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Our History

Since 1961, Cairnmillar has been at the forefront in the delivery of foundation training in the field of counselling, psychotherapy and trauma therapy. Cairnmillar Institute pioneered counselling and psychotherapy in Australia. Cairnmillar is one of Australia’s pre-eminent centres for psychological and trauma counselling and providers of education and training.

Professor Emeritus, Dr Francis Macnab founded the Institute in 1961. It is governed by a Council of distinguished and experienced people from the community, and the professions.

Cairnmillar is an outstanding example of what psychology and psychotherapy can do for people, and for our community. Cairnmillar has established a reputation not only for itself, but for the place of psychology in the helping professions. In addition, its professional and community education programs have been a high priority from the outset. It also has a vigorous training School of Psychology Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Cairnmillar is proud of its unique and pioneering history and we value the association of many key people over our 55 years.



As an approved Higher Education Provider, our education programs have university equivalence. We are proud of this achievement and the professional recognition it affords Cairnmillar as a centre known for clinical excellence.  Our psychology degrees have accreditation from The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), and our counselling and psychotherapy programs have also received accreditation from the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia (PACFA).

Our Head of School and the staff of the school are committed to providing a personalised training experience for all who come our way. The school has developed an outstanding teaching program and a reputation for the training of psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists. The high quality of our programs means that our graduates meet the highest possible standards.

Cairnmillar is now offering a Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) degree, as well as many other postgraduate and short courses providing several pathways to meet the needs of aspiring psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists from all over the world. It is highly significant that so many of our former students hold leadership positions who speak appreciatively of their experiences at Cairnmillar.


Psychology Services

Cairnmillar has been at the forefront of clinical psychology and psychotherapy for over 55 years and has earned a reputation as a centre for clinical excellence. Cairnmillar’s clinical services specialise in the treatment of psychological and emotional problems. Cairnmillar has specialist skills in the treatment of relationships and families, children under six years with behavioural issues, troubled adolescents, the treatment of trauma and its aftermath reactions, and problem gambling.

For many years it has played an active role in community psychology through the establishment of suicide prevention programs, community education for shyness, single living, human relations programs, stress management in schools and much more. Cairnmillar continues to provide employee assistance programs, workshops in psychotherapy techniques and psychological health, as well as careers assessment and counselling.

Click here to find out more about our clinic services.



To deliver innovative high quality, accessible psychological services and professional education.



Cairnmillar contributes to the wellbeing of the community through:

  • Preparing competent work-ready psychology graduates through accessible, high quality, professional higher education programs.
  • Responding to individual and community needs through provision of targeted counselling support.
  • Providing community programs that maintain and improve mental health, build resilience and prevent mental illness.
  • Initiating and conducting outstanding community education through short courses.
  • Undertaking collaborative, meaningful research programs focused on community needs.



Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Professionalism, Collaboration