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APACS-SEA Newsletter

2022 Edition

Australian Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools (APACS) - South Eastern Australia (SEA) makes it a priority to ensure you’re informed with the latest news and updates. 

Our inaugural newsletter is available here - please see contents below and articles written by members of our committee. 

If you have any queries or suggestions, click the purple Queries button below to email our secretary.

Mission Statement

Providing vision, voice, connection, scholarship.


Information and updates for members.

From the President

President Denise Hardingham shares her insights into the inaugural APACS-SEA committee.

Membership Secretary's Report

Brian Bazzo, Membership Secretary for APACS-SEA, shares an overview of all things related to our members.

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer John Noble provides an update regarding APACS-SEA's first year as an organisation.

Webinar Wednesdays

General Committee member Kristina Baker reviews a fantastic webinar presented by Dr Susan Colmar.

Self Care

APACS-SEA Secretary Kelly Rump writes an article on the importance of self care strategies when working within the wellbeing space.

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Image by Hannah Busing

Mission Statement

APACS-SEA facilitates vision and voice to professionals who provide mental health, wellbeing and learning support to children and young people in educational settings. We do this by providing our membership with a unifying forum and advocacy, professional development, professional partnerships, quality scholarship and access to resources specific to the educational context.

VISION: To guide and support our profession.

VOICE: Advocacy and promotion for the profession of psychological and counselling services in schools.

CONNECTION: To unify and link our profession: to each other, to our colleagues across the nation and to the international school psychology and counselling community and other likeminded organisations.

SCHOLARSHIP: To provide opportunity, development and recognition of scholarship which is occurring in our profession.

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Updates and information for members


Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday November 1st, 2022. A Zoom link will be emailed to all members.

Interested in becoming a committee member?

Our committee is member-run and lead. Nominations open during our AGM!

Webinar Wednesdays

See Events tab for further details regarding upcoming webinars!

Resources: Services

Committee Roles

Information about each role within our committee.

Interested in any role? Feel free to nominate at our AGM! All roles are open.

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The role of the President is to coordinate APACS-SEA and ensure smooth facilitation of all other roles.

President Denise Hardingham

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The Membership Secretary receives membership applications and organises renewals.

Membership Secretary Brian Bazzo

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The Treasurer coordinates funds and ensures the committee is updated regarding bank account information.

Treasurer John Noble

Kelly Rump

The Secretary records minutes at meetings, distributes the agenda, and coordinates meeting times.

Secretary Kelly Rump


Part of the general committee, with a specific role to edit and maintain the website.

Technology Coordinator Andrew Stephens

Middle Aged Woman

Being a member of the general committee entails attendance at the monthly Zoom meetings.

General Committee Member

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From the President

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Denise Hardingham, APACS-SEA President

In September 2021 a small group of dedicated School Counsellors and Psychologists formed APACS-South Eastern Australia (SEA). This occurred in order to meet an unmet need in NSW, Victoria and the ACT for a unified professional association connected to our colleagues across Australia through APACS. Throughout this year, we have built our membership, developed our strategic direction, hosted a range of professional development events and joined with our colleagues across Australia to advocate for both our profession and the people it aims to support – children and young people engaged in education.

Our vision for the future is to provide a strong voice for our specialist profession. We are increasingly multidisciplinary and APACS-SEA acknowledges this in our membership and member services. In Victoria, mental health support in schools is not only provided by psychologists, but also qualified counsellors, occupational therapists, mental health nurses and social workers. In NSW, new positions in the wellbeing and mental health support space are emerging outside of the school counselling service and again incorporate a range of professions. Across Australia, the predominant profession providing counselling services in schools remains psychologists.

Although we are in our infancy as an organisation, our board consists of a number of long-standing members of APACS. Many of whom have previously provided years of service to APACS NSW. Two of our committee members hold executive roles on the national APACS committee and a further member sits on the national committee in a support role having recently stepped down from a long-term position on the executive.

We have been active in providing resources through our social media and connecting our members to existing national services including free webinars, online resources, training and of course our journal – The Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools. Members receive two hard copy journals each year and have access to a full catalogue through their dual membership with APACS (National) who produce the journal. In the 2021-22 year we have also received an additional special issue with invited articles from pre-eminent researchers and scholars specialising in topics pertinent to our field.

We have developed a strong strategic plan around our mission statement and vision (below). One area in which we have already been active is in advocacy and media representation of our profession. At a national level, APACS has a strong voice which has been years in the making through the dedication of key members of our committee and profession. Speaking at both state and national levels is important for our field as our work and concerns straddle both health and education portfolios. At the national level we have been able to have a voice lodging written submissions with the National Mental Health Commission, the National Children’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy, the Productivity Commission Draft recommendations and The Parliamentary Enquiry into Children’s Mental Health. We presented in person by invitation to The Parliamentary Enquiry into Children’s Mental Health and Suicide prevention as a result of our written submission. Again, at the national level, we have been invited to consult in the development of the AITSL Trauma Informed Practice framework. APACS spokesperson, Professor Marilyn Campbell, also provided an article to The Conversation on the efficacy of the chaplaincy program in schools and regularly consults with media ensuring that our profession has a voice.

APACS have reached out to our newly elected federal government and have begun the conversation with the Minister for Health, Mark Butler. We recently received communication from the Minister acknowledging the important role of psychologists and counsellors in schools and are actively engaging in dialogue around the new governments intended initiatives to improve access and services for children and young people in need of mental health support.

APACS-SEA has hosted webinars and Q&A’s on bullying, early language development and the launch of new nationally available, online Triple P programs. By the end of 2022 we will have hosted further discussions and resource presentations on bullying and neurodiverse affirming approaches to support autistic students. We are actively working on our program for next year and look forward to sharing this with members as soon as possible.

