Laurie MacKinnon MSW, PhD


Laurie MacKinnon PhD has been in private practice in Sydney Australia for over 25 years providing:


  • Counselling for individuals, couples and families. Common concerns are anxiety and depression, relationship conflict, separation and divorce, parenting issues.


  • Training and supervision of couple and family therapists and of mediators.


  • Consultation to many of Sydney‘s counselling and government organizations, including several years as ongoing consultant to: Relationships Australia;  RAPS Family Therapy and Mediation; Unifam Counselling and Mediation; Dalmar Child and Family Services; and NSW Area Health Child and Adolescent specialist mental health services.


  • Training  therapists in integrating trauma processing skills into a counseling framework.


   Laurie has had a long-time interest in helping families heal from the destructive effects of abuse and violence. In providing supervision to psychologists and social workers at health centres in New South Wales, she became aware of the difficulties therapists faced when working with families referred from child protection authorities.  This inspired her to undertake qualitative interviews with parents in 50 families who were clients of both therapists and child protection authorities, asking for their views on the “help” they were receiving from professionals. By gaining their perspective, Laurie was able develop an alternative approach to working with these families that was inherently more respectful and ultimately more successful, an approach  published in her book "Trust and Betrayal in the Treatment of Child Abuse" (1998) (see Publications).

Dr. Laurie MacKinnon

Over the last several years, she received advanced training in therapeutic approaches to resolving trauma and has integrated these approaches into her knowledge and practice of couple and family therapy. Her current interest is in helping more therapists, help more people, more effectively by teaching therapists trauma-based techniques that can more quickly resolve individual and couple issues charged with negative affect.

More about Laurie's work as:
Consultant to Relationships Australia NSW


For many years, Laurie has been an ongoing consultant to Relationships Australia NSW (RANSW, formerly known as Marriage Guidance Council of NSW) where she supervises senior clinical staff. She also provides live supervision and consultation to the adolescent family therapy and mediation service known as RAPS. Her collaboration with the RAPS team has helped them develop innovative practices in areas such as adolescent violence and substance abuse, the intersection of couple issues and family therapy, working with families from a refugee background and using client feedback in enhancing therapists’ practices.


In the early 1980s she introduced the Milan family therapy approach to Relationships Australia NSW and, along with Kerrie James, was instrumental in developing the first family therapy training program for RANSW, which was one of the first in the Australia to train family therapists using live supervision with client families. This training program became the template for future couple and family therapy training programs at Relationships Australia.

Supervisor to teams, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services


Over the last  30 years Laurie has provided family therapy supervision to several teams of psychologists, social workers and psychiatric nurses working with in NSW area health centres. For several years she  supervised at Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services in Campbelltown area where she provided live consultation interviews with families for the benefit of families and the training of staff.

Consultant to Dalmar, Penrith


Laurie’s approach to working with families was refined through the live supervision and consultation to families she provided to a team of family therapists for several years at Dalmar, a community-based service in Penrith west of Sydney.

 Laurie’s collaboration with the Dalmar team included other projects such as the introduction of “Open Days”, a solution to the problem of the impossibly long waiting lists for family therapy in Sydney’s outer suburbs. Open Days offered single session, best practice, interviews for families seeking immediate access to a family therapist. After the team presented their work at a national conference, Open Days were implemented in many family therapy centres around Australia.

Consultant to Unifam Counselling and Mediation


Laurie has also been a long time consultant to Unifam Counselling and Mediation, providing live supervision and case consultation to couple and family therapists and case consultation to mediators working with couples following separation. Currently Laurie provides consultation to their senior staff and provides clinical input to the Post Separation Trauma Clinic that uses Radical Exposure Tapping.