Phone Number 02 9988 0760
fax 02 9988 0450

Dr Julie Peterson: Clinic Director & Founder, Clinical Psychologist
BSc (Hons), DPsych (Clin), MAPS, MACPA, Grad Dip Systemic Couple Therapy, Member ASSERT

Dr Julie Peterson is a Clinical Psychologist, qualified relationship therapist and sexologist. Julie is a world-leading expert in childhood, adolescent and adult Development Disorders (DDs), and is the Founder and Clinic Director of Embracing the Other Half Psychology Clinic (ETOH). She specialises in the assessment and treatment of individuals, couples and families who have DDs, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome, and complex relationship concerns.

Julie is a member of the International Society for Autism Research and regularly attends international research conferences and symposiums such as the Geneva Centre for Autism Symposium's held in Toronto Canada. These conferences provide ASD researchers from around the world with focused opportunities to share the rapidly moving scientific investigation of ASDs. She also presents regularly at seminars, conferences and workshops See Workshops.

ETOH Clinic

The ETOH Clinic is a centre of excellence and a tertiary referral centre for DDs. Julie maintains a rigorous professional development program both personally and for the members of her team, to ensure that the assessment and therapy provided is always the most up to date and effective available.


Julie takes an all-encompassing approach to treatment and therapy and therefore, in addition to individual, couple and family therapy, Julie consults with organisations that her clients interact with. Julie regularly visits schools to meet with teachers, counsellors and principals, to provide guidance and advice on working with students with DDs, and actively works to facilitate those difficult transition periods into and out of high school.


Adults with DDs may have difficulties in the working environment, however they can also make extremely valuable and creative contributions to the organisations that they work for. Julie provides advice to a range of organisations to assist them to better understand and improve the effectiveness of staff members with DDs - in particular those with Asperger's Syndrome.

Personal Experience

Julie's interest in DDs developed from deep personal experience. Her own family history includes strong technical and creative individuals such as engineers and artists (including Sir William Dobell), while the strengths of her Aspie husband of 30 years are focussed in the investment and finance profession.


Julie completed both her First Class Honours Degree in Psychology and Doctorate in Psychology (Clinical) at Macquarie University. She is registered with the Australian Psychologists Registration Board, is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and APS Clinical College as well as the Australian Clinical Psychology Association. She is a member of the Australasian Society of Sex Educators Researchers and Therapists NSW and also has a Graduate Diploma in Systemic Therapy (Couple Therapy) from the Australian Institute for Relationship Studies.

Julie is an Honorary Associate of the Macquarie University Faculty of Psychology, an authorised supervisor with the Australian Psychologists Registration Board and provides both internal and external supervision in her fields of expertise. She is also an Australian Psychological Society Identified Practitioner for Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorders.


Julie can be contacted at



Research conducted by Dr Julie Peterson:

The Psychological Concept of Fusion: Hedonia or Self/Other Confusion?
This research was conducted as part of the coursework for Honours in Psychology (1st Class) at Macquarie University. The purpose of this study was to come to a greater understanding of how the psychological concept of fusion (particularly emotional fusion) impacts on intimate or close relationships. 152 heterosexual couples that had been married for at least 7 years were recruited and given a questionnaire to complete. The questionnaire included a marital satisfaction measure and 3 fusion measures. It was found that fusion has a both positive and negative impact on marital satisfaction with emotional fusion impacting relationships negatively.

The Other Side of the Coin: Exploring the Role Punishment Plays in Maintaining Close Relationships
Close relationships have the capacity to make us both supremely happy and deeply miserable. While most people typically focus on increasing pleasure and delight within relationships, paradoxically, research suggests that successful and sustainable relationships require a balance of negatives as well as positives.

Both quantitative and qualitative research was conducted and completed as a part of a Doctorate in Psychology (Clinical) at Macquarie University. This research was designed to gain a comprehensive understanding of the features and functions of punishment in close relationships. The overall findings of this research suggest that, from a functional perspective, forgiveness is only one of a variety of options available to partners when they are attempting to negotiate interpersonal challenges, and that at times, punishment can play an important role in relationship maintenance and repair.

The Effectiveness of Group Cognitive Behavioural Social Skills Interventions for Teenagers with Asperger's Syndrome: A Case Series.
Children with Asperger's Syndrome (AS), typically wish to have friendships and interact socially. However, as a failure in social learning and social awareness is the hallmark of AS, individuals with AS frequently experience difficulties in establishing friendships and are often teased and bullied. Unlike most children, who learn basic social skills through exposure to social situations, children with AS need to be explicitly taught skills. To date, little has been produced in terms of sound, evidence-based interventions for this population. This study examines the effectiveness of a new social skills group intervention with two AS adolescents. The hypotheses, that participants could be explicitly taught micro and macro social skills, were assessed. Significant improvements in both skills were observed. This study empirically substantiates that social skills can be taught to AS individuals using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in a group setting.

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