School of Nursing & Human Sciences

Dr Liam MacGabhann

Nursing and Human Sciences

Name: Dr Liam MacGabhann
Department: Nursing and Human Sciences
Role: Academic Staff
Phone Number: Ext. 8805
Email Address:
Room: H226

Biographical Details

In 1988 I qualified as a mental health nurse and headed off from Ireland with my new found insights to change the world. Spending most of my early career in England with some brief sojourns in Australia and the Middle East. As a practitioner I have pretty consistently worked with people whom some would classify as having a serious psychotic illness, others as `having extraordinary experiences? and more specifically concentrating on acute mental health care. Other roles over time have varied with the common grounding of practice and healing at the centre of each one: as a researcher/practitioner; in practice/service development; in community development; and as a community activist. Since my return to Ireland with my family in 2001 I now find myself somewhere between an ivory tower and lived experiences, as a lecturer in practice. I practice on an acute psychiatric admission ward and am consistently involved in developing interesting innovative courses and programmes to meet practice needs. My methodological preferences lie in Participatory Inquiry, as generally my purpose is to both understand and transform the systems I research with. My substantive research programme is around `transforming dialogues in mental health communities?. The contribution of this programme of research to community development was recognised with the DCU Presidents Award for Civic Engagement in 2011 for one project Mental Health Trialogue Network Ireland Much of this work centres around people reconciling their own experiences, perceptions and practices with other people/groups associated with mental health and using different approaches to improve these at individual, group, organisational and community level. Examples of relevant areas include; where people have extraordinary experiences and beliefs; when people are disenfranchised by society and community; and in the area of Trauma and responses to traumatic events. Approaches include cooperative learning, participative action, open dialogue and systemic family constellations work. I recognised earlier on that one way to push the boundaries of health care practice was to seek academic pursuits in other areas. Beginning with grounding in Health Studies for my first degree and then going on to complete a Masters in Sociology of Health and Health Care. For my sins, returning to nursing and completing my Doctorate in Nursing Science. Thankfully I have found new insights, lost some along the way and am still trying to change the world.

Research Interests

Research interests predominantly lie in the areas of mental health practice and sociological inquiry and my preferred methodologies are those aligned with Participatory Inquiry. In particular I am involved in understanding and transforming the various dialogues that underpin and are evolving in mental health communities, with a view to bringing about a positive change for people engaged with these communities. For several years I have been exploring `Open Dialogue? as an effective way for practitioners to communicate; for organisations to engage in collaborative changes; and for communities to have open conversations about contentious issues. Research projects include; a national study exploring the experience of stigma and discrimination by people with mental health problems; a national action research study examining the impact of a collaborative leadership programme and change management model on mental health services improvement; increasing the impact of experts by experience on mental health care in Ireland; and a community development project co-leading the establishment of the Mental Health Trialogue Network Ireland ( More recent projects include funding to increase capacity for service users and family members to be involved in the design, development and delivery of mental health services in Ireland; and co-funding to develop a Recovery College in Dublin North East.


  • Professional registration body - An Bord Altranais
  • Research Forum for research in Mental Health Nursing - Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research
  • Forum and network for Sociologists in Ireland - Sociological Association of Ireland
  • Director and Executive Board Member - Irish Institute for Mental Health Nursing
  • Organising Committee Member - International Network for Treatment Alternatives to Recovery

