Our Team

CEO & Founder

 

Penny Wilkinson

B.Bus MCouns PACFA Reg Clinical #24365 Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP)

Penny has a passion for caring for those struggling with addiction and connecting them into safe and effective communities that can sustain long term wellbeing. She has travelled this journey personally and understands what it takes to turn a life around and sustain real and lasting change from addictive behaviours.

She began her career in accounting and business in the 1980s quickly switching to human resources where her capacity to network and engage with humanity allowed her to flourish. After raising three children she opened a private practice specialising in Trauma and Addictions Recovery.  

 Penny’s Professional Development has focused on recent advances in neuroscience, interpersonal neurobiology and the impact of trauma on the brain. Influenced by The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk and Peter Levine’s Waking the Tiger, Penny believed a deeper awareness of nervous system regulation was possible. She specialises in applying all her training to those suffering addictions.

Increasing demand for accessible, effective and sustainable Addiction Recovery inspired the opening of The Overcomers Place on 19 March 2020, offering a FREE Intensive Structured Day Program for all addictions.

Our Team


  • Mark Stephens

    Senior Therapist

    Mark’s focus is to build the clients experience of safety and trust in the therapeutic relationship as a foundation to explore how past experiences and beliefs influence presenting behaviours and contribute to negative life experiences in the present day.

    Mark has worked as an Individual Counsellor, Group Therapist, University Lecturer and is currently in Private Practice at Being You Counselling with his partner Carol Nedov. Prior to joining The Overcomers Place last year, he was AOD Program Coordinator at Wesley Mission Ashfield Psychiatric Hospital.

    He is a graduate of the Jansen Newman Institute and his approach to therapy is existential with influences from his psychodynamic and Yalom training.

    He is also an experienced Bee Keeper and passionate tennis player.


  • Jonathan Martin

    Senior Therapist

    Jonathan has a deep understanding and passion for those overcoming addiction, having entered Glebe House as a client himself 15 years ago. He lost everything to alcohol addiction – his successful corporate career, family, kids, and almost his life.

    In his new sober life he retrained in AOD and began working at the residential treatment centre which had “loved him back to life”. Eventually he retired as General Manager. Covid had other plans for that retirement and he is now enthusiastically engaged at The Overcomers Place.

    He has since trained as a yoga teacher and brings practical and philosophical elements of this discipline into his work as a Group Therapist. He loves good coffee, good food and all animals, operating a canine Airbnb in his spare time


  • Pat Wood-Collier

    Supporters Group Therapist

    Pat’s extensive experience in crisis and trauma support, as well as her lived experience with pathological mental health, has given her a heart to help and heal broken family systems.

    Her previous business background and crisis mental health work with Lifeline, Samaritans and Wesley Mission led her to complete a Masters of Counselling.

    Working within a trauma informed modality, Pat draws from various different therapeutic frames including Attachment Theory, Internal Family Systems, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy .

    Pat spends her other days as a specialist Gambling Addiction counsellor for Wesley Mission at Ryde and in private practice.

Supervisors & DBT Team


  • Nerida Dunkerley

    Senior Clinical Supervisor

    (MCoun, BCoun, Cert IV TAA (TAE40110), CMPACFA)

    Nerida provides the whole team of The Overcomers Place Group Counsellors with monthly External Clinical Supervision.

    She is a Relationship Counsellor and Trauma & Addiction Therapist specialising in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT); and a Clinical Supervisor with over 35 years of experience assisting men and women to overcome addictions in roles including Manager of a Residential Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation centre for 16 years and Pastoral Care counsellor working primarily with the homeless for ten years.

    She is currently employed at a private Psychiatric Clinic as a therapist, facilitating groups for men and women recovering from substance abuse and mood disorders.

    She has a passion to assist everyone to flourish, so that their relationships succeed and that they gain the skills to “Live a Life Worth Living”.


  • Bernadette Fitzgerald

    Senior DBT Therapist

    Bernadette is passionate about DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) and engaging others to lead their best life. She is especially gifted at teaching these skills to those struggling with addiction.

    She initiated a career change from financial services to mental health, convinced of the importance of early intervention with evidence based therapies to sustain life long mental health

    She completed postgraduate studies in psychology at The University of Sydney (2012) and counselling at The Australian College of Applied Psychology (2016)

    Bernadette graciously volunteers for The Overcomers Place whilst working as a therapist at DBT Psychology Clinic in Potts Point, a private outpatient clinic specialising in DBT and has her own private practice.

    Weekends she can be found on mountain bike trails or organising family gatherings. She is the mother of two children who have taught her as much as any books and a much loved wife.


  • Matt Stanley

    Operations Manager & Group Leader

    Matt has joined the team at Gladesville to support systems development and expand our services into Bronte in the coming year. A group at Bronte have generously sponsored Matt’s salary to allow for this expansion.

    Matt met Penny on the first day of her Masters of Counselling and they hit it off immediately. Prior to joining The Overcomers Place team, Matt led and coordinated large groups of youth making him well suited to engaging with our clients safely and compassionately. within a Christian setting since graduating with his Grad. Dip in Counselling from Excelsia. All Matt’s peers testify to his loyalty, patience, competency, compassion and consistent care for those he serves.

    Matt is married to Trinette who is now enrolled in a Psychology Degree at Wollongong University. Penny and the team are delighted Matt has joined The Overcomers Place to work and serve our unique client population.