Meet the Team

Lee Pagana

Director of Lifeskills Centre, Counsellor, Lifeskills Seminar Facilitator

After a turbulent beginning to my marriage, my husband and I started counselling and attended an intensive personal development seminar. This was a turning point in my life and when I decided to become a Counsellor. That was 25 years ago and today I am a registered Counsellor with many affiliations renowned for my openness and down to earth approach. Our marriage remains strong and we have not looked back.

I was the Founder of the “Desana Whole Health Clinic” in Wembley, Perth.
Desana was a Health Centre based on a holistic approach to health that brought together health practitioners such as GP’s-General Practitioners, Counsellors, Psychologists, Naturopaths and Herbalists. Desana also had treatment rooms for Collation and Ozone therapy.

I developed and co-facilitate the Lifeskills Seminar – an intensive program run over 4 days, every 6 weeks and have done so for over 20 years. The seminar has helped thousands of individuals and couples to take control of their lives and achieve a balance that they once thought they could not achieve. As the Lifeskills Australia director I was invited to facilitate in FMG Wellness Conferences 2012 to 2014 and I regularly attend conferences, run workshops and programs. Much of my time is taken up traveling to mine sites and handling critical incidents and other emergency situations but I still like to see clients for one on one counselling. I am also committed to continued professional development in order to deliver the best research-based therapies to our clients.

Life Skills Centre is partnered with private clients, community groups, education institutions and businesses across an array of areas. We are often called upon to service regionally located companies in the mining and construction industry. We deliver high quality, person-centered therapy, programs and workshops to employees, management and our community.

I specialize in:

  • Conflict Resolution and Mediation
  • EAP Counselling
  • FIFO Counselling
  • Critical Incident Response
  • Personal Development Seminars- Couples, Individuals, Communication, Mental Health Awareness and many more.


  • ACA-Australian Counselling Association
  • PCWA- Professional Counselling of Western Australia
  • CBT Australia- Cognitive Behavioral Therapist of Australia
  • EAPAA- Employment Assistant Program Association of Australia

Lita Santos

Office Practice Manger and EAP Administrator/Psychologist

I am the Office Practice Manager and EAP Administrator for Lifeskills Australia. I have a background in psychology and business management. I have previously worked in counselling and case-management with high-risk clients for the Department of Corrective Services both in WA and in NSW where I also developed and facilitated high risk client programs such as Anger Management, Domestic Violence and Drug and Alcohol programs.

I also have over 20 years of administrative and small business management experience. My skills combined work well in the administration of EAP services for Lifeskills Australia clients and business partners.


  • Bachelor of Psychology (Hons); Murdoch University (WA)
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing Stream) – Murdoch University (WA)

Jennifer McAdam

Administration Assistant/Receptionist

I am the Administration Assistant and receptionist.  I’ve had over 30 years experience in administration and account management roles.  I really enjoy the customer service aspect of working at Lifeskills Australia and welcoming clients to our Centre.

Tony Pagana

Lifeskills Facilitator

Tony has over 20 years’ experience co facilitating in the Lifeskills Seminars and brings his experience in the business world to the program. Tony has worked in a number of different areas including as a Business Development Manager for one of the largest garage door manufacturers in the country. During this time he lead his sales team to a 30% over budget result while the rest of the industry was experiencing a dramatic downturn due to the GFC. He has completed the ‘Leading Your Team’ course at the Australian Institute of Management. His understanding of different personalities has enabled Tony to manage sales teams and earn the respect of clients and fellow workers alike. He brings these skills to Lifeskills Australia. Tony now runs a very successful service related business and is always available to provide advice and tools for our clients to achieve the success they desire in their own lives and workplace.

Susan Cuthbert


Susan has accomplished a wide range of experiences working as a Psychologist working with children from age 5, adolescents, adults and older adults to empower them to have the best quality lives. Her experiences have also included working with Australian Aboriginal people, Torres Strait Island people, people with disability, people with sexual minority orientation and people will complex mental health issues. Among the issues Susan has counselled people experiencing grief ,trauma, conflict in relationships, child and adolescent learning, socio/emotional and behavioural issues, career issues and supportive counselling for a host of reasons. This has included counselling the individual, couples and families and working autonomously and as part of a wider multidisciplinary team.

