Warm, holistic,

non-judgmental care.



To be recognised worldwide as a centre of excellence in private practice.


To improve the mental wellbeing of all through the provision of excellent psychology services.



Meet Our Team.


Located in the heart of Wollongong CBD, Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates is a private psychology practice with a focus on grief, loss and trauma. Our philosophy is that everyone can flourish by using their challenges as a stepping stone toward living a meaningful life.  

Having worked in the public mental health sector for over 20 years, Dr Olga established the practice to provide the people of Wollongong with a service for better mental health. 

In growing her team, Dr Olga has carefully selected a diverse group of talented professionals who, as well sharing a commitment to clinic excellence, all share the same important vision, mission and values.

Dr Olga Lavalle
Managing Director and Clinical Psychologist

BA, Master of Studies (Psychology),
Masters (Clin. Psych), PhD

Dr Olga Lavalle is a highly regarded Clinical Psychologist, author and presenter who’s spent over 40 years helping people create healthier, more satisfying lives.

Bringing her diverse experience, warm nature and positive approach to everything she does, Dr Olga strongly believes in the transformative power of therapy and its capacity to bring practical positive outcomes to an individual’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Dr Olga tailors her treatment approach to meet each client’s needs drawing from a range of modalities, including:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

She also conducts adult psychological assessments and reports for matters requiring a professional opinion.

In 2018, Dr Olga released her highly acclaimed book The New Normal: A Widow’s Guide to Grief, based on her own experience of loss. In 2020, she was selected as an Associate Trainer for Phoenix Australia, Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Posttraumatic Mental Health.

Registrations and memberships:

  • Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) – Clinical Psychology
  • AHPRA Registered Board Approved Clinical Supervisor for Clinical Psychology Registrars
  • Member: Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA)
  • Member: Australian Psychological Society (APS) and Fellow of the College of Clinical Psychologists
  • Member: APS Disaster Response Network
  • Member: Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
  • Board Member: Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

Jenna Axtens
Clinical Psychology Registrar and Registered Psychologist

BPsych (Hons); MPsych (Clin)

Jenna is a Registered Psychologist and Clinical Registrar completing her final year of her Registrar Program.

Jenna is warm, understanding, quirky and collaborative, and enjoys connecting with clients to enhance their self-awareness and build skills for increasing mental health and wellbeing.

She has worked in private practice, in Primary Health Networks, with NDIS participants and WorkCover clients. She also has experience in a local hospital supporting inpatients’ mental health during medical rehabilitation/post-stroke.  Jenna has also worked in Child Protection services and has worked as a research assistant with two publications to her name.

Jenna enjoys connecting with clients across the lifespan, with a range of concerns, including depression, anxiety disorders, and adjustment disorders. Jenna has a special interest in Neurodiversity, sleep psychology and transdiagnostic approaches to treatment. Jenna welcomes telehealth and face to face appointments.

Jenna is trained and skilled in the following evidence-based interventions:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Registrations and memberships

  • Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Member: Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Shanna White

Shanna White
Registered Psychologist

BBSc, Dip Couns, GradDipPsych

With over 10 years’ experience in mental health services Shanna is extremely passionate about supporting people in a safe and collaborative way. As well as working with children, adolescents, young adults and couples, she also works as a Family Therapist.

Shanna has a special interest in the neurological impacts of trauma and her passion lays in helping people heal from trauma.

Actively participating in a collegial and collaborative care team for children and adolescents with behavioural support needs as well as NDIS clients, Shanna’s experience and breadth of knowledge brings a dynamic energy to her clients and their carers.

Since joining the team in April 2019, Shanna has flourished under Dr Olga’s guidance developing strong clinical assessment, diagnostic and intervention skills. These skills have grown Shanna’s confidence in supporting a wide range of clients including those with anxiety, depression, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, OCD, oppositional defiant disorder, adjustment disorder, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, personality disorders, and neurological disorders.

As an Associate of the team, Shanna has grown her client base within the Illawarra community whilst also teaching trauma-informed practices to those providing direct care through professional development workshops.

Shanna uses a range of therapeutic techniques including:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Trauma Therapy
  • Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT)

Registrations and memberships

  • Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Member: Australian Psychological Society (APS)
  • Ambassador: Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association (ANZMHA)

Janelle Gallagher
Registered Psychologist

BPsych (Hons)

Janelle has worked in the field of education, health, sexual assault, domestic violence and workplace injury and rehabilitation for more than 14 years. She brings a flexible and well- informed approach to help clients with various mental health concerns including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, adjustment disorder, social skills deficits, trauma and psychological injuries from the workplace.

