Meet Experienced Therapist Marilyn Dawson-McCarthy


Marilyn Dawson-McCarthy, LSCSW

Since 1992, Marilyn Dawson-McCarthy in Leawood, KS has been providing psychotherapy for couples, individuals with depression, and families with adolescent difficulties. I have extensive and additional training in the treatment of various persistent psychological orders.

Growing Up

I was born in Kansas City before my family moved throughout the United States following my father’s career. As a young adult, I returned to this city where I have resided ever since. I have been a member of many community orchestras as a violinist and this gives me a great sense of joy.

The seeds for my becoming a therapist were sown early in childhood, thanks to the unique elements in myself and my relationship with family members. I was attuned to their joy and pain and developed my innate capacity for empathy, something that would prove to be invaluable to my future life as a therapist.


My Education

  • Oberlin College B.A. Art History
  • University of California at Los Angeles, Graduate Work in Art History
  • University of Kansas, MSW
  • National Institute for the Psychotherapy, New York, New York, Certificate in Psychoanalysis
  • Greater Kansas City Psychoanalysis Institute, Graduate Clinical Psychoanalyst

Starting My Psychotherapy Practice

To begin my profession as a psychotherapist, I earned my MSW from the University of Kansas. I learned many useful psychotherapeutic techniques, but I found that each failed to deliver the lasting benefits that I felt people wanted. I still value and use these therapeutic strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, Gestalt therapy, and family systems theory.

I became immersed in the treatment of addictions and designed and ran inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency programs. Additionally, I lectured nationally and published on the topic of relapse. This field was simultaneously fulfilling and disappointing. I found I could help people begin their recovery, yet I, along with many practitioners, was at a loss in helping them achieve the long-term well-being they wanted.

Professional Development

I presented papers nationally and internationally and became a founder and co-director of the local psychoanalytic program, the Kansas City Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. I ran a weekly supervision group at the Veterans Administration residency program for psychologists for several years.

My career has given me an opportunity to work with a very broad spectrum of emotional and relationship disorders. I have developed specialty skills in relationship difficulties, chemical dependency and misuse, and mood disorders. 

My Commitment

The work I do has been unfolding since my earliest childhood, and I have learned to listen to the music of the unconscious and developed the art of psychotherapy. I enjoy my connections with my clients and patients, and I aim to help them untangle webs of self-defeating behavior and lead them toward healthier and richer lives.

Marilyn Dawson-McCarthy