Our Team

At the heart of Clarion Clinics is a collaborative effort between leading mental health clinicians and scientists and Incannex Healthcare (IXHL), a bio-pharmaceutical company listed on the NASDAQ.

Our clinical founders – Dr. Paul Liknaitzky, Prof. Suresh Sundram, and Sean O’Carroll – represent a respected collective within Australia’s assisted psychotherapy research community. Alongside the wider clinical and research team, their in-depth experience developing and delivering assisted psychotherapies contributes to Clarion’s distinct identity, positioning us at the forefront of this emerging field.

Working closely with IXHL, our founders have participated in multiple world-first clinical trials at Monash University over the past years. By bringing together clinical proficiency, innovative and rigorous science, and a commitment to client-centric care, we endeavour to set a benchmark for best-practice in the field of assisted psychotherapy here in Australia.

Therapists

Dr Simon Amar

Psychiatrist

Dr. Simon Amar completed his medical school and psychiatric specialty training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2016, he began working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), setting up the Montreal site for the phase 3 study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, where he worked as a therapist and Co-Principal Investigator. Since moving to Melbourne in December 2021, Simon has joined the team at the Psychedelic Research Lab at Monash University working on three trials: psilocybin-assisted therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD trial, and 5-meo-DMT-assisted therapy for treatment resistant depression. Simon also works part-time as a psychiatrist on the Secured Extended Care Unit at Dandenong Hospital. Simon is passionate about being a father, conscious dance, men’s work, and walking in nature.

Dr Esme Dark

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Esme Dark is a holistic clinical psychologist, somatic psychotherapist and a nature lover. She believes that wellness happens when we connect more deeply to our bodies, one another and the natural world. Esme has spent the last 15 years working as a psychologist with people experiencing psychological distress.  She currently runs a private psychology practice based in Melbourne and works as a Trial Therapist as part of the Clinical Psychedelic Research Lab at Monash University. She draws on a range of psychotherapeutic approaches including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems and Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy. In addition to these modalities Esme’s work is informed by eastern philosophy, nature-based practice, yoga and authentic movement.

Shanti Monteiro

Clinical Psychologist

Shanti Monteiro is an experienced clinical psychologist who works in private practice (Solana Psychology), training provisional psychologists in Psychodynamic therapy and serving as a therapist within the field of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy (PAP). Shanti has worked on and participated in numerous PAT trials, including those involving psilocybin for generalized anxiety, MDMA for PTSD, and DMT-5EO for treatment-resistant depression. Her approach to therapy is to compassionately guide people towards gaining a deeper and more insightful understanding of themselves, their relationship with themselves, their patterns of relating with others, and their interactions with the world around them. She practices from a trauma-informed, relational, holistic, and psychodynamic perspective.

Dr David Spektor

Clinical Psychologist

David is a Senior Clinical Psychologist with 20 years of experience working in mental health in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Much of his career has been in the public sector, addressing severe and challenging mental health issues. Disheartened by the medicalisation of misery prevalent within the mental health system, he established his own private practice. In 2022, David joined the Clinical Psychedelic Lab at Monash University, where he underwent intensive Psilocybin-assisted Psychotherapy training and completed MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy training with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He has been a core therapist in Australia’s largest psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy trial, conducted by the Clinical Psychedelic Lab at Monash University, and serves as a lead therapist and clinical supervisor in the Lab’s MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD trial. Additionally, David has contributed as a training assistant in the first MDMA-assisted therapist training by MAPS held in Australia and is a tutor for the MIND (Berlin) 2-year psychedelic therapist training program.

Dr Jonathan (Joe) Starke

Psychiatrist

Joe Starke is a psychiatrist working primarily in consultation and liaison at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne. He is also a psychedelic psychotherapist and mindfulness meditation teacher, associated with Swinburne and Monash Universities, involved in research trials of psilocybin, MDMA, and 5-MeO-DMT. His clinical interests include the overlap between mental and physical illness, chronic pain, trauma, and anxiety-related disorders, the clinical applications of mindfulness in mental healthcare, and functional and integrative psychiatry. His research interests include the effects of chronic stress on health, the role of mindfulness in preventing burnout, and the diagnosis and management of catatonia in general medical settings. He is also involved in health professional wellness, facilitating regular mindfulness sessions and trainings based on the Mindful Practice in Medicine model developed at the University of Rochester in the USA. Before specialising in psychiatry, he worked in emergency, remote site, and expedition medicine, including overwintering in Antarctica and working with MSF in Pakistan. He remains committed to supporting individuals and teams working in challenging settings.

Professor Suresh Sundram

Psychiatrist

Suresh is a psychiatrist, neuroscientist and psychotherapist. He trained as a psychoanalytic group psychotherapist with and is a member of the Australian Association of Group Psychotherapists. He has worked with individuals, couples and small groups using psychodynamically informed therapy for over two decades. Suresh is a principal investigator and the medical monitor on three psychedelic assisted therapy clinical trials and has undertaken training with MAPS in psychedelic assisted therapy.

