Our Team

Meet our Sensational Team

katt and matt

Kathryn Torney

Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy)(Honours)
Graduate Diploma of Psychology
Sensory Integration Certified 2014 
Better Access to Mental Health endorsed

Kathryn founded Sensational Healing Occupational Therapy in 2018. Kathryn grew up in country Victoria and completed her degrees in Occupational Therapy and Psychology in 2007 and 2014 respectively.
She worked in the disability and child safety sectors for almost 10 years before moving into private practice. Kathryn has additional training in Ayres Sensory Integration, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, non-directive play therapy and Sensory Attachment Intervention. She is passionate about understanding how developmental trauma impacts all aspects of childhood development and determining how occupational therapy can assist to improve the daily lives of children who have been exposed to childhood trauma and domestic violence.

Kathryn decided to create Sensational Healing Allied Health to be able to give local families access to highly experienced allied health professionals in an amazing clinic space that allows for therapists to do wonderful work and help clients achieve their goals.

Kathryn and her partner Matthew are Ripley locals who live only minutes from the practice. They have strong beliefs about working closely with their own community and supporting local families. They have a gorgeous little boy Archer and are expecting a daughter in October 2021. Being from Victoria, Kathryn is a keen AFL fan but just don’t ask her anything about NRL as she will have no idea!

Occupational Therapists


Taryn Van der Westhuizen

Masters of Occupational Therapy

Sensory Integration Certified

Taryn has been working in paediatrics since graduating in 2014. Her and her husband relocated to Brisbane in 2020 from South Africa. She has gained experience in working within sensory integration practices and school-based settings with children with various diagnoses. Her passion within occupational therapy practice is to allow children and families become independent and successful within their daily tasks.

Taryn loves learning about child development and has additional training in Ayres Sensory Integration, SOS feeding approach, DIR Floortime approach, neurodevelopmental therapy, Sensory Attachment Intervention and a variety of sound-based therapies.

Taryn is passionate about early intervention and has had experience working with premature infants in the NICU in South Africa. She believes that addressing sensory issues as early as possible will prevent future functional difficulties.

Outside of work, Taryn loves travelling to new places and exploring the wonderful outdoor opportunities here in Queensland.


Jessica Allery

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

Jess is an Occupational Therapist and started working at Sensational Healing Allied Health as a therapy assistant in 2018. Jess transitioned to an occupational therapy role when she graduated from the University of Queensland at the end of 2019.

Jess has a keen interest in mental health, especially the impact that medical conditions and/or other diagnoses (e.g. ASD) have on daily functioning and mental wellbeing. As a result, Jess enjoys adopting a family-centred and holistic approach to therapy to ensure the best possible outcomes for her clients and their networks (e.g. families).

Jess enjoys a variety of activities but in particular, she loves cooking, horse riding and reading. Her favourite food is donuts, and she highly values the company of her family and friends. Jess is a Type One Diabetes advocate who participates in community events to raise awareness and funds for a world without Type One.


Gabby Pluis

Bachelor of Psychology
Master of Occupational Therapy
Gabby has recently made the great escape from Sydney and moved to the wonderful sunshine state. She has been an Occupational Therapist since 2016 after graduating with her Masters in Occupational Therapy.

Gabby has mostly worked with families who have experienced family violence and is passionate about working closely with both children and parents to build their capacity to live healthy and happy lives and build close bonds with each other.

In her personal time Gabby enjoys yoga, playing sport and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. 


Jessica Leach 

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.

Jess graduated as an Occupational Therapist from Griffith University, and started at Sensational Healing Allied Health in November 2021. Jess is passionate about working with children, young adults and families to promote wellbeing and meaningful participation in everyday life. She has a particular interest in supporting young females on the Autism Spectrum, who often face barriers to receiving diagnosis and support, to develop and thrive.  

Outside of work, Jess is passionate about art and music, enjoys reading and playing soccer, and prior to commencing as an occupational therapist, Jess worked at a vet clinic and loved spending time with animals big and small.  


Therapy Assistants

Vanessa Thornton-Thomas 

Vanessa joined the Sensational Healing team in 2020. Vanessa has a professional background in Allied Health Assistance in a clinical and school setting. In 2020 Vanessa completed an associate degree in Health Science specialising in Leisure and Health and is currently studying a bachelor’s degree of Occupational Therapy. Vanessa also works as a circus trainer and has many years of experience in design and facilitation of classes and workshops for children across a wide range of ages and abilities. Recently, Vanessa started a children’s teacher training course in yoga. Vanessa loves to work with groups and feels passionate about enabling physical activity and social opportunities through creativity, movement, and play.


