Trainers



The focus of the Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy is facilitating practitioners in their development of clinical skills, within an integrated approach that is both respectful and honouring of the heart, mind and spirit. We are trainers, counsellors and therapists in private practice, who have come together to develop and teach an Emotionally Focused approach to counselling, therapy and supervision. We endeavour to share our ideas and skills in a supportive environment, with other professionals wishing to develop their clinical skills.


  • The Trainers at the Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy also offer a private counselling, therapy and supervision practice. Each trainer is in their own private practice and offers a particular service, according to their expertise and interests. The practice is oriented to individual and couple counselling and therapy, using an Emotionally Focused approach. Each trainer has also been trained in other modalities which they have integrated with an Emotionally Focused approach.


  • Our trainers are:

  • · Michelle Webster
  • · Lisa Champion
  • · Maria Gray
  • · Clare Stapleton
  • · Toni Tidswell


  • New Trainers
  • If you have completed our courses at the Institute and are interested in being part of a supportive team working to integrate an Emotionally Focused approach to counselling, therapy & supervision, please contact us.






  • Dr Michelle Webster


    Michelle Webster - Portrait

  • Counselling & Clinical Psychologist, M.A.P.S.
  • B.A. (Hons Psychology) U.Syd.
  • M.A. (Counselling) Macquarie University
  • Dip. Clinical Hypnosis, A.S.H.
  • PhD (Psychology) U.W.S.


  • Dr Michelle Webster is the Director and principal trainer at the Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy in Sydney, Australia. After completing her Masters degree in Counselling in 1981, Michelle became the Trainer in couple therapy with Relationships Australia (formerly the Marriage Guidance Council, NSW) and developed its first training course in couples work using systemic approaches. She became the organisation's Director of Education for a number of years before moving into private practice and establishing the Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy, formerly the Counselling Training Centre (NSW) in 1987.


  • Michelle's professional interests are concerned with emotional experience, how to work with emotions in counselling and therapy, and the therapist's role. She has had a number of articles published on the topic, her first on assessment in couple work, 'Couple Therapy - My Style' in 1989. In 1992, Michelle exposed the level of abuse in therapy in her article 'Emotional Abuse in Therapy' and made recommendations to the health profession regarding training therapists. Her individual and couple work led her to explore ambivalence in 'Ambivalence: Will I? Should I? Can I? Do I Want to?' in 1993. Following this, she explored the nature of the real relationship in therapy in 'Blue Suede Shoes' (1998). She formally interviewed Dr Leslie Greenberg in 'Emotion and Therapy: Connecting with Leslie Greenberg' (1998), and Dr Susan Johnson in 'Couple Therapy and Attachment: An Interview with Dr. S. Johnson' in 1999. In 2001 she began writing about the therapist's role in Emotionally Focused psychotherapy in 'Ariadne's Thread'.

  • Michelle has continued to develop the Emotionally Focused approach as both a short-term counselling and a long-term psychotherapy for individuals and couples. Her discovery of the importance of physical holding in psychotherapy and her further exploration of the concept led her to complete a PhD in Psychology at the University of Western Sydney, Australia in 2002. This was published by the Institute in 2005.

  • More recently Michelle has been developing the theory and practice behind emotional signatures. In partnership with Macquarie University, the constructs underlying emotional signature have been researched and applied in the undergraduate psychology, practitioners and clinical settings.

  • Michelle is a member of the Australian Psychological Society, College of Clinical Psychologists, College of Counselling Psychologists, the Australian Society of Hypnosis, and the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

  • Michelle works at the Annandale Centre and can be contacted on (02) 9552 2977.
  • Michelle can be emailed at michelle@EFTherapy.com

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    Lisa Champion


    Lisa Champion - Portrait

  • Masters in Counselling (Excelsia College)
  • Grad. Dip. EFT (IEFT)
  • Grad. Dip. Counselling, Australian Catholic University
  • MSc. (Exercise Science) University of Arizona


  • Lisa works with both individuals and couples from all walks of life in her private practice in Pyrmont. Lisa's first career was in the fitness industry, where, as an exercise therapist, she became interested in the emotional toll of chronic pain. Her interest eventually lead her to switch from working with the body to working with emotion – a career change that she describes as 'finding her true passion.' Because of her background in the fitness industry, she has a special interest in working with athletes.


  • Lisa also has a particular interest in the construct of emotional signature. In 2015, she conducted a master's research study that explored how emotion-focused therapists use knowledge and understanding of their own emotional signature in their clinical practice.

  • You can contact Lisa on 0408 460 518.

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    Maria Gray


    Maria Gary - Portrait

  • Counselling & Clinical Psychologist M.A.P.S.
  • B.A. UNSW, BSc (Psychology) Hons, UNSW
  • M. Counselling Psychology, Macquarie University
  • Grad. Dip. Family Therapy (FTIA)
  • Grad. Dip. EFT (IEFT)


  • Maria has a part-time private practice in Annandale. She has worked for many years as a Senior Counsellor in the TAFE counselling service, working with adults and adolescents from diverse backgrounds. She has recently facilitated several Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs (MBSR). Maria has prior experience in community agencies with a focus on child protection, family support and women's issues.


  • Maria seeks to integrate an Emotionally Focused perspective with a life-skills and interpersonal approach to counselling and therapy. She is interested in understanding how emotion schemes constrain compassionate self relationship and relationship with others. Maria values the real relationship between therapist and client and the journey of accompanying individuals in discovering and valuing their inner experience, developing personal wellbeing and nourishing relationships.

  • Maria is a registered psychologist, member of the Australian Psychological Society, College of Counselling Psychology, College of Clinical Psychology and the Australian Society of Hypnosis. She can be contacted on 0408 255 506.

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    Clare Stapleton


    Clare Stapleton - Portrait

  • Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, M.A.A.S.W.
  • D.S.W, Sydney University
  • B.S.W (Hons.), University of NSW
  • Grad. Dip. EFT, IEFT
  • Grad. Dip Ed., University of Technology, Sydney


  • Clare is a clinical mental health social worker with over 30 years experience in the community services and health sector. She has worked in a variety of settings including mental health, indigenous communities, disability services, family support. She currently works in private practice with individuals and couples with significant attachment injury, early childhood and other trauma.


  • Clare has a Doctorate in Social Work from Sydney University. Her thesis explored The Use of Emotions in Social Work Practice.


  • She can be contacted on 0419 467 464 or via email at clare_stapleton@me.com

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    Dr Toni Tidswell


    Toni Tidswell - Portrait

  • Clinical Member Level 4 Australian Counselling Association (ACA)
  • College of Supervisors (ACA)
  • BA Psychology & Religion (Hons), UNE
  • PhD, UNE
  • GCHE, UNE
  • Grad.DIP EFT (IEFT)


  • Dr Toni Tidswell has worked as counsellor, therapist and counselling trainer and supervisor in Sydney, Armidale, Perth and more recently back in Sydney for 20 years. She is currently in private practice in Annandale at the Institute and Balmain; she is also a Hon. Research Fellow at the Institute. Toni mainly works with complex trauma among both individuals and couples and is interested in how the therapeutic relationship holds the client; she is also interested in how gender, culture and religion work with EFT. Toni has also had experience as an academic, lecturing and tutoring at the University of New England, Otago University, and Curtin University. Toni has completed in 2015-16 Levels 1, 2 & 3 with Dr Leslie Greenberg in the Psychology Clinic at York University, Toronto, Canada.


  • Toni can be contacted on 0467 557 418

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