(651) 210-0335

Curriculum Vitae

Deena McMahon, LICSW, MSW

Deena M. McMahon

821 Raymond Avenue
Suite 130A
Saint Paul, MN 55114
(651) 210-0335


University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
M.S.W., Social Work, summa cum laude, 1992
Honors Student, Advanced Standing Placement

Carroll College, Waukesha, WI
B.S., Social Work, magna cum laude, 1981
Areas of Concentration: Child Welfare and Community Service


Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, 1994


McMahon Counseling and Consultation Services, LLC
April 2008 – Present

  • Provide office-based therapy to individuals, families, couples, and groups, with expertise in attachment, adoption, sexual/physical abuse, neglect, mental illness, trauma, family violence, grief/loss, crisis intervention, and cross-cultural issues.
  • Conduct Forensic Parenting, Attachment, and Sibling Relationship assessments to determine family strengths/needs, interventions, and case-planning recommendations.
  • Contracted by the MN Guardian ad Litem Program (2008-present), as well as numerous child protection agencies, adoption agencies and parent groups, to provide case consultation and training services.
  • Develop and provide regional and national workshops/curriculums to state judges, public defenders, social services agencies, mental health professionals, Guardian Ad Litems, and parents on topics including attachment, abuse and neglect, trauma, grief and loss, and adoption.
  • Testified as expert witness in hundreds of child protection and permanency cases, including numerous cases involving Native American children. QEW under ICWA on several occasions.
  • Served as consultant to Children’s Justice Initiative of Chisago, Isanti, and Kanabec Counties.
  • Completed Child Development Chapter for Minnesota District Court Judges’ Bench Book.
  • Developed ‘Adoption Competency Curriculum’ for Century College, now used statewide as continuing education for adoption professionals.
  • Hired by the Department of Human Services to develop a training module on children’s mental health issues, now included in almost all Minnesota foster care trainings.
  • Hired as forensic expert in case involving approximately 500 Native American claimants suing an extension of the Catholic Church in Montana and Washington. Was retained by plaintiffs’ attorney to assist in understanding the harm resulting from sexual abuse. The resulting settlement was the second largest ever awarded by the Catholic Diocese, as the harm done was considered egregious, with lifetime implications for the Native American individuals interviewed.


Therapeutic Services Agency, Pine City, MN
Director, Intensive In-Home Services/Family Therapist, 1988-2008

  • Provided supervision, training, and ongoing support to 25+ family-based services therapists.
  • Assisted therapists on case-related issues including custody decisions, placements, abuse/neglect indicators, interventions, assessments, and determining clients’ services.
  • Developed clinical approaches to working with highly-resistant therapy clients with an emphasis on respect for the individual.
  • Maintained caseload and provided direct therapy to chronic, multi-problem families referred by Child Protection Services.
  • Provided case consult and recommendations for clients and county case managers in permanency cases.
  • Assisted in development and implementation of Treatment Plans and new services for referring agencies.
  • Conducted Sibling Relationship, Attachment, and Forensic Parenting assessments; provided recommendations and intervention strategies within.
  • Served as consultant to Alternative Response Team (Anoka Co.); Permanency Project Advisory Board (Anoka Co.); Child Protection Unit (Chisago Co.); and MN Association of Family-Based Service Providers.
  • Presenting problems in client families included dynamics of physical and sexual abuse, neglect, blended families, emotional abuse and neglect, domestic abuse and family violence, grief issues, adoption, including cross cultural, mental illness including such diagnoses as borderline personality, schizophrenia, attention deficit and hyperactivity, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, substance abuse and addiction, parenting education, eating disorders, anti-social behavior, and attachment disorders.

Operation DeNovo, Minneapolis, MN, 1984-1986

  • Offered counseling services and community referrals for nonviolent offenders through Court Diversion Program.

Gerard Schools of Iowa and Minnesota, 1981-1984

  • Provided in-home counseling to families primarily referred through Child Protection Services.


  • Adoption
  • Attachment Assessment Tools
  • Attunement
  • Behavioral Interventions
  • Chemical Abuse
  • Children’s Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, FASD, ODD)
  • Compassion Fatigue/Burnout
  • Concurrent Planning
  • Cultural Diversity Training
  • DC-03: Diagnostic Criteria For Children Zero To Three
  • Developmental Theories
  • Domestic Violence
  • DSM Diagnostic Criteria
  • Dynamics of Sibling Groups
  • Ecological Approach: Sexual Abuse Treatment
  • Family Centered Practice
  • Grief and Loss Issues
  • Highly-resistant clients
  • Knowledge in ICWA cultural parenting practices and active efforts
  • Juvenile Protection
  • Mediation and Conflict Resolution
  • Parenting Assessment Tools
  • Therapies: Play; Reality; Narrative; Brief Solution-Focused; Theraplay; Structural Family; Systemic Family
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Reunification Strategies
  • Social Learning Theories
  • Trauma Affects and Therapy
  • Treatment of Family and Multi-Generational Sexual Abuse


  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Minnesota Association of Family Based Services Providers
  • NACAC – North American Council on Adoptable Children
  • ATTACH – Association for Treatment & Training in the Attachment of Children
  • Theraplay Institute