About Lead the Way

Lead the Way, based in Melbourne, Victoria, is an organisation dedicated to providing high quality clinical services to those in need, and training fellow professionals in the art and science of delivering Animal-Assisted Interventions.


Lead The Way was established in 2003 by Psychologist and Professional Dog Trainer Melanie G Jones. Seeing the degree of attachment between people and their animals inspired Melanie to begin investigating the Human-Animal Bond (HAB). Melanie subsequently went on to develop Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy (AAP) programmes that incorporated her psychology training, psychotherapy techniques and dog training skills and philosophies – and Lead The Way was born.


With a strong dedication to research and development, Lead The Way has remained at the forefront of the developing field of Animal-Assisted Interventions since its inception. Lead The Way continues to work in collaboration with organisations and Universities to ensure our team provides you with the most up to date knowledge in the field.


In 2009 the Psychology Clinic opened, providing psychological counselling and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) to individuals and families. The Clinic, located in Boronia, provides quality clinical services to those in need across Melbourne’s east, including the Dandenong Ranges.

Lead The Way Australia is delighted to have been granted full membership of the IAHAIO (International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations)

Mel and Tarlach

Our Therapists

Melanie G. Jones

Clinical Director

Melanie Jones is a Psychologist, Animal-Assisted Therapist, Professional Dog Trainer and the Director of Lead the Way. Whilst completing her PhD, Melanie’s role includes supervision of clinicians, research and training, and supporting people to train their own dogs to provide them with emotional support or assistance. Melanie is accompanied by her own therapy dogs Opal (Labrador) and Felix (Yorki).

Melanie is registered as a Psychologist and supervisor with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and holds full membership with the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc. She is also a Senior Canine Behavioural Trainer, with extensive experience in therapy- and therapeutic-dog training.

Denise Warmington

Animal Assisted Therapist, Credentialed Mental Health Nurse, Professional Dog Trainer

Boronia Clinic (Thursdays) & Ferntree Gully training centre (by appointment)

Denise is a credentialed mental health nurse with over 23 years experience working with adolescents, young adults, adults and older adults experiencing a range of mental health difficulties.

Denise adopts a client-centred approach to assist you to achieve your goals.  She works with her therapy dog Cayley and guinea pigs Pepper and Cinnamon at the Boronia Clinic, and is available for appointments on Thursdays.

Denise also has skills and experience in dog training and is an assistant on the emotional support dog programs.

Denise is a registered nurse with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and a credentialed mental health nurse with the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN).

Angela Lim


 Mondays & Fridays – Boronia

Angela is a registered Psychologist (AHPRA) with a masters in professional psychology. She completed an internship in AAT in 2021. Angela works with a range of clients from ages 2 and up. She supports people with a wide variety of difficulties, including mental health concerns, behavioural or relationship issues.

Angela has experience working with children and families, and offers a range of client-centred techniques to assist you to achieve your goals, including animal assisted therapy. Angela works with Labrador Opal and guinea pigs Pepper and Cinnamon.

Anita Wang


 Tuesdays & Wednesdays – Boronia

Antia is a registered Psychologist (AHPRA) completing her Masters of Professional Psychology and AAT internship in 2022. Anita works with adolescents and adults experiencing a wide range of mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, work related stressors, grief and loss, bullying, self harm and cross cultural issues.

Anita utilises a range of client centred strategies, such as humanistic, CBT, DBT, ACT and animal assisted therapy. Anita works alongside her Cane Cross (Italian Mastiff) Truffle, who is a lovable and happy large breed dog.

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