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PACFA Victorian Branch Leadership Group

Tony Clarkson (Convenor) has been a clinical member of PACFA since 2013 when he moved to Melbourne from London with his family. He is the head of professional development for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. His role includes; overseeing Professional Development for Gambler’s Help counsellors, planning international conferences and designing and administering multi-million dollar projects aiming to deliver better and more targeted clinical services. Tony has a private practice where he works predominantly with young people and their families experiencing distress and family dysfunction.

David Cronin has been a clinical member of PACFA since 2007. A long with a Masters in Professional Education and Training he has completed a wide range of training in the mental health and well-being field. He works therapeutically with individuals, couples, families and groups. He is passionate about integrating and enabling people’s understanding of physical and mental health. David is the director of a multidisciplinary practice that incorporates Chiropractic, Counselling, Naturopathy, Chinese Medicine, Myotherapy, Massage Therapy, Podiatry, Sports Acupuncture and Physiotherapy.

Dr. Gavi Ansara is a polycultural man of faith living on sovereign Boon Wurrung country (Kulin Nations) and PACFA’s LGBTQI+ Leadership Group Convenor. He has a PhD and MSc in Psychology (University of Surrey, England), Master of Counselling (Monash), and BA in International and Cross-Cultural Health with African Studies, with 15+ years of Anti-Oppressive Practice experience working alongside people and communities with marginalised lived experiences worldwide. He is an AAFT-Accredited Clinical Family Therapist, Clinical Member of the Colleges of Psychotherapy and Relationship Counsellors, and has specialist qualifications in complex, family, and community trauma, dissociation, refugee mental health, emotionally aware child-caregiving, and group facilitation. He received the American Psychological Association’s Transgender Research Award for original, significant research, the UK Higher Education Academy’s National Psychology Postgraduate Teaching Award for excellence in teaching psychology, and the University of Surrey Vice Chancellor’s Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to international human rights and social justice.

Leila Wheib has been a provisional member of PACFA since 2019. She is a qualified counsellor based in Naarm/Melbourne. Leila’s person-centred approach is informed by over 13 years of multidisciplinary therapeutic work with young people, families and individuals and not for profit leadership roles. Leila is guided by values of integrity, social justice and collaboration. Her clinical interests include working with people who have survived stressful and traumatic events, with a special interest in historic and cultural wounds


Francesca Palazzolo has been a member of PACFA since 2015. She has a Master’s in Counselling & Psychotherapy, a Graduate Diploma in Counselling from the Australian College of Applied Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the University of Queensland. Francesca currently works full-time as an Alcohol and Other Drugs Counsellor and as a psychotherapist in private practice. She works therapeutically with individuals and family members of those struggling with addiction, mental health and general life issues. She uses a variety of approaches in her clinical work including Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Person Centred and Existential Humanistic approaches. Her research interests include the problematic use of internet pornography, sexuality and addiction. She also enjoys writing and is the author of the blog Truth, Joy, Beauty. 

Darren Riggon (Biography to Follow) 

Arti Mayan (Biography to Follow) 

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