Our Team

Laura Kiln – Founder

PgDip (CBT) Child and Adolescence, Bsc (Hons), CMHN

In 2006 Laura Kiln moved to the Central Coast from the UK where she worked in London at the Institute of Psychiatry and the National Specialist Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Laura has thirty years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families and is recognised internationally as an expert in the field of parenting

Having four children herself, she understands the demands and dramas of raising a family!

Laura established Laura’s Place to help parents and children. She uses a variety of techniques, including  behavioural therapy, workshops, groups and individual sessions, in a comfortable, relaxed environment where kids and/or their parents can discuss problems away from the stigma that can be attached to seeking help.

Laura has a passionate belief that children’s difficult behaviour can be managed best by their parents, empowered by using specialist strategies. She looks under the behaviour to help determine the cause of it.

Laura believes that all children’s behaviour is like a language – they are trying to tell us “something”. Once she understands what that “something” is, she can help to change the behaviour.

Our Therapists

Mette Southwick
Mette Southwick

R/N, Ba (Hons), Masters of Mental Health Nursing, C.MHN

Mental Health Specialist

Australia became Mette’s home in 1986 after finishing her training as Registered Nurse in Denmark. Before moving to the Central Coast she worked as an Oncology Nurse specialist RPAH.

Mette has worked in general practice as a practice nurse since 1992 and enjoys being involved in preventative health practices, women’s health and families.

The opportunity to do a Masters of Mental Health Nursing and become a credentialed Mental Health Nurse presented itself in 2009.

Having brought up 3 children of her own Mette has developed a passion for working with teenagers and adolescents and this age group has become her main area of expertise at Laura’s Place.

Adults, especially the elderly, and relationships (including sex-therapy) are Mette’s secondary areas of expertise.

Kate van Beek
Kate van Beek

MA Psychology (Clinical) BA Psychology (Hons)

Psychologist

Kate is a registered psychologist currently seeking clinical endorsement.

Kate has a passion for working with children and adolescents experiencing depression and anxiety. She will also conduct educational assessments to help recognise learning problems and guide schooling interventions.

Kate strongly believes in the importance of active play and discovering competencies outside the academic realm and won’t shy away from a game of footy to break the ice!

Debbie Case
Debbie Case

BA Psych (Hons), M Psych (For)

Psychologist

Debbie completed her undergraduate studies in psychology with honours at Macquarie University before completing a Masters degree in Psychology at the UNSW. where she specialised in forensic Psychology. Debbie has worked in a range of settings including disability services.

Since completing her studies Debbie has worked as a consultant to Duffy Robilliard Forensic Psychological Services providing assessments, reports and expert witness on criminal proceedings.

She has also worked in private practice settings, working with adolescents and adults focussing on numerous issues including mood disorders, PTSD, substance abuse, grief and bereavement, parenting issues and general mental health and social emotional issues.

Debbie is a Member of the Australian Psychological Society, Member of the Forensic College, a Registered Psychologist and a Justice of the Peace.

Laura's Place - Occupational Therapist
Leanie Eksteen

Bachelors in Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapist

Leanie has over 20 years experience as an Occupational Therapist, working with children and adults in a variety of settings. She has worked in South Africa, the U.S and Canada and in she relocated her family to the sunny shores of the Central Coast.

Leanie is passionate about seeing people live their lives to the fullest and therefore has a functional approach , enabling parents and children to enjoy family life. She believes strongly that the sensorimotor stage, where children experience the world and gain knowledge through their senses and motor movements, form the foundation of cognitive development. Her therapy approach is play-based, focusing on building strong motor skills as the foundation to all other developmental stages.

Leanne Lawrence

Dip. Teaching (Early Childhood)

Early Years Teacher, Parenting Expert & Behaviour Modification Expert

Leanne has been in the Early Childhood field for over 20 years. Her roles have been that of Director & Classroom teacher in Early Childhood Services (Community based Preschools and Long Daycare) as well as classroom teacher with the Dept of School Education and Facilitator at Laura’s Place.

Leanne is an Individual & Group Facilitator of The Incredible Years program (August, 2009).

 Leanne enjoys travelling, walking, reading and catching up with friends. She lives on the Central Coast with her husband and her two beautiful children.

Nicole Ennis-Oakes
Nicole Ennis-Oakes

BA Psych (Hons)

Provisional Psychologist

Nicole is registered with the PBA and is a member of the APS. She completed her formal qualifications in Psychology at the University of New England and informal qualifications as a mother of five sons.

Nicole has 22 years of experience working in training and counselling roles in both the private and public sector including the crisis service at Lifeline. Her Clinical experience is primarily with children, adolescents and parents however she has also worked with adults in a clinical setting.

Nicole has experience in teaching children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD and social skills deficits, emotion regulation difficulties, behavioural difficulties and anxiety. She has a particular interest in children with learning and behavioural difficulties.