Research Grant Activity

  • National Advisory Committee on Drugs - Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Management of Dual Diagnosis in Ireland
  • Health Research Board - Nurses' and Midwives' Understanding and Experiences of Empowerment in Ireland
  • National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery - Development of professional practitioner educational modules
  • School of Nursing - Improving Nurse Patient Therapeutic Interactions in Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Care Through Participatory Action Research
  • HSE - Mental Health Leadership Project
  • HSE - Enhanced Capacity Building in Mental Health Knowledge Community
  • Amnesty Ireland - Discrimination and Mental Health
  • Genio Trust - Developing a Mental Health Trialogue Network in Participating Grass Roots Communities
  • DCU - The impact of social influences on the individual who experiences psychosis; their ability to cope and to relate
  • HSE - Practice, Education, Research: Expert by Experience
  • HSE - Expert by Experience: Practice, Research & Education
  • HSE - Mental Health Knowledge Community
  • HSE - Expert by Experience: Practice, Research & Ediucation
  • National Office for Suicide Prevention - Evaluation of Mayo Suicide Liaison Service
  • -
  • Nursing & Midwifery Planning & Development Unit, HSE - Developing A Recovery College in Dublin North East
  • HSE - Mental Health Knowledge Community
  • HSE - Mental Health Leadership Project



    Peer Reviewed Journals

  • Connolly, J Mac Gabhann, L McKeown, O. 2015. Developing a dual diagnosis service in Cork, Ireland by way of Participatory Action Research (PAR)". ADVANCES IN DUAL DIAGNOSIS, 8, 1, pp29-41.
  • Lakeman, R., McGowan, P., MacGabhann, L., Parkinson, M., Redmond, M., Sibitz, I., & Stevenson, C.. 2012. A qualitative study exploring experiences of discrimination associated with mental health problems in Ireland.. EPIDEMIOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRIC SCIENCES,, pp1-9.
  • Lakeman, R., McAndrew, S., Mac Gabhann, L. Y Warne T.. 2012. ?That was helpful? No one has talked to me about that before?: The therapeutic value of research participation. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSING,
  • Mac Gabhann, L., McGowan, P., Walsh, J. & O?Reilly. 2010. Leading change in public mental health services through collaboration, participative action, co-operative learning and open dialogue.. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP IN PUBLIC SERVICES, 6,
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Moore, A. & Moore, C.. 2010. Dual Diagnosis: Evolving policy and practice within the Irish healthcare system.. ADVANCES IN DUAL DIAGNOSIS, 3, 3, pp17-28.
  • Corbally, M., Scott, P.A., Matthews, A., Mac Gabhann, L. & Murphy, C. (2007). 2007. Irish Nurses? and midwives conceptualisations of empowerment. JOURNAL OF NURSING MANAGEMENT,
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Baker, S. & Dixon,P. 2002. Prevention and management of violence: implementing clinically effective practice. JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH PRACTICE, 16(2), , pp8-13.
  • Mac Gabhann, L.. 2000. Are nurses responding to the needs of patients in acute adult mental health care?. MENTAL HEALTH & LEARNING DISABILITIES CARE, 4 (3), , pp85-88.
  • Mac Gabhann, L.. 1997. Improvements in nursing practice through a study comparing intramuscular depot injection techniques. JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRIC & MENTAL HEALTH NURSING, 4, , pp436-437.
  • Mac Gabhann, L.. 1996. A comparison of two depot injection techniques. NURSING STANDARD, 12 (37), , pp39-41.
  • Smith (Mac Gabhann), L.. 1995. Clozapine: Indications and implications for treatment. NURSING TIMES, 26, 91,(30), , pp40-41.

  • Non-Peer Reviewed Journals

  • Dr Liam Mac Gabhann. .
  • MacGabhann, L., McGowan, P., Amering, M. & Ni Cheirin, L.. 2012. . Psychiatry Professional, 1, pp6-8.
  • Mac Gabhann, L.. 2005. Collision Culture: Transformations in Everyday Life in Ireland (book review). Irish Journal of Sociology, 14, pp175-177.


  • Liam Mac Gabhann.


