We have moved

Penrith Therapy Centre has moved to new premises at 19 The Crescent, Penrith. The entrance to the practice is off Hemmings Street.

Our new therapy rooms are within a freshly renovated and extended late 1800s cottage in the Lemongrove area, around 1km from the previous practice.

The development of this purpose-built space reflects the commitment of the practice to serving the people of the Nepean region in the long-term.

Penrith Therapy Centre on The Cresent
Penrith Therapy Centre on Hemmings Street

About Penrith Therapy Centre

Established 30 years ago in a cottage surrounded by trees, Penrith Therapy Centre offers you a relaxed, friendly and discreet environment where you will feel immediately welcome and comfortable.

We aim to make attending therapy a positive experience from the moment you enter our cottage. Our friendly receptionists Kellie, Renee, Allison and Natalie, and practice manager Tanya, will make you feel welcome and answer any questions you may have.

Penrith Therapy Centre was established in order to provide a comprehensive range of psychological services by experienced clinical psychologists. Over the years Penrith Therapy Centre has established a reputation for excellence in the communities of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Therapy works best when a collaborative relationship is formed between therapist and client. When you see a psychologist you get to learn more about yourself and how your mind works and the relationship between your beliefs and thoughts and how you feel and behave.

We're Covid Safe

Our People

Our clinical psychologists have a minimum of six years training and are registered under the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with specialist endorsement in clinical psychology. In addition to our post-graduate qualifications in clinical psychology we have additional training in hypnosis, EMDR, family therapy, marital therapy and therapy specifically for children.

Dr Rudi Črnčec

BPsych (Hons), Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Rudi is the clinical director at PTC and sees clients across the lifespan. He works in the assessment and treatment of psychological difficulties affecting children, adolescents, and their families, including ASD and Tourette syndrome. Rudi also sees adults experiencing a range of challenges, including with relationships, anxiety, depression, and the effects of trauma. His approach is friendly and built around evidence-based practices, including short- and longer-forms of therapy as may be required.

Rudi is a board approved supervisor and enjoys supervision with clinicians of all career stages. He supervises trainee psychologists at Western Sydney University where he is an Adjunct Fellow. Rudi has around 30 peer-reviewed publications in the mental health literature.

Sarah Francese Goonniah

BPysch (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Sarah is a clinical psychologist with over 10 years experience working with children and young people. She is passionate about early intervention and has a particular interest in autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and ADHD. Sarah seeks to ensure a meaningful rapport is established with her clients and tailors therapy to each person’s individual needs. She practices from a CBT and DBT framework, assisting her clients in areas including social skills, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

Sarah also provides comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, and recommendations for children and adolescents regarding specific learning disorders, ADHD, and autism. She was previously manager of the learning assessment team at the Sydney Developmental Clinic.

Sijal Ansari

BPsych (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Sijal is a clinical psychology registrar who works with adults, children, and adolescents. She sees clients experiencing anxiety and depression; neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism (ASD) and ADHD; stress/trauma related difficulties; and, long-term mental health and relationship difficulties, including those underpinned by early-life adversity and personality. Sijal also conducts intellectual (IQ), learning, and ASD assessments with clients across the life-span.

Sijal takes a holistic, collaborative, and individualised approach to therapy to help each person harness their strengths and thrive. She has experience using CBT, ACT, DBT, schema therapy and narrative based approaches. Sijal has previously worked in private practice and intensive hospital outpatient settings.

Tom Xia

BPsych (Hons), Master of Rehabilitation Counselling

Tao (Tom) is a registered psychologist with over 7 years experience who works with older children, adolescents, and adults. He sees clients experiencing a range of difficulties, including with mood, anxiety, substance abuse, perfectionism, self-confidence, self-evaluation, and trauma. Tom’s approach to therapy is first to seek to understand how coping mechanisms have arisen during his client’s life, and then to collaboratively develop strategies that better suit the current circumstances. He is passionate about empowering his clients, and pragmatic in drawing on a diversity of therapeutic models, including ACT, DBT, and CBT, which he tailors to his client’s needs.

Tom has previously worked in a variety of disability, rehabilitation, and private practice settings.

Heather Reilly

B.A. (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Heather is a clinical psychologist with a passion for working with children, adolescents, and their families. She provides assessment and therapy for a range of behavioural, emotional, and learning difficulties affecting young people, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and psychosis. Particular areas of interest include intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. Heather also works with adults experiencing mood difficulties.

