Mark Tonkinson – Brisbane

Mark Tonkinson – Counsellor & Psychotherapist

Brief Bio

Mark is an internationally qualified Psychodynamic Counsellor and Psychotherapist following a rigorous five-year training (under grad and post grad), in London UK, and was awarded an MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2012. He has developed extensive clinical experience as a therapist (since 2011) across a range of settings including; National Health Service (NHS), British NGO’s & tertiary education and within private practice (UK and Australia). Mark was previously employed full-time in the NHS as a Counsellor and Dynamic Interpersonal Therapist (2014-15) practising from a hospital out-patients service seeing GP referrals or self-referrals. Mark has maintained a private practice in Australia since 2016.

The psychodynamic model is a “talk therapy” approach of either brief counselling or longer-term psychotherapy. Psychodynamic therapy can be helpful in linking current troubling thoughts, feelings, beliefs or behaviours to their underlying origins.

Mark will empathically encourage and help facilitate each person to unpack their unique story and understanding around how their life journey has shaped their current patterns of relating and behaviour. Connections are made between past experience and their current issues or difficulties. This process can be helpful to enable a person to develop on their self-awareness and insight to help free them up more from the restrictions of repetitive patterns of negative thinking or problem behaviours. The dynamic process of therapy enables each client to develop on their individual communication skills and relational qualities to help develop their capacities to better cope with stress and difficulty as it arises in their life and relationships.


  • Master of Science, Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK (2012)
  • Cert.HE Counselling and Counselling Skills, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK (2009)

Post Qualification Trainings

  • Externship: Fundamentals of EFT, Australian Centre for EFT, Brisbane, Qld (2016)
  • A four-day training on Emotionally Focused Therapy (couple focused)
  • Brief Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK (2015)
  • Mentalization-Based Treatment: Basic Training, Anna Freud Centre, London, UK (2014)
    A four-day training on a treatment model developed by the NHS for personality disorder
  • Working with the Couple in Mind (attended), WPF, London, UK (2014)Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy, Anna Freud Centre, London, UK (2013)
    Comprised part of training undertaken to become a Dynamic Interpersonal Therapist (which is a research and evidence based brief psychodynamic model developed by the NHS) which was completed in 2015
  • Working with Couples, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK (2013)


  • Clinical Member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA Reg. Clinical) membership number 26304.
  • Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Registration number 37919
  • Prior Clinical Member of Queensland Counsellors Association (QCA) now known as PACFA QLD branch

Mark’s Story

I initially started to work as a health care professional during the 1990’s as a General Nurse within Accident and Emergency and provided embedded counselling as part of this role. My clinical experience as a therapist began in 2011. I have helped a large number of clients make significant change and personal growth in their lives. I feel each person has the internal resources to enable such change.

My aim is to empathically encourage and facilitate each client to discover their voice, articulate their story and uncover their true self. Within this focus on self-discovery and self-healing I work with each client to explore their limiting patterns of behavior or thinking and the deeper issues behind their current symptoms of anxiety or depression. Through developing insight and self-understanding each client can develop their true self to enjoy a richer life with more fulfilling relationships, especially with themselves.

As part of my own life journey I have a lived experience of receiving counseling intermittently. I have also had over five years of personal therapy as part of my training to become a therapist. I understand the fear around starting therapy and the anxiety around what may unfold or come out in the process and the concern it may only make things worse. I have explored my deepest fears and confusion around my self and my life. I have reflected on how I act or behave in my daily life and explored the decisions, choices and behaviours I can defensively adopt during times of perceived stress or difficulty.

Within the pain, sadness and confusion I was able to find in therapy a way to express and make sense of my feelings and thoughts. I was freed up to see my self and my life through a new lens. I understand the relief that comes being released from the restrictions of your anxieties and the shoulds and coulds that your mind can negatively ruminate on. I still feel that life is a journey, each day I am open to new opportunities for learning from my daily interactions with people and life.

In my work I do not follow a strict map or set program, I work flexibly with each person and

adapt to hopefully meet their needs at that particular moment in time. Therapy at its best is

an experiental learning process an evolving, fluid and dynamic interaction between two people. I offer myself as an active, empathic, non-judgemental and curious therapist. I want to understand what life feels like for you and what led life to feel in this way. From that standpoint there is opportunity for self-understanding, healing and change to take place.

I feel there is a lot of confusion for men in our current culture and society.  The more ‘traditional’ roles of a man have been expanded upon within society, with many different expectations now depicted across social media, advertising, marketing and culture in general.

Men all have natural developmental life transitions to navigate as they pass from a child to an adult. This ‘role confusion’ can make these life transitions more complicated than they already are. Despite a plethora of different male role models coming from celebrity and media men may have experienced a lack of male mentoring within their personal life.

Many men have expressed to me their sense of shame and guilt around admitting to themselves or others they are in difficulty, or need help and this can prevent them accessing help from those they feel closest to. I feel a male therapist can become a trusted and reliable non-judgemental person in their life. Therapy creates a unique setting for a man to think about and process their understanding of masculinity, sexuality and male role models, how all of this relates to them and their sense of self. To honestly explore and become more aware of what it means and feels for them to be a man in today’s world.

In my life I have worn a few different hats, or roles, from working as a General Nurse in Accident & Emergency to working as a Graphic Designer for a number of years. I understand the pressures of working within the public sector and for corporate organisations with global client bases throughout periods of growth and global recession. I have run my own business and also experienced the pressures of my employer issuing mass redundancies on staff.

I grew up in England and have permanently moved to Australia, from London, to live here with my Australian wife and I am an active father of a young son.

I look forward to working with you.

Mark Tonkinson