  • Dr Liam Mac Gabhann. .
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & Amering, M.. 2016. Trialogue: Liberation in Mental Health Communities. Social and Community Psychiatry: Towards a Critical, Patient- Orientated ApproachSpringer.
  • Dr Liam Mac Gabhann. 2014. Medicalisation and professionalisation of mental health service delivery. Higgins, A. & Mc Daid, S. (2014) Mental Health in Ireland: Policy Practice & LawGill & Macmillan.
  • Mc Gowan, P., Mac Gabhann, L., Stevenson, C. & Walsh, J. 2009. Relational Power and Research Positions. Handbook of Service User Involvement in Mental Health ResearchJohn Wiley & Sons.
  • Dr Liam Mac Gabhann. 2008. Care Planning: Assessment, Models of Care/Care Frameworks. Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing: An Irish PerspectiveGill & Macmillan.
  • Mac Gabhann, L. and Stevenson, C.. 2007. The Buzzing, Blooming Confusion of Clinical Practice: Preparing Mental Health Nurses to Generate Knowledge Within, From and For Practice. Teaching Mental HealthJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Liam Mac Gabhann. 2007. . ,


  • Mac Gabhann, L, Transcending `Therapies? towards a dialogue of love and movements of the soul with systemic family constellations, Critical Perspectives on and Beyond the Therapy Industry, 11-NOV-15 - 12-NOV-15, University College Cork
  • Mac Gabhann, L, Expertise by Experience: Active Involvement of Service Users in the Education of the Mental Health Workforce in Ireland , 4th European Conference on Mental Health, 21-OCT-15 - 23-OCT-15, Riga, Latvia
  • Mac Gabhann, L, Acknowledging Truths in Open Dialogue & Systemic Constellations, 8th Open Dialogue Symposium, 22-JAN-15 - 22-JAN-15, Dublin City University
  • Mac Gabhann, L, Untangling Trauma from the Perversity of Psychiatric Diagnosis, Critcal Perspectives on and Beyond Psychiatric Diagnoses, 12-NOV-14 - 13-NOV-14, University College Cork
  • Mac Gabhann, L, Renegotiating Trauma in Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 3rd Horatio European Festival of Psychiatric Nursing, Malta., 06-NOV-14 - 09-NOV-14, Malta
  • Mac Gabhann, L McGowan, P Walshe, J, Creating a dialogical space where meanings of madness can be explored and a creative response emerges from the dialogue, Meanings of Madness: Critical and Creative Perspectives, 13-NOV-13 - 15-NOV-13, University College Cork
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & McGowan, P., Mental Health Trialogue Network Ireland (MHTNI) ? Transforming Dialogue in Mental Health Communities, 21st World Congress of Social Psychiatry, 29-JUN-13 - 03-JUL-13, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Mac Gabhann, L. Piippo, J., Open Dialogue: A Way of Being, Of Relating, and Practicing Mental Health Nursing, 2nd European Conference on Mental Health Nursing, 22-MAY-13 - 24-MAY-13, Turku, Finland
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Trialogue Translating A Grassroots Community Mental Health Dialogue into an Online Learning Presence, ACENDIO 9th Biennial Conference of the Association for Common European Nursing Diagnoses. Interventions and Outcomes., 22-MAR-13 - 23-MAR-13, Radisson Blue Hotel
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Releasing the Potential of Professional Caregivers: Exploring the Threat of Creative Engagement, Critical Perspectives and Creative Responses to Experiences of Trauma and Distress, 14-NOV-12 - 15-NOV-12, University College Cork
  • Mac Gabhann, L, McGowan, P. & Pippo, J, Reconciling multiple perspectives, ways of knowing, envisioning mental health practice through the lens of `Open Dialogue?: a communicative space for psychiatric/ mental health nurses, Horatio: 2nd European Festival of Psychiatric Nursing - Vision, Knowledge, and Practice in psychiatric and mental health nursing, 20-SEP-12 - 23-SEP-12, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Amering, M. Mac Gabhann, L. McGowan, P., OPen Dialogue Communication through the Medium of Triaogue, Transforming Dialogues: Towards a Renaissance in Open Communications, 06-SEP-12 - 06-SEP-12, HELIX, Dublin City University