Using her Psychological and teaching skills Susan has worked with clients and relevant stakeholders to assist clients to effectively communicate and deal with a myriad of client types and issues by gaining experience in a host of situations. This has included working in within Perth city, and regionally at schools, NGOs and other organisations , and in remote Queensland at a school for disengaged Aboriginal Adolescents over the past decade. Further, Susan has worked together with clients and relevant stakeholders to empower clients to learn knowledge and skills to take better control of their lives. This has included the psycho-education of anger management, effective communications, interventions to assist their learning, overcoming fears and phobias, parenting skills focusing on positive parenting, relaxation methods, and thinking and feeling and behaving in different ways to overcome barriers and open new more positive ways of being and relating.

Underpinning all Susan’s work is the ethos that all people deserve the very best quality life without exception. She is aware that people are not to blame for most of what they come to counselling for and she has an open and non-judgemental approach. She collaborates with the client to examine the issues they have in a holistic way, looking at their entire life, at home, in relationships, at work, the difficulties they face with health issues psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The importance of a warm and respectful therapeutic alliance with clients and relevant stakeholders based on empathy and caring drives Susan’s work to be an effective therapist. All her life she has devoted her career efforts toward helping others, starting with working with people with disabilities ,and teaching students before deciding to become a Psychologist.. Susan examines each client’s life carefully before collaborating to develop interventions and then assesses client progress and evaluation all in consultation with the client and often a team of stakeholders which have included the client’s family, other Psychologists and professionals, and community agencies.

The range of therapies Susan uses, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Trauma Therapy are used as part of an eclectic mix to encourage clients to take control of their lives, learn knowledge and skills in a sustainable and transferable way to enrich their lives and relationships and all living conditions to be the very best that they can be.

Susan has worked independently to become and work as a Psychologist because she cares about other people. Included in her achievements her dedication to this and Psychology is evident in her studies throughout in Psychology including a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology, her Bachelor of Psychology, Graduate Diploma and Scholl Psychology and her Master in Psychology. Susan has experienced hardships during her life and this combined with her natural affinity with people and her work experiences makes her excellent as a caring and diligent Psychologist therapist . Susan endeavours to keep abreast with the best psychological practices and has an analytical mind that questions whether Psychological practices are in the best interests of the client at all times. Not afraid to question Susan is indeed an innovative Psychologist there for the people. To Susan the greatest reward is client satisfaction that therapy has improved their life.

Hugo Jorge


Face-to-face in Perth, Australia. Phone Counselling. Online Counselling.

A registered counsellor, coach, father, husband & mindful optimist devoted to helping you become and stay on the best version of yourself.

I’ve also had the privilege of helping countless individuals – in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia – to address their doubts and challenges and to feel empowered to make clearer personal and professional decisions, and also to smoothly execute them.

From Portugal to Mozambique, and from Timor-Leste to Australia, in the rural communities that I worked with, as much as in fast-paced mega-cities, I’ve seen that people everywhere are troubled by the same essential doubts, face the same dilemmas, and end up being conditioned by the same kind of limiting perceptions. Plus, being a father helps me to be especially able to relate to other parents who struggle with many of the challenges of motherhood and fatherhood.


  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Managing Change & Transition
  • Parenting
  • Academic/work performance
  • Self Esteem
  • Self-Awareness
  • Life Coaching
  • Spiritual & Life Purpose
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Career Coaching
  • Stress Management
  • Chronic & Terminal Illness
  • Phone and Online Counselling
  • Portuguese Speaker


  • BS Psychology – 5 years (Universidade Lusófona, Portugal)
  • Post Grad Dip Counselling – 3 years (Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, Portugal)
  • MA Comm Dev – Master in Community Development (Murdoch University, Australia)
  • Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance – (Monash University – Future Learn, Australia)
  • Unit Coordinator and University Lecturer


  • Australian Counselling Association
  • Western Australian Association of Youth Workers

Joen Choi


Face-to-face in Perth, Australia. Phone Counselling. Skype or Online Counselling.

A registered counsellor who uses person-centred approach, together with hypnotherapy techniques when appropriate to effectively help you work through your life challenges.