She’s passionate about her work and draws from a variety of therapeutic techniques to tailor treatment to individual needs. 

Janelle is trained and highly skilled in the following evidence-based interventions:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  • Trauma Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy 
  • Strength-Based Therapies

Registrations and memberships

  • Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Member: Australian Psychological Society (APS)

Jennifer Byrne
Registered Psychologist

BA Psych (Hons)

With over 12 years’ experience as a Registered Psychologist, Jennifer’s fascination with the workings of the human mind drives her ongoing commitment to learning and teaching. She has previously researched ‘pain in older Australians’ and ‘depression in women’ and has facilitated workshops in mindfulness, positive neuroplasticity, stress and anxiety.

Jennifer adapts different approaches to suit each client’s needs and circumstances. She gently and respectfully helps them learn the strategies and skills to get their lives back on track using a combination of:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Trauma Informed Care

Jennifer has a special interest in helping people with grief and loss, anxiety, trauma, positive neuroplasticity, workplace stress, relaxation training and mindfulness.

Note: Jennifer is available for telehealth appointments only.

Registrations and memberships
Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
Member: Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS)


Shayla Lindsay
Registered Psychologist

BSc (Psych), GradDipPsych

Shayla is our psychologist who has experience working with children, adolescents, parents and families in various settings including school, NDIS and out of home care. Shayla’s warm, friendly and caring nature helps clients to feel comfortable and safe.  Shayla works with clients with depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, and adjustment disorder.

Shayla is trained in a wide range of programs in individual and group therapy programs. These therapeutic programs include:

  • 123 Magic parent training program
  • Cool Kids, Cool Little Kids and Chilled Anxiety Program
  • Lego-Based Therapy program.

Shayla has also worked as a behaviour support practitioner in various spaces including out of home care and NDIS and is experienced in developing behaviour support plans and strategies.  She is able to complete cognitive, academic, behavioural and functional assessments.
Shayla draws from a variety of approaches to tailor treatment to clients’ individual needs. These therapeutic approaches include

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT),
  • Trauma Informed Practice
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Shayla is passionate about empowering her clients with the skills and knowledge to feel in control of their mental health so they can better achieve their goals.

Jennifer Byrne

Jeremy Maksour
Provisional Psychologist

BPsycSc (Hons)

Jeremy is a Provisional Psychologist completing the final year of his Internship at Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates. His experience includes Telephone Crisis Support at Lifeline, rehabilitation consultancy for Workers Compensation, and delivering individual and group programs in private practice.

Jeremy works with adolescents and adults with a wide range of presentations and disorders, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder, OCD, ADHD, ASD (Autism), grief and loss, stress, panic, anger, low self esteem, low motivation, trauma, and relationship difficulties. He’s passionate about providing psychological treatment tailored to each client to empower them with the necessary skills and strategies to cope effectively, and also, to support them in finding meaning and living with purpose.

Jeremy’s therapeutic approaches include:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness

Registrations and memberships

  • Provisional Registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Member: Australian Psychological Society (APS)

Samantha Risi
Accredited Practicing Dietician

Samantha is an accredited practicing dietitian, with expertise in a range of health and disease management areas including diabetes (type 1, type 2 and gestational), gastrointestinal issues (IBS/IBD/Coeliac), eating disorders, metabolic diseases (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight management), malnutrition, nutrient deficiency and much more.

She prides herself in providing a tailored client centered approach to care and putting her clients at the forefront of their own health.

She believes food should be enjoyed as much as it should be tailored to assist in meeting health goals and therefore is committed to helping people feel as good as they can through nutrition while setting sustainable and achievable goals.

Jennifer Byrne

Chloe Lavalle
Practice Manager

Chloe manages the practice and keeps it all running smoothly. Her bright personality and strong work ethic make our space a welcoming place to visit. Chloe ensures that the practice runs to a high standard and that everything feels safe and comfortable.

Jennifer Byrne

Marissa Saverino
Administrative Assistant

With a warm and friendly smile, Marissa is the welcoming voice people hear when they first call our practice to make an appointment or an enquiry. Her passion for ensuring all clients are comfortable and leave with a smile is something she takes great pride in.

Doc Dre

Doc Dre
Therapy Dog

Doc Dre is a Toy Cavoodle who joined our team to learn how to become a Therapy Dog. In September 2021, he became accredited! He loves to roam around our waiting providing affection, comfort and support. We can’t wait for you to meet him.

The key to effective treatment is the client-therapist match. Get in touch and we’ll connect you with a Psychologist who’ll make you feel supported and understood.

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