Meet The Team - The MPC

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Dr Neeraj Sareen

Co Founder / Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Sareen is a Consultant Psychiatrist and fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK.

Dr Sareen has over 16 years of experience in delivering high-quality clinical care to his patients. He is passionate about providing mental health treatment in a timely manner and make it accessible to all. Dr Sareen trained in UK and gained expertise in a variety of sub-speciality areas of psychiatry. He trained as adult Psychiatrist and gained advanced training certificate in the field of Aged Psychiatry. Dr Sareen moved to Australia in 2012 and has since dedicated his efforts to improving quality of mental health care services across South-East Melbourne.

Dr Sareen is the Head of Community Psychiatry for Alfred Addiction and Mental Health. He was the Unit Head of Adult Mental Health Services at Casey Hospital from 2017-2020. He considers himself as an expert who walks alongside his patients in their journey to recovery. He works with the patient and their family network to deliver on outcomes that his patients value. His passion for clinical leadership, caring and holistic approach extends to not only the patients he treats directly but also to the clinical services that he is responsible for.

In working with Dr Sareen you can expect an open and comprehensive dialogue about your challenges and concerns. You can expect to have an engaging and inclusive conversation about care, support and treatment options.

Professional Qualifications

Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, India, Certificate of Advanced Training in Aged Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK, PG Diploma in Business Administration, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Professional Associations

MRCPsych, Membership of Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK
FRANZCP, Fellowships of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry, Australia

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Dr Bharat Saluja

Consultant Psychiatrist

MBBS, MD Psychiatry, FRANZCP, MSc Psychological Therapies (CBT strand) and CCST (UK)

Dr Saluja is an experienced senior consultant psychiatrist with a passion for providing excellent care to his patients. He is an empathetic doctor who takes pride in providing recovery and evidence-based practice both in public and private practice. He is the Unit Head for Young Persons Mental Health Service and Acute Inpatient Unit for Monash Health and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Monash University. He has won several academic and clinical excellence awards.

Over the last 20 years, Bharat has worked as a consultant Psychiatrist in Australia, Singapore, UK, and India. Bharat works with people of different ethnicities and cultures in diverse settings that include community, In-patient, Teaching hospitals, Rural and Forensic settings. In addition to his clinical and academic role, he is a researcher and has over 50 publications in various peer reviewed journals.

Bharat utilizes his acquired knowledge, experience, and skills and works collaboratively with patients and their families to achieve the best outcome. He has devoted his life to serving community, teaching, and mastering the art of people relations.He helps people who are struggling to get a grip on their negative emotions and thoughts and desperately looking for support and guidance as they recover.

His areas of special interest include ADHD in Adults , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia. He provides cognitive behaviour therapy to his patients with Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders and OCD in addition to pharmacotherapy.

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Dr Ajay Vijayakrishnan

Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Vijayakrishnan is a Consultant Psychiatrist with a wealth of knowledge and experience in identifying and treating a wide range of mental health problems for over 20 years. His special interest in psychotherapy allows him to integrate psychoanalytic thinking into his practice. He has undertaken analysis at the Institute of Psychoanalysis in London for a number of years, which has been a source of personal strength for him and given him a deeper insight into the workings of the unconscious mind.

Dr Vijayakrishnan completed his medical training in 1998 in India. He then went on to complete his training in General Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Psychiatry from the prestigious St George’s and Charing Cross training schemes in London. He was granted Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) in 2006.

Over the last 10 years Dr Vijayakrishnan has worked as a consultant in the NHS in UK and in India before moving to Australia. He now works across public mental health service for Monash Health and private practice at The Melbourne Psychiatry Centre.

Professional Qualifications and affiliations:

  • - Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS)
  • - Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK, MRCPsych)
  • - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK, FHEA)
  • - Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP)
  • - Specialist Registration with AHPRA

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Dr Shekhar Srinivasan

Consultant Psychiatrist

MBBS, FRANZCP, MPM

Dr Shekhar Srinivasan is a general psychiatrist specializing in youth mental health. He has an interest in working with patients, families and other service providers to achieve the best outcomes by considering biological and psychological therapies.

Dr Srinivasan has interests and experience in a range of public and private settings including mood and anxiety disorders, psychosis and bipolar disorders and neurodevelopmental illnesses. He has special interest in personality disorders and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Dr Srinivasan has trained locally and abroad. He received his MBBS degree in India and Masters of Psychological Medicine (MPM) from University of Melbourne. He trained in psychiatry and achieved his Fellowship (FRANZCP) at Monash Health. In addition to his private practice, Dr Srinivasan holds a public hospital appointment with Monash Youth Mental Health Program. He is actively involved in medical student and registrar training at Monash University, and also holds the title of Adjunct lecturer with Monash University. Dr Srinivasan is passionate about providing excellent patient care and encourages open and sensitive consultations with patients and families directed towards assessment and treatment planning.

