Family Therapy

Family life can be complicated and most go through difficult times. Whether it be communication, medical or any other difficulties, professional help can bring a different perspective to current concerns.

By having all members of the immediate family involved, communication blocks can be removed, core issues can be identified and new patterns of relating to one another introduced. This inclusive approach empowers each family member in finding solutions to problems and helps everyone adjust to situations in more constructive ways.

At Cairnmillar, the priority is to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that resolutions are sought without anger or withdrawal. The objective is to gain the skills and confidence to cope more effectively with the differences that are a normal part of family life.

Appointment Process

Family therapy begins with an initial 90 minute consultation. It is strongly recommended that all participants attend this initial session as important background information is shared and next steps are discussed.

Prior to the initial consultation, each participant in family therapy is expected to complete pre-questionnaires to identify the perspective of each individual. Links to these questionnaires will be provided in an appointment confirmation email.

Subsequent sessions typically go for 50 minutes. The regularity and number of sessions required will depend on the specific needs and goals of the participants. This will be discussed during sessions with the family therapist.


This form of therapy helps families and people who care about each other form better relationships. It helps people explore and express difficult thoughts and emotions with their partner, children or other family members.

Some difficulties that family therapy can assist with include:

  • Ongoing disagreements
  • Problems with school or work
  • Conflict within the family
  • Understanding mental illness within the family
  • Child behavioural problems
  • Relationship difficulties, including separation and divorce
  • Intergenerational conflict in families
  • Parent coping and stress management
  • Adjustment to becoming parents (including peri- and post-natal depression and anxiety)
  • Grief, loss and adjustment

Most family therapy involves ‘talk therapy’. Your therapist will look to engage with each family member in the context of their views, age, needs, resources and preferences.

As part of family therapy, your therapist will likely ask each family member what they hope will be the outcome of therapy. They may also invite the whole family to look at a specific problem and seek a common understanding and approach.

Family therapy sessions are led by a registered family therapist who is either a psychologist or psychotherapist. See our family therapy clinicians below.

See our Fees & Rebates page for information on fees and Cairnmillar Clinic's cancellation policy.



Dee Goodman

Dee is an experienced social work counselor, couple counselor and family therapist with a varied background and a passion for working with children, adults, couples, and families.

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Michelle Doolan

Michelle Doolan

Michelle is a Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Family Therapist who works with children, adults, couples, and families.  Michelle tailors her approach and supports clients to connect with their strengths as they work towards their goals.

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Request an appointment

Once an appointment request is submitted, a clinical admin team member will contact you to commence our triage process.

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