Johanna Margaret Lynch Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Johanna Margaret Lynch

Senior Lecturer
The University of Queensland

Johanna Lynch is a family doctor with experience caring for adults who have survived childhood trauma and neglect. This clinical work and its rich literature has led her to question the current framing of mental health as separate from the body and life story. In returning to her generalist medical roots, she has identified a beautiful and simple (but not simplistic) approach to defining and practicing whole person care: Building Sense of Safety.


Johanna is an Australian GP (family doctor) of more than 20 years’ experience who has spent the last 15 years developing innovative clinical approaches to those who have survived childhood trauma and neglect. This clinical work lead to her research focussing on the link between life experience and health. Johanna sees integration of diverse forms of knowledge as an everyday skill of the generalist. Her writing attends to the patterns that link us and help us to see and care for the whole person. She has intentionally walked the boundaries between biomedicine and the social sciences - fascinated by how the mind and body, spirit and community connect. These are central themes of her internationally acclaimed PhD researching whole person approaches to distress in primary care, her recent book, and her academic writing on generalist approaches to mental health and research.

Johanna is a senior lecturer and clinical supervisor, teaching whole person care, vulnerability in medicine, and mental health skills to medical students, GPs and mental health clinicians. She is President (and former Education Chair) of Australian Society for Psychological Medicine and advisor to BlueKnot Foundation a trauma recovery advocacy organisation. As a clinician she is passionate about generalist (transdisciplinary) approaches to the person that facilitate early diagnosis, innovation, and personalised care. As a researcher she is passionate about collaborative generosity that transcends disciplines in order to see the whole. As a writer she longs to communicate in a way that helps us remain curious and open to see the connections that make up the whole.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Strengths-based trauma-informed care
    Generalist Mental Health
    Non-pathologising approaches to distress
    Transdisciplinary research and practice



Featured Title
 Featured Title - A Whole Person Approach to Wellbeing - Lynch - 1st Edition book cover


Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Transdisciplinary Generalism: Naming the epistemology and philosophy of the generalist

Published: Apr 02, 2020 by Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Authors: Lynch, J.M., Dowrick, C.D, Meredith, P., McGregor, S.L.T., van Driel, M.
Subjects: Health and Social Care

Transdisciplinary research and generalist practice both face the task of integrating and discerning the value of knowledge across disciplinary and sectoral knowledge cultures. Transdisciplinarity and generalism also both offer philosophical and practical insights into the epistemology, ontology, axiology, and logic of seeing the ‘whole’. This paper offers a philosophically robust way to think about the prerequisite clinical and research skills of the generalist in any setting.

Humanising Mental Health in Australia

Biology and Experience Intertwined: trauma, neglect and physical health

Published: Nov 21, 2019 by Humanising Mental Health in Australia
Authors: Lynch, J.M., Kirkengen, A.L.
Subjects: Health and Social Care

Transdisciplinary research in the areas of trauma and stress, psychoneuroimmunology, affective neuroscience, attachment, and psychophysiology (and more) confirms that the physical body can no longer be considered separate from the mind. Instead the body is understood as a tangible embodiment of a life made up of subjective meaningful experiences. This chapter outlines the key understanding of how life story, emotions, sensations and experiences are encoded in the body, impacting health.

Social Science & Medicine

Beyond Symptoms: Defining primary care mental health clinical assessment priorities, content, and process

Published: Jan 01, 2012 by Social Science & Medicine
Authors: Lynch, J.M., Askew, D.A, Mitchell, G.K., Hegarty, K.L.
Subjects: Health and Social Care

The assessment of undifferentiated psychological distress is a daily aspect of primary care practice. Primary care practitioners’ underlying values influence the priorities, process and content of assessment. Currently there is a lack of definition of these values in primary care clinical mental health assessment. This paper presents the case for adopting the philosophical values and principles of holistic transdisciplinary generalism to influence practice worldwide.