Campbell Townsend

Clinical Psychologist

Campbell Townsend is a Clinical Psychologist working on the Psilocybin for GAD trial through Monash University’s Clinical Psychedelic Research Lab. He is also the co-director of a small but bustling private practice based in the Central Victorian Goldfields. He is a board-approved Clinical Supervisor. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and draws on a range of therapeutic modalities including ACT, EMDR, and IFS. He is a Certified Gottman therapist and loves using an Intensive ‘Marathon Therapy’ approach to helping couples heal and reconnect. Campbell has a keen interest in organic gardening techniques, sustainability, and beekeeping and has spent over 1 year of his life traveling by bicycle throughout the world, both solo and with his young family.

Dr James Tranter

Psychiatry Doctor

James is a psychiatry doctor and psychoanalytic psychotherapist in research and clinical practice. He believes joy, hope, and humour are the keys to recovery and aims to cultivate spaces of lightness and compassion. With training in grief and trauma, James understands that our mental well-being is interwoven with our lived stories of loss and hurt. Working together, we can write new chapters of resolution and growth.

Clinic Support Team

Simon Pedriau

Practice Manager

Simon brings a wealth of experience to Clarion Clinics having worked in management positions in the medical sector over the past 15 years. He has experience managing general practices and day surgeries. He currently holds the position of Accreditor for AGPAL. His qualifications include an MBA and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Leonie Tepe

Quality Care Manager

Leonie Tepe supports the clinical team by ensuring the safety, well-being and comfort of clients and staff at Clarion Clinics. As Clarions Quality Care Manager, Leonie oversees all aspects of the client experience, from initial inquiries and intake assessments to post-treatment and follow-ups. With a master’s degree in psychology and work experience within international clinical research projects, Leonie is passionate about delivering holistic and engaging care for all involved.

Victoria Wheeler

Nurse

Victoria is a registered mental health nurse who provides emergency assessments and follow-up care in both community and hospital settings. With over a decade’s experience working in the public mental health sector, Victoria has extensive experience working with a broad range of medical and psychiatric conditions.  Victoria is also an assistant therapist in the 5-MeO-DMT trails with the Monash Clinical Psychedelic Lab.  

She values curiosity, creativity and compassion as essential to her clinical practice.

Advisory Board Members

Dr. Bill Richards

Bill is among the world’s best known psychedelic researchers and practitioners, and has had a multi-decade career at the forefront of psychedelic research, therapy, and training. Bill has led much of the clinical work within the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and has been a consultant and trainer within numerous psychedelic research sites internationally.

He has taught within in the program of Psychedelic Therapy and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is also a clinician in private practice in Baltimore. His involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963, and from 1967 to 1977 he pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of psychedelic substances in the treatment of depression, addictions, and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, alongside their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals.

In 1999 at Johns Hopkins, he and Roland Griffiths launched the rebirth of psilocybin research after a 22-year period of dormancy in the United States.

Marcela Ot’alora G.

Marcela has worked with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) on MDMA-assisted therapy research since 1999. She is a senior MDMA therapist trainer, a site Principal Investigator, and a psychedelic therapist.

Marcela worked as a co-therapist in the first ever government approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study, and was a Principal Investigator on both the Phase 2 and Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials in Boulder, Colorado. For over 2 decades she has worked in private practice, primarily with PTSD in underrepresented communities, and also works as a therapist using ketamine.

Marcela received her MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University and MFA from University of Greensboro in North Carolina. She was born and raised in Colombia, South America and now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Bruce Poulter.

Dr. Andrea Jungaberle

Andrea is the Medical Director of the OVID Clinics in Berlin, and is a co-founder and advisory board member of the MIND Foundation, Europe’s leading psychedelic research and education group.

Andrea is a clinical specialist in anaesthesia and emergency medicine and a psychedelic therapist. She has conducted and/or supervised psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for hundreds of patients, and works both within Germany’s largest clinical psilocybin trial (the EPIsoDE trial) and within clinical service delivery. She has participated in several trainings in psychedelic therapy, and has leading roles within multiple psychedelic clinical trials.

In her role as Medical Director of OVID Clinics, she has conducted and/or supervised more than 1400 Ketamine applications within a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy paradigm in hundreds of patients.

Prof. Matthew Johnson

Matt is an experimental psychologist conducting human research on psychedelics and behavior change. From 2004 to 2024 he conducted seminal psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins, playing a role in the modern-day revival of psychedelic research. In March 2024 he will be joining Sheppard Pratt to expand his psychedelic research.

