Ian McKean

Ian is the founder and Clinical Director of the Parents Partner and is passionate about helping families be their very best.  For nearly 30 years he has been writing and presenting family workshops in Australia and New Zealand.  He has extensive training and experience in how families function and what couples and parents need to create closeness, love and happiness in their relationships.

photo of Ian McKean
Ian McKean

His expertise is family therapy and family life education.  As a clinician his skill is to take complex research based theories and to help parents make sense of them.  Ian has trained extensively in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the most scientifically validated couples therapy, and has been trained by Drs. Mary Main and Eric Hesse of Berkeley University to administer and interpret the Adult Attachment Interview.  Understanding the power of a strong emotional attachment to build and repair family relationships, he is skilled at helping people strengthen their attachments.

In an ever-changing world where families are experiencing so many time and energy demands, and where there is so little time for family togetherness and fun, he understands the challenges of today’s parents.  This has lead him and his wife Kaye to develop numerous therapy and educational resources to support families.  These include marital and parenting workshops that teach new insights and awareness for addressing the challenges couples and parents face, community talks, authoring over 30 resource brochures, and developing several psychological assessment instruments (Self-Awareness Profile, Child Behaviour Assessment, Preschool Maturation Index).

Ian is a competent workshop presenter having been formally trained by Bob Pike and Dr. Rich Allen.

His current research areas are:

  • Developing a neurobiological parenting intervention process.  All developmental comes from the child’s brain.  It makes sense then that parents need to know and understand how their child’s brain functions and what the brain needs for optimal growth.
  • Understanding the parent-child dance of attunement so parents learn how they emotionally engage, disengage and re-engage with their child.  Neuroscience has found right brain to right brain communication (non-verbal) is the primary mechanism that builds secure attachment.  We are also studying its significance for a couples relationship.
  • Developing a child centred approach to caring for children.  Most people who care for children focus on what they bring to the child – learning curriculum, pedagogy, learning devices, etc..  We believe that approach is often detrimental to the optimal development of the child.  Of far greater significance is what the child brings to us.  We believe that’s what quality care of children really is; knowing what children really need.

Education and Professional Affiliations

M.A. in Counselling and Family Science
Member of American Society of Training and Development (ASTD)
Member of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)
Emotionally Focused Couples therapist (EFT)
Accredited in a number of psychometric and assessment tests, including BASC-2, Child Assessment of Behavior, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DiSC, Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis (TJTA), NEO, Prepare and Enrich, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Parent Stress Index (PSI).

Professional training

  • Gottman Institute Level 1: Marital Therapy Research Based Approached
  • Gottman Institute Level 2: Marital Therapy Assessment & Intervention
  • Emotionally Focused Couples therapist (Externship, Advanced Externship, Core Skills Training)
  • The Adult Attachment Interview, Drs Mary Maine & Eric Hesse
  • Advanced Adult Attachment Interview, Drs Mary Maine & Eric Hesse
  • Certified trainer for Active Parenting
  • Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP)
  • Lab 1 counselling skills course completed
  • Learning to Care listening skills training
  • Reality Therapy training (Drs. Ron Huston and Gary Applegate – Center for Skill Development)

Ian is part of Dr Rebecca’s Jorgensen’s EFT core skills group and meets twice a month to enhance EFT intervention skills.  Dr Jorgensen is a highly skilled EFT practitioner and trainer, and is Director of the Training and Research Institute for EFT at Alliant University, San Diego.

He is also currently training with Dr Stan Tatkin, author of Love and War in Intimate Relationships.  Dr. Tatkin is a lecturer and researcher who has developed an innovative marital therapy called A Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy.  This therapy integrates neuroscience, infant attachment, arousal regulation and therapeutic enactments.

Ian has received specialised training in Dr. Stephen Covey’s Seven Principles of Highly Effective People and is an accredited trainer in the seven habits process.

Ian is married to Kaye and they have four sons, Cameron, Lachlan, Logan and Alexander.

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