Meet Our Team

Innate Therapies Australia is one of Cairns' leading therapeutic practices providing counselling and therapeutic services to the Cairns region for over ten years.  All staff undertake continuous professional development to ensure we are bringing you the most up-to-date therapeutic practices and the highest level of care possible. 

Donna's bio shot

Principal practitioner & founder

Donna Mahoney


australian counselling association SUPERVISOR

Donna began Innate Therapies over ten years ago whilst working full time as a Counsellor/Art Therapist within the Not For Profit sector of Cairns. Donna has built an impressive career in the fields of counselling & art therapy and is well known for the work she does in working with children and adults for a wide range of concerns and specialises in attachment and trauma.

Donna’s wide range of modalities and skill set within her counselling/Art Therapy sessions include, but are not limited to,  Symbol Work and Sandplay, Clay Field Therapy, Sensorimotor Art Therapy, Play Therapy, Expressive Therapies and Emotional Freedom Technique.

Donna is called on regularly by many agencies as a Specialist Counsellor to provide support/training for their staff and provides Professional Supervision to other counsellors to enhance their skills. Donna has worked extensively within the Yarrabah Aboriginal Community and the South of Cairns within the schools providing workshops and counselling/art therapy.


Bachelor of Arts - Majoring in Human Services

Diploma of Community Services (Welfare Studies)

Diploma of Professional Counselling

Diploma in Sensorimotor Art Therapy

Diploma in Clay Field Therapy 

Certificate in Expressive Therapies with Children and Adolescents

Certificate in Sand Play Therapy and Symbol Work with Children, Adolescents and Adults

Level 1 & 2 Emotional Freedom Technique (E.F.T.)

Registered NDIS Provider

Mary Rizk

specialisT counsellor

Mary has an expansive career experience in Australia and overseas as a class teacher, supervisor, and year level coordinator, working with children, youth and adults from diverse backgrounds, helping individuals to lead mentally, emotionally, academically and socially healthy lives.

Mary specialises in child development, effective parenting, abuse and expressive therapies counselling working with trauma, child related issues, parenting, decision making, personal development, self-esteem, grief and loss, through different counselling approaches such as: CBT, solution focused therapy, acceptance Commitment theory and brief interventions.

Mary’s aim is to work collaboratively with my clients in a safe, non-judgmental and empathetic space.


•Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature.
•Diploma of Professional Counselling.
•Certificate in Abuse Counselling.
•Certificate in Expressive Therapies Counselling.
•Certificate in Child Development and Effective Parenting Counselling.
•Member of the Australian Counselling Association.

Katie's bio shot

Katie Jacks


Katie is a level 2 member of Australian Counselling Association. She has extensive experience of providing therapeutic interventions in the human services field since 2002. She has experience of the criminal justice, out of home care and domestic violence sectors with both adults and young people.

Katie’s career and passion has predominately focussed on providing therapeutic interventions to young people having spent 15 years specialising in work with youth and families. Katie commenced her career in the UK, relocating to Australia in 2005.

Katie has since worked closely within indigenous communities in the Pilbara in WA and Mossman Qld. Katie has a passion and understanding of working with indigenous communities and collaborating with community leaders to achieve positive outcomes for vulnerable young people.

Katie is particularly skilled at engaging with young people displaying challenging behaviours, working within a trauma informed practice and strengths-based framework.


Currently Undertaking: Graduate Diploma – Relationships Counselling – AIPC (AQF Level 8)

Diploma in Counselling - Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors

Advanced Major (Addictions Counselling)

Advanced Major (Abuse Counselling)

National Diploma in Social Work (DipSW United Kingdom 1998)

Jess's bio shot

Jess Hodson


Jess is currently studying her Diploma in Counselling and the Initiatic Art Therapy Certificate while getting hands on experience under the guidance of our Principal Practitioner, Donna Mahoney. Jess has co-facilitated the Social and Emotional Programs on offer for the past three years.

Abby Wildsmith


Abby offers a diverse area of supportive services to children, youth, parents, couples, and individuals. She is an experienced and nationally accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner with specialised knowledge in separation and the impacts upon families and children.
As a specialised Child Consultant Abby can provide Children Inclusive Mediation and Counselling (CIMC). CIMC was pioneered and developed by Professor Jennifer McIntosh and is built upon solid clinical and developmental frameworks, supported by longitudinal research with Australian families.
As a Member of the Australian Counselling Australian (ACA), Abby is in the final stages of study to become a qualified Counsellor and can offer Relationship Counselling and Family Therapy. With a former background in Human Resource Management, Abby is also skilled in supporting individuals and groups through workplace issues and disputes.