  • McGowan, P. Mac Gabhann, L., Uncovering the Process: Impact of Oppressive Communication on Trauma and the Emergence of Psychosis, Transforming Dialogues: Towards a Renaissance in Open Communication, 06-SEP-12 - 06-SEP-12, HELIX, Dublin City University
  • McGowan & Mac Gabhann, A relational perspective of the psychotic experience: tuning into and making meaning out of madness, Hearing Service Users: Where next for Recovery in Mental Health - 5th CRSI/UCC annual conference, 06-JUN-12 - 06-JUN-12, University College Cork
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & McGowan, Discovering a Mutual Narrative in the Psychotic Experience, Madness: Understanding Psychosis - Subjective Experience and Psychological Approaches, 25-MAY-12 - 25-MAY-12, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., 5th Open Dialogue Symposium, 5th Open Dialogue Symposium, 26-JAN-12 - 26-JAN-12, Dublin City University
  • Amering, M., MacGabhann, L. & McGowan, P. , Mental Health Trialogue Meetings, The International Network towards Alternatives and Recovery (INTAR) and The Leadership Project ? International Conference: Challenging Our Understanding of Psychosis and Exploring Alternatives for Recovery, 03-NOV-11 - 04-NOV-11, Toronto, Canada
  • Mac Gabhann, L., McGowan, P. & Ni Cheirin L., What is Trialogue?, ` Open Dialogue? Mental Health Conference, Northern Ireland Patient and Client Council, 23-JUN-11 - 23-JUN-11, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Mac Gabhann, L., McGowan, P, & Ni Cheirin, L., Mental Health Trialogue Network Ireland, Action Research Colloquium, , June 9th & 10th ., 09-JUN-11 - 10-JUN-11, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
  • Mac Gabhann, L., McGowan, P., Enabling the Vision: A Process of Sustained Service Improvement, Vision for Change Implementation: Department Of Health Milestone Seminar , 24-JAN-11 - 24-JAN-11, Dublin Castle, Ireland
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & Walsh, J., Mental health for the community, by the community, in the community, Critical Perspectives on and Beyond Recovery, 10-NOV-10 - 11-NOV-10, UCC, Cork, Ireland
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & McGowan, P., A relational-recovery oriented perspective of the psychotic experience:tuning into and making meaning out of madness, Nordic Conference of Mental Health Nursing, 08-SEP-10 - 10-SEP-10, Helsinki, Finland
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & McGowan, P., A Participatory process, enabling mental health nurses to engage meaningfully with service users and carers, Nordic Conference of Mental Health Nursing, 08-SEP-10 - 10-SEP-10, Helsinki, Finland
  • Mac Gabhann, L. {with D'illusionary Players) , An Illusionary Experience - The Journey to Inclusion? , International Initiative for Leadership in Mental Health Annual Network Meeting/Conference: Citizens in Partnership; Inclusion or Illusion, 19-MAY-10 - 21-MAY-10, Kilarney, Ireland
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & McGowan, P., Recovering personhood, recovering services & recovering communities: through a trialogue experience, `Making Thriving a Reality; Towards and Beyond Mental Health Recovery4th & 5th Nov., 04-OCT-09 - 05-NOV-09, UCC, Cork, Ireland
  • Mac Gabhann, L., McGowan, P. & Walsh, J., Cooperative Learning: Service Improvement Leadership for Mental Health Service Users, Carers & Service Providers, 15th International Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) , 24-SEP-09 - 25-SEP-09, Oxford, England
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Unpacking nurse/patient therapeutic interaction in acute psychiatric inpatient contexts: reaffirming the therapeutic role and strategies to articulate this across frontiers , HORATIO:European Festival of Psychiatric Nursing, The Age of Dialogue, 05-NOV-08 - 05-NOV-08, Malta
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Separating the wheat from the chaff: Identifying when, where and how therapeutic interactions occur in acute inpatient care, 14th International NPNR - Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research Conference, 01-OCT-08 - 03-OCT-08, Oxford, England
