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Meet the Team


Richard O'Connor

Founder / Counsellor

A desire to make a difference and a love of people and exercise, inspired my entry into the wellness industry in 1991. In that time I have worked in many capacities within Fitness specifically, including creating two businesses, one educational (est 2007), focussing on professional development, and a Personal training gym which was established in 2002 that I still operate today in Robina.

During this time I have had the opportunity to care for many people from diverse backgrounds with varying health and wellness challenges and help them achieve their individual goals. Many of these people for almost 20 years.

Along the way my interest in mental health has deepened, leading me to undertake my Bachelor of Counselling degree at Griffith University Gold Coast. Walk and Talk for Wellness is another small way I hope to make a difference in the lives of the people in my community.

I look forward to walking and talking
with you soon!

Richard is available at our Benowa Botanic Gardens location on the Gold Coast, an.d Underwood Park Logan regions


Lauren Lacey

Psychotherapist Trainee

Having worked as a Sports Nutritionist and Naturopath for 20+ years
as well as having set up public health and humanitarian projects overseas, I always felt strongly I was following my purpose, yet there was still a missing piece. As a competitive marathon runner, I experienced a huge identity crisis in my 30’s when an injury forced me out of competition, which was when the true journey of self-discovery began.

Through my own healing and call to assist on a deeper level, I was led back to study to complete a graduate diploma in Psychology and am currently in my final year of a Master’s in counselling and Psychotherapy. I am also an animal lover sharing a home with two amazingly vocal Caique parrots and a New Zealand Huntaway dog. We have quite the jam as the sun is setting.


Being a mover and a shaker who has trouble sitting still, I was thrilled to discover walk and talk therapy that weaves together a shared space of movement, fresh air, nature, connection and sunshine, all important facets of wellbeing. I invite you to join me in this space, where I would love to get to know you and be an ally in your journey

Lauren is available at our Tallowood Park, Upper Coomera location on the Gold Coast


Saskia Heydon

Counsellor trainee

Hi I’m Saskia,
Having worked in a variety of roles from hospitality and retail to prison officer and court services, I found the underlying theme to all of these is a desire to be of service and a genuine interest in listening to others. Drawing from my previous vocational studies in psychology, criminology, naturopathy, and counselling, combined with my personal interest in eastern philosophies, I have learned the most important element we can offer is the space and love for others to find peace within themselves.

I moved from Victoria to the Gold Coast in 2019 and I am so appreciative of the beautiful weather we have up here. In my spare time I am outdoors as much time as possible rollerblading, practicing taichi, reading on the beach or walking in nature. Nature is our home and something we all connect with. The opportunity to engage with the Walk and Talk team has been serendipitous and something I hope to share with you also.

Saskia is available at our Benowa Botanic Gardens location on the Gold Coast


Aimee Keith
Counsellor trainee

Hi, I'm Aimee.

I've always wanted to be an advocate for those who have had difficulty speaking out for themselves since I was a child. My desire to serve others got stronger as I grew older. I used to work as a nurse at the GUCH mental health ward, where I learned more about mental health and psychology. After that, I realised I wanted to pursue it further, so I began studying psychology and counselling.


What inspires me about the walk and talk programme is walking alongside others, being involved, and listening to their experiences. Hearing peoples stories and knowing I can be there to listen and allow others to feel heard is what motivates me to be a counsellor. I've worked on active listening and communication skills in the classroom and in the community throughout the years. Creating trust with clients is also very important to me. I'm also gaining a better understanding of myself, my self-awareness, and my readiness to change. 


At the walk and talk programme, I'm looking forward to joining new people. 

Amy is available at our Benowa Botanic Gardens location on the Gold Coast


Adrianne Birchmore
Counsellor trainee

Hello! I’m Adrianne  

I am currently completing my Bachelor of Counselling at Griffith University. I have already obtained a Bachelor of Behavioural sciences and love expending my knowledge. I have a love for animals and love driving through the mountains in my free time.  

I have always desired to help people and help them unravel messy thoughts or complicated situations in their lives. I have been working in the child protection industry for 4 years now and have loved being a part of children’s support network and help them achieve their dreams.  

A massive self-care method for me is walking out in nature, this is what attracted me to Walk and Talk for Wellness. Environment connection and connection with self are some of the most important things to engage in.


I would be honoured to support you with anything you need and go at your own pace, and I hope you enjoy the beautiful locations!

Adrianne is available at our Gold Coast locations

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Priscilla Santos
Counsellor trainee

Hi, I am Priscila

 My life journey has been quite an adventure, but no matter where it has taken me, one thing has remained constant: my genuine interest in people and desire to make a positive impact.


These days, you'll find me involved in supporting children and teenagers, and the challenges of mental disabilities. I have a particular interests in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Perinatal Mental Health.

I am available to have sessions in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian. I believe everyone deserves to communicate in a way that feels comfortable to them, and having someone to listen to and support in your own language facilitates the process in the healing journey.


I'm genuinely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Walk and Talk for Wellness. Their values resonate with me on a personal level, and I'm eagerly looking forward to joining and creating a positive impact together.

Priscilla is available at our Tallowwood Gardens location on the Gold Coast


Alyssa McCormack
Walk and Talk Intern

Hi, I’m Alyssa.

I am a final year Bachelor of Psychology student and have always had the desire to care for and guide those who need a listening ear.

I have grown up on the Gold Coast, spending my life surrounded by nature and always feeling an immense gratitude for the beautiful world we live in. On my journey to reach out and assist those around me in achieving their goals, I have learned the value of connection, and hope to improve the wellbeing of others by ensuring everyone feels heard, seen, and supported.

I am excited to be part of the Walk and Talk community with its combination of conversation and the natural environment as an open healing space for all. I look forward to
meeting with you!


Alyssa is available at our Gold Coast locations


Cooper Thiesz
Counsellor trainee

Hey, my name is Cooper.

I am a Bachelor of Counselling undergraduate at Griffith University. Born and raised on the Goldy, I like the hot weather, surfing, and fresh air. I find one of the most fascinating things about life are people’s stories.

Everyone’s path looks a little different and the experiences as well as the people I have met along the way have shaped me and are what led me to counselling.

It’s always nice to get out for a walk and I am always down for a chat!

Cooper is available at our Gold Coast locations

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