Our Therapeutic Teams

At the Gawler Cancer Foundation we’ve been helping people to reach a new level of wellbeing for over 30 years. We’ve seen hope restored and lives transformed. But who are we?

We’re a highly skilled team of dedicated and passionate therapists. We believe in what we teach at The Gawler Cancer Foundation and we see the difference it makes to the lives of those who walk through our doors. We work as a team to bring the very best educational lifestyle support and services to people faced with life threatening illness’.  We’re also dedicated to building strength and resilience in individuals who are at a cross roads or simply want more out of life.

Program Facilitators & Therapists

Paul Bedson
Therapist Mentor / Facilitator

BA, Couns, BAcup

Loves all things deep and meaningful. Boasts that he can teach anyone to meditate, even the busiest thinkers. Committed to healing emotions and relationships.

Paul has been working in the field of mind/body medicine for over 30 years as a counsellor, psychotherapist, meditation instructor and natural therapist. His particular interest is in helping people deal with the range of emotional issues associated with their healing journey. Paul also works with grief and anxiety issues and relationship problems. He teaches mindfulness-based styles of meditation which develop wisdom and compassion through awareness of body, emotion, mind and spirit as one integrated Self. Paul co-authored the book Meditation an In-Depth Guide with Ian Gawler.

Maia Bedson
Therapist Mentor / Facilitator
DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut

Our zen master. Passionate about food as medicine and sustainable living. Loves spending time creating new recipes and fermenting foods to share with her friends and family.

Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 25 years and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in counselling, psychotherapy and plant-based nutrition with Cornell University. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.

Daniel Cerny Mindfulness Retreat Victoria

Daniel Cerny
Senior Therapist / Facilitator
BHSc(Nat), AdvDip(Nut)

Loves using food as a medicine and mindfulness as a basis for wellbeing. Passionate about bringing the best out of people, and helping them to live meaningful lives.

Daniel is a clinical naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist. He is also an experienced restorative yoga teacher, and a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), acceptance commitment (ACT) and mindfulness-integration cognitive behavioural (MiCBT) therapist.

Daniel’s diverse skill set, along with his commitment to an evidence-based approach, imparts a profound therapeutic formula for optimal health and wellbeing, which includes therapeutic nutrition, mindful living strategies and lifestyle counselling.

Liz Stilwell
Senior Therapist / Facilitator
Dip OT, Meditation Teacher, Pastoral Carer

Liz is passionate about working with the emotional challenges created by changes in life circumstances and helping people transition through into deeper understanding. She has been a keen traveller, meditator and besotted gardener for decades, and has a well-developed sense of humus.

Liz has a varied health background of Occupational Therapy in the 1980’s, Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP, and over her years of involvement with the Foundation she has been leading cancer lifestyle groups and teaching mindfulness meditation. More recently she has trained as a Spiritual Carer working in a variety of health settings, carrying a compassionate holistic approach to counselling people through their significant life challenges. For many years she has specialised in trauma recovery, anxiety, depression and insomnia, her approach influenced by mindfulness. For the past 5 years, Liz has been assisting Drs Ian and Ruth Gawler in leading Meditation retreats in NZ and is delighted to be continuing her work with the Foundation in cancer retreat facilitation.

Sandy Clinton
Overnight Supervisor 

Dip Soc Wk, Certified Ageless Grace ® Educator, Graduate of Neuroscience Academy

Passionate about empowering people to live their best life, Sandy loves life and laughter, enjoys reading, yoga, qi gong, chanting, cats, being in nature, traveling the globe, singing with joy, and knitting till her heart’s content.

Sandy joined the Gawler Cancer Foundation in 2006 and has deepened her interest in and appreciation for the mind-body connection since then. She assisted hundreds of people in the Client Services role until late 2017, which gave her a unique experience of the challenges people face when diagnosed with a chronic illness, or wanting to learn how to maintain their wellbeing. This led her to train as an Ageless Grace ® Educator, and she rejoices in delivering this brain health fitness program as often as possible. She is delighted to have the opportunity to interact with participants as Overnight Supervisor, and takes true joy in being part of their journey of discovery.

Guest Facilitators & Therapists

Assoc Professor Craig Hassed
Facilitator Essence of Health and Mindfulness Meditation Training

A General Practitioner and Associate Professor at Monash University, Dept of General Practice. Craig’s teaching, research and clinical interests involve mindfulness-based stress management, mind-body medicine, meditation, holistic healthcare, integrative medicine and medical ethics. Craig is a regular media commentator and author of New Frontiers in Medicine, Know Thyself, The Essence of Health, Mindfulness for Life, Playing the Genetic Hand Life Dealt You, and co-author of General Practice: The Integrative Approach.