  • Mac Gabhann, L., McGowan, P. & Walsh, J., Learning together, changing together: a cooperative approach to, service users, carers and service providers improving mental health services, In: INTAR ed.2008 International Recovery Perspectives Conference - Action On Alternatives - Critical and Creative Exploration of Leading Edge Approaches in Mental Health Recovery, 06-JUN-08 - 06-SEP-08, Toronto, Canada
  • McGowan,P., Walsh, J. & Mac Gabhann, L., Developing Peer Advocacy Services in Ireland, Recovery Psy'cozy'um 2008, 05-JUN-08 - 05-JUN-08, Toronto, Canada
  • Mac Gabhann et al., Discovering intra cultural meanings and mutual understandings in a hostile place, Health4Life - Thinking, Feeling, Being: Critical Perspectives and Creative Engagement in Psychosocial Health, 10-SEP-07 - 12-SEP-07, Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Participatory action research: Enhancing mental health through the development of a mutual dialogue between patient and nurses in acute inpatient settings, 12th International NPNR Conference - Mental health nursing?research at the margins., 27-SEP-06 - , Oxford, U.K.
  • Mac Gabhann,L.,Corbally, M., Mathews, A. & Scott, P. A., Loving me loving you: Reciprocity as a means to patient and mental health nurses empowerment , 10th International Philosophy of Nursing Conference, 10-SEP-06 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann et al., St Louise?s Assessment Package for Mental Health Nursing: Participatory Action Research and Patient/Nurse Collaboration, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 25th International Nursing & Midwifery Research Conference, 10-FEB-06 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann,L., The management of Dual Diagnosis (mental health & substance misuse problems) in Ireland: A dualist dilemma or opportunity for health care practitioners?, Trinity College, Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference: Transforming Healthcare Through Research, Education & Technology, 10-OCT-05 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Mental Illness & Social, PROTECT N&S (Probation Reducing Offending Through Enhanced Co-operation and Training North & South) National Conference, 10-SEP-05 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Scheele, A, Dunne,T., Gallagher, P., MacNeela, P., Moore, G. & Philbin , M., Dual Diagnosis (mental health & substance misuse problems), an Irish Myth: Implications for Mental Health Nurses, RCN 10th European Mental Health Nursing conference, 10-APR-05 - , Amsterdam
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Scheele, A., Dunne,T., Gallagher, P., MacNeela, P., Moore, G. & Philbin , M., Findings of a national research study on the management of dual diagnosis in mental health and addiction services, National Advisory Committee on Drugs:Dual Diagnosis Conference, 20-OCT-04 - , Tullamore
  • Mac Gabhann, L & Harnett, J., Acute mental health nursing assessment: Through action research & patient/nurse collaboration, Trinity College, Dublin. Transforming Healthcare Through Research Education & Technology, 02-OCT-04 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Changing Practice: Through Changes in Practice, Irish Psychiatric Nursing Association Annual Conference, 04-SEP-04 - , Limerick
  • Mac Gabhann, L & Mc Gowan, P., Facilitating peer advocacy through service user, service provider & university collaboration, RCN 9th European Mental Health Nursing conference, 10-MAR-04 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L. & McGowan, P., Facilitating peer advocacy through service user, service provider and university collaboration, In: RCSI ed.Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 23rd Annual Nursing & Midwifery Research Conference, 10-FEB-04 - , Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Nursing Response to Needs of Patients in Acute Mental Health Care, Trinity College Dublin. Transforming Healthcare Through Research, Education & Technology, 14-OCT-01 - 01-OCT-16, Dublin
  • Mac Gabhann, L., Implementing clinical effective guidelines for prevention and management of violence, National Clinical Governance Conference: Implications for Nursing, 10-OCT-99 - 10-OCT-99, London