Heather works collaboratively with her clients toward achieving their goals. Her therapeutic approach is warm and informed by evidence-based interventions including cognitive behaviour therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. Heather has previously worked at headspace and in children’s hospital clinical and research settings.

Michelle Everett

B.A. (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Michelle is a clinical psychologist with over twenty years experience. She sees adults and adolescents experiencing a range of anxiety, mood and trauma-related disorders. Michelle enjoys working with people at all life stages, including those navigating the complexity of parenting and family life, and has a particular interest in working with people who are experiencing the effects of trauma and abuse. Michelle’s approach to therapy is collaborative, and supports self-management and making informed choices about evidence-based treatments.

Michelle is also involved in writing and teaching courses in adult mental health and complex trauma for a variety of professional and community audiences, and is a board approved supervisor.

Anthony Mackett

B.A.(Psych), B.Psych.Sc. (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Anthony is a clinical psychology registrar who works with children, adolescents, adults, and parents. He provides assessment and therapy to people from all walks of life for concerns including trauma, depression, anxiety and stress, relationship difficulties, anger, and challenging child behaviour. Anthony also conducts psychometric assessments, including of intelligence and learning. Anthony is passionate about providing a safe and non-judgemental space for his clients to work on their goals. His approach is authentic, warm, and collaborative, and utilises CBT, DBT, mindfulness, and systems-based approaches.

Anthony has previously worked with families in out-of-home-care, and in forensic and private practice settings. He consults via telehealth at the COVID-19 quarantine hotels.

Jacky Au

BPsych (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Jacky is a clinical psychology registrar who works with children, adolescents, and young adults experiencing difficulties across a range of areas - including with mood and emotional regulation, challenging behaviours, and social skills. He also conducts psychometric assessments of intelligence and learning, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnostic assessments. Particular areas of interest include anxiety, ASD, and ADHD. Jacky is engaging, collaborative, and strengths-focused in his approach, with his work tailored to the specific needs and goals of the young person and their family, and grounded in evidence-based practices.

In addition to private practice experience, Jacky has previously worked as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapist and within inpatient hospital settings.

Vanessa Croker

B.Sc. (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Vanessa is a clinical psychologist who sees adults and adolescents experiencing a range of difficulties, including adjustment to stressors, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. Areas of special interest include trauma and dissociation, personality, relationships and diabetes. Vanessa is kind, practical, good-humoured and flexible in her approach. Her work is guided by evidence-based treatments and attentiveness to her client’s preferences, strengths and values. She understands the importance of social support and is happy to include your key support people if you wished.

Vanessa is a board approved supervisor and supervisor of trainee psychologists at Western Sydney University. She has 13 years experience working in public mental health settings.

Helena Ing

BPsych (Hons), Master of Professional Psychology

Helena is a registered psychologist who is warm, compassionate, and engaging with her clients. She has a passion for working with children, adolescents, and their parents/families, including those experiencing depression, anxiety, grief and loss, behavioural, and relationship difficulties. Helena takes a collaborative and client-centred approach to therapy, and draws upon a range of evidence-based therapeutic styles including CBT and schema therapy. In addition, she conducts psychometric assessments of intelligence, learning, and adaptive functioning.

Helena also works within the NSW Department of Education as a school psychologist. She has previously worked as a psychologist in the youth justice system and as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapist.

Katherine Widman

B.A.-Psych (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Katherine is a clinical psychologist who joined Penrith Therapy Centre in 2011. Katherine enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults. She provides assessment and therapy for a range of psychological and behavioural difficulties that affect children and their families. She also works with adolescents and adults experiencing mood, anxiety and adjustment difficulties.

Katherine has a warm and collaborative approach to therapy. She is committed to providing evidence-based interventions, in particular cognitive behaviour therapy. Katherine has experience working in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, and in working with families with complex needs.

Melissa Vella (née Azzopardi)

BPsych (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Melissa is a clinical psychologist who enjoys working with children, adolescents, and their families. She provides assessment and therapy for a range of learning, emotional, and behavioural difficulties including anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Areas of interest include autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, disruptive behaviour problems, and parenting strategies. Melissa sees adults experiencing mood difficulties and conducts IQ and learning assessments.

Melissa's approach to therapy is warm and empathic, and guided by her client's goals and attachment style. She provides evidence-based interventions including cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness. Melissa has experience working with young people in out-of-home care, and adults in inpatient hospital settings.

