(08) 9754 2052 [email protected]


Our Team

The South West
Counselling Team

We bring a wealth of experience as well as a desire to serve and a passion for what we do. Every member brings their own unique skill and knowledge set to provide the very best of care for our clients.

Karen Sommerville


Karen has been the CEO of South West Counselling since January 2012. With more than 25-years- experience counselling individuals and couples, and management roles in the not-for-profit sector, Karen has developed considerable skills and knowledge. Karen believes her management expertise is in transforming organisational culture and internal processes to maximise performance and staff well-being. Doing so assists everyone at South West Counselling to be the best they can be for the clients attending the service.


Bev Atkinson

Service Coordinator

Bev joined South West Counselling in 2009,  and has been in the social services field for around 20 years, starting as a Graduate Research Assistant in 1989. 

Shantell Mcclenaughan

Clinical Coordinator

 Shantell is an experienced counsellor with a BA (Psych), a Master of Counselling and is a level 4 member of the Australian Counselling Association.  As Clinical Coordinator Shantell supports the counselling team.  As a Counsellor she works holistically, prioritizing an authentic connection, a strengths-based focus and increasing self-awareness.   She is experienced working with both individuals and couples using a variety of therapeutic approaches and theories including Humanistic/Client-centered Therapy, Attachment Theory, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, CBT, Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and The Gottman Method for couples.

Renate Best

Clinical Psychologist Registrar

Renate’s qualifications include MPsy(Clin)  BPsySc(H1)  GradDipPsySc and AdvDipMidwifery(Germany).

Renate has experience working across the lifespan with a wide range of presentations. She works therapeutically with young people 16+, adults, and couples.

She uses a holistic approach in developing treatment to promote meaningful change. Renate draws upon a range of modalities including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Emotion-focused Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Compassion-focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and attachment-based interventions.  Additionally, Renate incorporates somatic approaches, such as mindfulness and EMDR.

Jill Brighton

Disability Consultant

Jill is a counsellor with a B/A (Psych), and Certificates in Counselling and Group work. Her recent experience is in the disability field. She is currently training in a mindfulness body-centred psychotherapy called Hakomi.

Annie West


Annie is a Gestalt Therapy Practitioner with a Master of Counselling a B. Ed and a Dip. Nursing.

A secure therapeutic alliance is central to her counselling practice. Her approach is holistic, client-centred and trauma informed. She enjoys supporting clients to manage and understand difficult trauma related issues. Annie is also able to help couples work through relationship problems.  

Liz Thomson


Liz is an experienced Social Worker and Counsellor, registered with the Australian Association of Social Workers. Liz holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Masters in Social Science (Counselling) and a Graduate Diploma in Grief, Loss and Trauma.

Debbie George


Debbie has been working in the human services sector for over 25 years and is passionate about supporting people confronting challenges.

 Debbie is a Gestalt-trained therapist who has held various roles, resulting in her now possessing comprehensive knowledge and skills across this field. Debbie has worked in services including youth, drug and alcohol, homelessness, family and domestic violence, and support for women transitioning from prison. 

Grace Brennan

Social Worker & Client Liaison

Grace has a Bachelor of Social Work and is a current member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. Completing a Diploma of Remedial Massage in 2008, she also has over 15 years of experience in holistic health and wellness, working for a number of multi-modality clinics and running her own business from home before joining South West Counselling. Grace grew up in the South West and is passionate about local issues, whilst working from a practice framework that considers wider systemic factors. Through advocacy and her strengths-based approach, Grace works with all clients to provide support and an empowering approach to mental health, with an aim to create positive and meaningful change in our community.

Kate Mitchell


Kate lives in the South West with her husband, staffy and now grown children. She has brought her background in health to the counselling space, where she combines her natural curiosity with an open-minded approach. Her person-centered style means clients are supported in a non-judgmental space where they can gently explore their way through the unique situations and challenges that have brought them to counselling. Kate uses a variety of therapeutic approaches in her counselling practice of which emotion-focused therapy, ACT, mindfulness and CBT are just a few. She has completed her Masters in Counselling and currently sees both children and individuals. 

Jess Schuller


Jess has always had an interest in the mental health and disability fields, and her background in support roles within these fields has provided her with a wealth of experience and driven her to further progress her studies in counselling and psychology. Working from a person-centered perspective, Jess uses a range of modalities such as ACT, CBT, and strengths-based counselling in an integrative manor to best fit the individual she is working with. She recently completed her Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and currently works with children, young people, and individuals.

Renae Denness

Client Services/Accounts

Sharn Thompson

Client Services