Dr Leonie White

Dr Leonie White


Family Therapy | Systemic Practice | Supervision | Narrative Therapy


Helping Families Thrive

Dr Leonie White is a Clinical Family Therapist and Psychologist with over 25 years experience in counselling and mental health, and a passion for supporting individuals, families, schools, communities, professionals, and organisations through an integrative systemic family therapy lens.  She is the co-founder of the Queensland Institute of Family Therapy, operates a Private Practice, and currently teaches at QUT and UniSQ. 

Leonie first began working with children and teens in Education, Mental Health, and Child Protection settings where her passion grew for supporting young people, parents, and families, especially in their most challenging times.  This was also where Leonie developed a passion for supporting people impacted by trauma and for supporting other professionals by providing individual and group systemic supervision, and professional development training across Australia.  She has presented at national and international conferences, contributed publications in academic journals and been a Guest Editor for a special edition of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy on the topic of Integrative Practice in Family Therapy.

As systemic practitioner Leonie loves to work across the lifespan in ways that consider an individual’s experience, the importance of their relationships, resources and resilience, and the significance of the big picture of life to create a holistic perspective valuing a person in their context.  She believes that relationships and context are key to understanding struggles and strengths, to learning about experiences and legacies, and to supporting a person towards their preferred future.

In 2021 Leonie launched bestselling Helping Families Thrive Cards and in 2023 she launched the Helping Families Thrive Strengths Cards.

Leonie is available for Workshops, Keynotes and Conferences. 




Systemic Approaches to Working with Individuals, Couples and Families

This two-day workshop is aimed at practitioners who work with children, young people, adults, couples, families, and/or organisations supporting clients with mental health issues. This workshop aims to introduce participants to core Family Therapy concepts and broaden practitioners understanding of how to view “the client’s problem”, as well as provide practical skills and interventions for use with the client groups with which they work, built on theoretical constructs from systemic, structural, solution focused and narrative family therapy models to teach core thinking and interviewing skills in family therapy. It makes complex theory easy to grasp and the related techniques easy to implement.

The workshop is interactive, dynamic, experiential, and self-reflective in nature. The presenters use a variety of teaching tools and modalities to enhance the learning experience, make complex theory easy to grasp and the related techniques easy to implement. The presenters offer wise and compassionate guidance on everything from intake and assessment to treatment planning, the nuts and bolts of specific interventions, the nuances of establishing therapeutic relationships, and how to troubleshoot when treatment gets “stuck".

Linking theory to practice features strongly throughout each component of the workshop, as does developing practical skills to take away from the workshop. The workshop has been delivered to government and non-government agencies across Australia with consistently high reviews. This is essential training for any practitioner working with children and families ranging from Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Clinical Counsellors, Family Therapists, Counsellors, Child Protection and Disability Workers, Guidance Officers, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Residential Care Workers and Foster Support Workers. On completion of this workshop you will have a family-focused lens in therapy and feel more confident in conducting family therapy sessions or incorporating family therapy techniques into your current practice.


Harnessing the Therapeutic Power of Genograms

This workshop will open up the enormous possibilities and potential of the genogram as a process for both assessment, and intervention. Widely used by family therapists and all health care professionals, the genogram is a graphic way of organising the mass of information gathered during a family assessment and finding patterns in the family system for more targeted treatment. Yet many practitioners commonly complete only a very basic genogram and file it away, never to be looked at again by them (or their client). This is a major loss especially with complex cases. Done correctly a genogram interview is a powerful assessment tool giving you more detailed understanding of case presentations and how to plan targeted interventions. 

Family diagrams (or genograms) provide a picture of who a person is, where they come from, who matters in their life, and how they belong in the world; as well as providing a framework for understanding present stressors, past struggles and strengths and resources.  It goes beyond a traditional family tree allowing practitioners to visualise patterns and psychological factors that affect relationships. This "picture" representation of a client's family context enables practitioners to organise and hold in mind the complexity of a client's context (family history, patterns, events) and their strengths in order to collaboratively identify pathways to healing and promote recovery.  Genograms provide a rich and powerful tool for engagement, enhancing the therapeutic alliance, assessment, treatment planning, and can be used as a therapeutic intervention in itself.


A Neurobiological Approach to Trauma Stabilisation and Family Therapy

Families affected by traumatic events can often break down as each family member struggles in their own way to come to terms with what has happened. Understanding distress reactions and their effect on family dynamics can help the family to cope better. If family members don’t understand each other’s experience, then misunderstandings, communication breakdowns and other problems can result. This is often because unresolved traumatic symptoms fuel behavioural and emotional problems and family conflict, and/ or the family interactions can maintain or exacerbate the pain of traumatic memories.

Weaving a range of unique interventions adapted from a number of cutting-edge therapeutic approaches, including sensorimotor psychotherapy, family systems, mindfulness-based therapies, and EFT. This workshop provides a practical approach to trauma treatment in family systems, communicated in straightforward language accessible to both clients and practitioners. Participants will leave with a solid grasp of therapeutic approaches to trauma stabilisation, working with dissociative symptoms, integrating brain-based treatment methods, and much more. Most of all, they will come away with tools for helping clients create an internal sense of safety and compassion.

Helping Families Thrive

Helping Families Thrive Card Set

36 cards to assist families of all types as they journey through life

Based on Dr Leonie White's Family Therapy clinical practice, theory and research,

these carefully selected cards cover key ingredients of growing healthy, thriving families and make a positive difference to families.


There are 36 cards divided into 6 colour petals categories - Communication, Fun and Enjoyment, Nurturing, Family Structure, Problem Solving and Belonging.  


Each petal has several cards representing each category with an explanation, description, tips and practical ideas, as well as conversation starters to individualise the suggestions to your client's needs.



Book Leonie for your mental health training




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