He has published research on psychedelics in relation to mystical experience, personality change, tobacco smoking cessation, cancer distress treatment, depression treatment, and psychedelic risks and safety guidelines. In 2021 he received as principal investigator the first grant in about 50 years from the US government to administer a classic psychedelic as a treatment, specifically psilocybin for tobacco addiction.

He is also known for his expertise in behavioral economics, addiction, sexual risk behavior, and research with a wide variety of drug classes. He has been Interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, Fox News, BBC, the Lex Fridman Podcast, the Huberman Lab Podcast, Big Think and Michael Pollan.

Founders

Dr. Paul Liknaitzky

Director, Co-Founder, Chief Strategic and Scientific Officer

Paul Liknaitzky is Head of the Clinical Psychedelic Lab at Monash University, and Chief Principal Investigator on a program of psychedelic trials. He is a Senior Research Fellow within the Dept of Psychiatry at Monash University, and earned an Honours in Neuroscience and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Melbourne.

In Australia, Liknaitzky has played a central role in establishing the field of psychedelic research, is an Investigator on several of the country’s initial psychedelic trials across multiple institutions, has coordinated a number of psychedelic therapist training and supervision programs, and leads the first clinical psychedelic lab. He has been invited to deliver numerous academic, professional, and public talks on psychedelic science, and has been interviewed on the topic for television, documentaries, print media, radio, and podcasts.

Dr. Liknaitzky supervises a team of over 40 researchers, clinicians and students, co-convenes the Australasian Research Group for Psychedelic Science, and is a member of a number of Scientific Advisory Boards. His work is focused on a rigorous program of research and service in clinical psychedelics that seeks to innovate on treatment design, evaluate therapeutic effects, mitigate known risks, explore potential drawbacks, and understand therapeutic mechanisms.

Sean O’Carroll

Director, Co-Founder & Head of Psychotherapy

Sean O’Carroll is a Lead Psychotherapist and Trainer within the Clinical Psychedelic Lab at Monash University. He has conducted training for numerous other psychedelic research teams and individuals, including teams from Swinburne University and Curtin University. He works as a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy consultant within the industry – both academic and commercial – with an emphasis on psychotherapy training and protocol development.

Sean has a background in academic philosophy, earning his Honours in Philosophy from the University of Western Australia in 2004, before going on to study psychotherapy, art-therapy, and experiential therapy. He opened his private psychotherapy practice in Melbourne in 2011, and works as an integrative psychotherapist, trainer, and academic. He is a qualified ecstatic dance instructor, and has a longstanding interest in the use of ‘non-ordinary states’ in healing and ceremony. He completed his Masters by Research in Experiential Therapy in 2017, and completed the MDMA Training Program with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in 2021.

Sean is the director of the Wild Mind Institute, which he founded in 2014. Through the institute, he has trained hundreds of mental health practitioners in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, “bad trip” integration, and eco-psychotherapy. Since 2019, Sean’s primary focus has been on supporting the emergence of safe and effective psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in Australia.

Professor Suresh Sundram

Director, Co-Founder and Head of Psychiatry

Suresh Sundram is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Chair and Head of the Department of Psychiatry (School of Clinical Sciences) at Monash University. He is Director of Research within the Mental Health Program at Monash Health, and Clinical Director at Cabrini Outreach. He is co-Chair of the Monash Partners Neuroscience and Mental Health Theme. At Monash University and Monash Health, he established and leads the Translational Molecular Psychiatry program with over 25 staff and students, using a recursive bedside to bench and back philosophy to discover new molecules and genes of relevance to the major psychiatric disorders.

Professor Sundram has conducted in excess of 40 phase II, IIIA, IIIB and IV industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials with multiple pharmaceutical companies. He has held a number of international roles including: current President-elect, Asian College of Neuropsychopharmacology; expert consultant, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Member, Joint Advisory Committee to the Governments of Australia and Nauru on Nauruan Regional Processing; Co-Chair, Asian Schizophrenia Network; Executive Committee Member and Member, Section on Developing Countries, World Psychiatric Association.

He is the psychiatric lead, co-investigator, and co-supervisor within the Clinical Psychedelic Lab at Monash University, conducting cutting edge clinical research using psychedelic agents in mental disorders.

Peter Widdows

Director and Co-Founder

Peter Widdows is the Director responsible for establishing and overseeing Clarion Clinics Group on behalf of Incannex Healthcare Inc, where he is a long-serving Director. An experienced business leader, he is the current Chairman of Sunny Queen Australia and a non-executive director of Youi Insurance.

Peter was previously the CEO of Heinz, the multinational food company, covering a large part of Asia and Australasia where he was responsible for multi-billion-dollar revenues and over 18,000 staff. He has conducted business in every continent in the world and lived and worked in many countries during his long corporate career.

Peter also served in the British Army and is a Fellow Chartered Accountant.