Nicole has developed a good level of experience in assessing for a range of disorders including ADHS, learning disorders, giftedness and school readiness.

Jacqui Darnell

B Social Science (Psychology) (Hons)

Provisional Psychologist

Jacqui has been working with adults and young people in various scenarios for over 25 years. She has mentored women in business, worked on the Lifeline Crisis-Line, volunteered in classrooms from Kindy to Year 6, and coached teenage students in Leadership programs.

Jacqui’s background includes a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of Remedial Therapies, which when combined with her Psychology degree, supports her passion for facilitating the mental well-being and physical health of children, and their parents, adolescents, young people and adults.

 By incorporating the principles of Positive Psychology and Self-Compassion with evidence based approaches, Jacqui assists clients with diagnosis, treatment and management in areas including behaviour management, anxiety, parenting and emotion regulation.

Jacqui is mother to two teenagers, one at school and one starting tertiary studies. She is familiar with many of the stages of parenting, and more recently, adolescence. She completed her Bachelor of Social Science at Charles Sturt University, is an Associate member of Australian Psychology Society and approved by AHPRA as a Provisional Psychologist.

Catherine Healey

MA Speech Language Pathology (MSLP), BA Science

Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Catherine has a Masters of Speech Language Pathology (MSLP) from Macquarie University. Catherine’s undergrad degree is a Bachelor of Science from UTS. She re-trained as a mature-aged student after a career focused on customer service, communication and people-skills.

Catherine’s experience is mainly in paediatric speech pathology and she loves the diversity of thinking that comes with the Multi-disciplinary team at Laura’s Place. She is a complete nerd about anything to do with SLP – linguistics; child development; voice; articulation and phonology; and all things literacy are particular areas of nerd-dom for her. Evidence based practice is her mission.

Catherine has a strong belief that each and every child deserves the best chance to communicate and engage – that each child has within them the ability to contribute meaningfully to society. She is an advocate for the idea of assumed competence – that a child’s access to complex communication is never consciously limited. Training communication partners is an area of SLP that Catherine is passionate about and feels fits into the ‘whole family’ ethos at Laura’s Place.

Catherine is an obsessive book reader, an enthusiastic car singer, a music lover, an aficionado of puns. She loves to be silly, she loves to make kids laugh, her life’s work is to engage kids and allow them to express themselves via language.
Catherine has two kids, two dogs, two guinea pigs but only one husband.

Jessica Allan

BA Speech and Hearing Sciences, M Speech Language Pathology

Speech Therapist

Jess completed a Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences before continuing on to complete her Masters of Speech Language Pathology (MSLP) at Macquarie University in 2013.

Jess’ experience is mainly in paediatric speech pathology. Her areas of interest include speech sounds/articulation, language, literacy, voice, pragmatic/social skills, fluency/stuttering, and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). She has also had experience in adult swallowing assessment and strategies as a result of stroke, neuro-degenerative diseases and ageing.

Buying toys to add to the toy cupboard is a weakness of hers! Jess loves to integrate toys into Evidence Based therapy to help keep children engaged. She enjoys discussing with family members how to practice skills in a functional setting so the child can learn through their daily activities as an alternative to conventional homework.

Jess is a Certified Practicing member of Speech Pathology Australia.

Jess lives on the Central Coast and enjoys reading, walking, and trying (not very successfully!) to learn about football and the Mariners.


Nicholas Whitehead

Psychologist

Nick is a registered psychologist with experience working with children, adolescents and adults. He is passionate about assisting clients to develop self-awareness and the skills to help manage life’s challenges.

Nick has worked in a variety of clinical settings and has experience treating a wide range of concerns including depression, anxiety, behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties, PTSD, bipolar disorders and psychotic disorders.

Nick draws upon a number of evidenced based therapeutic frameworks including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Our Administration Team

Julie Wilson

Practice Manager

Julie joined Laura’s Place as our Practice Manager back in 2008. Along with her telephone and client liaison duties in our reception area, Julie manages the administrative side of the practice using her past experience from many years of working within large businesses.

Julie’s ongoing support and compassion toward both clients and staff alike helps keep our office running smoothly and efficiently.

We love Julie !!

Sue Benterman

Deputy Practice Manager

Sue joined the admin team as a part-timer in 2011 and became a full-time team member in 2013. Other than her normal reception duties Sue manages the back office reporting and, along with our other admin staff, keeps the practice operating efficiently and effectively.

Nina Cantillon

Receptionist

Nina joined the team in May, 2015. Nina worked for the National Health Service (NHS) for five years gaining considerable knowledge and skills in empathy and compassion.

Nina has two young children and understands the day-to-day pressures of family life, and the challenges of achieving a good balance between work and everyday life.