Back to Directory

Louise Whitaker

BSocWk (UQ), MSocWk (UQ), PhD (Sydney)

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Health

07 55893160
[email protected]
Rm A3.34, Gold Coast
Louise Whitaker


Orchid ID



When, in my early 20s, I discovered social work, it was a home coming. The culture of community, collaboration and social justice fitted. Having worked as a social worker in mental health, women's health, Legal Aid and cancer workforce development, I joined academe in 2010's. I am committed to the profession and its development.


My research examines social work practice with people who are impacted by mental distress. Most recently the focus has been both transformative mental health practice and the social inclusion of women from refugee backgrounds. I am particularly interested in practice based research and research methodologies capturing practice wisdom.

Community engagement

Member, Australian Association of Social Workers National Research Committee.

Member, Ballina Region for Refugees

Member, International Network for Cooperative Inquirers


Principal Supervisor

Courtney du Plessis, PhD. Topic: Peer support workers in substance abuse treatment services: The influence on their recovery.

Nicole Graham. Topic: Interdisciplinary and lived experience understanding of Trauma-informed care and socio-ecological factors that influence training and implementation.

Jo Burnett, Master of Arts and Social Sciences. Topic: Social Work in Family Dispute Resolution; a practice framework for family violence cases


Clarissa Hitchcock, PhD. Topic: Developing and maintaining resilience in social work practitioners 


Mental health social work


  • Award for “Best pedagogical article for 2017” for the international peer reviewed journal Social Work Education
  • First prize for excellence, 2021 Annual Anglicare Australia Conference Awards - Empowering Practices.

Graduate School

Looking to further your studies with a research master's or doctorate?

View our higher degree by research options