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Qualifications

Postgraduate Diploma in Consultative Supervision, University of South Wales
Postgraduate Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (CBT), University of South Wales
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Part 1 (DBT British Isles)
BA Hons Drama and English (2:1), University of Bristol

About

Alison O’Connor is delighted to be joining the teaching team at the University in 2019. She divides her time between practice, supervision, teaching and research. She is currently employed as a Community Mental Health Therapist for NHS Veterans Wales. She has extensive experience of practice and research with military veterans and families and was awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship in 2016 to research creative approaches to trauma recovery in America and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Alison is passionate about the rapidly evolving field of trauma, attachment and neuroscience, in particular, how arts-based approaches can complement and work alongside clinical models to assist people affcted by trauma to recover and live full, meaningful lives.

While her core training is in CBT, Alison is an integrative practitioner, working at relational depth. Her client work is informed by her background in therapeutic groupwork and psychodrama and her recent training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

Alison has 20 years experience of groupwork and psychodrama in prisons, secure mental health settings, in Romanian orphanages and in substance misuse. She is the Co-Founder of Re-Live, an award-winning Arts and Health charity, creating innovative therapeutic life story work with older adults and people affected by trauma and adversity. She received an Arts and Health Practice Award from the Royal Society of Public Health (2015) for Re-Live’s creative work with military families. Alison and her Re-Live Co-founder, Karin Diamond, also received an award for International Leadership in Arts and Health from Arts and Health Australia (2015).

Responsibilities

Lecturer on BA Counselling and Therapeutic Practice
Lecturer on Postgraduate Diploma in Consultative Supervision

Publications

Transforming Trauma, Moral Injury and Arts with Military Veterans and Families
https://www.wcmt.org.uk/sites/default/files/report-documents/O%27Connor%20A%20Report%202016%20Final.pdf

Abandoned Brothers, Life Story Theatre with Military Veterans and Families
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17533015.2015.1011177?journalCode=rahe20

Coming Home to the Arts: theatre with military veterans and families
https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JPMH-03-2016-0015/full/html

Memberships

BACP (Accredited Member)
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (Lifelong Fellow)

External

Alison is a member of the Board of Governors for Stanwell School in Penarth, bringing her expertise in wellbeing and mental health to the governing body.

Consultancy

Alison provides supervision, training and consultancy services to Re-Live, working with arts practitioners, board members and training delegates.

Research

Aiison has been invited to record a podcast for the Mental Health Foundation, in February 2020, discussing the findings of her Churchill Fellowship, Transforming Trauma: Moral Injury and the Arts with military veterans, families and communities.
Alison is currently studying for a Masters in Consultative Supervision, researching the impact of reflective supervision on frontline Arts and Health practitioners’ emotional wellbeing and practice.
Alison was a key note speaker at The Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Conference, Sydney Australia, 2015, presenting “Life Story Theatre: a new methodology” with Karin Diamond
She and Karin also gave a key-note presentation at the National Gerontology Conference, Swansea, 2017, “Life story work: Older Minds, New ideas”
Alison presented her Churchill Fellowship findings, “Transforming Trauma” at the International Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference, Bristol 2017.

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