Born and raised in the multi-racial Singapore, I was exposed to various cultures and languages, such upbringing nurtured me to have an open mind and be accepting of others’ differences. I also had the opportunity to be educated in different countries, from Singapore to the U.S.A, from Malaysia to Australia, this further expanded my interactions with diverse cultures and counselling practices.

While we may have backgrounds or lifestyle that differs, maybe even different religious and political views, or perhaps different upbringing and living environment may seem to limit our circumstances, I passionately believes that you and I have one thing in common. That is, we all have that inner strength, that resilience within us which will help ourselves reach our full potential.


  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Gambling Help
  • Habit Management
  • Managing Change & Transition
  • Building Resilience (Adults/Adolescents)
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Growth
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Stress Management
  • Phone and Online Counselling
  • Mandarin Speaker and some Chinese dialects (Hokkien/Cantonese)




  • BA Psychology – 3 years (University at Buffalo, New York)
  • BA Psychology Honours – 1 year (University of Western Australia, Australia)
  • MCouns – Master in Counselling (Murdoch University, Australia)
  • Certified Hypnotherapy – (Pathlight Centre – National Guild of Hypnosis, Singapore)



  • Psychotherapy And Counselling Federation of Australia
  • National Guild of Hypnosists


Jay Chinnery

Provisional Psychologist/Sexologist

Jay believes many people may be looking to improve the quality of their life, but some find it challenging to make a start. While he recognises everyone has potential, some we need assistance in a supportive environment, and an ally to help. Therapy can be the catalyst for change, and can be the place where you clarify, set, and achieve your goals. Jay believes he is equipped to assist people in this way, through his training, and his own life experiences, and personal philosophies.

Jay is a provisionally registered Psychologist, and can help with:

  • Depression, anxiety or stress
  • Relationship issues
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexuality (health; difficulties & concerns) ·
  • Emotion regulation
  • Stress management
  • Personal development
  • Alcohol and other drug issues

Cindy Pike


My name is Cindy Pike DipCouns DipCS CertTAA I have lived and worked in regional Western Australia for the past 27 years. For the past 6 years I have worked in the Community services field specialising in Mental Health Homelessness working with a transient population to educate and support to maintaining long term sustainable housing, Access to services programs engaging with prematurely aging, aged, mental health and the disability population to access home support for independent living. Developing delivering the Life Skills program to Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison with the Re-entry program to reduce recidivism rates. As part of the Re-entry program transportation of released prisoners to remote communities and working with in these communities to address any social or criminal behaviours.

Recently I have also obtained my Training and Assessment Certificate delivering education to students in Cert 3 in Community Services and Cert 4 in Mental Health, I really enjoy group dynamics and being part of the student’s skill development. Currently I am employed as a Mental Health Advocate for the Mental Health Advocacy Service providing information and support to Mental Health inpatients at the Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.

Married with two children our family welcomed the recent arrival of our first grandchild, we enjoy volunteering in our spare time to local community groups such as Redcross Soup Patrol and Foodbank. My daughter and I have an Art Business called PouredPanda as Resin Artists we enjoy the unexpected surprising art form, as a fluid art it is very hard to have total control sometimes you just have to walk away…

Denny Byrne

Clinical social Worker and Counsellor

Denny has been counselling in various specialist areas since the late seventies. After ten years as a teacher and thirty-one years as a Social Worker, in various government, family support, private and corporate agencies, she still has a love for individual, couple, family and group therapy.

What a roller coaster ride of emotions parenting is in this era? It’s a different era, this modern world, to the one that we grew up in as youths, what with the technology and the fast pace of the world and its variety of social problems, plus a massive array of careers and opportunities. They can easily get lost in it all. Despite studying at Master’s level (Social Work at University of Denver Colorado) as a Psychotherapist, she feels she learnt more from the trials, tribulations and joys of raising her son on her own.

In the early 2000s at Ngala Family Resource Centre Denny set up a program which focused on psychotherapy with early parenting and attachment issues. This was a study that looked at the variety of parenting attachments that can occur and how this can affect the development of a child and this child’s growing ability to cope in the world, connect in relationships and eventually parent for themselves.

