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AMANDA HICKS

MPhilEd (research), MAEdst, Master Social Work, Master Mental Health (current), BA, GradDipEd, GradCertTESOL

Educational Specialist & Social Worker

I have a passion for knowledge and sharing that information with colleagues and families.

I have worked across all educational sectors, catholic, government, and independent schools in primary and secondary.  

I have also worked at the University of Newcastle as a Lecturer in the School of Education and as a Tertiary Supervisor of undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

My other positions include working in private practice for over 15 years, assisting families with children and adolescents with learning difficulties and disabilities. This also includes working alongside adults with a history of learning issues. 

In addition, I have worked closely with DCJ and many NGOs across the Hunter Region and interstate, assisting individuals with support in education, behaviour, and learning. 

I have studied extensively and have a Master of Philosophy in Education (Research) UON, Master of Educational Studies, Master of Social Work, Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching, Graduate Certificate in TESOL and am currently undertaking my Master of Mental Health. My research involved looking at working memory and its role in the reading process. It further examined the importance of strategy development in support individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities. 

I have lectured to 100s of schools and 10,000+ teachers over the past 8 years in NSW, interstate, and internationally. I am called on to present at conferences, seminars, and schools present across a wide range of areas.

 

Amanda's Approach

I love the "OH" moments when educators link research with practice. You can see the moment they understand why the children and adolescents they are working with learn and behave the way they do.  Knowledge for knowledge sake is useless if we do not apply it to the benefit of our students. Knowledge is more than content, it is more than words we deliver in the classroom. The purpose of knowledge is to improve the wellbeing of each individual, to maximise their autonomy in becoming independent, productive, and happy individuals. 

My passion is for those students who do not learn like others. Those who face difficulties and challenges within our education system and within society. Every child has the human right to equal access to education however despite our best intentions many of these children continue to face daily obstacles.

My goal is to empower educators to question taught knowledge and ask questions not to necessarily challenge the education system but to empower and increase the wellbeing of all students.

 
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DR RACHEL BRIGGS

BPsych, BSc (hons), DCP/MSC

Clinical Psychologist

I am a clinical psychologist who is passionate about seeing people and communities thrive. 


I am the founding director of Arise Health & Wellness, which is a specialist clinical psychology practice located in the Hunter New England region that offers in-person and online clinical psychology services.


I have a background in community health, acute-care, private health-care, rehabilitation, and academic settings, and have a special interest and extensive expertise in working with children and their families.  I work with this cohort across a range of presentations including anxiety, low mood, emotion dysregulation, anger management, trauma, issues of attachment as well as learning and behavioural difficulties.


I hold a 1st-class honours degree in Science from the University of Sydney and was awarded the Dick Thomson Prize for best empirical thesis in Social Psychology.  I also hold a Master of Science by research from the University of Sydney in the area of paediatric neuropsychological rehabilitation meaning I bring unique knowledge and experience in neuropsychological testing in the assessment of learning, memory, and cognition and am particularly interest in students’ performance on these measures and its relationship with mental health presentations.  I also have a doctorate in clinical psychology and have been in professional practice within psychology research and therapy for over 10 years.


I have worked in human resources in large organisations, have qualifications in vocational training and assessment, and have worked as a teacher at the University of Sydney.  I love learning and consider it a privilege to be part of other people’s learning and development.

 

Rachel's Approach

Rachel is a highly experienced therapist with more than 10-years of experience in mental health.  Rachel has a unique interest and passion for the relationship between learning and mental health.  As a therapist, she works primarily from an attachment-based and systems-based approach to childhood mental illness, with a firm belief that relationships and connection are at the core of good mental health.  This means that she is highly relational and authentic as a therapist and educator.  


Rachel is passionate about building healthy communities of individuals rooted in connection, belonging, and purpose and believes families and schools are the foundational communities in which children develop their identity, their sense of worth, and their own sense of purpose.  Rachel hopes to empower parents and educators to feel confident in their approach to building children up to become happy, healthy, confident, and effective individuals.  


Rachel is highly personable and would always love an email from you if you have any specific questions or concerns about how to support a child.