Dr Emma Symes

Dr Emma Symes

Emma is an experienced clinical psychologist with a specific interest in perinatal and infant mental health. Over the past fifteen years she has supported many families through the transitions that occur during the perinatal and early parenting period. She is also skilled in the provision of general mental health treatment, such as treatments for anxiety and depression.

Emma can provide supervision face-to-face or via telephone or internet video conferencing.

Emma is one of the principal psychologist at the Centre for Clinical Psychology. She has a particular interest in parent-infant relationships, and finding ways to support parents to get to know their baby. Emma is trained in the Newborn Behaviour Observation (NBO) and has been involved in facilitating the Parenting with Feeling (postnatal psychotherapy group program) at The Royal Women’s Hospital – Centre for Women’s Mental Health. Emma also provides psychological support to women experiencing gynecological cancers and other women’s health issues.

Emma has worked in a number of roles supporting women and families in the perinatal period. She was previously as a Senior Clinical Psychologist at The Royal Women’s Hospital – Centre for Women’s Mental Health (RWH-CWMH). In this role Emma supported women during pregnancy and in the early postpartum. also worked as a Clinical Psychologist at the Tweddle Child and Family Health Service, supporting families and infants with sleep and settling issues. She also has extensive experience working within the adult mental health sector, as well as working with adolescents and their families at headspace. It was after working with adults and then adolescents with complex and severe mental health difficulties, that Emma became interested in the factors that contribute to, or may help protect individuals against developing mental health disorders. This lead her to the field of infant mental health which now influences all of her work. In therapy Emma aims to support parents and families by starting with the assumption that all parents are trying their best and that all behaviour has a meaning.

Emma is also co-facilitator of the Western Infant and Perinatal Mental Health Professionals Network, and she was fortunate to have been a MERTIL facilitator involved in training Maternal and Child Health Nurses within Victoria about infant mental health and relational trauma.

Professional Affiliations

  • Registered Psychologist with Australian Health Practitioners Registration Board (AHPRA) with area of practice endorsement in Clinical Psychology
  • Member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS)
  • Member of the APS Clinical College (MAPS CCLIN)
  • Joint Coordinator of the Western Perinatal Mental Health Professionals Network
  • Registered Circle of Security Parent Group Facilitator
  • Member of PANDA (Post and Antenatal Depression Association)
  • Registered Supervisor with AHPRA
  • Newborn Behaviour Observation System practitioner

Professional Achievements

  • Co-ordinator / Trainer – Royal Women’s Hospital, Centre for Women’s Mental Health – Parent-Infant Psychotherapy Training
  • Invited guest on ABC Radio National – Life Matters Program (25 June 2018)
  • Australian Psychological Society representative at the Victorian Government Enquiry into Perinatal Services 2018
  • Member of APS Working Group developing guidelines for Psychologists Working with Family Violence