From 2005 Denny has worked in her own private practice, which has given her a large scope of experience and introduced a massive range of identified problems, a range of mental health illnesses, developmental issues, disabilities and the various transitional adjustments and communication problems which people experience, just in the course of their normal life.
Denny is able to offer clients a rebate under the mental health care plan scheme via Medicare.

Denny also enjoys training new therapists and providing clinical supervision. She has worked with many multi-disciplines of therapists/carers/educators (such as social workers, teachers, psychologists, art therapists, early education workers, group workers, direct care workers, social trainers, nurses, principals, occupational therapists, speech therapists, prison officers, mental health nurses and midwives).

Personally, Denny has a strong belief in kindness, sense of humour and an understanding that we unfortunately we often lack the full context of what a person is living. Compassion for our fellow human beings and other living things is paramount.


  • Diploma of Teaching (1972)
  • Bachelor of Education (maj: Psychology, 1981)
  • Master of Social Work (clinical Treatment: 1986)
  • Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy (1988)
  • National Certificate in Group Psychotherapy, Sociodrama, Psychodrama and Sociatry (USA: 1991)
  • National Certificate in Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama, Sociadrama and Sociatry (Australia: 1997)
    (Specialised training in relationship therapy, family therapy, play therapy, working with youth, grief and loss, disabilities, parenting, attachment, addictions, physical and sexual abuse, rage and anger, conflict resolution, mediation, communication skills, solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, Metaphysical/spiritual therapy including the law of attraction, mindfulness and meditation).

Erika Shaw

Sexologist, Counsellor, Seminar Facilitator

I am extremely passionate about providing people with a positive and safe space to talk about sex, sexual health and sexuality. I believe everyone deserves acceptance, guidance and support in matters of their sexuality and that sexual education and information needs to be more inclusive, honest and unambiguous.

I am trained to counsel, educate and facilitate discussion on topics of human sexuality.

These key areas are:

  • Sexual dysfunction and subsequent relationship issues
  • Reproductive sexual health/information
  • Sexting, porn and digital vulnerabilities
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity

A session with me would include discussion, information giving and facilitation of methods to handle sexual issues as well as addressing the wider social and emotional repercussions that these issues cause. I offer support to set goals, build confidence, increase communication with support groups (peers, family, designated alliance groups) and/or provide general emotional support for the individual. I am also extremely encouraging of parents/family members who wish to see me for advice on and support with how to accept and nurture a young person who may be struggling with any of the above.

I also facilitate our Lifeskills 4 Day Intensive Seminar which helps people understand the core of their personality and discover ways to handle the world around them. You can book in with me to find out if the Seminar could help you develop the techniques you need to start living your life the way you want to.

How I work: Face-to-face consults, group work, phone and skype consults
Who I work with: Children, adolescents, adults and couples


  • Dual Honours degree in Philosophy & Art, Reading UK
  • Post Graduate Diploma of Sexology, Curtin WA
  • Diploma of Professional Counselling, AIPC WA


  • The Society of Australian Sexologists, WA branch
  • Australian Counselling Association, WA branch

Frank Jacobsen


Introducing Frank Jacobsen

Frank Jacobsen is a qualified Counsellor based in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Frank grew up in regional Western Australia and raised his family in Cunderdin, Dampier, Southern Cross and Kalgoorlie, so he can appreciate the pressures isolation, long work hours and the tyranny of distance has on relationships.

Frank is a psychological 1st aider with the Red Cross and represents the State Mental Health Advocate in the Goldfields Western Australia.

Frank is trained in the use of Personal Centred Therapy and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) He has a particular interest in assisting with Family Relationships, grief counselling and Crisis Management. He has a firm belief that a holistic management strategy is the best way to maintain good mental wellbeing.

In 2011 /13 he assisted and facilitated programs from the Family Foundations International and suicide prevention seminars at the Family Centre in Kalgoorlie. Since 2015 he has been assisting in delivering Employee Assistance Packages to various mining companies and contractors like Goldfields, Evolution Mining, Norton’s and Top Drill. The service includes mine-site visits and an after shift service.

Frank Jacobsen is passionate that people can build resilience and receive assistance to cope with life’s complexities and crises in line with internationally accepted best practice.