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Dr Sharjeel Ansari

Consultant Psychiatrist

MBBS, FRANZCP

Dr Ansari is a Consultant Psychiatrist and a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. He has a passion for providing exceptional clinical care to his patients with an emphasis on recovery-oriented practice and evidence-based treatment.

After completing his medical degree from India, Dr Ansari moved to Australia in 2006 and has since specialised in Psychiatry training as a General Adult Psychiatrist. With over 10 years of clinical experience in a variety of mental health settings including inpatient, community and emergency psychiatry, Dr Ansari encompasses a biopsychosociocultural approach when delivering care to his patients. He firmly believes in active listening of his patients' concerns and his core values include empathy, hard work and honesty.

Dr Ansari is currently the Clinical Lead of Acute Inpatient Services in his public appointment at Monash Health. He recognises the growing relevance of telehealth and its many benefits and is enthusiastic about providing high quality care via this medium. He has been actively involved in telehealth project within the inpatient services at Monash Health. In addition to his clinical role, he has a keen interest in teaching and education and has received award for excellence in medical education for his hard work and dedication.

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Dr Umesh Babu

Consultant Psychiatrist

MBBS, MD, FRAZCP

Dr Umesh Babu is trained in Psychiatry with sub-specialty experience in Developmental Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry. His initial training was at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), a centre of excellence in mind & brain sciences in India. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists since 2002 and has worked in senior consultant position in teaching hospitals for the past two decades.

Dr Babu’s supportive and collaborative approach to assessment and treatment involves the person, their family & care givers in coming to a shared understanding of the presenting health problem and to arrive at a tailored treatment plan.

Apart from managing general adult psychiatry conditions,Dr Babu has particular interest in managing psychiatric conditions associated with organic brain disorders presenting with symptoms of psychosis, depression and anxiety, often resistant to standard treatment.

He has extensive experience in assessing and managing neuropsychiatric conditions in youth, adults and the aged. Assessment and management of emotional, behavioural and cognitive disturbances associated with neurological and other medical conditions including traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy, hydrocephalus (NPH), Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Disease. Young onset dementia, non-epileptic seizure disorders and movement disorders.

Intellectual disability, autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions commonly observed in childhood, can continue to significantly impact behaviour, disturb emotional and social functioning in adulthood. Adults experiencing this would benefit from the experience he brings from his years as a senior staff on Disability Assessment Services at St George’s Hospital, Sydney where he applied his neuropsychiatric expertise in managing complex neurodevelopmental conditions including autism and intellectual disability.

He has special interest in managing adults with ADHD and co-existing anxiety, OCD, Tourette’s syndrome and tic disorders.

He was Senior Staff Specialist in Neuropsychiatry Services at Newcastle, NSW for 12 years before moving to Melbourne in 2018. He was founding member of Neuropsychiatry Advanced Training program at this Service. This unique and highly specialized clinical service was awarded the Clinical Team of the Year in the Hunter and New England Health District.

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Malika Verma

Clinical Psychologist & Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Malika Verma is trained in the British psychoanalytic tradition from the renowned Tavistock Clinic in London. She completed her professional training in Clinical Psychology from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), India in 2001. Subsequently she went on to work in the NHS in London, UK and then co-founded Tara Clinic in Kerala, India. Malika has over two decades of experience in the field. She is currently in private practice in Melbourne, Australia.

Malika offers consultations and longer term psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families. This modality is useful for those going through difficulties in their personal life or relationships providing an opportunity to look beyond the presenting problems at the underlying forces shaping our emotions and behaviour.

She is actively involved in teaching and training psychologists and psychotherapists in psychoanalytic approaches to therapy and conducts a number of supervision groups and seminars.

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Prajakta Deshpande

Psychologist

Prajakta Deshpande is a registered psychologist and member of Australian Psychological Society (APS), providing individual counselling to adults and young people.

Prajakta draws upon her natural empathic and compassionate nature, combined with her knowledge and skills in evidence-based practices, to help guide her clients through the empowering and healing process of therapy. She has a personal belief that despite our histories and circumstances we strive for purpose, fulfillment and growth. She strives to incorporate this belief in her work by creating an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect for people to overcome difficulties, achieve an increased sense of satisfaction and gain effective control over their lives. Her experience of working with people of different cultures, belief systems has helped her understand of how distress can present differently and be experienced differently. Prajakta views the cultural lens as important when trying to navigate distress, improving quality of life and reducing symptoms.

