Meet the

Brain Care Team

Nerida Saunders

Director/Senior Psychologist

Nerida Saunders

Nerida has been a founding director of Solstice Mind Matters and Brain Care for 17 years.

Nerida is a senior psychologist and fellow of the biofeedback certification of Australia.  She is an approved mentor for neurofeedback practitioners.   Nerida is a founding member and honorary fellow of the Australian Assoc. of psychology.  Nerida is a past president and fellow of the applied neuroscience society of Australasia.  She has studied under many of the world’s leading neuroscientists and has also published in this area.

Nerida has worked in the areas of psychology and counselling for many years.  One of her greatest frustrations with the work was the limited resources available to actually help people with difficulties.  That is until she discovered neuroscience and brain training sixteen years ago.  From here a whole new exciting world has opened up for both Nerida and her clients.

Nerida has seen some extraordinary improvements with people presenting with significantly disabling conditions such as autism, head injuries, ADHD, Asperger’s and anxiety and depression  through neurofeedback training and other modalities (brain training). Peak Performance training is how we describe our training. For anyone with any level of brain fitness.

Nerida also continues in her counselling role and interweaves this with the brain training treatment. She is an experienced EMDR therapist

Nerida strongly believes in the power of the individual, and the ability of the individual to overcome what may seem to be insurmountable problems and regain effective control of their lives. She believes a catalyst such as a Psychologist is necessary at times for this process to be nudged along, to empower and direct towards resolution. Nerida’s belief in and her acceptance of the individual are her most effective counselling tools. Her knowledge and experience come a close second.

Areas of Expertise and Interest 

  • QEEG measurement and interpretation
  • Neurofeedback for relaxing the brain and thereby improving performance
  • Trauma
  • Head injury
  • ADHD – adults and children
  • Supervision of psychology interns – registered in NSW as supervisor
  • Employer support
  • Provision of Employee Assistance Programmes– measurement of employability, emotional state in the workforce and rehabilitation
  • Career assessment
  • Individual growth
  • Grief and loss
  • Relationship counselling
  • Separation counselling
  • Measurement and interpretation of cognition, diagnosis of learning difficulties in adults and children
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Peak Performance Training

Nerida is enjoys a close relationship with her two adult children and their spouses and five fun grandchildren. She is also mother to Pipi, our therapy dog. She enjoys life, socialising, music, swimming, travel, and walking.

Rustam Yumash

qEEG Manager / Neurofeedback Practitioner

Rustam is a Neurocoach, Neurofeedback Practitioner, Researcher and developer of neuroscience based products and services.

After finishing his degree in medicine, he developed his approach to Mind – Body Somatic Therapy for treating trauma and chronic tension. Rustam’s main interests are in Brain Health & Fitness.  His objectives are developing and providing Neuroscience based services and products for enhancing brain performance, cognitive abilities and improved mental health.

Rustam  is fluent in Russian.

B. Med, Russia, Dip.Neurology (Russia)

Louise Oliver

Senior Psychologist

Louise Olivier

Registered psychologist, psychotherapist, counsellor, educator and trainer, Ms Olivier has over twenty years experience in Australia and USA working with individuals, groups and community organizations. Ms Olivier specializes in a wide range of stress management therapies and conducts classes and courses in personal transformation and lifestyle techniques.

She also works with adolescents, adults and the elderly, in areas of:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Grief and Bereavement
  • Terminal /chronic illness
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger and Conflict resolution
  • Disabilities
  • Relationships
  • Premarriage preparation
  • Career Issues
  • Debriefing of professionals
  • Workplace conflict /stress
  • Developing personal goals
  • Job network counselling
  • Study & exam preparation

BA, MA, Dip Ed, Psy D, MAPS, MACCP

Sydney Stokes

Psychologist / Clinic Manager

  • Full registration as a Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Member of the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc.
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), University of Queensland
  • Accredited ‘Secret Agent Society Small Group Program’ facilitator
  • Auditory Training Program Practitioner

Accepting new clients January 2023.

B. Psych. Sc. (hons), MAAPi

Sydney graduated from the University of Queensland in 2016 with a Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours (Class 2A). Her research during the honours program explored the role of perfectionism and internalisation of media’s ideal image on body satisfaction in females. Areas of special interest include sensory neuroscience, child and adolescent development, anxiety and eating disorders, Autism and ADHD in adults and children.

Sydney has been a psychologist with Brain Care for the past five years and clinic manager for the past 12 months.

Sydney has completed accreditation as an Auditory Training Program™ practitioner, Secret Agent Society Social Skills Training Small Program Facilitator, and is looking forward to complete certification in EMDR.

Sydney has a warm, compassionate approach with her clients, and strongly believes in the importance of safety, trust, honesty, and authenticity in the development of a successful therapeutic relationship.

When not in the office, you will find Sydney surfing, in the dance studio, or at the local farmers markets.