Our members have also benefited from the national webinars both live and in the online library for self-paced learning. This year’s PD opportunities have included the Consultee Centred Consultation in Schools with Dr Daniel Newman, University of Cincinnati and Understanding and Dealing with Everyday Racism with Dr Shungu Hilda M’gadzah, Educational Psychologist, London.

We will continue to build connections and partnerships of benefit to our membership and profession. If you are not yet a member and would like to join us, please fill out a form at If you have ideas or concerns that you would like us to be aware of please let us know through If you are a member looking to join our committee, we’d love to hear from you at

Our committee meets on the first Tuesday of every month excluding January and July.

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Membership Secretary's Report

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Brian Bazzo, Membership Secretary for APACS-SEA

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Online Finances

Treasurer's Report

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John Noble, APACS-SEA Treasurer

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Webinar Wednesdays

Engaging in peer-led professional learning

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Kristina Baker, APACS-SEA General Committee Member

Webinar Wednesday is a fantastic initiative from APACS-SEA to offer free professional learning to APACS-SEA members on topics that are highly relevant to wellbeing roles in schools. One of our recent webinars included a presentation from Dr Susan Colmar on her research project on early language development interventions. Dr Susan Colmar is an Honorary Associate Professor at The University of Sydney. She is a practicing psychologist with endorsement in educational and developmental psychology with a particular interest in early language interventions for young children. Throughout this webinar, Dr Susan spoke on the topic of early language learning with a focus on parent-led interventions. The presentation was highly engaging and encouraged the audience to think deeply about the relationship between socio-economic background, language difficulties, and the future learning outcomes for children.

Dr Susan’s research explored training parents in conversation-building strategies, such as open questioning and pausing. They were then encouraged to use these in everyday conversation and during “practice time”, in which the parent and child read a book together. Pausing is highlighted as a powerful tool. This is because children with language difficulties are less likely to initiate conversation, consequently reducing their opportunities to rehearse and have success with their language and speech development. By teaching parents to pause, children are provided with the opportunity to initiate conversation on topics of their interest and thus develop their language further. Perhaps the most profound sentence from Dr Susan’s article on her research was: “When adults are trained to speak less, children were able to speak more”.

Dr Susan highlighted the relative simplicity of the strategies utilised made this intervention so impactful. The intervention was designed to become part of a family’s everyday routine and conversations. Additionally, the success that parents experienced when their child made visible gains furthered their motivation to engage in the strategies. One family even continued to use the program despite the study being completed! For those working in schools with parents that are potentially overwhelmed and time poor, this aspect felt very relevant. We are all searching for strategies that families are motivated to use.

If you would like to read more about Dr Susan’s parent-based book reading intervention, you can access the full article on Google Scholar: “A parent-based book-reading intervention for disadvantaged children with language difficulties”. Stay tuned for further free professional learning opportunities with APACS-SEA as part of Webinar Wednesday.

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“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet” – Dr Naomi Rachel Remen.

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Kelly Rump, APACS-SEA Secretary

Working within the school welfare, counselling, and psychology space is an immensely rewarding and fulfilling role. However, we often are so busy caring for the needs of others that we may forget or be unable to prioritise our own wellbeing. Consequently, this can lead to a plethora of negative outcomes emotionally, psychologically, and physically. A meta-analysis exploring the role of teachers in high need settings found that those working “with trauma were more likely to develop vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue” (Ormiston, Nygaard, & Apgar, 2022). What should we be aware of when working within the wellbeing space?

Those working in wellbeing should be aware of the signs they may be experiencing vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, or burnout. Trauma is the response our brain has when experiencing something extremely out of the ordinary, and vicarious trauma can occur through hearing or seeing trauma inflicted upon someone else. Similarly, compassion fatigue occurs when we become emotionally and physically exhausted from helping others, reducing our capacity to convey empathy. Conversely, burnout is a state of complete exhaustion where output is less than optimal and we may become cynical and discontent. Take note of the following signs:

  • Difficulty leaving work at work

  • Sleeping issues

  • Worrying about students after hours

  • Irritability and frustration

  • Loss of pleasure

  • Taking frequent sick days

  • Unable to eat or rest properly

  • Sunday Scaries

Thus, self-care is necessary to maintain functioning and be able to support the wellbeing of others. One strategy could be to complete the Holmes-Rahe life stress inventory to audit the stress in our lives. From this, completing the self-care wheel to see how many elements of self-care we are fulfilling and where we can go.

The first step in regulating our emotions is being able to label our feelings. If we can label the emotions we are feeling, that will allow us to pause and reflect on our thoughts, actions, and sensations that go along with various emotions. Over time, we may notice that a physical symptom like a stomach-ache indicates that we are in a situation that makes us anxious, and be able to respond appropriately to that emotion.

Additionally, focusing on what we can control versus what we cannot control within our circumstances can assist us in regulating feelings of stress or anxiety. For example, we cannot control that it might rain on Saturday and subsequently lead to us cancelling our plans. If we hold on to the future possibility that it might rain, we are focusing on the negative thoughts and emotions that arise from an event beyond our control. Instead, focusing on what we can control about this scenario, including making alternate plans, changing the location to an indoor setting, or waiting to see what happens on Saturday, can provide us with a sense of calm and allow room for other thoughts.

Other helpful actions can include:

  • Mindfulness and focusing on the present moment

  • Seek out pleasurable activities such as reading, exercising, and socialising

  • Practicing gratitude and self-compassion

  • Keep to a routine that is familiar, including set sleep and wake times

  • Manage our screen time appropriately

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