About us

A mental health Occupational Therapist can help to understand barriers in doing things and identify ways to find better mental health. This could be through re-engaging in things that we used to enjoy, or through identifying different things that may help us feel stronger in ourselves. It could also be to work through the barriers in our thoughts, feelings or motivation that prevents us from being able to experience positive mental health.  Mental health OT's see a close relationship between what we do and how we feel and will explore this relationship during therapy

Minerva, with the owl by her side, was the mythological Roman goddess of wisdom. 

Our name and logo represent a commitment to knowledge, innovation and resourcefulness in the field of mental health. We recognise the complexity of being human, and respect that deep thought, authenticity and wisdom are required when connecting with anyone that seeks to improve and maintain their mental health. 

Carla van Heerden

Director, Occupational Therapist.

B.Occ Thy

AHPRA reg no OCC 0001748375 

Member: Occupational Therapy Australia,

Medicare, Better Access to Mental Health and NDIS registered provider. 

Trained Mollii clinician. 

Welcome to Minerva!

The approaches to mental health shared on our website, in workshops and supervision sessions, have been applied in clinical practice during our expansive collective careers. They have been appreciated by mental health consumers and practitioners alike and we find joy in sharing our knowledge of them with others.


At Minerva, we honour the individuality of any journey towards better mental health and aim to offer variety and support when people are navigating through systems and services to find their recovery pathway.    


We take pride in delivering services that may lead to sustainable outcomes, and use established measures to evidence how goals are achieved. Our practices are trauma informed, healing centred and recovery focused. 


Feeling connected is an important outcome in mental health. We work closely alongside mental health peer support workers / lived experience practitioners, who use their own recovery journey to benefit the well-being of others. As an organisation, Minerva benefits from networks and close associations with leaders in the field of mental health, who generously share their knowledge and experience.


Visit our Clinical Expertise page.     

Minerva Allied Health Services is a proud member of the alliance for suicide prevention sunshine coast. 

The alliance aims to provide an integrated network of community-based groups and organisations who are passionate about the prevention of suicide for the sunshine coast, Striving to create a connected community to improve mental health.

Professor Pamela Meredith

Pamela Meredith is Professor and Head of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences at Central Queensland University, and retains an honorary position at the University of Queensland where she worked for 20 years prior to commencing at CQU.


Pam has published widely on the topic of attachment theory, and is involved in a number of research projects in which attachment and sensory preferences are being investigated together.


The use of sensory processing theory in combination with attachment theory leads to interesting options for intervention, especially when relational difficulties within the therapeutic relationship are considered. Sensory processing theory offers ways to understand behaviour, and suggests strategies to support the therapeutic alliance, especially when emotional dysregulation occurs. These strategies can, in turn, be applied in other situations, offering improved capacity to deal with distress.

Pam and Carla have offered several workshops on the integration of sensory and attachment approaches across Australia. Click here to find our more about Prof. Pamela Meredith. 

International Creative Ability Network

The Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability and its associated theoretical and philosophical underpinnings have been a foundation of Carla's clinical practice since being exposed to its tenets during her occupational therapy degree course at the University of the Free State in South Africa. 


Carla has worked closely with other occupational therapists in the UK and in Australia to provide training in the Model and use it as a framework for individual therapeutic treatment interventions as well as to guide residential,  inpatient,  and out patient therapy programs.


The Model provides a client centred framework to understand the motivational drivers of behaviour, and sits comfortably alongside other recovery focused and trauma informed approaches.   

Practitioners working within Minerva Allied Health Services share an understanding of the Model and its use in mental health practice. Carla supports the work of the International Creative Ability Network and was part of the introduction of the Model into mental health practice in England (South Essex) in 2003. 

Michael Burbank has more than 20 years' experience of the mental health sector, particularly in Queensland, where he had been a consumer of mental health services.

His personal theorising on the nature of mental illness, resilience and recovery comes from the experience of enduring a violent childhood and the trauma of being incarcerated in prisons and mental health units as a younger adult. Michael now devotes his time, energy and passion to bring about change in mental health service delivery through working with individuals and organisations.


He currently works as consumer consultant in the Sunshine Coast Mental Health and Addiction Service and as educator of the Certificate IV in mental health peer support for TAFE Queensland. Michael also serves on steering committees for the implementation of Hearing Voices groups, the implementation of a peer workforce in mental health and has been a finalist in the Queensland awards for contributions in the mental health sector. 

Connections and collaborations

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