Psychologist.nz | Rotorua

Anna Plessas - Registered Clinical Psychologist
Taking Referrals

Anna Plessas

Registered Psychologist

MSc · MEd · BA · PGDipPracPsych(ABA) · Doctoral Candidate
Member of: NZ Psychological Society · European Behavior Analysis Society (EABA) · International Behavior Analysis Society (ABAI) · International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP)

Anna and her family have been living in beautiful Rotorua since 2016. Anna has a special interest in children and young people with Asperger’s or high-functioning autism (ASD) and ADHD. She is highly skilled in providing effective, personalised interventions for social anxiety and other complicating consequences of ASD, ADHD or attendant conditions, such as severe tics and OCD. Anna is an expert in social skills training and social exposure.

Anna is an experienced and highly skilled behaviour analyst with experience in teaching and training young professionals. Training in behaviour analysis requires several years of focused study and supervised practice. Behavioural therapies have garnered an immense evidence of effectiveness over many decades of research. It is no coincidence that behavioural interventions are valued as highly efficacious.

Referrals: Anna works with clients within a reasonable distance from Rotorua. You can refer yourself or your child by providing some basic information about your concerns, desired goals and a description of the issues you are experiencing with real life examples. Anna will then contact you to agree on a date and time for your first meeting and the steps toward a collaborative design of a personalised intervention.

What to expect: Anna will visit you at your family home to assess your difficulties and your family’s perspectives on those difficulties. She will design intensive intervention plans for you and with you and will implement them hands-on with you in real community settings. She will be providing psychoeducation to the family, with practical advice at the same time (it is possible to do some of this work online). Do not expect a lot of office-style talking sessions.

Anna will first assess your issues of priority based on the way they manifest themselves in your actions, thoughts and emotions. This assessment does not result in a clinical diagnosis. If psychiatry input appears to be necessary, you may be referred by Anna to a relevant professional or agency for diagnostic workup or additional treatment. When designing a behavioural intervention, having a diagnosis is not a pre-requisite; however, accurate diagnosis certainly facilitates a better tailored intervention design. Interventions are designed collaboratively with you and your family in the centre of our treatment decision-making.

Anna’s background: Anna was born in Adelaide, South Australia and started school there. She finished her secondary education in the island of Zakynthos (Zante), Greece and graduated from Psychology in Athens. She then completed a Master’s in Educational Psychology in Manchester, England and continued with academic papers on Applied Behaviour Analysis in the USA. She practised ABA as a trainee in England and then worked as an ABA therapist in her Greek island from 2000 to 2008, leading a multidisciplinary team of therapists. She was granted her titled of Board Certified Behaviour Analyst in 2011 and gradually started training and supervising behaviour analysts and therapists. She was a founding member of Monorodi, an educational association for neurodevelopmental disorders in Athens, where she worked from 2008 to 2015. Anna organised and ran a formal, Board-approved training course for BCBA, BCaBA and RBT candidates from 2014 to 2019. From 2016 on, Anna has provided online supervision to other Behaviour Analysts. She completed a Master’s by Thesis in ABA at the University of Auckland in 2018 and a Post-graduate diploma in the practice of ABA at the University of Waikato in 2021. Anna is a Registered Psychologist in NZ and is aspiring to finish her PhD at Auckland University of Technology later this year; her area of research is the use of Artificial Intelligence in the design of behavioural interventions. Anna has also participated and is participating in a few research projects concerning the accessibility of interventions for Maori.

Specialties

Neurodevelopmental Interventions

  • Personalised and designed to meet the needs of Individuals diagnosed with High Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficits Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tic Disorder.

Social Anxiety/Avoidance

  • Avoiding places or situations such as school or social events perpetuates anxiety. Thoughtfully designed exposure-based therapy resolves most issues.

Psychoeducation and Parent Training

  • Educate families and whānau to understand and cope with the unique behaviours their family member is experiencing. Delivered in person and on-line. Includes training parents to conduct functional analysis of behaviours. Mindfulness training for parents.

Clinical Supervision

  • For interns or professionals that are interested in developing highly specialised skills in Behaviour-analytic interventions.

Social Skills Training

  • Sophisticated social skills training to improve social skills and social confidence.

Behavioural Health -Te Toi Haumanu Whanonga,
Rotorua