Karen Moses (on leave)

B.Soc.Sc. PG Dip. Master of Clinical Psychology

Karen is a clinical psychologist who works with children, adolescents, families and adults. She sees clients experiencing a range of difficulties, and has particular interest in the management of anxiety and mood disorders including social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. Karen also works with young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties. Karen's therapeutic approach is warm, collaborative and client-focused, and is guided by evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behaviour therapy.

Karen also oversees the Western Sydney University post-graduate psychology clinic and is a board approved supervisor. She has worked in university settings and conducted and published mental health related research.

Sheila Holley (retired in Nov 2020)

B.A. (Hons), Master of Science (Clinical Psychology)

Sheila is a clinical psychologist with over 30 years experience who joined Penrith Therapy Centre in 2002. She works with adults and adolescents aged 16 years and over. Sheila provides assessment and therapy for a range of psychological problems including mood and anxiety disorders, recovery from trauma and abuse, and relationship difficulties. Particular areas of interest are eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychological problems related to physical illness including brain injury. Her approach to therapy is collaborative and focused on evidence-based practice.

Sheila has previously held senior positions in community mental health and in psychiatric and general hospital settings. She is a board approved supervisor.

Necia Merrells (retired in June 2021)

B.A. (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology

Necia is a clinical psychologist who established the Penrith Therapy Centre in 1991. Necia works with adults and adolescents, couples and families. She has experience in the area of anxiety and mood disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder and recovery from sexual assault.

Necia has post-graduate training in hypnosis, family therapy and EMDR. Her approach to therapy is collaborative and informed by cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and transactional analysis. Her interest is in working with clients to build upon their strengths. Necia views therapy as a chance for clients to reflect and become active in shaping the lifelong journey we are all embarked upon.


Penrith Therapy Centre offers therapy and assessment services for children, families, individuals and couples. We also offer educational and behavioural assessments and therapy with clinical child psychologists.

Therapy services

Group services

  • Parenting children with ADHD and challenging behaviours, with Dr Rudi Črnčec
  • Click here for group pamphlet with further details
  • Please note that a limited number of Psychological Therapy Services subsidised places may be available through the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network - conditions apply.

Professional services

  • Professional supervision
  • Workplace supervision
  • Organisational assistance and training
  • Employee trauma debriefing

Assessment services

  • Intellectual (IQ) and educational assessments
  • Developmental assessments for preschoolers
  • Autism spectrum disorder assessments
  • ADHD assessments

Penrith Therapy Centre has a scale of fees that are well below those set by the Australian Psychological Society. Please contact us to discuss our fee structure. We are unfortunately not able to provide bulk-billed services.

Medicare and Heath Fund rebates

Medicare rebates may be available if you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP or a referral from a relevant specialist. See the link below for further information about this Medicare initiative. Health Fund rebates may also be available when you consult a psychologist. Please note that online processing of Health Fund and Medicare claims is available at Penrith Therapy Centre.


We set aside an hour for your appointment. If you need to cancel or change an appointment please give us 48 hours notice. If you cancel an appointment with less than 48 hours notice you may be charged a cancellation fee.

Contact Us

Our friendly receptionists will make you feel welcome and answer your enquiry.

Phone: 02 4721 1488
Fax: 02 4721 5465
Address: 19 The Crescent

For emotional support after hours consider calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the Kids HelpLine on 1800 55 1800.

Please note the Penrith Therapy Centre is not a crisis service. In the case of emergencies, make contact with the mental health service at your local public hospital.

Join the Team / Position available

Position now available - download the position description

We are delighted to receive enquiries from psychologists of all career stages with an interest in joining the team at Penrith Therapy Centre (PTC).

We take pride in finding the right clinicians to consult at PTC, and then in fostering their professional autonomy and career development within a friendly team environment.

Our commitment at PTC is to provide the highest quality of tailored clinical care to the communities of Penrith, the Blue Mountains, and surrounds, with this underpinned by a practice culture that is supportive, respectful, collegial, good-humoured, and which promotes excellence.

PTC has been in continuous operation since 1991. The practice is owned and managed by people living in the local community who are passionate about PTC’s long-term role in supporting the well-being of residents of the area.

As well as benefitting from many and expanding professional and other opportunities as a recognised growth area within the Sydney basin, the Penrith region is also rich in natural assets: The river, lakes, and mountains all feature in the lives of local residents. For those not living nearby, getting here is easy via an against- peak-hour traffic drive or express train from the city.

Here is some of what we offer our clinicians: