Luke Armstrong

Luke Armstrong is the founding Director of JLA Consulting Psychologists Pty Ltd.  The firm was established by Luke and Jennifer in 2002 and has since this time provided thousands of specialist psychological and psychiatric assessments to a diverse and complex population.  Luke has alone accumulated over 18,000 face to face hours in the assessment of complex psychological and psychiatric problems.

Luke obtained a Bachelor Honours in Psychology in 1998.  He completed his Supervised Practice with South West Health Care Psychiatric Services from 1999-2001.  As a full time Mental Health Clinician he was trained and mentored in providing acute and ongoing psychiatric assessments and interventions to patients experiencing a Major Mental Illness.  This role also included after hours Crisis Assessment Team interventions at A+E and onsite with Police support.  Luke has worked closely with a multidisciplinary team of Psychiatrists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.

Luke served in Australian Defence Force Reserves from 1999-2003 and during this time received the PT Award whilst serving at ARTC.

In 2003 Luke was appointed as one of two consultants to Davidson Trahaire CorpPsych’s State Wide Triage Critical Incident Response Group.  In this role he provided specialist interventions to major critical incidents within 2 hours of notification.

JLA Consulting Psychologists successfully tendered for the introduction of Psychological Services at Odyssey House Victoria’s Residential Treatment Facility in 2003.  Luke and his consultants have since this time delivered thousands of comprehensive psychological assessments, treatment reviews and reports using evidenced based, standardised psychometric assessments and semi-structured clinical interviews. 

Luke replicated the introduction of psychological services to Odyssey’s Regional Drug and Alcohol Circuit Breaker, Residential Program in 2006.  Luke has also, on request successfully evaluated many of the Odyssey House Treatment Programs, including the Dignified Surroundings Project, OneStep Supported Accommodation, the Circuit Breaker Residential Program and more recently their Melbourne Residential Program.

From 2008-2011 JLA Consulting Psychologists were appointed to an expert Victoria Police Panel of Health Providers.

In 2008, Co-Founder Jennifer authored Motivating Affect Self Control (MASC) an evidenced based Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program.  The program was successfully piloted in a secondary school before being adapted for use with adults.  MASC was introduced in the Odyssey House Adult Residential Program in 2011.  By the end of 2012 research using quantitative data demonstrated an improvement in retention by 40%.  In short more residents remained in treatment post the introduction of the MASC program than pre-MASC treatment at the residential facility.   In 2016 quantitative analysis using clinical outcome measures suggested significant improvements in psychological functioning when clients participated in the MASC program.  In fact for individuals who remained and completed the MASC Modules 2-3 times significant reductions in personality scales traditionally associated with crime, drug abuse and relationship problems were obtained.

On request Luke has provided specialised Psychological Reports, Evaluations and Treatment reviews in the context of legal proceedings and is used to working co-operatively with a client legal Counsel.

Jennifer Armstrong

Jennifer is a Director of JLA Consulting Psychologists Pty Ltd and is also the principal author of (MASC Motivating Affect Self Control).  Jennifer has Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Psychology and Philosophy from Deakin University. She also has an Honours Degree in Psychology.

She worked under supervision for three years for South West Health Care Psychiatric Services as a Mental Health Clinician in Community, Inpatient and CAT services.  

Jennifer brings to the team a strong analytical approach.  Her expertise is in organisational and treatment development.  Jennifer understands the challenges in bringing about cultural change within organisations.  Her success in implementing programs within organisations speaks for itself (45% improvements in retention within 12 months).  

Jennifer has provided specialist consulting services to Victoria Police, Odyssey House Victoria, Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery, and Major National Power Infrastructure Companies.  In addition to MASC being implemented within the Odyssey House Melbourne Therapeutic Community (Residential Services), there has been growing interest from AOD and related Service Providers interstate to integrate MASC into their residential programs. 

Barbara Pacyga PHD 

Barbara joined JLA Consulting Psychologists Pty Ltd in 2007 as a Senior Consultant.  Her role at the firm is diverse. Barbara provides consultancy in clinical assessment of clients with a dual diagnoses of substance abuse and a personality disorder.  She also runs our project management team in research design, implementation and evaluation.  Barbara has long term experience in Debriefing and Critical Incidents.

Barbara brings to JLA Consulting Psychologists Pty Ltd a wealth of knowledge and practice. She has 15 years experience working across many disciplines of psychology. Barbara has worked as a treating psychologist at a university counselling service and as an academic lecturing in statistics.  She has extensive experience in the assessment of educational, emotional and psychological needs among preschoolers, primary-aged children, teens, and adults. Barbara has worked with clients residing in specialised settings and the general community.  Barbara is known for her professionalism, her ability to connect with people from a wide range of backgrounds and her sense of humour.

Barbara’s research interests are as diverse as her experience as a treating psychologist.  She has completed an honours thesis examining the effectiveness of counselling for victims of crime. Her current doctorial dissertation is an investigation into the structure and stability over time of specific interests in young children.

As part of her role at JLA Consulting Psychologists Pty Ltd, Barbara is involved in ongoing research within the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) setting. In particular she is examining the impact of MASC on participant retention in residential treatment facilities and how this affects psychological outcomes, and the effect of short-term residential treatment on psychological outcomes.  Barbara is a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society.