Our Staff

Registered Counsellor, Early Childhood Educator, and Child Development Specialist. Passionate about Play Therapy (Interplay and CCPT), Family Therapy, and Creative Counselling. 

Nikki Burgess joins us with over 20 years extensive experience working with children and families across multiple early childhood education settings. Nikki has also worked in behaviour support for children with additional needs and trauma and coordinated support programs for at-risk children and families with the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Here she learnt the value of forming collaborative relationships with families and became an advocate for the incredible power of play and creativity.

Nikki lives with her partner David, their 4 wonderful children, Stella, Max, James, and Ruby, and a crazy mutt named Millie. She enjoys reading, practicing yoga, long walks, and is a little too obsessive about strong coffee. She is most passionate about community, listening to music, and all things cricket (but as a New Zealander, maybe don’t ask her about the underarm bowling incident!).

Nikki is a registered counsellor with specialist training in Interplay, Child-Centered Play Therapy, and Creative Counselling, which is where her passion lies.

Nikki works with children and adults individually, runs family sessions, and therapeutic group programs. She works from a trauma-informed, creative, and brain-wise perspective, and her therapy focuses on attachment principles. She loves supporting parents and carers to discover and utilise their unique strengths and abilities, believing that we all hold within us the capacity for positive change!

Animal Assisted Play Therapist, Creative Counsellor, Autplay Therapist and Therapeutic Group Facilitator, Animal Assisted Walk and Talk Therapist, Mental Health Support Worker and Qualified Mental Health First Aider.

Lauren Cox lives with her long-term partner, brother, tubby tabby cat Misty, and two goldfish. She also feels very lucky to share her life with her gorgeous golden retriever therapy dog, Mia. Lauren absolutely loves spending all her free time with Mia, including going for walks, playing, or snuggling on the couch! Lauren loves nature and going for long walks to find waterfalls or walking along the beach. Lauren’s favourite band is The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and she can often be found listening to them in her spare time.

Lauren brings a wealth of lived experience and education to her position at Building Better Brains.  Lauren has also completed her Mental Health First Aid course and undertaken assessment to become a Mental Health First Aider.

Lauren feels very passionate about psychology, particularly working with children, adolescents and families, which led her to completing her Bachelor of Psychological Science Degree, majoring in Child and Family therapy.   Lauren has completed further studies including her Diploma of Counselling (majoring in Child Development, Mindfulness based therapies and Family therapy), Autplay Therapy Certification (using play therapy to work with Autistic clients) and Animal Assisted Play Therapy. 

Lauren strongly believes in the power of play and that therapy animals play a key role in supporting regulation, anxiety, attachment issues, aggression, social engagement skill building and positive mental health.  She feels so grateful that Mia can play an essential support role in her therapy work with children, adolescents, adults and families at Building Better Brains.

Therapeutic Group Facilitator, Therapy Assistant, and Neurodiverse Mentor

Iris Kennedy loves all things music, drinking good coffee, reading books, and taking long walks in the bush.

Iris has previous experience as a lived-experience mentor supporting autistic and neurodivergent children and young people to express themselves, embrace their superpowers, and build positive social connections.

She currently lives with her family and their fluffy, extroverted cat named Morris.

Iris is particularly interested in the impact of music and the creative arts on health and wellbeing. She recently completed her Bachelor of Music degree (honours) at Monash University in classical performance on clarinet, with honours in musicology/ethnomusicology. She is currently an affiliate at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University, and plans to pursue her studies in the future to become a Music Therapist.

Therapeutic Group Facilitator, Music Teacher, Music for Wellbeing, Sound Therapy, and Kids Yoga Specialist.

Marita Bajurnow is passionate about music, singing, drumming, mindful movement, creativity, play, self-expression, and empowerment. Marita particularly loves working with children, families, and women.

Marita has degrees in Performing Arts and Teaching, and further training and qualifications in Sound Therapy, Kids Yoga, Drum Therapy, frame drumming, and singing.

She has over 20 years of experience in teaching, songwriting, performing, and facilitating creative wellbeing groups. She inspires individuals and groups through individual voice coaching, choral direction, classroom music education, and flash mobs.

Marita specialises in helping people reconnect to their creative voice and its unlimited creative potential in the world. She has extensive experience running therapeutic music for wellbeing groups in the community and in schools.

Office Administration Manager, Receptionist, and Client Liaison

Nikita Coates is our secret weapon in all things administration and organisation at Building Better Brains Australia. Her professional background includes over 12 years working in the corporate world in event management, working closely with couples on a personal level.

Nikita is studying for a Diploma of Counselling with a focus on family therapy, childhood development, and mindfulness, together with a certificate in Therapeutic Breathwork.

She would love nothing more than to build a career based on supporting mothers through their motherhood journey. She strongly believes in the power of community and connection. Her vision is to create spaces where mothers can feel heard, held, and connected. Nikita believes in nurturing and supporting the mother to provide a direct impact on helping the next generation thrive.

Nikita is a twin mum of three energetic and creative children. She loves living a simple life which includes spending family time together, getting out in nature, and going on adventures. She loves community breathwork events and attending women’s circles. Nikita has a passion for woman’s wellbeing, motherhood empowerment, healing, and personal development.

Nikita holds a Bachelor Degree of Business Management and is currently completing a Diploma of Counselling with the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. Her Diploma focuses on Childhood development, effective parenting, Family Therapy & Mindfulness.  

Nikita is also completing Thrive Breathwork Coach Training at Australia Breathwork College.

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