B.Psych (Hons), PhD (forpsy), MAPS

Dr Sacha Rombouts obtained his Bachelor of Psychology with first class Honours in 1998, including a thesis that examined the effect of violent video games on aggression. He has since obtained his PhD in forensic psychology and has clinical experience working with families, youth, and adults across a variety of settings. Sacha has lectured at Griffith University and travelled to Africa to train non-government organisations (NGOs) in facilitating trauma rehabilitation programs in refugee camps.

Sacha is on the APS Autism Identified Practitioner List and he is a trained facilitator of the Secret Agent Society (SAS) program for children with Asperger’s Syndrome and High- Functioning Autism (HFA).

Sacha has a passion for working with children and believes in supporting positive changes to all layers of a child’s life, including family and school.

Dr Kris Ojala PhD(ClinPsych), MAPS, MCCP

Dr. Kris Ojala is a clinical psychologist and the director of OCD research at Pathways Health and Research Centre. Kris specialises in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression in children, adolescents and adults. He has been facilitating the Friends for Life programs for increasing resilience in children for over seven years at Pathways. His clinical specialty includes the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and he is the co-author of the latest edition of the FOCUS program, rated as one of the three most effective treatment programs in the world for OCD in children and youth. Kris completed his PhD in Clinical Psychology at Griffith University on the Gold Coast in 2007. His research focused on investigating the need for group belongingness and bullying as a group process in childhood and early adolescence in Australian primary schools.


Anyone who attended the recent Tie Up the Black Dog forum in Dirranbandi or other centres would recall, guest speaker Craig Hamilton, when asked a question about his recovery, said very matter-of-factly,” The Black Dog is never gone from you—you really need to be vigilant to keep him in his kennel.”Craig went on to say that there are various methods he uses—among them meditation and yoga—to ensure he stays healthy. He makes sure his work/life balance is on an even keel and that he gets plenty of rest, avoids stress and allows enough time for leisure and relaxation.Many of us are aware that these are the correct steps to take, but don’t seem to be able to manage to take them.