Prajakta works with a wide range of issues including (but not limited to); anxiety, depression, adjustment issues, grief and loss, anger issues, complex trauma, PTSD, work related issues, acculturative stress, emotional dysregulation. She works collaboratively using an eclectic approach according to the client’s specific needs and preferences which includes: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Rational Emotive Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focussed Therapy, Mindfulness, psychoeducation and relaxation strategies. More recently she has also undertaken level 1 training in EMDR for PTSD and trauma and is passionate about advancing her knowledge and practice in this area.

Prajakta has a Master’s in Psychology with Clinical Psychology as her specialisation from India. She has experience of working as a psychologist in India and Australia.

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Poli Zoungas

Counsellor/ Life Coach

Poli is a multi-talented and committed Counsellor and Life Coach who is sincerely passionate about supporting her clients through their issues. Poli is a member of the Australian Counselling Association and International Coaching Federation and has assisted clients worldwide. She specialises in working with adolescents, couples, adults and families. Poli provides practical support that a client can use immediately to help them move forward in life.

Poli is a very warm, understanding and patient Counsellor and Life Coach who truly enjoys seeing her clients achieve success in their life. She listens compassionately and guides the client using forward thinking techniques that help them create a better future for themselves. Her extensive educational training gives her the ability to listen and coach clients through their problems in a way in which they feel empowered and inspired.

Poli believes that each person is unique and works collaboratively with her clients to achieve the desired outcomes that help them move from feeling stuck to feeling supported and hopeful. Poli draws from a multitude of methods in her counselling practice which include Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), Person Centred Therapy (PCT), Narrative Therapy, Individual Psychology (Adlerian), Mindfulness Meditation, Goal Setting, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Poli is passionate about human behaviour through her own personal study and lifelong experiential journey of psychology, psychosomatics, ancient philosophy, science, spirituality and personal training.

Areas of Practice

  • - Adolescent Counselling
  • - Anger Management
  • - Anxiety Counselling
  • - Depression Counselling
  • - Child Counselling
  • - Family Counselling
  • - Individual Relationship Counselling
  • - General Counselling
  • - Grief Counselling
  • - Relationship Counselling
  • - Marriage Counselling
  • - Life Coaching
  • - Parenting Counselling
  • - Sexual Abuse Counselling
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Rick Lapeyre

Nutritionist

Rick is a qualified nutritionist with additional training in treating eating disorders. He holds a Masters’ degree in Human Nutrition from Deakin University and is Bronze Practitioner level accredited with the Australian Centre for Eating Disorders. Rick is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia and an associate member of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine.

His vision is to make nutrition accessible to everyone, by making it understandable and based on scientific research. From that, Rick believes the advice you receive must be tailored to be usable and effective for it to inspire you to apply it in your own life. Therefore, nutrition needs to be more than just the foods you eat – it must be real to you and resonate with your lifestyle.

Rick’s consultative background means sessions are relaxed and personable as we carry out a comprehensive review of your background, situation, and goals. You can expect objective, factual nutritional advice and dedicated, ongoing support as we work collaboratively towards your health goals.

Areas of service include nutritional education, weight loss, healthy eating advice, sports nutrition, eating disorders, aged nutrition and special needs.

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Aparana Sareen

Co Founder/ Practice Manager

Aparana Sareen is the Co-Founder / Practice Manager of The Melbourne Psychiatry Centre. She holds a Bachelor degree in Public Adm and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School. She has varied experience working in business, marketing, banking and finance.

Aparana is extremely passionate about providing an exceptional patient care and high-quality experience for patients at the MPC. She makes sure that MPC facility is run smoothly and she oversees multiple aspects of practice administration, business development and compliance. She considers herself very fortunate to work with the team that embodies values of respect, care and joy. Her goal is to look after needs of patients as well as clinicians and staff who care for them.

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Samantha Brennecke

Medical Secretary/ Referral Coordinator

Samantha Brennecke is the Medical Secretary for The Melbourne Psychiatry Centre. She holds a degree in Social Science Psychology and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

She is passionate about client care and strives to create a safe and professional environment where patients can feel at ease upon entering the clinic. She has a thorough understanding of the Australian Mental Health Care system and offers her experience to assist patients in better understanding how to be leaders in their health care. Samantha liaises daily with various allied health professionals and is highly knowledgable in the mental health processes across Victoria and within our clinic.

Samantha supports the holistic goals of MPC by providing all around support, care and advise for individuals accessing our services.

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Hayley Koetsier

Medical Secretary/ TMS Coordinator

Hayley is a Medical Secretary/ TMS Coordinator for The Melbourne Psychiatry Centre. She is currently studying Counselling and furthering her knowledge in Mental Health. She has been working within the Mental Health environment for over 5 years in multiple settings from private practice to hospital settings.

Hayley is the main point of contact for all prospective and current TMS Patients of MPC. She works closely with patients, psychiatrists, TMS clinicians and GP’s to ensure patients experience is a positive one.

To forward any TMS related queries please email at tms@thempc.com.au