Ruth Gawler Meditation Retreat Yarra Valley

Dr Ruth Gawler
Guest Facilitator / Therapist

Dr Ruth Gawler is a General Practitioner with a specialised interest in Mind-Body Medicine, meditation and Psychology. Ruth worked as a facilitator and therapist at the foundation for 12 years and currently guest-facilitates regular retreat programs there with her husband Ian. The paradigm Ruth works from is that good health and healing involves a process of integrating the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspect of one’s life, and that meditation is key to this process. Dr Gawler holds a Masters in GP Psychiatry and was on the Board of the Meditation Teachers Association for 8 years, and served as President of the Association for 2 years prior to stepping down at the end of 2016. Ruth offers private consultations during some residential programs, as well as through a clinic in East Melbourne.

To find out more about Dr Ian and Ruth Gawler’s work, visit their website www.iangawler.com and newsletter/blog: www.gawlerblog.com

Integrative Neurologist Sanjay Raghav Retreat Facilitator Yarra Valley Victoria

Assoc Prof Sanjay Raghav
Guest Facilitator
MBBS, MD, DM, FRACP Certified Level 2 Yoga Teacher

Associate Professor Sanjay Raghav brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his Parkinson’s Wellness Weekend Retreat programs. Sanjay is a Senior Consultant Neurologist at the Monash Medical Centre and Frankston Hospital, and has been the Director at Dandenong Neurology since 2007.  Passionate about sharing his experience and insights with others, he is also an Associate Professor at RMIT, a senior lecturer at Monash University, a supervisor and mentor to RACP trainees, and the visiting professor for the division of “Yoga & Life Sciences” with the S-VYASA Yoga University in Bangalore, India.

As an active member of Australian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA), Sanjay has a keen interest in holistic living and is proactive in teaching his patients and students how to enrich their lives through an integrative approach to health and wellbeing. 

Combining his love of yoga with his medical experience in movement disorder clinics at Monash and Golf Links Rehabilitation Centre, Sanjay has developed a Parkinson’s specific yoga program, which he runs weekly with impressive results for his students including improvements to stiffness, movement and tremors.

Michelle Woolhouse Retreat Facilitator Yarra Valley Living Centre

Dr Michelle Woolhouse
Guest Facilitator
MBBS, FRACGP, FACNEM, FASLM, GradDip MBMed/NutMed, Dip. HT, Dip. Viet Acu

Dr Michelle Woolhouse is a General Practitioner, who has worked in clinical practice for nearly 20 years. She is passionate about helping people find their own style of health and healing. She has post graduate qualifications in mind-body medicine, meditation, sound healing, and nutritional and environmental medicine. She loves teaching people about the interconnections of being a woman and how by embracing these scientific understandings, you can find the inspiration to transform, say “Yes” to life and be the best you can be.

Caroline Hales Retreat Facilitator Yarra Valley Living Centre

Caroline Hales
Guest Facilitator
Hd SPHE, Dip. BrennanHealingSci, Dip. KiMassage

Caroline Hales is an intuitive therapist and a graduate from the “Barbara Brennan School of Healing”. In her work, she combines energy healing and integrative counselling. She began her journey in meditation, mindfulness & healing in 1982 and has since studied and practiced a variety of natural therapies, meditation and personal development. Her other qualifications include Diploma of Ki Massage, Reiki, Art & Creative Expression, Higher Diploma in Arts, Social, Personal & Health Education. Caroline is passionate about supporting people to find their sense of self, and values the wisdom of their lived life. She has a full time healing and personal development practice within “Mornington Healing & Wellbeing Centre” and facilitates women’s circles and meditation groups. www.morningtonhealingcentre.com.au

Dr Helena Popovic
Guest Facilitator

Dr Helena Popovic is a medical doctor, leading authority on how to improve brain function, international speaker and best-selling author. Helena is unique in bringing the latest discoveries in brain science to the field of weight management and she is the founder of a groundbreaking weight loss program called Winning at Slimming thinking the light way. She is also the author of two books: NeuroSlimming and In Search of My Father. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1995.

Michael Johnson
Guest Facilitator / Harpist and Composer

Michael Johnson has been performing in major concert venues and festivals throughout Australia. As well as a concert performer, Michael has been working in the field of music for meditation. His tranquil harp music has been an integral part of the Mindfulness Music program at The Gawler Cancer Foundation for over twenty five years. He also uses Music & Mindfulness in Victorian schools and at Delmont Hospital. He has been the resident musician at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne for over a decade, performing in the Harp the Gardens recitals and Twilight Music concerts, providing his music for thousands of overseas guests and visitors to the gardens. His compositions are regularly aired on national radio and television.