Jennifer Elaine McIntosh, Ph.D

Clinical Psychologist, Family Therapist, Researcher.

Family Transitions
28 Princes Street
North Carlton, 3054, Victoria, AUTRALIA
Phone (613)9347 2434


Jennifer McIntosh is a clinical and developmental psychologist, family therapist, and researcher. She is the founding director of Family Transitions, a specialist research and clinical practice, based in Melbourne. The centre is devoted to clinical assessment and treatment of families experiencing trauma or transition, and the support of professionals who work with them. The centre maintains a strong training and research profile along these lines.

Jennifer is currently Adjunct Associate Professor at La Trobe University (School of Public Health) and has prior adjunct positions as Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne (School of Behavioural Science). Her interests as a researcher and educator in childhood attachment trauma arise from an eclectic blend of clinical and research experiences. Studies and work in Australia, the UK and the USA have focussed on the experiences of children subject to family trauma and loss, particularly examining the effects of parental deprivation and conflict in early childhood and the experiences of children in foster care.

Grounding all clinical and educative practices in evidence based literature, Jennifer continues to build programs of professional development that attract national and international interest, and ongoing funding. Recent professional development initiatives include the highly acclaimed Children in Focus Program, in association with La Trobe University. Multiple publications and multi-media resources have stemmed from this (see bibliography for detailed list). A recently published parent education booklet, Because it’s for the kids: Building a secure base for parenting after separation, is widely used throughout Australia in prevention and education with separating parents in high conflict. The clinical establishment and research of the Child Inclusive Practice approach in Family Law Mediation has been a strong focal point for the past 10 years. Through this work, Jennifer has had a substantial impact on both policy and practice formation in Family Law Dispute Resolution.

Jennifer has played a leading role in national research and associated professional development programs. Key stakeholders include the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department, Family and Community Services, The Office for the Status of Women, and the Family Court of Australia.

Jennifer is the Director of three current research programs. The Children in Focus Study is a longitudinal exploration of outcomes for families, studying the impact of child inclusive mediation processes on families’ post separation functioning. The study involves multiple sites throughout Australia, with the management of large qualitative and quantitative databases. This study is due for completion in mid 2009. Jennifer was Guest Editor on a special edition of the Family Court Review (Blackwell), concerning the nature of child inclusion in family law matters. Further international papers from this study are underway, with three Australian papers already published. Two studies for the Family Court of Australia are also recently completed, exploring the impacts on parental functioning and child well-being of a less adversarial Court process in New South Wales, and of a Child Responsive Court process in Melbourne.

Jennifer is a frequently invited keynote presenter, lecturer and trainer, nationally and internationally. She is well regarded for her strong advocacy on the rights of children to psychological safety, particularly in the face of family trauma and change.

Recent Keynote and Invited Conference Presentations

  • Invited Plenary speaker and workshop presenter. AFCC conference. New Orlean, May 2009.
  • Invited Plenary speaker and workshop presenter. AFCC conference. Vancouver, May 2008.
  • Invited keynote speaker.8th Annual Family Law Intensive.. Family Law Section. Family Law Council of Australia. Sydney, February 2008.
  • Keynote Speaker. Climate Change.The new family law environment.West Australia Family Law Pathways Network. Perth. February 2008.
  • Invited speaker at the Children and Divorce: Mediation Research Conference. Indiana, USA. November 2007.
  • Invited keynote speaker, Family Court of Australia, Judges Conference, Melbourne, 2007.
  • National Training Program: Family Relationship Centres: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, for the Australian Government Attorney General’s Department, 2007
  • Invited keynote speaker at the Divorce Research Conference. Norwich, UK. July 2006.


