Mercedas Taaffe-Cooper is a registered psychologist (MSc clinical psych) and a sports and exercise scientist (BSc). The CounterPunch program as a culmination of her 35 years’ experience working with youth.

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WHO IS IT FOR? Mercedas specialises in teenage clients who are struggling to regulate their emotions, have difficulty managing their anger and/or anxiety, lacking confidence, Low self-esteem, difficulties with peers or struggling with relationships.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT? This program is unique in that it uses physical activity as a medium of therapeutic intervention combined with a reality therapy / choice theory framework. CounterPunch has been trialed for a number of years in Ireland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory during which time it has been validated by the Menzies Research Institute.

Initially clients participate in one to one sessions and can opt to transition into a group program that provides support on an on-going bases. Mercedas also offers bulk billing as part payment.

HOW DO I REFER CLIENTS? Clients can be referred by contacting Mercedas directly. If bulk billing a GP referral letter is required.

Practise Location: 10 Wilson Court Mount Barker SA 5251

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“Mercedas and her program changed my son’s life completely. CounterPunch has increased his self-esteem hugely, helped him overcome anxiety and fear, now exhibiting tolerance and empathy. He has ceased all medications and counselling, obtained his driver’s license and become one of the programs young leaders.

Keith, Parent


I learnt a lot about myself in the months I was there, Merc you taught me a lot about who I could be. When I started I wasn’t trying to achieve anything but now I am. I believed in the program from the start and will use my voice to show what this program did for me”

Matt Client 16 years

“I love the evidence based nature of this program and the ease with which it can be built into student’s educational programs. The individual benefit for participants far exceeded my expectations. As a school, we have seen reduced suspensions, increased attendance, improved social and emotional wellbeing and improved interpersonal relationships both at home and at school. Counterpunch has become a core element of our school wide wellbeing program that has proven effective in all aspects of student’s lives”

Beth, School Psychologist


Great for my focus and confidence, taught me self-discipline. It helped me in pretty much everything at school when I moved interstate”.

Connor Client 14 years

“CounterPunch has been a valuable addition to our student learning and wellbeing. Students are motivated and have developed some really positive decision-making skills at school, at home and in the community”

Sarah, School principal

“As a parent, I highly recommend CounterPunch. As an Army member, my son has had to change schools and peer groups regularly as we have moved from post to post. Meeting Mercedas came at a great time for my son. CounterPunch was a great boost for him and reinforced his respect for self and others. His fitness, strength and self-confidence grew weekly and this transferred into other areas in his life. My son accredits CounterPunch with having set him up for his current school and sporting endeavours and life in general”    

Scott, Parent


I have been involved with the Counterpunch program for the last 4 years. During this time, I have seen the growth in the students in their attitude and decision making. The practical section of Counterpunch was easy for the students to understand as it was explained using language that the students could identify. I have had numerous parents comment on the positive change that they have noticed in their child and accredit Mercedas and Counterpunch to their change in behaviour.


Karen, student liaison officer