Coming to grips with Bowen Family Systems Theory in a collaborative learning environment.

FSI Trainer - Dr Linda MacKay

Dr Linda Mackay: Senior family systems clinician and trainer, specialty in trauma recovery and complex couple and family relationship issues. 

Linda MacKay PhD is an accredited psychotherapist & counsellor. She has degrees and qualifications in counselling, couple and family therapy and her PhD in critical psychology (UWS). Linda is a highly regarded relationship and trauma therapist and teacher in the field nationally. Her particular areas of expertise are:

  • Couple and family therapy (conflict, communication issues, intimacy problems, impact of past abuse)
  • Separation and divorce issues
  • Resilience issues for children, adolescents and young adults and their families.
  • Workplace stress and business coaching
  • Family business tensions
  • Relationship tensions in families and extended family groups.
  • Supervision and coaching
  • Trauma issues including child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and self-harm
  • Self-injury and suicidality – and general mental health for all age groups (children to the elderly)

Linda Mackay PhD has a well-established reputation in the family therapy field in Australia. She is well-known as a very engaging trainer who brings complex ideas to life, not only as a clinician and supervisor, but also in non-clinical organisational and workplace environments. She has extensive experience working with individuals, couples and families, and has specialised in working with people who have suffered grief and loss, sexual issues and complex trauma issues including child sexual abuse, domestic violence, dissociation and self-harm. Linda’s approach to her work is informed by many years working within traditional psychotherapeutic models, has evolved to take into account the neurobiology of trauma and anxiety and  the connection of these symptoms within the family process.

Linda also works private individuals and with business executives who wish to optimise their performance as leaders.  Linda is a clinical member of PACFA & Accredited Supervisor for AAFT. Linda is also a lecturer in the undergraduate and Masters program in Counselling at Notre Dame University.


Interview with Michael Kerr – 2007, Barbara Fraser, Linda MacKay & Lu Pease, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT) Vol.31 No.1 2010 pp. 100-109.

Trauma and Bowen Family Systems Theory: Working with Adults Who were Abused as Children, Linda MacKay, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT) Vol.33 No.3 2012 pp. 232-241.

Collaborative Approaches to Family Systems Supervision: Differentiation of Self, Linda MacKay & Jenny Brown, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 2014, 34, 325–337.

Differentiation of Self: Enhancing Therapist Resilience when Working with Relational Trauma, Linda MacKay, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 38(4), 637-656.

Conference Presentations

2017.‘The challenges of co-regulation and differentiation of self in non-kinship care from a Bowen family systems lens, Center for Study of Natural Systems and the Family Symposium, February 17, Houston, Texas.

2017.‘Reducing vicarious traumatization: Thinking about the limits of being “good-enough” when working with traumatized clients’, Australian & New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy (ANZAP), Sydney University. April 29, *Keynote Address.

2017. ‘Relational trauma and Bowen family systems theory: Current Perspectives’, Contemporary Practice in Family Therapy 1 Day Symposium, Sydney, May 12. *Keynote Address.

2015. Anxiety in the context of the family. Northern Beaches Child and Family Interagency Forum, Sydney. October 28. *Keynote Address

2014.The influence of family emotional process and anxiety on developmental challenges: A Bowen natural systems perspective, Hunter New England Health Psychology Conference, ‘Psychology across the Lifespan’, University of Newcastle, November 14. *Keynote Address.

2014.Two competing forces – the need for autonomy and the need for intimacy – How to think about functioning under stress in families and at work’, Cooperation and Conflict in the Family Conference, University of NSW, February 2-5.

2013.Attachment, Anxiety and Systems’, Keep Them Safe-Whole Family Team Forum, Sydney, March 11-12. *Keynote address.

2011. ‘Family systems and child abuse’, Australian Independent School Counsellors Conference, Terrigal, NSW, May 26-27. *Keynote address.

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