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Elise Saunders

Therapeutic Life Story Work

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Hello and Welcome, 

When undertaking any therapeutic work, it is important for children, carers, families, and those in the care community to have confidence in their therapeutic practitioner. Here is a little of my story.


I am currently running a successful private practice that provides direct client work, diploma and other trauma training, consultation, supervision and mentoring for qualified practitioners and students from across Australia and New Zealand in a hybrid model of in person and online work. I am the current Therapeutic Life Story Work Australia Chair and Australasian Board Member for Therapeutic Life Story Work International.

More About me

My practice focuses on engaging authentically as a caring professional who is approachable, competent, and compassionate with all those I connect with and work alongside.  I work from the ethos that every child is unique and therefore their therapeutic care needs to be individualised and supported by the community around them. Every child deserves a chance to be safe, to make meaning of their past and to be able to achieve their full potential. I advocate strongly for  therapeutic life story work to be accessible to all children, adolescents and young adults who have been involved with the care system. 


I have had the opportunity of working within the social welfare field for the last sixteen years across New South Wales and Victoria. Having held various roles within the government and non-government sectors and now as an independent practitioner. I have completed undergraduate studies in Psychology at Western Sydney University in 2008, with my research focused on psychology and religious wellbeing. I have since completed diploma and graduate training in clinical supervision, therapeutic and trauma related fields.  


As an eager psychology graduate in 2008, I began my professional career several years early working in residential care with hurt and vulnerable young people with a myriad of care and support needs. I continued to work within the New South Wales child protection sector in various roles as a child protection practitioner, specialist intensive care case manager (ISS) and team manager across placement and ISS teams. Upon moving to Melbourne Victoria, I worked as an advanced child protection practitioner before starting my direct therapeutic life story work practice in 2014 with Berry Street and Richard Rose. Becoming a qualified TLSW practitioner, I have now had the privilege of working with over 50 children, adolescents and young adults in my role as a practitioner, practice lead and supervisor whilst overseeing a life story work team. 

I am a contributing author to Richard Rose’s Innovative Therapeutic Life Story Work (2017) and a podcast contributor to Permanent Care and Adoptive Families in 2021. I have also contributed to various projects and research on therapeutic life story work over the last decade. 

I am passionate about sharing and collaborating with others, which has seen me deliver training, presentations and workshops at numerous national and international conferences across the welfare, education and emergency services fields. In conjunction with Richard Rose and Berry Street, I have been delivering sections of the TLSW Diploma across Australia since 2019. 


In 2018, in conjunction with Richard Rose and TLSW International (TLSWi), I established and have since been the Chair of TLSW Australia, the official affiliate group to TLSWi. The community of practice currently spanning across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania aims to support students and qualified practitioners throughout their practice to ensure the fidelity of the Rose model, safe practice as well as professional development opportunities for members.

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