Pride EAP

ACON’s Pride Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers counselling services for LGBTQ+ employees.  

Our mission is to support your employees to be themselves and live their healthiest, best lives. 

Pride EAP is ACON’s LGBTQ+ Employee Assistance Program. Organisations are members of Pride EAP so that their LGBTQ+ employees can access inclusive and affirming counselling at work. 

ACON has been providing counselling support for over 30 years. Our Pride Counselling clinicians are fully qualified and registered psychologists and mental health social workers, who are also very experienced working with people from sexuality and gender diverse communities. 

When you pay for counselling at ACON, you’re helping the community while getting the support you need too. This is because all funds are reinvested into ACON’s support services so that people from our communities who face financial barriers, can still see a specialist LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming counsellor 

We help with a range of needs including:  

  • Coming Out 
  • Gender affirmation 
  • Sexuality 
  • Relationship issues 
  • Grief and loss  
  • Depression & Anxiety 
  • Aging 
  • Stress 
  • Trauma, including PTSD and Complex PTSD 
  • Workplace issues 
  • Chronic Pain and health challenges  
  • Adjustment and significant life changes 
  • Eating disorders  
  • Stress Management 

Organisations seeking information about Pride EAP can email us at   

To make an enquiry or to complete an intake assessment please complete the Intake Form here or call (02) 9206 2000.

Meet the Counsellors

Phena Buhrich

Phena (she/her) is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and member of the Australian Association of Social Workers with 25 years’ experience. For the past 10 years, Phena has specialised in supporting people from sexuality and gender diverse communities, at ACON. She values working within a community- based organisation, that is committed to evidence-based practise and social justice.

Phena has experience supporting clients around concerns such as;

minority stress, transgender health, sexuality, aging, work stress, social isolation, living with HIV, management chronic health conditions, relationships, grief and loss, adjustment disorders, Depression, Anxiety and Post-traumatic stress.Phena works from a Trauma Informed framework and has a flexible and holistic counselling style. She is aware of the significant impact that stigma and isolation have on health and wellbeing. She aims to build a trusting relationship, assisting clients to connect with what is meaningful in their lives and empowering them to make informed choices.

Phena utilises a blend of approaches including:

  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Phena offers clinical supervision as a specialist adjunct to your current supervision arrangements or can work with you as a primary supervisor.

Ellis Panuccio Hartland

Ellis Panuccio Hartland (he/him, they/them) is a psychologist who holds professional registration with AHPRA. Ellis has extensive clinical experience, working with young people and adults around a broad range of clinical presentations. These include gender diversity, sexuality, self-identity, depression, anxiety, complex developmental trauma, neurodiversity including ADHD and autism, OCD, hoarding, anger management, stress management, substance use, grief and loss, sexuality, chronic pain and health anxiety. Ellis works with clients using a trauma-informed, attachment-focussed framework with a non-directive and client-centred approach, utilising creative/play therapy, neurodevelopmental, CBT, TF-CBT, and DBT methods.

Chris Theodoridis

Consultant Psychologist | 12 Years of Experience

Chris Theodoridis (he/him) is a registered psychologist and board approved supervisor with over 12 years of experience in a variety of disciplines. Chris is also SIRA (State Insurance Regulatory Authority) registered and has extensive experience working within the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). He has worked in a diverse number of areas and organisations including NSW Health, non-government organisations, crisis management and accommodation, private practice and the COVID 19 government quarantine project.

Chris is passionate about applying a skills and strengths based approach to help motivate and galvanise clients to achieve their goals, better stress management and overall increase in quality of life. He is able to provide support to adults who are experiencing depression, anxiety, facing life transitions, relationship difficulties, family issues, substance use, addictions, grief, and LGBTQ+ Health. He is comfortable providing service on all platforms (face to face, video, phone and web chat) and enjoys providing individual treatment plans and referrals to ensure clients obtain their best therapeutic outcomes.

Chris holds 4 degrees in counselling/ psychology as well as certificates and training in a wide array of evidence-based modalities including Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI).

Qualifications & Professional Affiliations

  • Master of Arts (Psychology)
  • Graduate Diploma of Counselling
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science – Psychology (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Science
  • SIRA registration
  • Psychology Board Approved Supervisor
  • Registered Psychologist with the Australian Health Professional Registration Association (AHPRA)

Ann Marie Crotty

Ann Marie (she/her) is a psychologist and has worked in the Mental Health field for over 10 years. Ann Marie holds a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Counselling Psychology and is registered with AHPRA.

A focus of Ann Marie’s work includes providing psychological support to individuals from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans and Gender Diverse (LGBTQ) communities impacted by substance use, trauma, depression, anxiety, sexuality and/or gender identity issues and relationships, family, and community issues. Ann Marie also has experience supporting LGBTQ individuals who are concerned about their behaviour in relationships as well as those who have experienced abuse in their intimate or family relationships.

Ann Marie is passionate about working in collaboration with clients from a strength’s-based and trauma informed perspective. Ann Marie draws from Positive Psychology and Contemplative Practices to help clients find new insight into their issues and to find a new way forward that is hopeful and achievable.