McIntosh, J.E. (in press) Innovations in child inclusive mediation. In M. Pomrenke & B. McKenzie (Eds). Children of separation and divorce: Challenges and innovations. Univeristy of Toronto Press.
McIntosh, J.E. & Chisholm, R. (2008). Cautionary notes on the shared care of children in conflicted parental separations. Journal of Family Studies. Vol 14, 1.
McIntosh, J.E. & Chisholm,R. (2008). Shared care and children’s best interests in conflicted separation. A cautionary tale from current research. Australian Family Lawyer, January.
McIntosh, J.E. (2008) Special Issue: Including children in family law proceedings- international perspectives. Introduction by special guest editor. Family Court Review, vol.46, no.1, January, 37-38
McIntosh, J.E., Bryant,D., Murray,K. (2008) Evidence of a different nature: the child responsive and less adversarial initiatives of the Family Court of Australia. Family Court Review, vol.46, no.1, January, 125-136.
McIntosh, J.E., Wells, Y.D., Smyth, B.M. & Long, C.M. (2008). Child-focused and child-inclusive divorce mediation: comparative outcomes from a prospective study of postseparation adjustment. Family Court Review, vol.46, no.1, January, 105-124.
Bourke,S., McIntosh,J.E, Gridley, H. (2007). Parenting after separation. A position statement prepared for The Australian Psychological Society. August.
McIntosh, J. (2007). Child inclusion as a principle and as evidence-based practice: Applications to family law services and related sectors.  AFRC Issues Paper No. 1, at
McIntosh, J.E., Wells, Y.D. & Long, C.M. (2007) Child Focused and Child Inclusive Family Law Dispute Resolution. One year findings from a prospective study of outcomes. Journal of Family Studies, vol 13 (1) 8-25.
McIntosh, J.E. (2006). Children's Cases Pilot Project: An exploratory study of impacts on parenting capacity and child well-being. Final Report to the Family Court of Australia, accessed on 12/07/07 at home/publications/papers_and_reports/new_papers/comms_brochure_ccp_final_report
McIntosh, J.E. & Long, C.M. (2006) Children beyond dispute. A Prospective Study of Outcomes from Child Focused and Child Inclusive Post-Separation Family Dispute Resolution. Final Report. Canberra. The Australian Government Attorney General’s Department.
McIntosh, J. (2005) Because it’s for the kids: Building a secure parenting base after separation. Publication of the Children in Focus Program. La Trobe University. For the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department.
McIntosh, J. & Long, C. (2005) Current findings on Australian children in post- separation disputes: Outer conflict, inner discord. Journal of Family Studies, vol 11, no. 1.
McIntosh, J.E., Long, C.M., & Moloney, L. (2004). Child-focused and child- inclusive mediation: A comparative study of outcomes. Journal of Family Studies, 10, no. 1, 87-96.
Moloney,L. & McIntosh,J. (2004). Child responsive practices in Australian Family Law: Past problems and future directions. Journal of Family Studies, vol. 10, no.1, pp. 71-86.
Grimes, A. & McIntosh,J. (2004) Emerging practice issues in child inclusive divorce mediation. Journal of Family Studies, vol 10, no 1, pp. 113-120.
McIntosh, J. (2003) Children living with domestic violence: Research foundations for early intervention. Journal of Family Studies, vol 9., no. 2, pp 201-218.
McIntosh, J. (2003) Entrenched conflict in parental separation: Pathways of impact on child development. Journal of Family Studies, vol 9, no.1, 63-80.
McIntosh, J. & Deacon-Wood,H. (2003) Group interventions for separated parents in entrenched conflict: An exploration of evidence-based frameworks. Journal of Family Studies, vol 9, no.2.
McIntosh, J. and Moloney, L. (2002) Children in Focus. Child Inclusive primary dispute resolution. Clinical Demonstrations. Melbourne: La Trobe University, Centre for Online & Multimedia Educational Technologies.
McIntosh, J. (2002) Thought in the face of violence: a child’s need. Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, 26, 229-241
McIntosh, J. (2000) Child Inclusive Divorce Mediation: Report on a qualitative research study. Mediation Quarterly, 18, pp 55-70.
McIntosh, J. (2000), 'Thought in the Face of Violence: A Child's Need'. Keynote address in Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (Ed.), National forum: the way forward: children young people and domestic violence: Proceedings: Melbourne, 26 and 27 April, Office for the Status of Women, Canberra.
McIntosh, J. (1999) Therapeutic Transitions in Out of Home Care. Children Australia, 26, no.4.
McIntosh, J. with Strategic Partners (1999) Contact Services in Australia. Research and Evaluation Report. For Legal Aid and Family Services, Attorney General’s Dept., Canberra
McIntosh, J. with Strategic Partners (1999) Child focussed family and child mediation and counselling. Research and evaluation report. For Legal Aid and Family Services, Attorney General’s Dept., Canberra
McIntosh, J. (1997) Promoting well-being in child development. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
McIntosh, J. (1996) A phenomenology of attachment and its felt absence for multiply placed foster children. Unpublished PhD Dissertation. University of Melbourne.
McIntosh, J. (1993) The Family Functioning Scale: Lessons from a three year Demonstration Project. Families in Society: Journal of Contemporary Human Services, May.
McIntosh, J. (1992) "Marrying Research and Casework". Australian Journal of Social Work, January.
McIntosh, J. (1990) Final Evaluation Paper: A Study of Growth and Change. The Children's Protection Society
McIntosh, J. & Green, L. (1990) "HUGS- a Parent-Child Interaction Program". Children Australia, 15, December.