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School of Nursing & Human Sciences

Living Well With Illness, Disability and Technology Cognitive and Behavioural Neurosciences Child Health Health Systems Research Translational Biomedical Sciences
Transforming Dialogues in Mental Health and Psychotherapy Dementia and Positive Ageing Ethical Issues in Healthcare Nutrition and Exercise Society, Health and Sexuality

Transforming Dialogues in Mental Health and Psychotherapy

Society is complex and characterised by continuous change and development, which impacts the mental health and well-being of our community. The mental health and psychotherapy team researches creative, innovative and transformative responses for those experiencing mental health or psychological distress. Team members regularly contribute to media discussion and provide specialist consultancy to public and voluntary agencies. A broad range of disciplines, service user and voluntary bodies, national and international partnerships contribute to our research expertise in:

  • Understanding discourses across the lifespan in mental health, psychotherapy and disability.
  • Uncovering the dynamics of interrelationship between interest groups in these areas.
  • Transforming relationships and infrastructures through participatory methodologies and service/practice development. Outcomes relate to an increasing transformation in how local mental health services around Ireland respond to policy directives and change traditional methods of service provision.
  • Understanding how trauma (psychological, emotional, physical and sexual) is represented in mental health / psychological presentations such as suicidality, PTSD, interpersonal conflict, substance misuse, psychosis.
  • Improving therapeutic, social and political responses to psychological / mental distress.
  • Promoting awareness and understanding and reducing stigma surrounding mental ill-health.

Dr Líam Mac Gabhann has established an unfolding story in mental health research relating to particular challenges, such as Dual Diagnosis and Systemic Discrimination. He has also led a sustained programme of service and community development underpinned by Open Dialogue and Trialogical approaches to change. Líam is regularly consulted to offer perspective on diverse dialogue and consequences for mental health practice, most recently he featured in the three-part TG4 documentary about the history of Asylums in Ireland -  Ar Intinn Eile (An Irish State of Mind).

Paddy McGowan was pivotal in developing the service user movement in Ireland, forming the Irish Advocacy Network in 1999, and through his work within DCU and HSE he has led the developments in increasing capacity and impact of service users and family members in how mental health services are designed and delivered in Ireland. Paddy is regularly called upon by national media and TV documentaries to provide ‘Expertise by Experience’.

Dr Evelyn Gordon leads research in suicide and suicidal behaviour. This research includes identifying effective and acceptable suicide prevention, intervention and postvention responses, promoting the voice of the suicidal person in developing response initiatives, enhancing understanding of the suicidal process, trajectory and person. See for project samples and related publications.

Dr McElvaney leads research in Child Sexual Abuse. She is PI for the Irish cohort study ‘Uncovering pathways and processes of child sexual abuse disclosures in youth’ in a collaboration with Canadian researchers funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the study ‘What helps children tell?’ funded by the British Association for the Study of Child Abuse and Neglect.

For further information on current research, recent projects, and prospects for collaboration, please contact Dr Liam Mac Gabhann or Dr Evelyn Gordon.