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Mindfulness & Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  • Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy,
  • EMDR
  • Relapse Prevention and Behaviour Change

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can I get started?

If your Employer is a member of Pride EAP, complete the required details in the Enquiry Form to request an appointment. Feel free to write any other information you want to share with the counsellor ahead of your appointment.

ACON’s Intake Officer will call you to discuss your needs and to make an appointment.

Alternatively, you can also book an appointment by calling ACON’s intake officer on 02 9206 2000.

How much does it cost?

All fees are covered via your employer; you will have no out-of-pocket expenses. 

How many sessions can I have with my counsellor?

The number of sessions will be dependent on the agreement your employer has with ACON. This will be clarified with you prior to commencing counselling.   

Can I access Pride Counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic?

ACON has put in place procedures to protect the health and safety of all our clients, communities and staff. Pride Counselling Programs will continue to operate either face-to-face or via telehealth, depending on current NSW Health Guidelines and Public Health Orders. 

When are appointments available?

Daytime and evening appointments on Mondays-Fridays are available. When completing the appointment form provide preferred days and times and we will do our best to meet them.  Note that evening appointments are more limited.

Can I access the service via telehealth or face-to-face?

Pride Counselling EAP can be accessed face-to-face or via telehealth (video-conferencing or phone).  
For face-to-face appointments we are located: 

Face-to-face individual counselling sessions may be limited or unavailable at times, depending on current COVID restrictions. 

Are there any cancellation charges if I am unable to attend an appointment?

Any cancellations that occur more than 2 full business/working days before the scheduled appointment time can be rebooked at no cost to the registered employer.

Cancellations made with less than 2 full business/working days’ notice (but more than 1 full days’ notice) will result in a charge of 50% of the session fee, payable by the registered employer.

Cancellations made with less than 1 full business/working days’ notice will result in a charge of 100% of the session fee, payable by the registered employer.

Non-attendance without notice will result in a charge of 100% of the session fee, payable by the registered employer.

Please note that appointments cancelled with less than two full business/working days’ notice will be included in your overall session allocation.

Can I make a booking on behalf of my partner or family?

Some EAP programs are available to partners and family members.  Please check with your employer’s EAP policy to check if this provision is available.  

Can I speak with my counsellor prior to the sessions to make sure they are a good fit for me?

Yes, if you would like to speak to a counsellor your session, please let our Intake Officer know.  

Do I get the same counsellor every session?

Yes, you will see the same counsellor every session. This is important for consistency and so you don’t have to re-tell your story. 

Can I choose my counsellor?

We will try to accommodate preferences wherever possible as we understand the importance of a good fit and feeling comfortable with your counsellor. However, this is dependent on availability and may mean having to wait longer for a service. 

How is my privacy and confidentiality maintained?

Although the EAP service is funded by your employer, we will not share any information about your care with your employer.  Only anonymised data pertaining to session attendance will be provided.  

ACON recognises that the sensitive information, which has been disclosed to us, needs special care and protection. We are required by law, as detailed in the Information Privacy Act 2000 (“The Act”), to comply with a strict code of conduct to maintain the privacy of all personal information on record. ACON’s Privacy Policy complies with the privacy principles set out in the Act and explains how we apply them in practice. 

You can read more about ACON’s Privacy Policy at 

We take all due care to make sure that breaches of privacy will not occur but if you do have a concern it is very important that you let us know. If you wish to make a complaint, or to provide feedback of any other nature, please contact us (preferably via e-mail) with the details of the issue. We will promptly investigate any reasonable complaint and respond to you in writing setting out the outcome of our investigation and any proposed remedies. 

ACON collects personal information on a need-to-know basis and documents client interactions as required by legislation and to ensure we deliver a high-quality professional service. 

Personal information will be used for statistics, record audits, and research and data collection. No identifying information about you will be used. 

You can request copies of your client file by completing the Personal Information Enquiry form.

Only people involved in your care have access to your information and they are subject to confidentiality and privacy policy as per legal requirements as a health service provider. 

We will not provide personal information to government agencies, other organisations or any other party unless a legitimate exception applies. 

Legal limitations to confidentiality may potentially require an ACON staff member to disclose your information to a third party without your consent where: 

  1. the staff member is concerned that you may harm yourself or others; 
  1. a child or young person is at risk; 
  1. a Court of Law instructs ACON to disclose your information. 

If the above occurs we will endeavour to inform you where possible. 

Can I continue accessing Pride Counselling once my EAP session allocation has ended?

Yes. Once your EAP services is completed, you can access Pride Counselling and pay private fees according to our sliding scale of $120 – $180 per session. You may also be able access a Medicare rebate.  Please see our FAQs about Medicare and rebates here: How do i get the medicare rebate? 

What gender affirmation support can I get?

All Pride Counsellors are trans allies and some are trans themselves. We can help you explore your gender and make sense of being trans. 

As registered psychologists and accredited mental health social workers we provide readiness referral assessments for people seeking surgical affirmation. A referral from a mental health provider is typically not required to start gender affirming hormones, if your GP or Endocrinologist requires a referral though, we can assist.