Monique Pangari is a Psychotherapist Who Specialises In Adoption Therapy & Teaches Professional Counsellors & Psychotherapists in Australia

A Little About Me…

Hello and a very warm welcome to my service. I’m Monique Pangari, MEd (she/her), a Certified Trauma Psychotherapist, Educator, Supervisor, Trainer and survivor of Adoption Trauma who specializes in mind-body reunification for addressing complex developmental trauma. I have worked with and trained hundreds of people and professionals from all over Australia in expressive, symbolic and somatic trauma recovery processes and cultural healing practices. In my private practice I offer Therapy, Consultation, Supervision, Online Webinars and Training specifically for adoptees, their families and other providers working with this population.

My work centres on healing the pain of relinquishment trauma, family separation and cultural loss, with a special focus on the experiences and impact of mother-infant separation on adoptees, children & teens growing up in foster care, the intergenerational impact of Stolen Generation and adult survivors of the Forced Adoption Era.

Adoption is complex and has life-long implications. I have founded Healing Adoption Trauma in order to provide awareness and support for fellow adoptees living with maternal separation loss and for those who love and support them.

Professional History

I am a certified Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner and incorporate evidence-based practices including NeuroAffective Touch®, Jungian Sandplay Therapy, Dynamic Attachment Repatterning Experience (DARe), Family Constellations, Expressive Therapies and Internal Family Systems (IFS)/Parts Work into my work with individuals and families. My teaching is infused with empathy, storytelling, humour, research, practical tools, applied knowledge and experiential wisdom.

I have a Bachelor of Education with a major in Psychology (JCU) and two Master of Education degrees majoring in Behaviour Management and School Guidance & Counselling (QUT). My post graduate training has centred around the neurobiology of attachment and trauma, through the lens of infant separation and identity formation. I have worked in the fields of Education as a School Teacher, Behaviour Support Advisory Teacher and Guidance Officer; Child Protection as a Child and Family Therapist; Family Relationships and Separation as a Couples Therapist, Children’s Counsellor and Individual Adult Counsellor; Post-Suicide Intervention as an Advisor to School Administration; Post-Adoption as a Counsellor and Intermediary; and have assisted internationally renowned attachment and trauma expert, Dr. Diane Poole-Heller, with her online DARe Training programs aimed at healing attachment trauma.

Working with individuals impacted by family separation, removal and institutionalization, I am passionate about breaking the cycle of historical and intergenerational trauma at the individual and community levels. This work is decolonising work. It is imperitive that we deconstruct the systems, language, social attitudes, policies and practices that have lead to trauma in the adoptee population.

The integrative weaving together of symbology, psyche, somatics, soul work and therapeutic touch are the foundation of my clinical practice with clients. My interest in training in these modalities and interventions has always, at a fundamental level, been about my own healing. I have always wanted to understand how to heal pre-verbal trauma, and I have been privileged to follow this innate drive across my 30-year career. My journey informs my approach to healing and the two cannot be separated.

I strive to provide a therapeutic environment that promotes felt safety, attunement, exploration and growth and will work collaboratively with you or your family to bring about change for your system.

I live and work on the unceded lands of the Gubbi Gubbi and Jinibara people of the Sunshine Coast in South East Qld, Australia. I pay my deepest respect to Elders past, present and emerging. Always has been, always will be Aboriginal Land.

Personal History

I was born in Australia in 1972 at the height of the ‘Forced Adoption Era’. Relinquished at birth and adopted at 6 weeks of age, I grew up in a family with two older adopted siblings. As a result of this complex experience, I have faced the rollercoaster of four ‘search and reunion’ journey’s, teenage pregnancy and parenting, the loss of connection to my Aboriginal ancestry and estrangment from multiple family members.

I was driven early on to study psychology and psychotherapy to try to ‘make sense’ of something no one was talking about. I have spent my 30-year career studying, integrating and teaching others about the significance of relational attachment, the impacts of pre-verbal trauma and the dynamics of families where relational attachment disruption has occurred. I have also listened to many adoptees, natural parents and adoptive parents about the detrimental impacts of the relinquishment wound on their lives.

After spending 2021 in weekly online contact with a group of fellow Adoptees (mostly from the USA) soul searching, writing and sharing our experiences, I wanted to develop a source of connection and community for other adult adoptees here on the Sunshine Coast. This vision was brought to fruition in late 2022 through my free monthly volunteer ‘Adoptees Connect’ gatherings. Meeting each month with this wonderful group of humans, listening to and sharing our hearts, brought such passion for me to offer my services in a more specialised way.