Paul Moorhead

Counsellor / Neurofeedback Practitioner

B. Psych. Sc.

Diploma of Counselling

M.A.C.A (Level 1).

Paul moved from Beaudesert to the Gold coast in 2010, where he studied a Bachelor of Psychological Science at Griffith University. Paul’s always had a keen interest in human nature and continued to explore a variety of Psychological and philosophical theories in his spare time before returning to TAFE to study Counselling.

Key interests for him include Brain anatomy and function, personality, development and self-actualisation. He also has a deep belief in the resilience of the body and mind to overcome diversity.

Paul is also a qualified Chef and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen on weekends in between doing the Lindy Hop (swing dancing) and playing cricket.

Mark Podesta

Psychologist

With a background in law, science, the Army Reserve, university lecturing, and pastoral care, Mark decided that the time was right for a sea change in 2017, moving from Sydney to Queensland to be with his family. Graduating from his fourth year of psychological studies at Charles Sturt University in 2019, the focus of his research explored the relationships between sexuality, religious upbringing, and narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy personality traits.

His areas of professional interest include anxiety, depression, phobias, and stress. While he is delighted to work with a wide range of clients, Mark has a particular interest in working with men, and members of the LGBTIQ community.

Mark has a love for travelling. He had the opportunity to live in Florence and Rome from 2009 to 2012, where he became proficient in the Italian language. While based there, Mark had the opportunity to visit some 24 countries in Europe, with his favourite destinations being in the Baltic, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and of course his ancestral home, Malta.

At home, Mark is an avid astronomer and astrophotographer; he enjoys singing with his local community choir, and loves animals (his pets include a moodle, Suzy, and a black-headed caique, Francis); his ‘happy place’ is either in his kitchen cooking traditional Mediterranean recipes handed-down to him, or tending to his tropical garden by the water on the Gold Coast.

Trenton Ellwood

Provisional Psychologist
Neurofeedback Practitioner

Trenton is a provisional psychologist, neurofeedback practitioner and auditory training technician. Trenton completed his Bachelor of Psychological Science at Swinburne University in 2020 after living in the United States. His fond interest in Psychology has been pursued further within the 2021 Honours program at Southern Cross University—with a focus on goal setting and mental health interventions of physical activity. His personal goal is to continue to develop his knowledge and skillset within a fascinating and progressive discipline.

Areas of interest include brain functioning and anatomy, as well as attention, memory, and perceptual processes. Trenton appreciates that an individual has the ability to appropriately adapt thought and behaviour within their environment to successfully promote positive change.

Trenton’s has a background in music, working as music instructor and program director in the US where he taught students of all ages. During his spare time you’ll find him playing guitar, producing music, and spending time with his two beautiful cats. Trenton enjoys practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which he has doing for 6+ years, competing both locally and internationally.

Jane Stevens

Provisional Psychologist (Pending)

  • Provisional registration (pending) as a Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
  • Member of the Australian Association of Psychologist Inc. (pending)
  • Advanced Graduate Diploma of Psychology, Bachelor of Environmental Science
  • Graduate Hakomi Somatic Mindfulness Psychotherapy

Jane graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2022, with an Advanced Graduate Diploma of Psychology. Her research thesis investigated the gender bidirectional relationship between adult attachment styles, and perceptions of sexual coercion and consent in long-term intimate relationships.

Jane has accreditation in Hakomi Somatic Mindfulness therapy, and strongly believes in the practice of mindfulness and somatic awareness, to assist with a great range of psychological difficulties and to support thriving in life. Jane has personally practiced mindfulness and meditation for over 17 years. Jane has a previous career in Environmental Science and nature conservation, and is passionate about our intrinsic connection with nature, and its role in health and wellbeing.

Special areas of interest are, supporting people with disabilities to live their best lives, somatic mindfulness therapy for healing developmental complex trauma, and animal assisted therapy.
Jane brings the principles of compassion, mindfulness, mind-body holism, safety and connectedness to her practice as a Provisional Psychologist. In her relaxation time, Jane can be found hanging out with her two best friends, her deaf red cattle-dog Cricket and her partner, walking on the beach or camping in peaceful natural environments.

Pipi the Golden Retriever

Pipi the Golden Retriever

Pipi is our resident therapy dog. She loves all people, cuddles, pats and walks. Pipi was named after her predecessor Noni (our long standing clients may remember her well). Many years ago, Noni was running along Fingal beach, her favourite place. Upon arrival she pranced to the water and began to dig in the sand (the beach was the only place she was allowed to do this). Much to her surprise, Noni found a pipi shell and without hesitation, gently picked it up and ran with it for hours, smile ear to ear.

The joy our Pipi brings our staff and clients is reflective of the joy the pipi shell gave Noni. Pipi was an obvious choice for her name and we are so happy to have her here with us.