Our Team

I wanted THE Groundworks LAB to be a place where people can explore, grow, connect, lean into vulnerability, repair past harms, become sources of strength to others, develop pathways to flourish and share their stories in a safe, caring and compassionate context.

Our practice aims to support the myriad roles that we all, as humans, fulfil: individual, sibling, parent, daughter, son, friend, lover, intimate partner, teacher, student, aspiring professional, colleague, manager, leader and so on. We take ourselves into all of these roles we have in life and they impact on each other. The different spheres are connected within us, and it is why we offer this breadth of services.

It was important to me that this support was provided with allies – the staff of THE Groundworks LAB - who possess the wisdom to hear, the qualifications to guide, the diversity of experience to offer flexible pathways, and the authenticity to care. And I wanted all of this done in a way that allowed me to stay connected to my own core values.

Rayleigh Joy


Dr Rayleigh Joy

Rayleigh is an accredited mental health social worker with over 25 years’ experience covering the public sector, university lecturing and private practice. She was awarded an Australian Post Graduate Award in 1991 undertake her post graduate study and was awarded her PhD in 2004. She has highly developed therapeutic skills and experience in many areas including family relationships, separation, individual and couple counselling and broader issues of mental health and wellbeing. She is known for being both analytical and responsive to complex issues, providing single expert reports and assessments to the Federal Circuit and Family Court and Children’s Court.

Rayleigh is an empathetic communicator and is sought after by individuals, organisations, and legal practitioners alike for her ability to understand, convey and help address complex and intersecting aspects of human services work. In addition to her expert witness recognition throughout Australia, she brings deep experience to modern child-inclusive family dispute resolution (FDR) practices. She is also an accredited mental health practitioner, Medicare provider No 2827512T.


Vanessa Diana

 B.Psych, MSW

Vanessa is a social worker with over 15 years’ experience in a variety of areas including child protection, Queensland health, non-government sectors and private practice. She was awarded a Bachelor of Psychology in 2004 and her Master of Social Work in 2017. Vanessa is known for her highly developed therapeutic skills in areas of trauma, abuse and domestic violence, grief and loss, family and relationship difficulties as well as broader mental health issues. Vanessa also holds specialist expertise in the area of harmful sexual behaviour, bringing a raft of skills and knowledge to support the individuals and families impacted. Vanessa’s capacity to respond to the complexities of post separation, family and individual struggles is well recognised, bringing balance and hope to those she works with.


Liz Katona

B.BehavSc (Psych), LLB

Liz is a Senior Consultant at The Groundworks Lab. She has over six years of experience in clinical support and mental health areas. Liz holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and will soon be commencing a Master of Social Work. After working as a family lawyer post-graduation, Liz turned her sights to specialising in providing support, assessment, and family law reports for post-separation families. Defined by her compassion for vulnerable families dealing in family law and post-separation, Liz has a zealous commitment to understand and help address complex family and children’s needs in an empathetic and robust manner.


Zara Heading


Zara is a Psychology Graduate, working full-time at The Groundworks Lab. She provides report writing, interview and research assistance to our consultants as well as general administrative support to our growing private practice. She holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours I) and has also further completed her post-graduate Certificate of Domestic and Family Violence Responses. Zara is a current Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and holds her Mental Health First Aid certification. She has strong analytical skills developed through her studies and enjoys diving deep to understand and work through complex issues. She is defined by her warm, empathetic approach to listening and hopes that people leave her presence feeling heard, understood, valued and empowered.


Dr Raj Aseervatham


Raj is a family dispute resolution practitioner (FDRP, Attorney General's Dept Reg F2001579 and Mediation Standards Board Licence No 111-6903) and has over 20 years of experience in asset and business valuations and negotiations. He specialises in facilitating, diplomatically and in a structured manner, the breakdown of negotiation barriers and the progression of agreements between disputing parties.