In 2023 I was invited to present a 2-hour talk at an ACA Chapter Meeting with fellow Counsellors on the Sunshine Coast, Qld. Following my heart, I chose to present on the topic of Post-Adoption Counselling. I was overwhelmed with the heart-felt engagement and compassionate response from my colleagues. My inner child rejoiced all the way home.

2024 has brought a shift in my focus from Lecturing and Supervising at the University and running post-graduate Training programs for Professionals to now specialise in offering individual counselling sessions to children, teens and adults who have been impacted by relinquishment and adopted in infancy or childhood, or have been impacted by removal and placed in institutional care through foster care placements, and their families.

Along with this specialised counselling, I also present online webinars for Adoptees and for the Adoption Constellation – adoptive parents, foster carers, child protection professionals, case workers, counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers and allies – on the traumatic impact of relinquishment and removal. These offerings are both informative and gentle invitations into trauma and attachment healing practices.

I welcome you to this space and to the conversation. I hope to meet you in-person or online over the coming months and years.

Contact Monique

Kellie Knight
Kellie Knight
13:27 03 Apr 24
A wonderful therapist, highly recommended
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“Monique was excellent! She has a great knowledge of both Trauma and Sandplay. Her sensitivity and skill as a therapist came into play allowing greater focus on the experiential aspect of learning the content and tools.”

Counsellor, Mullumbimby

“This course has completely changed the way I work. It gave me the most appropriate model of therapy for children experiencing domestic violence. I enjoyed learning in a supportive, mindful and inspiring environment. Monique is a wonderful teacher. She lives and breathes what she teaches and inspired me to do the same.”

Aisling Fry, DV Counsellor

“Monique is absolutely lovely & wonderful! She has such a great mix of personal, accessible energy along with depth and breadth of experience, as well as the ability to convey theoretical concepts clearly.”

Counsellor, Brisbane

“Monique is so masterful and authentic. She is delightful and brought symbols and Sandplay to life. This training was enriching and transformative. It will change my practice and my ability to work with people in any context.”

Social Worker, Brisbane

“I am more confident that I can connect with children and build trust as well as a deeper and more reflective practice. Monique brings a passion and genuineness to this work. Her experience working with children and parents was evident and useful.”

Linda Casuarinna, Psychologist

“I loved the whole program, but especially enjoyed the Sandplay activities. This was my first experience with Sandplay Therapy and I was very excited by it and its potential. I love Monique’s style of sharing her knowledge. She is warm, kind, safe, generous, knowledgable and awesome!! This training was absolutely inspiring!”

Somatic Therapist, Brisbane

“Monique, thank you so much for such a powerful and healing training. I appreciate how much energy you put in to your training and wish to acknowledge you for your beautiful presence throughout. You are an incredible teacher and therapist and such an amazing role model for us to learn from. I am so grateful that I made the decision to invest in my personal and professional development. I sense that this course will be life changing for me.”

DV Counsellor, Alice Springs

“This course was invaluable, surprising, unfolding and growthful! Monique is awesome. She has a wealth of knowledge, is supportive, experienced and flexible. I loved discovering new parts of myself, the connections I made with other colleagues and the case presentations. Engaging in my own Sandplay Process has been most informative in my work with clients. I have learned to trust the process and am more present with my clients.”

Shivawn Davis, Speech Pathologist/Counsellor

“I really loved the depth of play I experienced in the Sandplay and Symbol Work. Monique’s experience and wisdom within the field makes it easy and effortless to trust in each of the processes. Her presence is calm and reassuring.”

Therapist, Brisbane

“Monique’s ability to hold a safe, nurturing space in which to learn and heal was paramount to the emotional, relational and intellectual depth I was able to go to in the training.”

Psychologist, Gold Coast

“The highlight for me was the blend of experiential and theoretical. It was just right! Monique was compassionate and experienced with a good understanding of the range of material across Sandplay, Symbol Work and Trauma theories. This was an enticing introduction to a great combination of topics. It was well presented, informative and enriching. There was a good mix of personal and professional learning.”

Psychologist, Alice Springs

“I am an advocate and explorer of how creativity and expression, an awareness of our internal body states, and an understanding of our unique attachment blueprint can help us live a truly authentic life.”

Monique Pangari (MEd) – Adoptee