Vanessa enjoys working with all ages and diagnoses. And has formal training in the following areas:

· Bachelor of Occupational Therapy – Current

· Zenergy Yoga Kids Teacher Training (foundation course)- Current

· Associate Degree in Health Science (Leisure and Health) -Distinctions and High Distinctions in Introduction to Leisure & Health, Health Psychology, Leisure Programing with Diverse Populations & Contemporary Issues in Community Development

· Certificate IV in Allied Health (Speech Pathology)

· Mental Health First Aid Certificate- MHFA Australia | 2019 updated 2022

· Senior First Aid Certificate- PARASOL | 2020

· Trade Certificate in Zoo-keeping.- worked as a Zookeeper with Australian native animals for 15 years.

· Certificate II in Horticulture.

· Beginner Auslan - Lisa Mills Online (current)

· Intermediate Gymnastics for All & Rhythmic Gymnastics Coach (Gymnastics Australia).

· Sporting Schools Provider (Australian Sports Commission).

· Circus Foundations & Tumbling Coach [Level 1-3] (Circus Training Australia).


· Gardening.

· Creative arts and crafts including art therapy & environmentally sustainable arts and crafts.

· Cooking.

· Developing creative ways of enhancing skills through recreation-based activities.


Alisha Image

Alisha Kennedy

Alisha is a third-year Bachelor of Psychology student at the University of Southern Queensland. She is aiming to progress to honours to achieve her ambition to become a clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about the importance of mental health, well-being, and psychological safety.

Alisha has lived in many locations around Australia and has had the opportunity to build on her adaptability and resilience skills. She is approachable and demonstrates a natural ability in the provision of emotional support to those who need it. Alisha also enjoys learning about the individual mind and seeks to understand more about what influences our behaviour.

In her time outside of work, Alisha loves, spending time with her family, planning her next travel adventure and reading a thought-provoking boo

Zoe Image

Zoe Christofis 

Zoe is enthusiastic about naps and meeting new people, especially if they have a pet! I am currently in my final year of a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) at QUT, minoring in counselling, with an ambition to complete Honours and Masters in clinical or developmental psychology. My passion for mental health started with my own experiences growing up with undiagnosed and untreated issues. As an adult, I persisted in bettering my own mental health and understanding, developing a passion to help others simultaneously.

Before Covid, I was a youth mentor with a YMCA Vocational School. The young people I met and the experiences gained from working in that environment charged my passion further. I had the pleasure of mentoring young people aged 14-18 from various disadvantaged developmental, behavioural, and educational backgrounds. Many of my mentees were affected by traumatic upbringings resulting in behavioural issues in school. I worked with a team of teachers, social workers, and counsellors to create a safe environment for staff and students. The majority of the students were diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, MDD, GAD, and other developmental and emotional disorders. I mentored students for 5 hours weekly in emotion regulation, life skills, and talking to them to form a trusting relationship with a safe adult. My passion surrounding trauma and its effect on development grew from here, and I urge to continue in this line of work and research.

Through personal experiences and furthering my studies, I have come to find a passion in children’s development. I believe that empowering a young person and strengthening their relationship with family and community in a supporting environment is important to overall well-being.

Mental Health

Kathy Cleland - Provisional Psychologist

Kathy initially trained as an early childhood educator and became curious about how our minds and brains function when she was working with children who had neurological differences. After starting her own family, Kathy worked with adults and adolescents with developmental disabilities before moving to Queensland in the late '90s, where a change of career took her into the publishing and advertising industry. However, Kathy's interest in how we think, behave, and function never waned, and she decided to return to university and study psychology. Kathy loves learning about how we learn, and she is currently studying a Master of Educational Neuroscience.

Kathy has a particular interest in neurodivergence and helping people, and their families, to improve their lives and wellbeing in a manner that supports the unique way that their brain works. Her focus areas include autism, depression and anxiety, issues related to complex trauma, as well as adjustment to challenging life circumstances. Kathy takes a relational approach, which is client centred, trauma-informed, and neurodiversity-affirming.

In her spare time, Kathy enjoys bushwalking, online forums, and coffee with friends (not always all at the same time).

Customer Service and Administration

Jaide Pic 2


Double Diploma in Human Resources and Practice Management

Jaide has recently joined our Sensational team in 2021 as our Practice Manager. Jaide has impressive practice management history working in General Practice and Dental. 
Jaide has a double Diploma in Human Resources and Practice Management, and is currently completing her Associate Business Degree. In her spare time she enjoys planning fun family and friend gatherings, being outdoors at the beach and playing netball.



Natasha has recently joined the Sensational Healing Team as our Senior Administration Officer. 

In 2020, Natasha graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Technology Sydney and has recently relocated from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait Islands. Natasha brings over 10 years of QLD Health experience in executive and corporate services and is passionate about health administration. 

Natasha is a mother of four children and is very family oriented. In her spare time is loves spending time with family & friends, travelling, photography and planning fun adventures for her family. 

Kind regards, 

Contact Details

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mon to Fri 8:00 - 17:00

NDIS Provider

ndis provider

Social media

Please like and share our website on your favorite Social Media platform