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Sarah Strauven

MPsych (ClinPsych) VUB, MNTCW, PhD SW (NTCW) Melb


I am a ciswoman and go by she/her pronouns.

I currently reside on Bunurong Country of the Kulin Nations in Naarm, an area also known as Melbourne in Australia. I was born in Belgium to a French speaking mum and a Flemish dad.

I worked for a decade alongside people seeking asylum in Belgium, offering them psychological support as they waited for their claims to be processed. At different points in time, I combined this work with solo travelling, further education, volunteer work and private practice. In 2017, I came to Australia to undertake doctoral research, hoping to make a contribution to refugee studies from a narrative practice perspective. More specifically, I explored how grassroots community initiatives, where people with and without refugee experience come together, can shape people’s preferred sense of self.

I continue to pursue my interest in translational research that supports the recovery and healing responses of communities in my part-time work as a research fellow in post-disaster mental health. I combine this with my independent practice as a clinician, supervisor and trainer.

Living and working as a settler on the unceded lands of the First Nations people of Australia, I recognise that this was, and always will be, Aboriginal land. As a mental health professional and trauma specialist, I recognise the profound traumas that First Nations people have been subjected to and are still enduring as a result of colonisation and dispossession.

Formal qualifications

  • PhD
  • Master of Narrative Therapy & Community work
  • Master of Psychology, Option Clinical Psychology

Professional Training

  • Certificate of Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Global Mental Health: Trauma & Recovery
  • EMDR Practitioner Certificate
  • Certificate in Psychotraumatology
  • Certificate of Practice oriented course in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Post Conflict Areas
  • Certificate of Culture, Psychology and Psychiatry (executive course in medical anthropology)

Professional Registration and Memberships

  • Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS)
  • Member of the EMDR Association of Australia (EMDRAA)